Best palm trees for backyard planting

Mulling over which are the best palm trees for backyards? Before we get right to it, there's some points to evaluate for a successful, happy palm in your backyard. First step is to be sure your environment is best for the palm tree you choose to plant in your backyard.

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.

Just some details to consider. Before you'll even tell which palms are best 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! Palms are an investment in cash & time. Don't let that go to waste. 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 Palm Trees for Backyard? What's Your Choice?

Priority To-Do for Palms in Your Backyard


Best to know what Your Own Planting Zone is! Consider your specific climate. Really that's one of the first things to know. To have your best palm tree for backyard success.

  • Know its full, mature height. Will it overwhelm your home? Are there structures it will interfere with?
  • Also think of the crown's size. Even with proper height, the palm's fronds may spread & hit something.
No Foresight for the palm trees coming onto the home.What Went Wrong Here?
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Just like we do, palms need sunlight, water & nutrition. But how much & what type for your best palm trees for your backyard?

  • Palms' sunlight needs come from their native growing areas. Important to find out your palm's sun requirements. Then think of your backyard's sunny vs. shady parts.
  • Water needs also relate to a palm's endemic growing conditions. Almost all palms need good draining soil. How much water can you or should you give the palm you're thinking of?
  • Soils have varied natural nutrients. Does your soil supply them for any needs your palm tree will have? To know if, when & how you might supplement with palm fertilizer.


Do you have a specific palm species in mind? Know its looks, for coordinating your best palm tree for backyard planting.

Their Leaves

  • Do the leaves have that look you've been yearning for? That picture in your minds-eye? Have you figured the Parts of the Fronds your palm will have?
choosing a palm frond styleWhich Do You Prefer? Or Will Either Do? As You Love Them Both!

 Reasons to Plant Palms

  • Looking to frame a local feature, like distant mountains? You should think of solitary palms. Those with a single trunk.
  • Did you want to screen out something unsightly, like trash cans? Clumping palms make good hedge 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!!

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

Best Palms to Choose for Your Backyard

Now that you've evaluated your backyard environment & palm planting needs, let's find the best palm tree for your backyard.

Remember the USDA zone map only evaluates average lowest minimum temperatures. It's not the be-all & end-all. Along with your Planting Zone, account for other local landscape, weather & micro-climate factors.

Think about your area's humidity & rainfall averages. Also your backyard's soil make-up & water drainage.

Plus is your backyard on a hill? Is the slope north facing, which gets less sunlight?

Please consider all this when Planning Your Own Palm Landscaping, for the best palm trees for backyards.

Best Palms for Tropical Backyards

Truly tropical climate zones include Planting Zones 10b through 13. Maximum low temps go from 35-40oF. But also consider that arid climates don't support all the best palm trees for tropical backyards.

Solitary Palm Ideas

Smaller Palms

  • Manilla Palm - Adonidia merrillii is also called "Christmas Palm" for its fruiting & 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 for groupings of 3.
  • Highland Betal Nut Palm - Areca ipot is a nice backyard palm alternative to the tall Betal Palm. Best for Zones 10b-11.
  1. Grows to 15'/5m tall. With a stunning green crownshaft, no worrisome trimming.
  2. Develops well in shady areas, but needs regular water.
  3. Bright fruits contrast stunningly, growing from the crownshaft's bottom. Drawback: fruits have mild narcotic properties, so caution with kids/pets. 
  • Pindo Palm - Butia capitata sports multiple frond coloring: green to silver-toned gray.
  1. Likes full sun, but water needs are more moderate.
  2. Hardier sort, can do well in Zones 9-11.
  3. With edible fruit, often used to make jelly. Thus also nicknamed Jelly Palm.

