Best palm trees
for backyard Landscaping & Gardens

You're thinking: which are the best palm trees for backyards? This guide helps for successful, happy palms in your backyard. First Step is to be sure your environment is best for a backyard palm.

For instance, where we live in the Sonoran Desert in Tucson Arizona, we're restricted in palm choices because of the arid environment.

Here at Mission: Palm Trees

Palm lovers can get info needed to ease their palm-related search tasks & worries. Enjoy our informative articles, while having fun finding what you want or need. Without unneeded shoptalk lingo & tiring endless research. We Research For You!

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 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 first know what Your Own USDA Hardiness Zone is! For your best palm trees for backyard success. For instance...

  • South Florida is well suited for Tropical Plants Like Coconut Palms. Because freezing temperatures almost never happen!
  • Do you live in warm climates, that get a bit chilly, but not really cold winters? Like Southern California.
  • Or do you need A cold-hardy palm? Because cold 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?

Do you want a palm as a focal point for your outdoor space?

  • Know its total height. Will it overwhelm your home? Will structures interfere with it? Like overhead power lines.
  • What about the crown's size. Will palm fronds spread out hitting 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. Think of Where It's Native.

And which palm species are best for your soil.

  • The palm's Native Growing Areas tell you a palm's sun requirements. Like partial shade, or full sun.
  • Watering also relates to palm origins. Almost all palms need well-drained soil.
  • Soils have natural nutrients. But good for your palm? Soil testing 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? Looks should coordinate your planned palm for good backyard styling.

Their Leaves

  • Do the fronds have that tropical look you've wanted?
  • How about 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.
  • 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. Avoid that Type of Palm near walkways or outdoor entertainment areas.
  • Coconut palms regularly 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 trees for backyard where you live. Local landscape, weather & micro-climate factors are involved.

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.

Also remember, arid climates don't support all the best palm trees for backyards as tropical areas do.

Ideas for Your Landscape Solitary Palm Trees

Small Palm Trees

  • Manilla Palm - Adonidia merrillii is best for Zones 10b-11. 
  1. Called "Christmas Palm" for red colors around December.
  2. Only gets about 20'/6m high.
  3. Needs consistent watering & mostly sunny location.
  • Pygmy Date Palm - Phoenix roebelenii will be a backyard stunner. Best for Zones 9b-11. And okay for 9a dry climates.
  1. Grows to 15'/5m tall. A feather palm. Its white flowers produce dates you won't want to eat!
  2. Good for 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, this hardier sort, does well in Zones 9-11. Looks fantastic all by itself, as a small focus palm.
  1. Likes full sun. Has moderate watering needs.
  2. 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 provide its plentiful water needs. Native to rainforests. Quite hardy. Needs Zones 9-11. Even try Zone 8 with caution.
  1. A gorgeous ornamental, with a ringed trunk. Quickly as tall as 90'/27m.
  2. Likes sunny areas all day.
  • Umbrella Palm - Hedyscepe canterburyana aka Big Mountain Palm. Best in Mediterranean climates, zone 10-11.
  1.  Likes areas with some shade. Has a bit higher water needs.
  2. It's slow-growing to 35'/11m, so be patient! And it offers the Maintenance Ease of a Crownshaft.

Ideas for Backyard Tropical Clustering Palm Trees

  • Orange Collar Palm - Areca vestiaria usually produces multiple trunks. Only Zones 10-11.
  1. Can reach 20'/6m tall. Or even a bit higher. But somewhat slow growing.
  2. And so colorful! Stunning reddish crownshaft. Red fruits come along too.
  3. Some daytime shade works best. Loves to guzzle down water.
  • Formosa Palm - Arenga englari, also called Dwarf Sugar Palm. Yes, endemic to Taiwan. Best for Zones 9-11.
  1. Enchanting hedging palm, for full sun. But prevent people from touching the skin inflaming fruit.
  2. Or prevent by trimming away inflorescences after flowers dwindle.
  3. Only needs average watering.
  • Areca Palm - Dypsis lutescens, AKA the Butterfly Palm or Golden Cane Palm. Successful in Zones 10-11.
  1. A thirsty palm, with quick growth.
  2. Crownshaft tops its nicely striped trunk.
  3. Adjacent sprouts spread, making 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, consider which are best palm trees for backyard surroundings.

