Can Palm Trees Grow Anywhere?
We'll Guide You to Answers

Can palm trees grow anywhere is something many people are curious about. Bringing people to also ask where do palms grow naturally. And there is a difference between the two!

We'll scour the facts for where palms can grow, and alternately, where are they really suited for growth. We'll identify individual climates, places, and conditions where a range of palm tree species can be successful.

We'll indicate their adaptability, while asking you to consider specific needs.

Here at Mission: Palm Trees

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

Understanding Natural Palm Tree Habitats

Let's first figure out Where Can Different Types of Palm Trees Grow? Most palm trees are native to world-wide tropical or subtropical climates. Most commonly in warm, humid areas. These climes have lush conditions, ideal for most palm tree species.

Yet some palms have adapted to temperate zones. You'll find they're the ones needing protective care and extra attention. Especially when young, before they're established.

We'll show you natural habitats of palms, so you can tell if your climate is similar. Plus you'll see how to analyze growth requirements for their environment.

MAP OF TROPICAL CLIMATES & SUBTROPICS IN THE WORLD

Palms Growing in Temperate Non-Tropical Regions

While palms make people think of warm climates, they can be grown in less typical areas. While not as common, some palm trees can grow in temperate regions. But that doesn't mean they're native.

Many are curious if Palm Trees can Grow anywhere in the U.S. Questioning their distribution across the country.

Many climate zones of the United States, including parts of Oregon & Washington State, are temperate. Other slightly colder areas, like New Jersey & Tennessee. And I've even heard of one growing in Wisconsin!  Those types of Palms Need Added Attention. Especially when cold weather sets in.

poster showing 4 items to consider about where palm trees can grow

Others have wanted to know everywhere in the world where Palm Trees Actually Do Grow. We've seen some places you wouldn't even think of, Like Germany & Norway!

Native Palm Trees Around the World

Many Palm Species are Native in numerous global regions. Naturally successful in climates well-suited for their growth. However, many tropical plants, including palms, are growing outside their native zones.

Understanding where these palms grow in their original habitats can help you figure out if a particular species might suit your location. Can the palm you've wanted adapt to your environment?

couple outdoors in the snow worry about their palm treeWill Our Palm Make It Through Our Colder Winters?

Palms can do fine in many different environments. Even places where winter temperatures can be harsh! So, can palm trees grow anywhere? Maintaining a palm's survival is possible. Everything you need to consider are these following important situations...

Essential Care is Needed
No Matter Where Palm Trees Grow

Whatever the climate, palm trees need proper care to prosper.  For the best Way Palms Grow. By starting with placing the right palm in the right place. For instance, our own palm was planted in its preferred environment. But what happened?! 🫤

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Case Study:
A Palm Tree in Tucson, Arizona Has Problems 

The True Story of our palm!

Only certain species of palms grow best where we live. That's in The Sonoran Desert in Tucson Arizona. We're within the subtropical climates of USDA zones. We Always Recommend A Visit!

Our acre lot was full of desert plants like saguaro & other cacti. Also creosote bushes which give a lovely scent when it rains.

Hubby Bill knew I loved palm trees. He surprised me with a birthday gift one year: a palm suited for the desert!

Young Desert Fan Palm grows in the desert with mountains in the background.A Young Desert Fan Palm
About the Size Mine Was When we Left for California

It was a California Fan Palm, aka Desert Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera). I planted it in our desert's well-draining soil. And began taking care of it. It was doing well.

A job opportunity soon prompted our move to San Diego in Southern California. We did love it there, palm growing everywhere, including at the Famed San Diego Zoo, which we definitely recommend!

We rented out our home. Asking the tenant (a retired woman) to take care of the palm. Giving her a break on the rent. Just water the palm once a week, we said.

Apparently she didn't do much. When we retired, arriving back to Tucson, that desert palm tree had died! She told us, "I'm not very good at taking care of plants, sorry."

That was my first experience with "hardy" palm trees going bad. Even though within its native habitat. That palm was not yet well-established. The basic, Proper Palm Care it needed was lacking.

This is How Environments Influence Palm Tree Growth

Traditionally people think of the tropics for majestic tree palms. But there's more to think of when judging if palm trees can grow anywhere. This section covers additional circumstances, including temperature, drought, and sun.

Palm Tree Tolerance in Cold Climates

Think of the coldest temperatures an area experiences. Palm trees enduring temps below their tolerance can get Frost/Freeze Damage. 

