There are hundreds of types of palm trees and each adds its own tropical elegance to a landscape. Palms are commonly found in the southernmost parts of the United States and other tropical and subtropical areas, but that does not mean you won't see them farther north. Many species are cold hardy and some people are willing to take the time and give their palms the special care they need to survive in a colder climate. But before planting a palm in your backyard, check that it will survive in your planting zone.
Coconut palms are probably the most recognisable palm trees in the South. They are a true tropical palm, tolerating only the lightest of frosts. This tree will grow as high as 80 feet with a spread of up to 25 feet. The fruit is yellow green when ripe and it will take the tree up to seven years to start producing. Before the fruit start to form, you will see bunches of creamy white flowers.
Native to South America, this palm is cold hardy to 20 degrees. It is an elegant and graceful tree that grows up to 50 feet. It produces clusters of bright orange fruit that ripen in the winter. In summer the clusters of flowers just below the leaves are breathtaking. This palm is relatively easy and quick to grow. It is susceptible to ganoderma butt rot, as are many palms, and the disease can kill the tree. Keeping the trunk from damage is the best way to keep this disease at bay.
There are many palm trees that are labelled date palms, but the type that has the edible dates that we all know is the Phoenix dactylifera. It can grow to 100 feet tall with a spread of as much as 40 feet. The trunk has a diamond pattern texture and is close to 1 1/2 feet in diameter. The dates emerge from the flowers and are oblong, about 1 1/2 inches long. This palm has quite a history dating to references in the Bible and drawings on the Egyptian tomb walls.
The royal palm originated in the Caribbean Islands and is truly a majestic tropical tree. Their tall straight stature is the reason you will find them lining streets and car parks. The normal height of a Royal Palm is between 50 and 100 feet. This tree can grow as much as a foot a year and produces a fragrant yellow flower that blooms in summer, followed by a purple to black inedible fruit. The royal palm will grow well in poor soil where other palms fail to grow. It is also moderately drought tolerant.
This palm is known for its unusual trunk that looks like lattice board has been placed all around it. It is really leaf base remnants that point toward the crown of the tree. The sabal palm is one of the shorter palms, growing to a maximum of 50 feet high. The sabal is native to North America and is extremely adaptable, growing well in all types of soil; drought or flood conditions, and is one of the most cold hardy of all the palms. There are different varieties of the sabal palm, such as the Texas sabal palm and cabbage palm.