Does Arizona Have Palm Trees?

You wondered: does Arizona have palm trees? We live in Arizona & can help you out with that question.

Arizona is typically known for its hot, dry environment. Most people associate it with iconic cacti, like the saguaro. Or think of its towering red mesas, with little vegetation. People wonder: Do palm trees grow in the desert? 

Will it surprise you to learn that this desert state is home to many species of palm trees? Even though we're not one of the tropical climates, numerous palm species grow in Arizona. And residents of Arizona are happy they do!

Find out about them all as you follow down the page. Or Choose one of these topics:

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.


Yes we'll agree that Arizona generally has a dry climate, with big-time summer heat. Because of many varied elevations, Arizona's borders contain Zones 4b-10b. Like in Flagstaff where palms don't grow, because winter temperatures can get to -10oF/-23oC. Or Phoenix & Yuma where in Zone 11, palm plants do survive.

Many species do thrive here. They just need the proper care to get them over the hump of difficulties.

For growing many types of palms, though, Arizona is not a suitable clime. Like those whose water use is plenty. Or those seeking the promise of shade from other tropical plants.

Rainbow forming during winter storm in the Sonoran Desert in Tucson ArizonaRainbow forming during winter storm in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.
Palm Glowing Amidst Cloudy Gloom, Seen From Our Backyard in Tucson.

Are Palm Trees Native to Arizona?

Knowing that Arizona does have palm trees, you may wonder if the majority of the palms are native here. There aren't heaps of Palms Native to Arizona. Not the case! There's only one.

Here in our southern part of Arizona, we see our native palms all around town. Really, a palm tree is native to Arizona!

Yes, a Desert Palm, Washingtonia filifera, is the only palm tree native to Arizona. It's not difficult to grow here.

It's a species which originally grew in Palm Canyon of Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (still there!).

Classic neon sign in Tucson Arizona near Miracle Mile gatewayWell Known for Saguaro Cactus, Yet Tucson has Tons of Palms

Despite being the only native palm tree, it's not the only palm that thrives in Arizona's climate. And it's also shared with another state. California has only ONE native palm, as well. This palm is native to both California & Arizona.

So, Does Arizona Have Palm Trees? Yes!

What's nice is how non-native palms add a tropical look to Arizona's panorama.

Arizona definitely has many palms that can thrive in its desert areas. The Phoenix area also grows our native palm tree. Arizona State University & Tucson's University of Arizona both have groves of palm trees!

Vintage Postcard of the campus of the University of Arizona, with palm treesA Vintage Postcard Showing Many Palms on Campus - As They're Definitely All Around!

They not only survive (if chosen wisely), but add to the desert culture. Guess maybe you haven't seen the landscape design on commercial properties all around Arizona.

A commercial property type uses palms that can survive desert heat. That's the golf courses. And also city parks & roadways.

When Arizona's residents determine Which Palm to Grow in Arizona, there are "rules." Many tropical, rain forest types of palms will find it very difficult surviving here.

It's always best to plant the right palm in the right place, anyway. Does your palm choice survive relatively easily & well in a sun-laden drought-prone area? We've seen sad looking palms that were well out of this rule. They've already died. Or are really struggling - even with decent care.

The Best Types of Palm Trees for Arizona will bring success. Like the Mexican Fan Palm & the Mediterranean Fan Palm. We'll take a look at some of these varieties. And see which palms can grow most easily in Arizona. Come along!

Types of Palm Trees in Arizona

Which types of palm trees are in Arizona?

  • They're a desert palm type, that tolerates strong to harsh full sun-light. 
  • Those able to withstand high summer heat temperatures.
  • Really thirsty palms don't survive here. Others will, depending on the amount of water use needed.

Put that all together to figure out the types of palm trees which do well in Arizona's deserts. Remember that Arizona's weather & temperatures are affected by the elevation.

The City of Phoenix & Tucson are both in the Sonoran Desert.

The Chihuahuan Desert is in Arizona's southeastern corner. The elevation there is even higher than Tucson. By nearly 2000 ft. (581m). With USDA Hardiness Zones from 8a-9a.

palm tree in back of buildings at the Tombstone Marshal's OfficeSomeone's Chihuahuan Desert, Cochise County Palm Peeks Over Tombstone Arizona Buildings

Choosing Palm Trees to Grow in Arizona

Best Palm Trees for Arizona

Date Palm Originally Sourced From the Middle East

Phoenix dactylifera is the true date palm tree. The ONE producing edible dates.