Landscaping With Solitary Trunked Backyard Palm Trees

Smaller Species Of Palm Trees For Backyard Subtropics

  1. Medium growth to 15-19'/4.5-5m tall.
  2. Best in part shade with consistent watering.
  • Giant Windowpane Palm - Beccariophoenix madagascariensis grows 24-40 ft./7-12m up. Best in Zones 10b-11. But 10a doable with caution.
  1. A gorgeous palm. Likes shade for part of the day.
  2. Native to rainforests of Madagascar, so does love regular watering.
Giant Windowpane palm grows in Florida botanical garden.Giant Windowpane in Naples Botanical Garden Florida
  • Brazilian Needle Palm - Trithrinax brasiliensis grows well in Zones 9-11. Even Zone 8 in arid climates.
  1. Has an unusual trunk wound round with massive fibers. Almost looks like a winter coat! 
  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 does well in Zones 9b-11. Sometimes cautiously in 9a.
  1. Great for focus group plantings. Not a slow-growing.
  2. Can get 80'/24m tall. Average watering schedule.

Types of Clustering Backyard Palm Trees
for Your Garden

  • Cat Palm - Chamaedorea cataractarum is suitable for Zones 10-11. Protect from coldest nights in 10a. Gets about 6ft./1.8m tall, spreading at the bases.
  1. Loves lots of water in a sunny spot.
  2. But tolerates shady areas. Why it's used as an indoor palm.

SUITABLE FOR SUBTROPICS

  • Peach Palm - Bactris gasipaes, suited for Zones 10-11. But with your freeze-watch, okay for 9.
  1. Can get quickly to 60'/18m tall. Trunks have short, spiky rings. Yet the fruit is edible.
  2. Needs good sunny placement & generous watering.
  • Costa Rican Bamboo Palm - Chamaedorea costaricana is ideal in Zones 10-11. 9b usually doable with wintertime care.
  1. Likes to have some daily shade. Drinks up water! 
  2. Gets to 20'/6m tall. Spreads out about 10'/3m.
  • Lady Palm - Rhapis excelsa, Zones 9-11 suit it well.
  1. A well-known house plant. Your backyard can use this bushy palm as a hedge.
  2. Growing to 12'/4m tall & just as wide.
  3. Prefers shade, especially in warmer zones. Average water needs.

Best Palms in Your Temperate Backyard Garden

Temperate areas are Planting Zone 8, sometimes lower with the right palm in the right place. And sometimes 9a is doable with protective gear in winter. Lowest temps about 10-20oF/-12-7oC.

Small Temperate Palms for Growing in Outdoor Landscaping

  • Trithrinax campestris is doable in Zones 7-11.
    1.  Quite cold-hardy & drought tolerant! Likes full sun.
    2. Interesting trunk swirls with mass of black fibers & spines. Grows 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 is also Bush Palmetto. Excellent temperate climate palm: Zones 6-11. Even 5a with caution.
  1. The slow-growing trunk usually stays underground, for its short appearance.
  2. Loves lots of water. 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.
  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 other common names: Chusan Palm & Chinese Fan Palm. Quite popular for its cold-hardiness. Possible in Zones 7-11, even lower.
  1. Youthful windmills need protective action for colder temperatures.
  2. Likes sunlight, but a bit of shade is fine. Average water requirements.
  • Cabbage Palm - Sabal palmetto, ideal in Zones 8-11 & possible in 7b with winter care.
  1. Can climb to 90'/27m tall.
  2. Water regularly, with more it grows faster. Sun is fine, but use shade cover when it's young.
  • California Fan Palm - Washingtonia filifera, or Cotton Palm in England. Does well in Zones 8-11; 7 OK for arid areas.
  1. Can get 70'/21m high. Likes sun & casual watering. Grows faster with more water, within reason.
  2. Usually keeps its skirt of dead leaves. If you like that look.

Backyard Clustering Palm
Landscaping Ideas For Temperate Areas

  • European Fan Palm - Chamaerops humilis aka Mediterranean Fan Palm. Does well in Zones 8b-11. Even dryer parts of 8a.
  1. Spreads out about 30'/9m, to 20'/6m tall.
  2. Easy care in the sun, with lower water needs.
  • Mazari Palm - Nannorrhops ritchiana has Middle East origins. Well suited in Zones 8b-11 with regular watering. Even 7-8a where rainfall is scanty.
  1. Gets 20/6m tall & spreads out to 15'/4.5m in sunny backyards.
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. Optimal in Zones 8-11, but does milder parts of 7b.
  1. Can get to 30'/9m tall, & spreads to 12'/4m.
  2. Subterranean trunks while younger. Slow-grower through that time.
  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 with research.

Some are not suitable 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 crown.

If you're 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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