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If you live in a warm climate region, it’s safe to say that palm trees could be ideal for beautifying your landscape. Although many palm trees are grown for their fibrous husks or fruits, most of them are typically used for their characteristic tropical aesthetic touch. The appearance of their feather-like fronds swaying elegantly in the wind can instantly bring carefree summer vibes anywhere.
There are lots of palm tree types out there but not all of them can be considered suitable for residential landscaping. You also need to take into account the specific features of your yard when deciding on the best kind of palm tree to grow. For example, some types of palms could be too large to grow in a small yard. The durability of the palm tree is another important aspect. Some species offer better drought tolerance while others can be more resistant to cold.
In any case, take a look at our selection of different palm tree types that can be easily grown in your backyard to bring an exotic flair to it. Even though they may have distinctive growing requirements or thriving conditions, all these palms show off gorgeous aesthetics to elevate the visual appeal of your home. Here are the best low-maintenance palm tree types with excellent decorative features.
1. European Fan Palm Tree
With its stylish leaves that seem to resemble the look of a fan, this could be an ideal palm tree to grow in many warm climates. The European fan palm tree shows off gorgeous foliage but it can also stand out through its unique overall shape. Many specimens tend to grow a particularly tall trunk that complements the aesthetic of the long, fan-shaped leaves.
When it comes to landscape uses, the European fan type is highly recommended if you’re searching for a cold-hardy palm. This tree lacks the showy fruits and flowers of other palms but it’s more resistant to cold as it can survive in zones 4 to 24. European fan palms grow quite slowly. As their name suggests, they’re native to the Mediterranean region in Europe.
2. Windmill Palm Tree
The Windmill palm is very popular for residential landscapes because it’s very attractive and extremely easy to grow. It can thrive in various conditions, including in containers or indoors. This palm tree is a native to China and shows off characteristic slim trunks decorated with large foliage in various shades of green. The upward growing direction together with the shape of the fronds can help you identify this palm.
Windmill palm trees provide very solid cold hardiness considering how they won’t die even in freezing temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a somewhat distinctive type of palm because it doesn’t thrive in tropical climates and prefers more temperate conditions. Consider growing this palm tree if you live in USDA zones 7b to 10b.
3. Foxtail Palm Tree
Some palm trees offer additional ornamental value by producing visually-appealing fruits. The Foxtail palm tree is a notable example because it can decorate your landscape with large orange fruits appearing after proper pollination. The distinctive fruits of the palm create a superb combination with the appearance of the plume-like fronds.
Thanks to its symmetrical form, the Foxtail palm tree appears quite compact despite being able to reach tall heights of up to 30 feet. There’s some great decorative potential that makes this palm suitable for lots of residential landscaping applications. As opposed to other palm trees, the Foxtail type grows quite fast, especially if you create a regular fertilization schedule and plant it in soil that’s rich in organic matter.
4. Canary Island Date Palm
When it comes to show-stopping palm trees, few types can match the impressive look of the Canary Island date palm. It’s equipped with a brilliant crown of arching fronds that add a sense of exotic luxury to any property. The foliage of the Canary Island date palm is truly spectacular but the wide trunk is also quite remarkable. It features elegant diamond patterns that complete the tropical appeal of the tree.
You can often find this type of palm decorating luxury residences because many landscapers enjoy its beauty. Although it can reach tall heights, this type of palm tree grows very slowly. In terms of hardiness, the Canary Island date palm is fairly durable within USDA zones 8b to 11. It’s adapted to extended periods of drought and can survive poor soil conditions.
5. King Palm Tree
There’s no singular King palm tree because there are multiple closely-related species that refer to this type. That being said, Archontophoenix cunninghamiana is perhaps the most common one that landscapers refer to as the King palm. This type of tree grows very fast and doesn’t perform well indoors. It’s an ideal palm to grow in the sunny part of your garden with rich soil.
King palms are native to Australia. They thrive in USDA zones 9b to 11 where they can reach a maximum height of 40 feet. In terms of appearance, this type of palm tree shows a smooth trunk with arching fronds in vibrant green tones. The King palm is typically grown in groups when it comes to landscaping applications.
6. Pygmy Date Palm Tree
If you prefer a small palm tree to add to your compact tropical garden, the Pygmy date represents a great option. This can be considered a dwarf palm because it typically never grows beyond 10 feet in height. It features great ornamental potential due to its bushy fronds growing from a single stem. The trunk features a very rough texture that’s more distinctive compared to most palm trees which feature a smooth style.
The spiky trunk is mostly hidden by the large arching fronds drooping over it. Although Pygmy date palms are best grown directly in the ground, it’s worth considering them for containers as well to decorate the patio. These trees produce edible fruits but the dates are not as appealing as the ones made by large date palms.
7. Areca Palm Tree
Also known as the Golden cane palm, the Areca variety is highly appreciated among home gardeners for its impressive drought tolerance and fast-growing habit. The green fronds of this palm can show tinges of yellow gold. The base of the leaf stems is often marked with dark specks that help to identify the species.
One of the best features of the Areca palm tree is the self-cleaning crownshaft. Aging leaves will quickly make way for new ones to maintain an attractive green and healthy look. If you don’t provide this palm tree with a healthy level of humidity, it’s likely that you’ll discover brown tips that need to be trimmed by hand. Areca palm trees are highly recommended as privacy screens or decorative hedges.
