Where Do Palm Trees Grow?

Were you puzzling about this: where do palm trees grow?


We live in the desert city of Tucson Arizona, which is much more well-known for the giant saguaro cactus. Not so much for palm trees! Yet, palm trees do grow here. Yes, there are palm trees that are suited to a desert climate.

Though people usually think of the humid tropics for palms.

We'll see the differing climates, places, and conditions where palm trees can grow. Or even love to grow!

If we do that together here, we'll get that question answered!

The First Thing...

...to figure out is where do palm trees grow in the easiest and happiest way?! Isn't that where we like ourselves to be!?

Our kids, too. For their best growing up years. So it is with palm trees. Where most of them are happy growing is in tropical & subtropical climates of the world!



Yet there are other areas where they can grow! Not particularly easily. It means they need added attention in one way or another.

Thinking about where do palm trees grow, we'll start with a more centralized area. Were you thinking of Where Palms Can Grow in the U.S.?

We've noted that seems to be a prime question for lots of people.

Then expand outward from there. Like finding Where Do Palm Trees Grow endemically. Or if the palm you like could Survive Where You Live!

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

What States Have Palm Trees?

Tucson view of Palm tree & Saguaro cactusView Overlooking Tucson From Over the Wall in Our Backyard
With Several Palm Trees, Plus Saguaro Cactus


The states in the United States that have palm trees are generally in the South. And of course, you know Hawaii is a state that has palm trees growing on each of the island counties.

And you'll be right! If you've been there, you've luxuriated within them. Did you get any Sunset Palm View Photos?

But they're also in the very southeastern part of the country. And you're likely aware that Southern California has many palm trees.

But surprisingly, they're found throughout many other U.S. states. Are you wondering which states? We've lined it out at Palms in U.S. States>

More Considerations For
Where Do Palm Trees Grow

Palm trees are divided into specific groups according to environmental needs. That's the key for the right palm in the right place. You must ask, where do palm trees naturally grow?

But whatever clime they're suited for, they must have correct care.

True Story!

For instance, we live in the Sonoran Desert. Yes, the Tucson Arizona area.

Our acre lot was full of desert plants that we love. Like saguaro & other cacti. Also creosote bushes that give a lovely scent with rain.

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

It was a Mexican Fan Palm. I planted it, began taking care of it. It was doing well.

In a couple years a job opportunity prompted our move to Southern California. We rented out our home. We asked the tenant (a retired woman) to take care of the palm.

Apparently she didn't do much. When we ourselves retired, arriving back to Tucson, the 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. The palm was not yet well-established. The proper care it needed was lacking.

Figuring Out Where Palm Trees Grow & Survive

Palm trees need a careful foundation to survive well. Here's what to consider for figuring out where palm trees grow...


What's generally the coldest temperatures the area has? A palm tree enduring temps below their tolerance often begins to frost and/or get damaged.


Dry climates can dehydrate a palm tree pretty quickly. Humidity levels in the single digit to 20% range aren't great for most palms. Even those suited to deserts. 

  • Arid climates only get 0 to <10 inches of rain in a year. Semi-arid areas (Tucson is this) average 10 to 20 inches yearly.
  • Know local rain-fall levels. Important when planting palm trees in drought susceptible areas.


We think of palm trees in sunny tropical areas. Yet all do not like hot, scorching sun beating down on their leaves all day long! 

  • Something to think about for your area of planting, and your own climate.
Blistering sunWill That Blistering Summer Sun Give Your Palm Sunburn?

Those assessments are variable when figuring out if a palm tree will grow where you'd like. There's a bit more to figure out.

Your List For Checking Where Palms Grow

You may live in the desert, for instance. Yet what's the elevation there? That influences winter's cold temperatures. The higher the elevation, the colder the lowest temps. Important details for choosing your palm.

Now think of your own climate. For best success, match up the palm tree you'd like to have. In other words: the right palm for the right place!

To figure out where do palm trees grow for your area, check these points in order:

Cold-Hardy Tolerance

  • What's the lowest average year round temperature for your area? 
  • Does the palm tree tolerate temps down to just above that?

