Palms

Cold resistant palm trees

The climate is a factor to take into account when we grow plants, since not all of them resist the same temperatures as they originate from different places. The vast majority of palm tree species are native to regions with a warm climate, where there are no frosts or, if there are, they are very weak and of very short duration. However, there are several that are perfect to have in temperate gardens.

Do you want to know which palm trees are resistant to cold and frost? Take note.

Selection of cold resistant palm trees

Although these plants are quite adaptable, being able to surprise you at any time, the cold is often the biggest problem we face when growing them. Fortunately, there are more than 3,000 species of palm trees, of which there are about twenty that endure cold and frost. The most interesting are:

Trachycarpus bulgaria

It is a variety of Trachycarpus fortunei, native to, as its name suggests, Bulgaria. Many seeds on the market today come from a population of specimens whose ‘parents’ lived near the Black Sea coast.

Regarding characteristics and care, they are the same as those of the mentioned species. This means that we are talking about a palm tree that reaches a height of up to 12 meters, with a single trunk normally covered with the pods of the fallen leaves (although they can be cut without problem). These leaves are palmate, green in color, and about 50cm long by 75cm wide.

Supports up to -23ºC.

Rhapidophyllum histrix

Image – Wikimedia/ David J. Stang

It is a species that is still little known, but I am convinced that before the end of the century many specimens will be seen in the gardens because of how rustic and adaptable it is. It is a multicaule dwarf palm, that is, with several trunks, which do not exceed 2 meters in height. The crown is made up of webbed leaves that can reach 2 meters in length.

It also resists up to -23ºC without being damaged.

Nannorhops ritcheana

Image – Flickr/ بوبدر

It is a palm tree similar to the previous one. It develops several trunks (it is multicaule) with a height of 1-3 meters, and fan-shaped leaves with very divided leaflets, green or bluish in color.

It is a bit colder: it resists up to -20ºC, although ideally it should not drop below -12ºC.

Sabal minor

Image – Wikimedia/ David J. Stang

The Sabal minor is a very pretty little palm tree, with a solitary trunk and large fan-shaped leaves of about 2 meters in length composed of numerous greenish leaflets. It reaches a maximum height of 3 meters, although the normal thing is that it does not exceed one meter.

It is rustic up to -18ºC.

Trachycarpus latisectus

They call it the Windamere palm, and it is a plant that develops a solitary trunk of up to 10 meters, crowned by green fan-shaped leaves and wide up to 40cm.

Supports up to -17ºC.

Trachycarpus fortunei

Image – Wikimedia/ Manfred Werner – Tsui

It is the most popular species for gardens where winters are cold. In fact, if you like watching UK gardening shows, like Monty Don’s Big dreams, Small spaces, you might have seen it. It is known in the Spanish-speaking world as raised palmetto, and it is a plant that reaches a height of up to 12 meters, with a thin trunk and palmate leaves.

It supports well up to -15ºC.

Butia capitata

Image – Wikimedia/ William Avery

The Butia capitata is one of the few palms pinnate leaf that resists frost. It reaches a height of up to 5 meters, with a trunk of 20 to 30 cm in diameter. The leaves are glaucous green, and slightly arched.

Withstands frosts down to -10ºC.

Parajubaea torallyi

It is a palm tree that I have the pleasure of knowing, because in my garden I planted a , specifically the variety Parajubaea torallyi var. torallyi, which is the highest of all the Parajubaea with a height of up to 25 meters. The type species stays at 15-20 meters. It develops a single trunk with a diameter of about 35cm, and a crown of pinnate leaves up to 4-5 meters long.

Resists without problems up to -10ºC.

Phoenix canariensis

Image – Wikimedia/ Donkey shot

The Canary Island palm is a beautiful species that develops a single trunk up to 70cm in diameter crowned by pinnate leaves up to 7 meters long, green in color. It reaches a height of 10 to 13 meters.

It is ideal for warm and temperate gardens, as it also holds up to -10ºC.

Phoenix dactylifera

Image – Wikimedia/ Southcoastwholesale

If you like dates, harvest them yourself by planting a date box in your garden. This palm tree is usually multicaule, that is, it has several trunks, although you have the option of cutting them when they are still only leaves, which grows up to 30 meters in height.

Supports up to -6ºC.

To consider

It is highly recommended that during the first year they protect themselves a little. They withstand frost without problems, but very young palm trees in their natural environment tend to have the protection of taller plants. As they gain height, they also become stronger and can withstand the cold without difficulty.

Do you know other palm trees that resist frost?

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