8. Zombie Palm Tree
Great for very warm climates, the Zombie palm tree offers solid landscaping qualities, including fan-like fronds and extreme drought tolerance. Although it’s an attractive palm tree to add to your garden, it’s important to take care when planting it because the trunk needles can be very harmful to the skin when touched.
Zombie palms are able to tolerate different soil types but will thrive in sandy soil. Despite its reliable drought tolerance, periodic watering is recommended to maintain its beautiful foliage nice and healthy. Due to not growing very tall, the Zombie palm tree is a good choice for smaller yards. Aside from its characteristic leaves, this type of palm also offers white flower panicles and similarly-toned fruit clusters.
9. Chinese Fan Palm
A native of various regions in Asia, the Chinese fan palm has many versatile uses for landscapers. The clusters of leaves form a characteristic fountain-like shape as the bright green fronds droop gracefully downward. This palm tree features a dense canopy due to containing many segments of leaves. It grows up to 50 feet in the wild but it tends to reach only half of that when planted in the garden.
Thanks to their long tap roots, Chinese fan palms are able to survive extended dry periods. It’s a recommended tree for areas that are frequently affected by droughts. However, regular irrigation is important if you want to accelerate the growth of this palm. Smaller versions of the Chinese fan palm work great for containers or small gardens.
10. Triangle Palm
Showing off a truly unique appearance, the triangle palm is often used to make a statement wherever it’s planted. The long pinnate fronds point out at an extended angle which results in the characteristic triangular shape that gives the palm its name. The leaves fan out from the stem to create an unforgettable ornamental appeal. It’s safe to say that the triangle palm works flawlessly for any tropical garden aesthetic.
A native of Madagascar, the Triangle palm species reaches small to medium dimensions compared to typical palm trees. The fronds themselves stand out because they reach impressive lengths of up to 10 feet. Dry conditions are ideal for growing this palm tree. It will probably fail to grow as expected outside its restricted USDA zone range 10-11.
11. Parlor Palm
Are you looking for a palm tree that grows optimally indoors? The Parlor palm is perhaps the best choice in that regard. It’s popularly grown as a houseplant because it has excellent low-maintenance features. Parlor palms tend to grow relatively slowly and will typically reach a maximum height of 6 feet indoors despite their ability to grow up to 12 feet in the wild.
The growth rate of this small palm tree is heavily affected by light exposure. It’s recommended to supply it with copious amounts of direct sunlight even if the plant can survive in poor light conditions. The Parlor palm species offers great visual appeal but it doesn’t look like a typical palm tree. It features a clumping habit that results in the tree resembling a miniature bamboo forest.
12. Queen Palm Tree
Although this type of palm tree has the reputation of being a little messy, it can be a superb choice for your garden. Queen palm trees are native to South America and feature glossy fronds with an exquisitely graceful appearance. The straight trunk offers interesting vertical appeal to complement the look of a large home. Palms of this species can reach a maximum height of 50 feet.
The smooth and slender trunk of this palm tree produces very long fronds that can sometimes reach even 15 feet. Another great ornamental feature is the production of lovely white flowers followed by edible fruits. Queen palm trees grow best in hot environments but they can withstand colder temperatures better than other types of palms. It thrives in moist, acidic soil.
13. MacArthur Palm Tree
The MacArthur palm tree is characterized by a particularly skinny multi-stemmed look. It features slender trunks with a smooth texture and whitish appearance. This type of palm tree doesn’t grow particularly large whether in its natural habitat or in the garden. It produces dense crowns with multiple elegant green fronds.
Due to its multi-stemmed style, the MacArthur palm tree is fairly easy to recognize when used for landscaping applications. There’s some solid ornamental potential for this type of palm. Aside from the tropical leaflets growing on bushy leaf stems, the palm tree produces some attractive clusters of yellowish flowers and tiny red fruits.
14. Bottle Palm
As the name suggests, this type of palm is shaped similarly to a rounded bottle. It’s instantly recognizable once you spot its swollen trunk style. Bottle palm trees don’t grow very tall as most specimens reach a maximum height of 12 feet. The unique appearance of the tree makes it a very sought-after palm in the southern regions of the USA. It’s hardy to USDA zones 10 to 11.
Mature Bottle palms produce large fronds with feather-like foliage showing off arched glossy dark green leaves. The distinctive fat trunk look makes this type of palm attractive to landscapers. It seems to grow well in any warm climate and can handle containers. Another great feature of this type of palm is its ability to provide excellent salt tolerance.
15. Pindo Palm
Highly recommended for residential landscapes, the Pindo palm is easy to grow and fairly attractive. It’s sometimes called the jelly palm because it produces fruits that can be used to make jelly. Pindo palms offer great ornamental value when their drooping green fronds show off beautiful blossoms.
Thanks to a balanced size of approximately 15-20 feet, this type of palm can be easily accommodated in any type of garden, including smaller ones. Pindo palm trees take some time to reach full maturity but the good news is that these are cold-hardy palms. They take minimal effort to grow even in partial shade or poor soil conditions.