  • It tolerates extreme heat, drought & mild frost.
  • Seems it's the perfect palm tree for Arizona's desert climates.
  • Hardiness zones 10-11, but use caution in Arizona's chillier 10b spots.
Date Palms In A Dateland Arizona GroveSun Shining Fully into This Grove of Date Palms. In the Southwest Arizona Sonoran Desert.

The Stately Canary Island Date Palm

Phoenix canariensis has wide, large proportions. Seen all around Tucson. A lot of the residents in Arizona get a professional landscaper to style it as a Pineapple Palm. (Not that we favor that unnatural look! But you may.)

  • Round crown is filled with 100+ dark green pinnate fronds.
  • One of the larger palms, somewhat of a slow grower.
  • It likes sun & doesn't want any over-watering! Just adequate.
Phoenix cariensisA Full Round Crown of Feather Leaves on This Relatively Young Specimen. Can Get 90' Tall.

Bismarck Palm - A Noble Knockout for Residents of Arizona!

Bismarckia nobilis can grow to 60 feet high. The wide fronds of these fan palms give a unique, pleasing appearance. It will make a strong element statement & focal point for your landscape.

  • They're drought-resistant & love full sun.
  • A low temperature won't bother the majority of palm trees in this species.
  • Likes some soil conditioner, for best growth.

Choosing Other Palm Trees to Grow in Arizona

Putting the climate factors together helps us select palm trees for growing well in Arizona. With this in mind, check out these possibilities.

Brazilian Native Seashore Palm Could Work

The Seashore palm (Allagoptera arenaria) grows near Brazil's coastal area. A desert's sands of well-drained soils may be A-OK for it.

  • Typically prefers full sun, but does okay with partial shade.
  • Zones 8b-11 suit it.
  • Growth rate is medium. Flexible for drought & full-on rain.
Allagoptera_arenaria in Naples Botanical GardenWith feathery graceful fronds, the Seashore Palm at its Best!

The Miraguama Palm Has Captivating Starry Leaves

Coccothrinax miraguama palmate fronds look like scattered starbursts! With a creative weave around its upper trunk, it's so pretty.

  • 10-11 Zones. Likes sun, but not very thirsty at all.
  • Not slow growing, it gets to 35 feet tall at a medium clip.

More Quick Looks for Arizona Palm Possibilities

Does Arizona have palm trees?

These palms have been in the mix of options, but here's the low-down for them.

Mule Palms are Queen/Pindo palm hybrids.

  • Many in the Southwest love them, but they do have high water needs.

The Mexican Blue Palm is a nice choice. It is a desert native, but adjacent to streams.

  • Drought-tolerance kicks in when the Brahea armata is established.

The Pygmy Date Palm can be good or not. Our neighbor has a showstopper with their short stature & full crowns.

  • Problem is it has high water requirements for looking its best.

Some wonder if Queen Palms (Syagrus romanzoffiana) are suitable.

  • Not recommended because of excessive water use.

Another people ask about is the Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei). It's really ideal for temperate climates.

  • Plus with medium watering needs, it's not for Arizona's deserts.

Pindo Palms are a possibility. With the first time planted they're iffy. When established they're quite drought-tolerant.

  • Mediterranean climates are best. It is fairly adaptable.

Does Arizona Have Palm Trees - The Takeaway

Has the info here answered your question: Does Arizona have palm trees?

We intended that with the details here, you'll have a better chance to choose your right palm to plant in the right place. If you wondered about Arizona's palm trees, we think you'll understand the Arizona climate. You can always Contact Us, if you have further questions.

Now here are A Few FAQs related to what many are asking about Arizona having palm trees.

What is the most common palm tree in Arizona?

The Mexican Fan palm is probably the one. It's the Palm Southern California is Famed For.  You'll mostly see it along streets & in parks.  They're also about the fastest growing palm, with minimal maintenance. When treated as they like, they'll get about 4 feet of height per year! Fast palm indeed. 😮 Ending up very tall.

Do palm trees in Arizona need to be watered?

People in Arizona who Plan Palms in Their Landscaping may wonder this. Especially if moving from a temperate climate. Palms suitable for Arizona deserts still need watering to varying degrees. Important to remember: be sure to plant in well-drained soils.

  • When young, regular water use is needed, while getting established. 
  • When older, watering should be tapered if they're drought tolerant.
  • The main thing is, give them a consistent weekly watering plan. A good soaking gets to all the roots. Then let the ground dry out. That's when to water again.

When should palm trees be trimmed in Arizona?

Palms are typically relatively low-maintenance. Trimming, or Pruning Palm Trees is usually optional. For removing fully dead fronds. Best time is in late spring. Remember some Palms Don't Need Trimming at all.

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