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gardengirl September 28th, 2008 11:48 PM

For Newbies in the palm tree world....Read
Types of Palm Trees
Sampling of the Types of Palm Trees, Both Pinnate and Palmate

By David Beaulieu,

Nothing else gives a landscape that “tropical” feel quite like palm trees. But beginners may be bewildered by all the different types of palm trees available. Which one(s) should you choose? The answer will depend largely on three factors with which you must acquaint yourself: a palm tree’s cold hardiness, height and sunlight requirements. To that end, below I offer a handy list of types of palm trees.

For the convenience of beginners seeking a quick reference, I divide the types of palm trees into two broad categories (technically, a third category also exists that’s a cross between the two, called, “costapalmate”). These categories are based on differences in leaf structure:

1. Palmate
2. Pinnate

A "palmate" leaf has lobes fanning out from a common point. The structure resembles an opened hand, with fingers radiating out from the palm. A "pinnate" leaf has individual leaflets branching out on both sides of a common axis. The structure resembles a feather (pinna is Latin for “feather”).

The following types of palm trees represent merely a small sampling of the vast number of varieties from which you may choose. My selections were made with the intention of giving beginners some idea of the diversity of palm trees in terms of the critical factors mentioned above: namely, their cold hardiness, height and sunlight requirements (figures for which are based on the information provided at

Types of Palm Trees: Palms With Palmate Leaves

* Lady palm trees (Rhapis excelsa) Cold hardiness: to 22 degrees Fahrenheit
* Height: 4 to 8 feet.
* Sunlight requirement: shade or filtered light.

* Puerto Rican thatch palm trees (Coccothrinax alta) Cold hardiness: to 28-30 degrees Fahrenheit
* Height: 25 feet
* Sunlight requirement: full sun

* Silver saw palmetto palm trees (Acoelorrhaphe wrightii) Cold hardiness: to 20 degrees Fahrenheit
* Height: 15 to 20 feet
* Sunlight requirement: full sun

Types of Palm Trees: Palms With Pinnate Leaves

* Mountain cabbage palm trees (Prestoea acuminata var. Montana) Cold hardiness: 30-32 degrees Fahrenheit
* Height: 20 to 25 feet.
* Sunlight requirement: filtered or partial sun

* Queen palm trees (Syagrus romanzoffiana) Cold hardiness: to 20 degrees Fahrenheit
* Height: 50 feet
* Sunlight requirement: full sun

* Date palm trees (Phoenix dactylifera) Cold hardiness: to 18 degrees Fahrenheit
* Height: 30 feet or more
* Sunlight requirement: full sun

Types of Palm Trees for Use as Houseplants

Of the types of palm trees listed above, Phil Bergman ( recommends the Lady palm trees for use as houseplants, along with Kentia palm trees and Bamboo palm trees.

Mixing Types of Palm Trees in Your Landscape Plantings

Although mention of “palm trees” conjures up an image of bright, sunny skies, not all palm trees can stand full sun (as you can see from the foregoing). If you have a sun-drenched yard but desire to grow a short variety that likes partial to full shade (for example, lady palm trees), consider planting a taller, sun-loving palm tree first (for example, Queen palm trees).

If you adopt this strategy, you’ll have to wait for the taller specimen to achieve some height before planting the shorter type of palm tree, so that the former provides a canopy for the latter. Just make sure both types of palm trees have sufficient cold hardiness for your area. Again, this is why success in growing palm trees is founded on one’s knowledge of their cold hardiness, height and sunlight requirements. Keep these factors in mind as you continue to learn about the different types of palm trees.

This is really good info about palm trees for the general public. I also learned something from this too, so i figured everyone else could. Enjoy

Palm Guru September 30th, 2008 10:52 AM

Keep Threads Short. Just add a Link.

Thank you


GrainsNthings October 10th, 2008 03:54 PM

good stuff
this was great info for me I am new in learning about palmtrees. It throws me off that there is such a wide variety I wasn't aware of.

Max the online helper... October 14th, 2008 03:56 PM

Welcome Newbies
I work here at RPT and decided I would answer PalmHugger's Questions...

Also, Please visit the PalmHuggers area and upload pictures... They may be placed in the front of the Website under featured article!!!

You can also Private Message me for any questions that may be regarding Palm Trees and/or Palm Seeds...



Buying Palm Trees August 13th, 2010 12:10 PM

Thanks for the response Max
1 Attachment(s)
I am a newbie, just bought my first palms from realpalmtrees and now I am palm tree crazy! not really but my girlfriend, current one, likes palms so... I guess its palm month.


loverofpalms August 26th, 2010 01:36 PM

Garden Girl Good thinking.
Its funny, often people come here do not know much about palm trees. I forget that people just want to know how to make there palm nice and green. I mean that is all I wanted when I first got a palm. But there is much more to keeping a palm green. Little things can affect palms in a drastic way. A few tips of what not to do may help.

Do not place a palm by a vent
Do not place a palm by other plants infected with bugs or scales.
Do not place a palm in the wrong environment. Ex: Outdoor Palm to Indoor not good.
Do not place a palm to close to walls.
Do not overwater palm trees. They like soil to be moist and then dry before re-watering.
Do not use miracle grow fertilizer. This will cause a deficiency in the palm.
Do not cut the palms roots from top.
Do not try to separate a palm into to or try to use them for cuttings.
Do not place palm by a fireplace you intend to use.

For more do not do's for palms I will make this a thread. Somehow I think more people will be able to see this and may answer their questions.

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