21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (2024)

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Gemma Johnstone

21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (1)

Gemma Johnstone

Gemma Johnstone is a gardening expert who has written 120-plus articles for The Spruce covering how to care for a large variety of plants from all over the world. She's traveled all over Europe, living now in Italy.

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Updated on 03/25/24

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Haley Mades

21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (2)

Fact checked byHaley Mades

Haley Mades is a publishing professional with 5 years of experience in digital and print media.

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21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (3)

Some words that might spring to mind when you think of palm trees are tall, tropical, textural, stately, and lush. While these low-maintenance trees often need lots of sun and warm temperatures to thrive, many species are surprisingly versatile.

We’ve pulled together a list of palm tree varieties, including surprisingly cold-hardy species you’re not limited to planting in the sultry south. There are also plenty of palm trees you can grow indoors.

  • 01 of 21

    Date Palm Tree

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (4)

    The date palm is perhaps the most well-known palm tree, famed for its sweet, edible fruits. Young, slow-growing plants can grow in containers, but mature date palms need sufficient space in your yard as they can grow to reach 50 feet.

    You can appreciate the arching, feather-like fronds without too much effort. These drought-tolerant trees just need well-drained soil and sufficient sun.

    • Name: Date Palm Tree (Phoenix dactylifera)
    • Hardiness Zones: 9-11
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining, loamy, sandy
    • Water: Drought-tolerant but prefers even moisture
    • Mature Size: 50-80 ft. tall outdoors
  • 02 of 21

    Windmill Palm Tree

    Palms are associated with warm southern states, but the windmill palm is one of the most cold-hardy palm tree varieties. It can handle temperatures as low as 10°F.

    Mature palms rarely grow over 25 feet, so their compact form makes them popular for small yards or to grow in containers on patios. The fan-shaped fronds thrive with little maintenance, but, like many palm species, these plants are susceptible to root rot, so watch out for overwatering.

    • Name: Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei)
    • Hardiness Zones: 8-11
    • Light: Partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining
    • Water: Drought tolerant once established, but requires even moisture when young
    • Mature Size: 10-40 ft. tall outdoors
  • 03 of 21

    Mexican Fan Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (6)

    Mexican fan palms are best suited to large yards, as these fast-growing species with distinctive fan-shaped fronds are very tall when mature. Be aware the species isn’t as drought- or storm-tolerant as some palm trees, and it’s susceptible to various fungal diseases. It’s also moderately invasive in parts of California.

    • Name: Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta)
    • Hardiness Zones: 9-11
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining, loamy, sandy
    • Water: Prefers deep irrigation once dry
    • Mature Size: 50-100 ft. tall outdoors
  • 04 of 21

    European Fan Palm Tree

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (7)

    The low-maintenance European fan palm is perfect for smaller spaces as it grows in a compact, shrub-like, clumping form. The eye-catching blue-green to silver-green fronds make it an ideal ornamental specimen. Another cold-hardy palm, this species can tolerate temperatures as low as 10°F, and it does well as a houseplant.

    • Name: European Fan Palm tree (Chamaerops humilis)
    • Hardiness Zones: 8-11
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining, loamy
    • Water: Deep irrigation once dry
    • Mature Size: 6–15 ft. tall outdoors

    Continue to 5 of 21 below

  • 05 of 21

    Queen Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (8)

    The medium-sized queen palm is a graceful addition to a large, warm, sunny yard, with the fluffy, feather-like fronds adding a tropical flair. It is drought tolerant once established and adapts to various conditions (providing it gets adequate sun).

    • Name: Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana)
    • Hardiness Zones: 9-11
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining, sandy
    • Water: Irrigate deeply when soil is dry
    • Mature Size: 50-60 ft. tall outdoors
  • 06 of 21

    Manila Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (9)

    The Manila palm is an adaptable, low-maintenance species that isn’t too large. The plant develops showy clusters of bright red fruit in the fall and winter when grown outdoors. It prefers full sun but can still grow in partial shade. This species is highly sensitive to freezing temperatures and is best reserved for those warm southern regions or growing indoors.

