Best palm trees for backyard Landscaping & Gardens

You're thinking: which are the best palm trees for backyards? We have some tips for successful, happy palms in your backyard. First step is to be sure your environment is best for your backyard palm.

For instance, where we live in the Sonoran Desert in Tucson Arizona, we're restricted in palm choices. Then there's our HOA - with further restrictions on what palms we can plant.

Here at Mission: Palm Trees

Palm lovers can get the info needed to ease their searching tasks. While enjoying our articles & having fun, without unneeded shoptalk lingo & tiring research.

Basics for Deciding
The Best Palm Trees for Backyards

Don't be that person who regrets choosing a particular palm for your yard! We know you won't, because you're doing your research!

Scroll down for all best practices to plant the best palm trees for backyards.

You Already Know & Understand Best Practices?

You Want to Get Right to the Best Types of Palm Trees for the Backyard? What's Your Choice?

Priority To-Do Guide for Palms in Your Backyard

Essential Palm Landscape Design Evaluation in a Backyard

Best to know what Your Own USDA Hardiness Zone is! That's the first thing to know. For your best palm tree for backyard success.

  • Are you in South Florida, well suited for tropical plants like a coconut palm? Where cold temperatures almost never happen!
  • Do you live in warm climates, that get a bit chilly, but not really cold winters? Like Southern California.
  • Or are you needing a cold-hardy palm? Because cold weather temperatures can get pretty low.

Nearly all palm tree resources tell you a palm's growing zone requirements. Match that to your Palm Purchase.

Will Your Ideal Palm Fit in Pool Areas or Small Gardens

Are you wanting a palm as a focal point for your outdoor space?

  • Know its full, mature height. Will it overwhelm your home? Will structures it will interfere with? Like overhead power lines.
  • Also think of the crown's size. Will the palm fronds spread enough to hit something?
No Foresight for the palm trees coming onto the home.What Went Wrong Here?

Outdoor Life Maintenance Needs Of Backyard Palm Gardens

Of course, palms need sunlight, water & nutrition. But how much?Think of its native country, like South America or Indian Ocean islands.

And which species of palm trees are best for your soil? Are you looking for low maintenance palms? Most of them are.

  • Where is the palm's Native Growing Areas? Telling you that palm's sun requirements. Will you plant in partial shade? Or full sun?
  • Watering also relates to a palm's origins. Almost all palms need well-drained soil. How much moist soil will your palm endure?
  • Soil types have natural nutrients. But good for your palm? Having your soil tested tells if, when & how you might fertilize your palm.

Resort-Style Looks
For Your Backyard Of Beautiful Outdoor Palms

Have a specific palm species in mind? Know its looks, to coordinate your own best palm tree for tropical landscapes styling for a backyard.

Their Leaves

  • Do the fronds have that look you've been yearning for?
  • Have you thought of the Parts of the Fronds your palm will have?
choosing a palm frond styleWhich Do You Prefer? Fan-Shaped Fronds. Or Feather-Like Fronds? Maybe either or both?

 Reasons to Plant Palms

  • Looking to frame a local feature, like distant mountains? Think of solitary palms. Those tall palms with a single trunk. Either thick or slender trunk varieties.
  • Need to screen out something unsightly, like trash cans? Clumping palms make good dense foliage barriers.
Palms Frame a Mountain ViewPlantings for Framing Your Favorite View
Palms Block a View Of Garbage BinsAre You Looking to Mask Something Unappealing?

Palm Dangers! Really!!

  • Spiny palms could cause harm. Especially for kids and/or pets. You'll not want that Type of Palm close to walkways or outdoor entertainment areas.
  • A coconut palm can drop heavy fruit.
  • Some Types of Palm Fruit can irritate skin.

Best Palms to Choose for Your Backyard Landscape

You've evaluated your backyard environment & palm planting needs. Let's find the best palm tree for your backyard. Think of other local landscape, weather & micro-climate factors, too.

