Where Can Palm Trees Grow?

Where can palm trees grow - that's something people think about, at times. Have you thought of that?

We're always surprised when we travel and see a palm tree in an unexpected place. Yet even though startled by it, we're kind-of happy.

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.

I'll never forget the first time we traveled to Ireland, way back, and saw a small palmy looking tree there. Aside Bantry Bay, in the beautiful town of Bantry. Got me so curious of what this plant was!

WAS THIS AN IRISH PALM TREE?

Heard people saying it was a Cabbage Palm. Eventually I did look it up. Was it a true palm tree? NO. But I did like the way it looked!

Got me started thinking, Ireland probably does have the type of climate where palm trees could grow. Because the Gulf Stream flows right by the West Coast. Coming up from the south, most of the time it keeps cold extremes away.

Rarely does go below freezing in Ireland's coastal areas. Especially for any length of time.

Ireland Has Palms, but these on Bantry Bay are notWas Amazed to See What Looked Like Palm Trees in Bantry
On the Waterfront of Bantry Bay

Where Do Palm Trees Grow?

You know, for sure, that palm trees grow in warm, tropical and subtropical areas around the world. More precisely, that's north and south of the equator, between the Tropic of Cancer, south to the Tropic of Capricorn.

MAPPING THE TROPICS

The map below outlines tropical and subtropical world climates. Yes it includes:

THE AMERICAS

  • The Southernmost part of the U.S. & all of Mexico
  • All of Central America & the Caribbean Islands
  • Much of South America

SOUTH PACIFIC

  • The islands of the South PacificMost of Australia
  • Southern Asia & Southeast Asia

SOUTH OF EUROPE

  • Nearly all of Africa
  • A major portion of the Middle East

The one continent that has never seen successful outdoor palm tree growth is Antarctica. That's some initial thoughts on Where Palm Trees Grow.

Palms Can Grow Where?

No, Ireland is not within those boundaries. Think about it - there are many other areas where palm trees can grow that aren't either!

How about the coast of Spain, Italy or Southern France on the Mediterranean?And along the West coast of the United States. Can palm trees grow in New Zealand or in Melbourne Australia?

THESE ARE PLACES WHERE PALM TREES GROW?

Yes! For instance, we vacationed in Dénia, along the Costa Blanca region of Spain. There were gorgeous palms on walkways and along some Mediterranean beaches.

In Alicante, we had a wonderful stroll along such a pathway the night before we flew back home.

Palms Grow in Canada

CANADA? REALLY??

We were heading out for an Alaskan cruise along the inside passage, from Vancouver, Canada. Stopped overnight there for a couple days first.

We walked the Seawall, just under 5-1/4 mile (8.4 km) circle pathway in Vancouver's Stanley Park. We had a pleasant surprise to see several palm trees along our route to the park.

Figuring Out Where Can Palm Trees Grow

HOW COLD?

Palm trees don't tolerate very cold weather. If temps go below 32oF (0oC) most palms are bound to have frost damage, which can kill them. Even when temperatures lower to the 45oF (7.2oC) range, some species are harmed.

Yet some palms are cold-tolerant. That doesn't mean they like getting chilled!

But they can endure temperatures to about 20oF (-6.6oC) for a short time. Some even a bit colder - again only a minimal time-frame, on rare occasions.

Figure that polar areas aren't places where palm trees can grow.

HOW THIRSTY ARE THEY?

Also think about moisture. How much precipitation do palms need, or can casually survive without? Because tropical and subtropical regions do include deserts.

Deserts are arid places. Some palm trees can grow as heat/drought resistant selections in xeriscape landscaping. Take into consideration there are cold deserts not suitable for where palm trees can grow.

PALM LOOK-ALIKES

Some plants look similar to palms, and are mistakenly called palm plants. They're Cycads! They're in an entirely different plant classification category: the phylum. That's the 6th highest of the 8 rankings. That's were palm and cycad classes separate.

Often Cycads are more tolerable to some extreme climate or weather conditions. You can learn to distinguish them.

Others sometimes mistaken for being palms are yuccas & aloes. Although interesting looking, they're not palms. They also can tolerate some climes which palm trees cannot.

But still, where can palm trees grow? That's another thought altogether!

Where Can Palm Trees Grow
That's Surprising?

We've already mentioned many areas in the world where palm trees can grow. Now we'll get a bit more specific. We'll take it by region. To see where can palm trees grow in these areas. See where they're actually successfully growing!

Where Can Palm Trees Grow in Europe?

EUROPEAN CLIMATES

Temperate European climates, or those called Mediterranean climates often have many areas suitable for where you can grow palm trees. Essentially, think of cold hearty palm trees for best results, if you plan on growing palms.

If you view a European Hardiness Zone Map, it's really helpful to see where can palm trees grow in these areas. What to do is evaluate the duration of the lowest overall average temperatures.

EUROPE'S PALM ZONES

Palm trees normally can grow in Europe within Zones 7, 8, 9 & 10. The higher the Zone number, the more apt you are to see successfully growing palm trees in Europe. Where would this be?

Viewing the map, the best growing areas are Zone 10:

  • Much of coastal Spain & Portugal.
  • Southern & most western coast areas of Italy.
  • Southwestern coastline regions of Greece.
  • Most islands & countries of the western Mediterranean Sea, particularly near the coasts.

