When you think of Florida what are some things that come to mind? The Florida sun, beaches, alligators? Palm trees? Definitely! Palm trees are Florida’s pride and joy. The technical term for these plants is Arecaceae. They are perennial flowering plants. The Arecaceae come in many different forms but the most well-known and valued is the palm tree. Palms are beautiful statement pieces that thrive in the Florida heat. Palm trees truly enhance any landscape and do a wonderful job at being both visually appealing and eye catching. Palms can grow to very grand measures but it’s crucial to choose the right type of palm tree for your yard. Palm plant care is also very important. Read on to discover the different types of palm trees that are best for Florida and how to care for them.
What are the different types of palm trees?
Despite the general idea being that all palm trees look the same there are actually many different types of palm trees. They vary in shape and size. There are classic palm trees, popular palm trees, and date palm trees. Some examples of classic palm trees are: Saw Palmetto, Windmill Palm, and Mule Palm. These three are classics because they are extremely reliable in nature. They are very resistant to both harsh weather conditions and pests. They do well in humid conditions and are tolerant of salt and wind. These classics are known as classics for a reason.
Besides old reliable, there are also popular palm trees like: Ribbon Palm, Royal Palm, Alexander Palm, and Coconut Palm, and Paurotis Palm. These palms are popular because of their staple look. When you see snapshots of Florida in movies or on postcards these are the featured palm trees. They grow very grand in size and are some fan favorites for the beach. There are also date palm trees which include: canary island date palm, senegal date palm, pygmy date palm, and mexican fan palm. Something important to note is that date palms require a little more care than other types of palm trees. They are strikingly beautiful but typically require a moist, nutrient rich environment and it is no secret that Florida is very drought-prone. However, date palms like the Canary Island are actually drought-tolerant and perform better than most. Therefore, it is not impossible to nurture and grow a beautiful date palm in your yard but it will take more maintenance than other options.
Best Palm Trees for Florida
Contrary to popular belief, palm trees are not originated from Florida. However, there are some beautiful palms that are native to Florida. The best Florida palm trees are: Sabal or cabbage palm, needle palm, foxtail palm, Paurotis Palm, and the Latania Palm.
The Sabal or Cabbage Palmetto:
The Sabal or Cabbage Palmetto is native to Florida and is considered a cold hardy palm tree. This means that they can withstand the harsh cold weather conditions. Florida can get very cold in the winter months so these are ideal trees to flourish in all temperatures.
The Needle Palm:
The Needle Palm is another Florida native plant. This type of palm is on the smaller side, but is perfect for adding volume to your yard. Similar to the Sabal Palmetto, these are also cold hardy palm trees that thrive in varying weather. They are also great at being pest and disease resistant in humid, tropical climates.
The Foxtail Palm:
The Foxtail Palm may not be native to Florida, but it surely loves the Florida sun. This palm tree thrives in full sun and temperatures over 100 degrees which is no problem for Florida. Foxtail Palms are very low maintenance. They are self-cleaning meaning the old fronds fall off by themselves.
The Paurotis Palm is perfect for sandy soils and sprays of salt. Perhaps that is why its name is also known as the Everglades palm. It is the ideal hardy tropical plant that flourishes in the sun.
The Latania Palm:
The Latania Palm is a great plant to grab attention because of its striking appearance. This palm is salt-tolerant and prefers the sun and sandy soil which is great for Central Florida. These can be seen as a viable palm for temperate gardens because off their hardiness in tropical climates.
Although there are many different types of palms that are popular choices and beautiful in shape and size, it is important to remember which ones would be the best fit for your yard in Florida.
Large Florida Palm Trees
Some large Florida palm trees previously mentioned include: The Royal Palm, Coconut Palm, Alexander Palm, Queen Palm, and Chinese Fan Palm. These are all very large palm trees that grow taller than 20 feet. For example, the Royal Palm and Coconut Palm can grow to 80 feet. While the Chinese Fan Palm and the Queen Palm can grow to 40 feet and the Alexander Palm can grow to 25 feet. Things these grand palm trees have in common include:
- They require full sun to grow
Due to the length of these large palm trees, they all have relatively tall trunks.
- They are very hardy but require at least moderate water to grow.
- They are very durable in sandy soil and are wind resistant so they make great choices to plant by or near the beach.
Although there are many other options, these are just a few that are reliable in its hardiness and low maintenance for the Central Florida area.
Indoor Palm Trees
If you’re not looking for the typical outdoor palm tree but rather palm plants that thrive inside, here are the top choices for types of indoor palms: The Bamboo Palm, Cascade Palm, Parlor Palm, and the Ponytail Palm. Our personal favorite for indoors is the Bamboo Plant also known as the Areca Palm:
The Areca Palm is the best indoor palm because it has very soft fronds and is fond of low light. This palm also requires very little energy or time to maintain. It needs an adequate amount of water regularly. This indoor plant will only grow to a maximum of 12 feet at maturity but typically anywhere from 4 to 8 feet is average height.
There are many options when it comes to choosing the perfect indoor plant for your household so reach out to your local garden center to get the best advice for your planting needs.
Which Palm Tree is Right for You?
As we’ve discussed, there are so many variations of palms trees that are perfect for Florida. Palm trees are incredibly hardy in tropical climates and require full-sun to grow to their majestic heights. The variation of palm trees is wide and seemingly endless. There are some reliable classics like the Saw Palmetto, and some popular choices like the Royal Palm, and also some date palms like the Canary Island which are drought-tolerant. Florida has many native palm trees like the Needle Palm which is a cold hardy plant that requires little to no maintenance.