All this when Planning Your Own Palm Landscaping, for the best palm trees for backyards.

Best Palms for a Tropical Look, Warm Weather Backyard

Truly tropical climates include Planting Zones 10b through 13. Lowest temps generally go from 35-40oF/-1.1-4.4oC. With typically hot summers.

But also remember, arid climates don't support all the best palm trees for backyards in tropical areas.

Ideas for Your Landscape Solitary Palm Trees

Small Palm Trees

  • Manilla Palm - Adonidia merrillii is also called "Christmas Palm" for red colors around December.
  1. Best for Zones 10b-11.
  2. Only gets about 20'/6m high.
  3. Needs consistent watering & mostly sunny location. Good solitary palm in groupings of 3.
  • Pygmy Date Palm - Phoenix roebelenii will be a backyard stunner. Best for Zones 9b-11. Can be okay for 9a dry climates. It would be attractive planted near a backyard walkway, or by the poolside.
  1. Grows to 15'/5m tall. A feather palm, with white flowers producing date fruit you won't want to eat!
  2. Develops well in light shade or full sun. But needs regular water.
  3. Our Tucson neighborhood is 9b, desert climate. Our neighbor has triplets doing really well in their front yard.
  • Pindo Palm - Butia capitata fronds are green to silver-toned gray. Looks fantastic all by itself, as a small focus palm. Try a nice flower bed a distance away for a contrast feature.
  1. Likes full sun. Has moderate watering needs.
  2. Hardier sort, does well in Zones 9-11.
  3. With edible fruit, often used to make jelly. Naturally, also nicknamed Jelly Palm.

Larger Palms - Ideas For That Best Backyard Tropical Vibe

  • Queen PalmSyagrus romanzoffiana grows beautifully if you can provide its plentiful water needs. Native to rainforests. Needs Zones 9-11.
  1. A gorgeous ornamental, with a ringed trunk. Gets as tall as 90'/27m.
  2. Likes sunny areas all day. Quite hardy, can even try Zone 8 with caution. Certainly not a slow grower!
  3. Quite tropical-looking, even though it tolerates zones out of the tropics!
  • Umbrella Palm - Hedyscepe canterburyana aka Big Mountain Palm. This taller palm (35'/11m) looks exceptional when grouped with 2 others. If you have a roomy backyard.
  1. Best in Mediterranean climates, zone 10-11. Likes areas with some shade.
  2. Has a bit higher water needs, in well-drained soil.
  3. It's a slow-growing tree, so be patient! But it offers the maintenance ease of a crownshaft.

Ideas for Backyard Tropical Clustering Palm Trees

  • Orange Collar Palm - Areca vestiaria usually produces multiple trunks. And so colorful! Can reach 20'/6m tall. Or even a bit higher. But somewhat slow growing.
  1. Stunning reddish crownshaft. Red fruits come along too. Gorgeous styling for placement in front of some low, unsightly, backyard views.
  2. Some daytime shade works best, but loves to guzzle down water.
  • Formosa Palm - Arenga englari is also called Dwarf Sugar Palm. Yes, it's endemic to Taiwan. Best for Zones 9-11.
  1. Enchanting hedging along your backyard property line, even on the sunny side. But not where people may end up touching the skin inflaming fruit. Add a Caution Sign?
  2. Or maybe trim away inflorescences after the pleasant-smelling yellow flowers begin to dwindle.
  3. Only needs average watering. Yet better when humus added into the soil.
  • Areca Palm - Dypsis lutescens can be known as the Butterfly Palm or Golden Cane Palm. Zones 10-11 have success.
  1. Give consistent water to this thirsty palm & it will grow pretty quickly.
  2. With a crownshaft on its nicely striped trunk.
  3. Watch all adjacent sprouts come on up, too. They make a stunning taller (25-40ft./7.5-12m) screen.