Drought Tolerance

  • What's the yearly rainfall & average humidity levels in your area?
  • Are there regular droughts? 
  • Or on the opposite end, is there over-abundant rainfall? Too much water can be harmful. (But not a common worry for most palms!)

Sun Maximum

  • Now you've figured out Cold & Drought Tolerance. See how much sun the palm can take without having burnt or withering leaves.

Seasonal Steadiness

  • With all the above, with your seasons, how regular or changeable is it? 
  • Do the temperatures have a very wide range? Or not.

Yes, analyze the climate, weather & area components. That Helps You Evaluate where palm trees can grow. Look over the characteristics of a species you want to consider. You'll want to know the water needs, and Your Growing Zone. Also where do you plan to plant a palm? How much sun does that spot get. Compared to the needs of the palm.

All these considerations to match up your palm to your specific clime. All for getting the right palm in the right place!

Where Are Palm Trees Native?

Grove of palm treesPalm Tree Groves Like These Don't Exist Just Anywhere!

Palm trees grow many places from tropical & sub-tropical climates. As we saw in Oregon, to even areas outside those. But that doesn't mean they're native to all those areas.

Always keep in mind elevation! Which can change a tropical-like biome to temperate, or even near-alpine.

Where have palms always naturally grown? Where Are Palms Native to?


All parts of Africa have endemic palms. Think of the two specific categories for this large continent's varied climate. Palms suited to desert climates as opposed to wetter areas.

Palms Growing on Lake Turkana Shore in Kenya, AfricaThese Native Palms are Growing on Lake Turkana Shore in Kenya, Africa


The southern/southeastern parts of this continent has abundant native palm species. Plus tropical/subtropical islands. Likely the highest concentration in the world.

Palms on a beach in Thailand, which has many native palm trees.Native Palm on the Beach Shore in Thailand.


This continent/country has many varieties of palms that are native. They're usually found in coastal areas, which receive the most rain. A few native drought-resistant species are in some arid areas. Plus temperate areas in the south also have a few of the cold-hardy native species.

Berry Springs Park trail with palm treeA Native Palm Along a Trail
In Berry Springs Recreation Reserve, Northern Territory


One species of palm is native to specific southern areas of Europe. The Mediterranean Fan Palm is indigenous to the Mediterranean coastal areas, and islands.

The Mediterranean Palm is the one Palm Tree native to Europe.A Cold Hardy Palm, the Mediterranean Palm Tree Grows Throughout Areas of Europe.
These Though, are Happy Enough in a Miami Botanical Garden!


One species of palm tree is endemic here. Nīkau is the unique palm that grows down under. It's the farthest south successfully growing natural palm tree. 

Nikau Palms Growing in Their Endemic AreaA Couple of Nīkau Palms


Tropical & subtropical climates are suited to native palm development. But palms have been taken to other climes which are tolerable. Yet some states are surprising for areas that supported native palm plants.

  • You'll find native palms in southern U.S. states. That's in North & South Carolina, Georgia & Florida. 
  • Also, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, & Texas
  • Surprising to some, endemic species are in California, Arizona & New Mexico. And even Arkansas & Oklahoma.
New Orleans building with palms around the groundsThe French Quarter in New Orleans
Golden Gate Park in San Francisco has scattered palms growing on the grounds.San Francisco's Golden Gate Park

Another U.S. state with originally resident palms is Hawaii.

  • Loulu Palm is the common name of their endemic palm tree. 24 species of its genus Pritchardia are located amidst 8 different Hawaiian Islands.


  • Mexico has many innate palm trees. Growing in multiple climates from deserts to rain forests.
  • The Caribbean has varieties of palms native to their locale.


Native palm species grow throughout tropical and subtropical sections of all countries. Extensively in rain forests and rainy coastal areas. South to about Las Grutas Argentina.

Where do palms trees grow - The takeaways

Palms can grow in many areas throughout the earth. Most palm species grow in fully tropical climates. Many others can grow in subtropical areas. Both these areas have native palms.

Among these climates are deserts. Because some palm trees are drought tolerant and need lots of sun. Even so, these palms do need specific care, as they can't thrive without it.

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