Larger Sized Palm Ideas for Tropical Zones

  • Samoan Palm - Clinostigma samoense grows beautifully if you can provide its plentiful water needs. Native to rainforests. Needs Zones 11/+.
  1. A gorgeous ornamental, with a striped trunk. Gets as tall as 60'/18m.
  2. Needs shade when young. But can do partly sunny areas, if shade returns much of the day.
  • Umbrella Palm - Hedyscepe canterburyana aka Big Mountain Palm. This taller palm (35'/11m) can be grouped with 2 others to look exceptional.
  1. Has moderate water needs, in well-draining grounds.
  2. Likes areas with some shade.
  • White Crownshaft PalmCyphophoenix alba seems a bit more hardy than you'd think! It's uncommonly striking!
  1. Natively grows in New Caledonia. Finally to 32'/10m+ kinda slowly.Likes ample watering, as it's a rainforest native.
  2. Does best in well-draining mulched soil in Zone 10a. 
  3. Yet can be confidently planted in subtropics, too. And has been known to do fine in Mediterranean climates & dryer areas.

Ideas for Backyard Clumping Palms

  • Orange Collar Palm - Areca vestiaria produces multiple trunks. And so colorful! Can reach 20'/6m tall. Or even a bit higher.
  1. Stunning reddish crownshaft. Red fruits come along too. Gorgeous styling for placement in front of some unsightly, but lower, backyard view.
  2. Some daytime shade works best, but loves to guzzle down the water.
  • Formosa Palm - Arenga englari is also called Dwarf Sugar Palm. Yes, it's endemic to Taiwan.
  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.
  • Hollrung's Palm - Calyptrocalyx hollrungii makes a great focal palm for small backyards. Its spear's early growth is colorfully reddish or maroon.
  1. Plant where some of the day is shady. Then regular water, it's a bit thirsty!
  2. Gets about 8'/2m tall. Look carefully to see the tiny crownshaft! Meaning pruning unnecessary.

Best Palms for Subtropical Backyards

Subtropical climate zones include Planting Zones 9-10a. Low temps go from about 20-35oF.

This includes arid zones. If that's you, evaluate that for the best palm tree for your backyard.

Solitary Trunked Palms

Small Sized Palms for the 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.
  • 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.Growing 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.
  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 Palms

  • Cohune Palm - Attalea cohune gets to 40'/12+m. Ideal for Zones 10-11. Can even try 9b with winter protection.
  1. Grows slowly while base trunk develops. Once that's done, much faster growth.
  2. Likes sun & adequate watering. 
Cohune Palm grows in a botanical garden.Another From Naples Botanical Garden
  • Caranday Palm - Copernica alba is great for focus group plantings. Best in 3s of varied heights.
  1. Can get 80' tall, fairly quickly. Average watering schedule.
  2. Does well in Zones 9b-11. Sometimes cautiously in 9a.
  • Hydriastele costata has also been called Gulubia costata. But no common name. For Zones 10b-11.
  1. Once "costata" is Established, grows somewhat quickly to 50-70 ft./15-21m high.
  2. Partially shade new growth, but then likes sunny days. And drinks up a lot!

Clumping Backyard Palms Ideas


  • 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 the water in humus-filled soil! 
  2. Gets to 20'/6m tall. Spreads out about 10'/3m.
  • 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 for Temperate Backyards

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

Small Temperate Palms

  • 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. Trunk usually grows slowly underground, helping its short appearance.
    1. Excellent temperate climate palm: Zones 6-11. Even 5a with caution.
    2. For best success 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. 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

Taller Temperate Palms

  • Windmill Palm - Trachycarpus fortunei has 2 more common names: Chusan Palm & Chinese Windmill Palm. Quite popular for its cold-hardiness. 
  1. Possible in Zones 7-11. Colder winters 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. Sunny area 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 pretty well in Zones 8-11; 7 OK for more 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, varying heights. Though best for large backyards.
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Backyard Clumper Palm 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 Palmeto - 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. Has subterranean trunks while younger. Grows slowly til that time.
  2. Optimal in Zones 8-11, but can do milder parts of 7b.
  3. Pretty adaptable for sunlight & watering.

Best Palm Trees for Backyard - Takeaways

Did you find your best palm 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.

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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