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13 Cold-Hardy Palm Trees

Think you live too far north to grow palms? Think again! Discover palms that stand up to cold — and even snow.

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Photo: Image courtesy of Plant Delights Nursery

‘McCurtain’ Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal minor ‘McCurtain’)

Snow and palm trees can go together—if you get the right variety. This snow hardy palm hails from McCurtain County, Oklahoma, just west of Folsom, Arkansas. ‘McCurtain’ grows in Wichita, where it’s known to have survived temperatures of -24°F. It’s a good choice for winter gardeners in places like Ohio and Delaware who want to inject some tropical ambience into their landscapes. This variety ultimately grows to 6 feet and has a faster growth rate than other dwarf palmettos. Hardy in Zones 6b-10b.

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Photo: Image courtesy of Plant Delights Nursery

‘Bulgaria’ Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei ‘Bulgaria’)

Palm trees in Bulgaria? That’s where this tough-as-nails variety originates. In this setting, temps often plummet, including a record low of -17°F. ‘Bulgaria’ survived the Polar Vortex during the 2013-14 winter in Washington, D.C. Windmill palms come in male and female forms. The female bears striking seeds: blue-black seeds on bright yellow stems. Plants can grow to 12 feet tall. Hardy in Zones 7b-10b, although 7b plants may lose all leaves in a severe winter.

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Photo: Image courtesy of Real Palm Trees

Pindo Palm Tree (Butia capitata)

Pindo palm is what’s known as a feather palm, having classic long palm fronds. It’s the only cold hardy feather palm and tolerates temps as low as 5°F, which means it can grow as far north as coastal New Jersey and British Columbia. Fruits are edible and used to make jelly in South Florida, where this beauty is also called jelly palm. Native to South America, pindo can grow to 20 feet, but usually tops out from 12 to 15 feet. Hardy in Zones 7b-11.

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Photo: Image courtesy of Monrovia

European Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis)

Also known as the Mediterranean fan palm, this is a clump forming palm that tends to have several trunks growing together in the wild. The secret to success is sharply draining soil that keeps the palm on the dry side, especially in winter. Raised beds filled with a cactus-type growing mix is ideal. A slow growing palm that rarely outgrows its space, this fan palm grows 10 to 15 tall and wide. Hardy in Zones 7b-11, although with proper winter drainage it may survive in colder zones.

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