    • Name: Manila Palm (Adonidia merrillii)
    • Hardiness Zones: 10-11
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining
    • Water: Prefers even moisture
    • Mature Size: 15-25 ft. tall outdoors
  • 07 of 21

    Robellini Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (10)

    Also called the pygmy date palm, this species is perfect for those small yards where traditional palms are too tall. They do well growing in containers on warm decks, preferring to be slightly rootbound, and also as houseplants. Robellini palms are susceptible to nutrient deficiencies, so regular fertilization following a soil test is beneficial.

    • Name: Robellini Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)
    • Hardiness Zones: 10-11
    • Light: Full sun, partial sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining
    • Water: Water deeply when soil dries
    • Mature Size: 6-12 ft. tall outdoors
  • 08 of 21

    Parlor Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (11)

    The compact parlor palm is a popular houseplant for beginners and also thrives outdoors in warm, sunny southern climates. As well as being low-maintenance, this adaptable plant can tolerate lower light conditions than most palms. And, as a bonus, the parlor palm is regarded as an air-purifying plant when grown indoors.

    • Name: Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
    • Hardiness Zones: 10-12
    • Light: Partial shade, full shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining
    • Water: Evenly moist
    • Mature Size: 6-16 ft. tall outdoors

    Continue to 9 of 21 below

  • 09 of 21

    Cat Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (12)

    Another popular, low-maintenance houseplant, the small cat palm is known for its elegant, glossy green, feathery fronds. While it's easy to care for this species, it isn’t a fan of overly bright conditions and watch out for spider mite infestations.

    • Name: Cat Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum)
    • Hardiness Zones: 10-11
    • Light: Partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining, loose
    • Water: Water deeply when soil dries
    • Mature Size: 6-8 ft. tall outdoors
  • 10 of 21

    Foxtail Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (13)

    The bushy fronds of the foxtail palm are what sets it apart from other palm tree varieties. This fast-growing plant is adaptable to a wide range of soils, providing they are well-draining, it’s drought tolerant, and can handle full sun or partial shade. It also does well as a houseplant if you can offer sufficient light.

    • Name: Foxtail Palm (Wodyetia bifurcate)
    • Hardiness Zones: 9-11
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining
    • Water: Water when dry
    • Mature Size: 8-30 ft. tall outdoors
  • 11 of 21

    Lady Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (14)

    A popular houseplant, the lady palm tolerates low-light conditions and low humidity levels but still adds a tropical ambiance to your space. In warm regions, you can grow them outdoors. This dense, clump-forming species is an ideal accent in shady shrub borders.

    • Name: Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
    • Hardiness Zones: 9-11
    • Light: Partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining
    • Water: Average water needs
    • Mature Size: 6-15 ft. tall outdoors
  • 12 of 21

    Areca Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (15)

    The Areca palm is an elegant species with arching fronds and a resemblance to bamboo. This palm should thrive indoors or out if you can provide a warm spot, high humidity levels, and bright, indirect light.

    • Name: Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens; formerly Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
    • Hardiness Zones: 10-11
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining
    • Water: Prefers even moisture
    • Mature Size: 15-30 ft. tall outdoors

    Continue to 13 of 21 below

  • 13 of 21

    Ruffled Fan Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (16)

    The ruffled fan palm stands out for its unique, striking, and closely pleated circular fronds. Its manageable size makes this a good plant for small yards and indoor spaces, providing you can provide the light, warmth, and high humidity levels on which it thrives.

    • Name: Ruffled Fan Palm (Licuala grandis)
    • Hardiness Zones: 10-11
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining
    • Water: Evenly moist
    • Mature Size: 10-15 ft. tall outdoors
  • 14 of 21

    California Fan Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (17)

    Although it’s slow growing, the California fan palm can get big, so it’s best reserved for large yards. This stately tree isn’t the most low-maintenance, as regular pruning is required. The lower leaves stay on the tree after they die, forming unsightly brown clumps that can be a fire hazard.

