Hardy Palms

Add a tropical touch to your winter—yes, winter—landscape
Palm

Palm

Most people associate palm trees only with tropical climes, but there's a hardy palm suited for the majority of the regions in the United States. 

Most people associate palm trees only with tropical climes, but there's a hardy palm suited for the majority of the regions in the United States. 

It happens every year—that first brush with bitter winter cold that leaves us dreaming of tropical escapes and sipping an umbrella drink in the shade of a swaying palm. 

If you can’t break away, the next best thing may be to just bring a little of that fantasy vacation to your own back yard—starting with palms.  Most people don’t think about these needled beauties growing anywhere outside of Florida or southern California. But many palms are hardy enough to withstand the cold of states where temperatures are known to dip into the single digits many nights.

Hardy palms are ones able to withstand brief periods of cold temperatures, even occasional snowfalls. Some are native to high elevations where they tolerate freezes with little damage. Several factors are weighed when determining a palm’s hardiness. They include humidity, the plant’s age and size, how warm temperatures get during the day, and the duration of the coldest temperatures. Some palms can withstand subzero temperatures for a few hours better than they can several nights in the 20s.

Here are a few hardy palms that are popular because they’re durable, easy to grow and widely available:

Bismarck Palm, Bismarckia nobilis – When mature, this native of Madagascar can tolerate temperatures as low as 15 degrees, though best suited for zones 8b-11. This palm  grows at an average rate and has silvery green fan-shaped leaves.

Windmill Palm, Trachycarpus fortunei – Native to the Himalayas, these are the best known hardy palms. With light- to medium green fan-shaped leaves, Windmills are used to the cool temperatures of high altitudes and can be found in England; Ireland; Vancouver, Canada; and in the United States as far north as Long Island, New York; and Seattle.

Needle Palm, Rhapidophyllum hystrix – A very slow-growing, typically trunkless plant reaching only about three feet tall, this palm is native to the southeastern United States. Though considered hardy to zone 6b, as far north as the lower Ohio Valley, Needle Palms can tolerate temperatures as low as –10 degrees for short periods. 

Sabal palms (palmettos) – Very common along the southeastern coast, where they are native, Sabal palmettos are hardy to zone 8 and can survive lows of 7 degrees for short periods. The toughest is the Dwarf Palmetto, hardy to zone 6b. 

Washingtonia palms – Known as towering sentinels, these palms are native to Mexico and southern California, and can reach 100 feet tall. They are hardy to 10 degrees. Less hardy is the Mexican Washingtonia, W. robusta, which has a thicker trunk and stiffer leaves.

Mediterranean Fan Palm, Chamaerops humilis – This palm may be hardy to 10 degrees, but it does not like hot summers. Extremely slow growing, this fan palm has a blue form found to be much hardier than the typical green form.

Next Up

Plants for Winter Color

Discover plants that stir interest during the garden’s quiet season.

What to Plant in Winter

Keep busy all winter long by tackling planting chores, no matter where you garden.

Slow Flowers Movement

Make beautiful backyard bouquets every week of the year.

Plants That Produce Pre-Season Blooms

These beauties can help brighten the dull landscape between winter and spring.

Add Color to Your Landscape With Hellebores

The nodding flowers and dark foliage of this perennial bring life to its surroundings.

Tips to Perk Up a Bleak Winter Garden

Recommendations for adding cold-weather appeal to the garden.

Cold-Hardy Winter Veggies to Grow

Don't limit your vegetable garden to the summer and fall. Grow cold-hardy winter vegetables that have proven they can take the cold.

Temperate Plants for a Tropical Look

Turn your garden into a faux jungle with big leaves and bold blooms.

Winter Berries

Cultivate some winter interest in your yard by adding trees and shrubs that showcase winter berries.

Winter Wonderland: Adding Color to the Landscape

A variety of shrubs and herbaceous plants can offer color and texture.

Go Shopping

Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors.

On TV

Fixer Upper

7am | 6c

Fixer Upper

8am | 7c

Fixer Upper

9am | 8c

Fixer Upper

10am | 9c

Flip or Flop

11am | 10c

Flip or Flop

11:30am | 10:30c

Flip or Flop

12pm | 11c

Flip or Flop

12:30pm | 11:30c

Flip or Flop

1pm | 12c

Flip or Flop

1:30pm | 12:30c

Good Bones

2pm | 1c

Good Bones

3pm | 2c

Good Bones

4pm | 3c

Good Bones

5pm | 4c

Good Bones

6pm | 5c

Good Bones

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Beachfront Bargain Hunt

8pm | 7c

Pool Hunters

11pm | 10c

Hawaii Life

11:30pm | 10:30c

Caribbean Life

12am | 11c

Hawaii Life

2:30am | 1:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.