How to palm tree

How to grow a palm tree |

(Image credit: Alamy)

Introduce instant scale, shape and drama to your real estate by learning how to grow a palm tree. The only way to bring true tropical charm to the yard, these stylish beauties are surprisingly slow growing making them the perfect choice for coastal or southern locations. 

Grown in borders or in containers, palm trees add architectural detail to a garden and are perfect matched with other tropical plants and trees.

How to grow a palm tree

(Image credit: Alamy)

With their distinctive fan-shaped leaves, palm trees are instantly recognizable. Adding a tropical vibe, they can add instant interest to the smallest of yards with their evergreen foliage and unbeatable stature. Requiring just a little care they can last for years and prove a striking and memorable focal point. Let us take you through the basics of growing palm trees.

Where do palm trees grow best?

Although undeniably tropical, there is a wide range of palm trees that will grow in your yard. While some prefer shade and will falter in direct sunlight, others need sun to keep them healthy and will simply wilt and die off in deep shade. To be certain of making the right choice for your property always check with the nursery or retailer before you buy. It’s also worth knowing that once palm fronds are scorched or damaged, they do not tend to recover so will need to be removed.

Wind is also a key issue for palm trees, and whereas most types can generally flex and bend in a strong gale or hurricane there are some varieties that are tougher and more wind tolerant. 

Jason Gilford from Architectural Plants says, 'Chamaerops humilis are so tough that they’ll grow in sun or shade. As with most plants the effect of shade is to draw the plant out (it’s looking for light) so the leaf stalks extend making the plant look open and elegant. Rarer and slower growing, Trachycarpus wagnerianus are remarkably well suited to windy gardens. We’ve planted a load of them at our nursery at the top of the drive – a constantly windy spot and they look perfect. They’re both good – just different.' 

If you do have space and strong winds are a problems Jason also suggests, 'planting in groves will also provide some additional protection for palms.'

What soil does a palm tree prefer?

As long as it’s free draining, palm trees tend to be happy in acidic, neutral or alkaline soil.

What temperatures will a palm tree grow in?

(Image credit: Sea Palms Estate / Nick Adams )

Most palm trees originate from tropical climates. Used to warm summers and mild winters, they are happy in zones where temperatures range from 95℉ (35℃) down to 78℉ (25℃). 

There are few types of palm tree that will tolerate cooler conditions. Chusan or Windmill Palm, the Mediterranean Fan Palm or Chamaerops humilis and Trachycarpus wagnerianus, better known as Wagners Fan Palm will cope with temperatures as low as 40℉ (4℃) and even a light dusting of snow.

How to plant a palm tree

Most palm trees are shallow rooted so it’s well worth considering this when siting your palm and avoid positioning a large tree near to the house, as they can fall over in very high winds or hurricanes.

When it comes to planting, chances are your nursery grown palm will arrive in a plastic pot or fabric covered rootball, if it’s very big. Dig a hole twice as wide as the rootball and deep enough so the top of the root sits just below the soil level. Carefully remove the covering from the pot, lower the palm into the hole and backfill. 

Planting is best done during the spring as this will allow the roots to establish before cooler weather and stronger winds arrive. 

How to grow a containerized palm tree

Varieties that thrive well in a container include the feathery Pygmy date palm which can grow between 6-12 ft (1.82-3.65m) outside in USDA Zones 10-11. For something smaller but just as quirky try the Ponytail Palm that will happily thrive on a patio in USDA Zones 9-11. The team at Lively Root say, ‘Although they look utterly whimsical, they are actually low maintenance and one of our favorite starter plants.’ 

‘Containers limit how large plants grow,’ say the team at Pennington Seed ‘so even naturally large palms stay manageable in pots. ’ They also add, ‘For potted palms, choose a fast-draining, yet moisture-retentive potting mix designed for container growing. Choose a large container with drainage holes that is heavy enough to offset your palm's size so it won't tip over easily.’

Pot grown palm trees will need be kept in moist but not wet soil, as their roots require plenty of air and rot if left in waterlogged soil. Rather than just looking at the soils surface to determined how wet it is always probe with a finger to ensure it is cool and moist.