Several palm species can grow here, such as:

  1. Needle Palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix)
  2. Palmetto (Sabal palmetto)
  3. Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei v.wagnerianus)
  4. Brazilian Needle Palm (Trithrinax brasiliensis)
  5. Cotton Palm (Washingtonia filifera)

Where Can Palm Trees Grow in the Americas?

Besides The U.S Tropics & Subtropics, and Central & South America, are some surprising regions where palm trees can grow. The types of palms include those that can grow in Europe. Yet some districts can grow a wider variety.

Where Can Palm Trees Grow in Canada?

Look to the Southwestern-most localities of the western province of British Columbia. That's about the only suitable area of Canada to think of growing palm trees.

Think of areas nearest sea level, and near waterside. That includes some parts of Vancouver, as well as Vancouver Island.

The best palm trees that can grow there, are also mentioned for Europe.

Where Can Palm Trees Grow in South America?

MANY AREAS

The Amazon rain forest covers a good portion of this continent. Many species of palm trees bask in such an area. Lots of them were endemic here.

Travel throughout all the countries, you'll find nearly all territory is suited for where palm trees can grow. There are two real exceptions. Because mountainous elevations regularly see temperatures well below what palms tolerate.

Map of South American Plant Hardiness ZonesSouth American Plant Hardiness Zones
Not to Scale

These areas are:

  • Caparaó Mountains in the eastern part of South America
  • The Andes Mountains that line up near the western edge along South America

Surprising Areas Palm Trees Can Grow in the US

Where can palm trees grow in the United States that aren't tropical or subtropical? Mostly on the west coast. If someone knows of a palm tree growing elsewhere in these Lower 48 - please Let Us Know!

Where can palm trees grow in California?

I think of the first time we traveled through the Central Valley on I-5 North. Seeing palm trees along the way. Yet, when I thought we were too far north for them, still - there they were, growing!

But where can palm trees grow in California?

  • Up along the coast to about the Mendocino area.
  • May be scattered anywhere in the Central Valley area. Until you begin climbing out of it, going north of Redding.
  1. Look at the USDA Plant Hardiness Map for Northern California for best details
  2. However, one tip: always use common sense & best judgment with using these USDA maps 
Northern California USDA Plant Hardiness MapU.S. Department of Agriculture's Map of Northern California Planting Zones - Not to Scale

Where can palm trees grow in Oregon

Near Oregon's coast is typically when you can find palms. And the best option is toward the southern coastal areas.

Where palms grow in Washington state

Again, near coastal Washington is where palm trees can grow. As well as not in quite higher elevations, even nearby the sea.

Washington State's coastal map for Plant HardinessWashington State's coastal map for Plant Hardiness Courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture
Not To Scale

Where can palm trees grow in Virginia?

On the other side of the country, there are areas here where palm trees can grow. Like on Virginia's East Coast, it's along the ocean.

Plus you'll notice, the Delmarva Peninsula doesn't get the extreme lows.

Where Can Palm Trees Grow in Asia?

CHINA

A good portion of the southeast region of the country is suitable for growing palm trees. Plus the entire island of Taiwan is an appropriate clime for where palm trees can grow.

Planting Hardiness Zones in China
Key for China's plant growing hardiness zoneMap of China Not to Scale

ALONG THE BLACK SEA

Geographically speaking (rather than politically), we're pointing to Georgia, where coastal regions correspond to U.S. Zone 8, even some Zone 9.

  • Black Sea Georgian coastal areas have warm, humid climates, on average. Rainfall is rain-forest like, about 177 inches/year.
  • Winter temperatures average about 48oF/9oC. Certain palms tolerate this, when winter temperatures rarely get to the freezing point. 
  • When it happens, it's momentarily.
  1. As an example, the southeastern Black Sea coast city, Batumi, has a record low temperature of 19oF/-7oC. It didn't happen for long!

ALONG THE CASPIAN SEA

At part of the Eastern side of the Caucus area, it's possible for growing palm trees.

  • The southwestern coast is generally warm enough. 
  • For instance, Lankaran Azerbaijan has a somewhat humid climate. Temperatures rank it in USDA Zone 7. 
  1. That's borderline for where palm trees can grow, as minimum temperatures could be damaging. 
  • Yet we see there are palm trees growing there! Like in adjacent Baku, Azerbaijan.

SUMMARIZING ASIA:

  • Zone 7 climes are in coastal areas of the Caucasus and also in Southern Middle Asia.
  • Zone 8 is in a narrow coastal area of southwestern Crimea where you'll see some palms. Plus in the Caucasus along shoreline of the Black and Caspian Seas.
  • Zone 9 is limited to the southeastern Caucasus seacoast, along the Caspian Sea.

Takeaways for - Where can palm trees grow?

Palms can grow in many unexpected places. I believe there are palms growing in more US States than mentioned here. From social media I've seen palms growing in New York & New Jersey. There's probably many more areas!

Palms grow in places we wouldn't think of. Non-tropical areas like Norway! These palm trees should be the right palm for growing in colder climes. Such palms need a good amount of cold-hardiness.

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