Cold hardy palms, like trachycarpus fortunei (Windmill Palm) tolerate colder winters. These are growing In Ontario, Canada...

How Drought Tolerant is This Palm Species?

Dry climates are dehydrating, even for palms. Some palm trees are Suited to a Desert Climate. Like this Very Unusual Desert Place where palms do grow. 

  • Rainfall in Arid Climates is only up to 10in/<25cm per year. Semi-arid areas (Tucson is this) average 10-20in/25-51cm of rain yearly.
  • Consider your area's yearly rainfall & humidity if you're choosing a palm species.
  • Some palm trees, like the Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta), are well-suited to dry, desert climates.

3 Sunlight Preferences of Palm Trees

We think of palm trees loving sunny areas. And many do prefer sunny locations.

Species, like those native To Tropical Rainforests (We Highly Recommend This Experience), prefer full or partial shade. It's what they're suited for because of their original habitat. So these species don't like hot, scorching full sun beating down on their fronds all day!

Blistering sunWill That Blistering Summer Sun Give Your Palm Sunburn?

Can Palm Trees Grow Anywhere?
A Decision-Making What to Do Process

This guide provides insights into choosing a palm species that's well-suited for your location. So you'll know how to pick the right palm for your area.

What you need is to keep this in mind: It requires planting the right palm in the right place! To be sure a palm tree can be healthy, with a long life.

Mountain desert with stone cabin and a line of palmsThese Date Palms are Well-Suited to Their Desert Environment. In Fact Too Much Water Can Harm Them.

When Thinking: Can Palm Trees Grow Anywhere?
First, Know These 5 Points

Step 1 - Why you should think of elevation

There are other influences for winter's cold temperatures. Usually, the higher the elevation, the colder the lowest temps go. Even possibly taking the climate from subtropical to temperate. So it's important to know the Local Hardiness Zone where a palm will be planted.

vehicle driving up sky island scenic byway in TucsonBeginning the Tucson Scenic Drive From ~3000ft/914m
Where Desert Palms Could Survive
Pine forest at the top of Mount Lemmon, north of TucsonDriving 25 min. to this Pine Forest at 9000ft+/2743m+
Where No Palms Grow.

Step 2 - The Need to know for cold tolerance

What are the lowest year-round average temperatures in any area? Understanding how the Hardiness Zone Evaluation Works helps you figure that out. And what to consider to understand if a palm can grow somewhere.

Step 3 - Why you should know about rainfall

Too much rainwater can be harmful to palms. If the soil is continuously and excessively moist, roots will be water-logged. Good drainage is best to overcome that situation.

On the other hand, is the area likely to experience drought? That's not good for many palm species.

Therefore it's essential to know yearly rainfall in areas where palms will be planted. Plus knowing the Type of Soil in the planting area.

from a covered deck rain in falling on a palm and other plantsWill Lots of Rain Drain From the Palm Roots? If not, it Brings Chances of Fungal Root Rot.

Step 4 - Which sunlight setting is the best for Palms?

Most palms love sunny areas. Yet those species that originated in rainforests definitely don't! These will prefer partial or full shade. It's important to know the native area for a palm. To consider if it doesn't want sunlight all day.

Step 5 - Why you should know about consistency

One final thing to evaluate is the particular seasons in an area. Related to Steps 1 though 4, is the weather mostly reliable? Are there frequent unexpected highs or lows in temperature? Are wild, unexpected storms arriving more frequently?

You'd want to know the average temps & weather for the area you're considering. And has it been mostly steady, or shifted around a lot? This can affect which palm is suited for specific places.

This overall assessment of the environment is key to predicting a palm's success - or not! It will Help You Evaluate where palm trees do grow successfully. For the palm species being considered. All for knowing the right palm is in the right place!

Can palm trees grow anywhere - takeaways to do

So, can palm trees grow anywhere? We can answer no. But palms are somewhat flexible.

Yes, they're amazingly adaptable. We've seen with the right care and protection they'll do fine in many unexpected places. Palms grow in a variety of climates. Of course in tropical & subtropical regions. But they can even survive in some chillier temperate regions.

This guide gave steps and insights to having an appropriate palm grow well. By considering factors like temperatures, water needs, sunlight, and seasonal surprises.

All this helps you decide the likelihood of growing palms in your area. So you can enjoy the beauty and aesthetic benefits they offer. 

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