How to support a palm tree

Palms trees are naturally shallow rooted, and if planted in open ground will need supporting. Rather than relying on stakes and ties, which tend to slide down the smooth trunks opt for a timber brace system. Constructed from timber stakes and bridges and encompassing the whole trunk, it will provide much more support than a single lumber stake. 

How to nurture a palm tree

Providing they are thoughtfully positioned, most palms need little regularly attention.

‘We like to design informal borders, groves and distinguished avenues with beautifully fanned Jelly palms, spiky Chamaerops, slender Cordylines, and our favourite Chusan palms – the latter made even more elegant once you have stripped the trunk,’ says Jason Gilford, Architectural Plants Ltd. 

'Maintaining palms is all part of the experience and there’s nothing more satisfying than removing dead or damaged leaves to keep them looking their architectural best. Anything brown, yellow or spotty should be eliminated. Most spots do no harm to the plant but they look unsightly – you can treat with a fungicide.'

Jill Morgan has spent the last 20 years writing for Interior and Gardening magazines both in print and online. Titles she has been lucky enough to work on include House Beautiful, The English

Home, Ideal Home, Modern Gardens and Although much of her career has involved commissioning and writing about reader homes and home improvement projects, her

everlasting passion is for gardens and outdoor living, which is what she writes about for Homes & Gardens.  

Find Out Everything You Need to Know About Palm Tree Care

Tips on planting and growing palm trees in your landscape

By Mark Wolfe

Nothing makes a landscape feel warm and tropical like a palm tree. These easy-care trees and shrubs look great in landscaping and grow well as container plants on the patio or deck. If you’re thinking about planting a palm tree, you’ll need a bit of knowledge to keep it growing well and looking good. Read on to learn more about palm tree maintenance.


  • Types of palm trees
  • Palm tree growing requirements
  • How to plant a palm tree
  • Palm tree care and maintenance

Types of palm trees

With more than 2,500 palm tree species growing worldwide, they’ve adapted to a wide range of growing conditions. Palm trees are native to both arid and wet regions. Some grow in full sun, others in shade. Some stay small, while others grow more than 50 feet tall. Before selecting one for your yard or pool deck, be sure it’s going to be able to live there. The following is a small sampling of some of the popular palm trees that Americans like to grow.

Palm trees for landscaping

  • European fan palm, Chamaerops humilis
    • Hardiness zones: 8 to 11
    • Size: 13 feet tall, 8 feet wide
  • Baby queen palm, Chamaedorea plumosa
    • Hardiness zones: 9 to 11
    • Size: 14 feet tall, 4 feet wide
  • Pindo palm, Butia capitata
    • Hardiness zones: 8 to 10
    • Size: 18 feet tall, 12 feet wide
  • Pygmy date palm, Phoenix roebelenii
    • Hardiness zones: 10 to 11
    • Size: 6 feet tall, 5 feet wide

Palm trees for outdoor containers

  • Silver saw palmetto, Serenoa repens
    • Hardiness zones: 8 to 11
    • Size: 6 feet tall, 5 feet wide
  • Chinese fan palm, Livistona chinensis
    • Hardiness zones: 9 to 11
    • Size: 30 feet tall, 12 feet wide
  • Lipstick palm, Cyrtostachys renda
    • Hardiness zones: 11 to 12
    • Size: 25 feet tall, 12 feet wide

Palm trees to grow indoors

  • Areca palm, Dypsis lutescens
    • Hardiness zones: 10 to 11
    • Size: 20 feet tall, 10 feet wide
  • Parlor palm, Chamaedorea elegans
    • Hardiness zones: 10 to 12
    • Size: 6 feet tall, 3 feet wide
  • Kentia palm, Howea forsteriana
    • Hardiness zones: 9 to 11
    • Size: 30 feet tall, 10 feet wide

Palm tree growing requirements

Palm trees grow best in conditions that resemble those of their native range. Consider your climate, soil, and moisture conditions, as well as available sunlight before making a selection.