Best Palm Trees for Subtropical Backyard Landscaping

Subtropical climate zones generally include Planting Zones 9-10a. Lowest temps normally go from about 20 to 35oF/-6.7 to 1.7oC.

This includes arid zones. If that's you, see which may be your best palm tree for backyard surroundings.

Landscaping With Solitary Trunked Backyard Palm Trees

Smaller Species Of Palm Trees For Backyard Subtropics

  • Pinanga patula is often just called Pinang. Dramatic pinnate frond leaflets are fuller than many. Making a brimming, rounded crown.
  1. Slow to medium growth to get 15-19'/4.5-5+m tall.
  2. Best for part shade. Needs consistent watering, like its rainforest origins.
  • Giant Windowpane Palm - Beccariophoenix madagascariensis grows 24-40 ft./7-12m up. Best in Zones 10b-11. But 10a doable with caution.
  1. Some say it's the most gorgeous palm of all. Likes shade for part of the day.
  2. Native to rainforests of Madagascar, it does love regular watering.
Giant Windowpane palm grows in Florida botanical garden.Giant Windowpane in Naples Botanical Garden Florida
  • Brazilian Needle Palm - Trithrinax brasiliensis has an unusual trunk wound round with massive fibers. Almost looks like a winter coat! Adding to its character, as one of the best palm trees for backyards.
  1. Grows well in Zones 9-11. Even Zone 8 in arid climates.
  2. Best with full sun, but has lower water needs.
Vintage painting of the Brazilian Needle PalmVintage Palm Painting of the Brazilian Needle, From 1878

Subtropical Large Outdoor Palms in Your Backyard Landscape

  • Caranday Palm - Copernica alba is great for focus group plantings. Best in 3s of varied heights.
  1. Can get 80'/24m tall. Not a slow-growing palm. Average watering schedule.
  2. Does well in Zones 9b-11. Sometimes cautiously in 9a.

Types of Clustering Backyard Palm Trees
for Your Garden

  • The Cat Palm - Chamaedorea cataractarum is suitable for Zones 10-11. Protect from very cold nights in 10a. Gets about 6ft./1.8m tall, spreading at the bases.
  1. Loves lots of water & then a sunny spot. But can tolerate shady areas, so is often used as an indoor palm.
  2. With ferny looking feather fronds, you can use it as a tall groundcover.
Healthy looking Cat Palm loves this sunny ground.


  • Peach Palm - Bactris gasipaes can get up to 60'/18m tall. Handsome, but trunks have short, spiky rings. Yet the fruit is edible.
  1. If your backyard is large & you go for the exotic, this may be for you!
  2. Needs good sunny placement & generous watering. Grows pretty quickly.
  3. Best suited for Zones 10-11. But with your freeze-watch, can do well in 9.
  • Costa Rican Bamboo Palm - Chamaedorea costaricana is native to Central American rainforests. Ideal in Zones 10-11. 9b usually doable with wintertime care.
  1. Likes to have some daily shade. Drinks in water in humus-filled soil! 
  2. Gets to 20'/6m tall. Spreads out about 10'/3m.
  3. Trunks are stripedly attractive, trim some older fronds to keep them in view.
  • Lady Palm - Rhapis excelsa, a well-known house plant. But the yard behind your home can use this bushy palm as a hedge.
  1. Zones 9-11 suit it well. Growing to 12'/4m tall & just as wide.
  2. Prefers shade, especially in warmer zone areas. Average water needs.

Best Palms in Your Temperate Backyard Garden

Temperate areas have Planting Zone 8. Although sometimes 9a is doable, if you use protective gear in winter. Lowest temps get about 10-20oF/-12-7oC.