    • Name: California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera)
    • Hardiness Zones: 8-11
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Loose, well-draining
    • Water: Water deeply when soil dries
    • Mature Size: 30-80 ft. tall outdoors
  • 15 of 21

    Chinese Fan Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (18)

    The Chinese fan palm is a slow-growing, medium-sized palm tree variety featuring long-stalked, fan-shaped, cascading foliage. This plant is relatively low-maintenance, provided you can offer sufficient sun and a warm environment.

    • Name: Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis)
    • Hardiness Zones: 9-11
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining, loose
    • Water: Evenly moist
    • Mature Size: 30-50 ft. tall outdoors
  • 16 of 21

    Majesty Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (19)

    Too tall for most residential landscapes, the majesty palm, with its long, arching fronds, is often grown as an elegant houseplant. It can be tricky to get the right balance of light, even moisture and humidity to help this plant thrive, so it’s probably not one for brown-thumbed plant collectors.

    • Name: Majesty Palm (Ravenea rivularis)
    • Hardiness Zones: 10-11
    • Light: Partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining
    • Water: Evenly moist
    • Mature Size: Up to 100 ft. tall outdoors

    Continue to 17 of 21 below

  • 17 of 21

    Kentia Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (20)

    Consider the Kentia palm if you are looking for an elegant and adaptable species to grow indoors. It adapts to a range of light and soil conditions and the arching, feather-like fronds don’t need the high humidity levels some tropical palms require to thrive.

    • Name: Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana)
    • Hardiness Zones: 9-11
    • Light: Partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining, loose
    • Water: Evenly moist
    • Mature Size: Up to 40 ft. tall outdoors
  • 18 of 21

    Cabbage Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (21)

    The cabbage palm is the state tree of Florida and South Carolina. It’s very salt and wind-tolerant and can handle temperatures as low as 15°F. If this tall tree is too large for your yard, consider the dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor) instead.

    • Name: Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto)
    • Hardiness Zones: 8-11
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining
    • Water: Evenly moist
    • Mature Size: Up to 30 ft. tall outdoors
  • 19 of 21

    Saw Palmetto

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (22)

    The saw palmetto is a small, slow-growing, clump-forming species ideal for smaller yards that don’t get direct sun. This hardy species can withstand flooding, wind damage, and periods of drought. Its high salt tolerance makes it ideal for coastal landscaping.

    • Name: Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)
    • Hardiness Zones: 8-10
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Loose, well-draining
    • Water: Water deeply when dry
    • Mature Size: 8-15 ft. tall outdoors
  • 20 of 21

    Jelly Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (23)

    The jelly palm has a lot going for it. This is a cold-hardy, adaptable palm tree variety. Its compact form means it can grow in most residential landscapes, and its curving, feathery fronds add elegance to any space.

    • Name: Jelly Palm (Butia capitata)
    • Hardiness Zones: 8-10
    • Light: Full sun, partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Loose, well-draining
    • Water: Prefers even moisture, but is drought-tolerant once established
    • Mature Size: 10-20 ft. tall outdoors

    Continue to 21 of 21 below

  • 21 of 21

    Bottle Palm

    21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (24)

    This slow-growing palm tree variety grows best in full sun but can tolerate some shade. The bottle palm gets its name from its unique, compact shape. When young, the plant has a pronounced bulbous, tapering trunk base. This compact palm is suitable for most warm, humid landscapes and grows well in containers and indoors.

    • Name: Bottle Palm (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis)
    • Hardiness Zones: 10-11
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-draining
    • Water: Evenly moist
    • Mature Size: 10-15 ft. tall outdoors

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Windmill Palm. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

  2. Washingtonia Robusta. California Invasive Plant Council.

21 Types of Palm Trees You Should Try for a Tropical Vacation in Your Backyard (2024)
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