Small Temperate Palms for Growing in Outdoor Landscaping

  • Trithrinax campestris is quite cold-hardy & drought tolerant!
    1. Doable in Zones 7-11. Likes full sun.
    2. Interesting trunk swirled around with mass of black fibers & spines. Grows up to about 25'/7.5m.
Three views of the Thatch Palm.Three Views of the Thatch Palm. Another common name: Blue Needle Palm.
  • Dwarf Palmetto - Sabal minor's other name is Bush Palmetto. The slow-growing tree trunk usually stays underground, helping its short appearance.
    1. Excellent temperate climate palm: Zones 6-11. Even 5a with caution.
    2. For your best palm trees for backyard success, it needs mostly shade. Loves lots of water into a mulchy soil. Plant it in the shadiest, wettest part of your backyard.
  • Kumaon Palm - Trachycarpus taki is native to Himalayan heights around Southern China. Only documented in 1991. Likely fine in Zones 7b-11. Some are experimenting in Zone 7a, 6, even some 5s! 
  1. Maxes out at 46'/15m, while regularly ditching dead fronds.
  2. Likes a sunny spot & regular watering.
Kumaon Palm grows natively in the West Himalayan Mountains.This Himalayan Palm Grows
In the San Francisco Botanical Garden

Best Tall Palm Trees in a Temperate Landscape

  • Windmill Palm - Trachycarpus fortunei has 2 more common names: Chusan Palm & Chinese Fan Palm. Quite popular for its cold-hardiness. 
  1. Possible in Zones 7-11. Really colder temperatures can require protective action.
  2. Likes sunlight, but doesn't mind a bit of shade. Average water requirements.
  • Cabbage Palm - Sabal palmetto can climb to 90'/27m tall. 
  1. Ideal in Zones 8-11 & possible in 7b with winter care.
  2. Water regularly, but give it more to grow faster. Sun is fine, but use shade cover when it's young.
  • California Fan Palm - Washingtonia filifera, or Cotton Palm in England. Can get 70'/21m high. Does well in Zones 8-11; 7 OK for arid areas.
  1. Likes sunny spots & casual watering. Grows faster if you give it more water, within reason.
  2. Usually keeps its dead leaves, as a skirt. If you like that look. 
  3. Works well as a focus palm. Best planting three of them at different heights. If your backyard is large!

Backyard Clustering Palm
Landscaping Ideas For Temperate Areas

  • European Fan Palm - Chamaerops humilis aka Mediterranean Fan Palm. Spreads out about 30'/9m, to 20'/6m tall.
  1. Does well in Zones 8b-11. Even dryer parts of 8a.
  2. Easy care in the sun, with lower water needs.
  • Mazari Palm - Nannorrhops ritchiana has Middle East origins. Brilliant for placement along backyard pathways.
  1. Gets 20/6m tall & spreads out to 15'/4.5m in sunny backyards.
  2. Well suited in Zones 8b-11 with regular watering. Even 7-8a with more scanty rainfall.
Mazari Palm, a bright specimen with a botanical garden ID sign.Growing in Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, FL
  • Saw Palmetto - Serenoa repens is a US native in Southeastern states. Also called Silver Saw Palmeto. Can get to 30'/9m tall, & spreads to 12'/4m.
  1. Subterranean trunks while younger. Slow-grower through that time.
  2. Optimal in Zones 8-11, but does milder parts of 7b.
  3. Pretty flexible for sunlight & watering.

Best Palm Trees for Backyard - Takeaways

Did you find your best palm tree for backyard areas that you'd plan to go with? We hope so. Tropical areas certainly find it easier to do that, as so many are native to the tropics. We know there are lots more to consider, like the Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera), or the smaller Mexican Blue Palm (Brahea armata).

And some not to try, if your backyard is relatively small.

  • Like the Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis - up to 90ft./27m), or the Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta), those famed very tall Palms in Los Angeles.
  • Then there's the Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis), which isn't overly tall (60ft./18m), but has a wide-spreading, substantial crown.

But if you're still thinking of that perfect palm & have a species in mind: You Can Ask Us if what palm you're thinking of may be suitable for your backyard.

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