Palm trees come from tropical or semi-tropical climates where freezing temperatures are extremely rare. Gardeners in warm regions, USDA hardiness zone 9 and higher, can choose from a diverse assortment of native and exotic palm trees for landscaping or outdoor containers. A few palm species can withstand winters as far north as zone 7. In cooler climates, select palms to grow indoors year round, or outdoors during warm weather only.


Some palms require full sun exposure for at least six hours per day. Others grow best in dappled shade and suffer in excessive sunlight. A few tolerate a wide range of light conditions. Be sure to choose a palm tree that will grow in the conditions your landscape or home has to offer.


Many palm tree species grow just fine in either acidic or alkaline soils. They all require well-drained soil. Those planted in containers thrive in high quality, all-purpose potting soil. Avoid planting palms in low-lying areas where water pools after rain. Amend heavy clay soil with a liberal amount of soil conditioner before planting.


Palm trees from arid regions, such as the Mexican blue palm, Pindo palm, and Triangle palm, need little supplemental irrigation. Some of these types can make excellent container plants.

Water-loving palms, like the Ruffled Fan palm, Everglades palm, or Sabal palm, may need to be watered daily. These could be good choices for wet locations and heavier soils.

How to plant a palm tree

Once you’ve selected a palm tree, it’s time to plant. Follow these guidelines to get your tree growing.


Plant palm trees in the late spring or early summer at the beginning of the main growing season. Doing so gives them the maximum amount of time to establish an extensive root system before winter dormancy, and helps to prevent cold damage.


Dig the planting hole two to three times the width of the tree’s root ball, and no deeper than the height of the root ball. If the soil is composed of heavy clay, make it three-fourths of the root ball’s height. Mix the soil from the hole with soil conditioner at a 1:1 ratio.

Carefully remove the tree from its container without damaging the heart. It may be easier to cut the container off the root ball. Gently loosen any tightly wrapped roots. Place the tree in the hole and confirm that it’s at the proper depth before backfilling with the soil mixture.

Build a low soil berm around the outside of the planting hole to help direct water toward the root zone. Finish off with a three inch layer of mulch.


Tall, top-heavy palm trees may be susceptible to blowing over in strong winds. Smooth palm trunks don’t lend themselves to conventional tree staking, but you can support them with bracing.

  • About four feet from the ground, wrap the trunk with three layers of 16-inch wide burlap.
  • Use twine to attach four 12-inch slats of 2×4 lumber, vertically and evenly spaced, around the protected area of the trunk.
  • Drive four wooden anchor stakes two to three feet into the ground, aligned with the positions of the four vertical slats, four feet from the base of the tree.
  • Measure from anchor stakes to the vertical slats and cut four 2x4s to length for the braces.
  • Place the bottom of the brace against the inside of the stake and the top of the brace against the vertical slat. Nail the braces to the stakes. Secure the braces to the slats with wire and then (carefully) nail the brace to the upper slat without nailing into the tree.
  • Remove bracing after the first full year.

Palm tree care and maintenance

Once they’re in the ground, taking care of palm trees is pretty easy. With occasional feeding, watering, and pruning, they’ll thrive.


Water daily for the first week or two after planting, then check the soil moisture three times per week. In rainy weather, supplemental watering is unnecessary. During hot, dry weather, daily watering may be required for palm trees in outdoor containers.


When palms aren’t properly nourished, they indicate their stress with discolored lower leaves. Prevent this with a good fertility program. Feed palm trees with 8-0-12, plus 4 percent magnesium palm fertilizer in early spring and early summer for consistently beautiful foliage. Don’t apply turfgrass fertilizer within 15 feet of palm trees, as the excess nitrogen will stress the tree.


As palm trees grow, the lower fronds die back. To keep the tree looking its best and to eliminate hiding places for pests, prune the tree once or twice a year. Don’t remove foliage that hasn’t turned completely brown. Use pruning shears or a pruning saw to remove dead and damaged fronds, flowers, and fruit. On younger trees, leave at least two inches of the greenery on the trunk.

Cold weather protection

In the landscape, plant only palms that are hardy for your climate. In the event of an abnormal cold snap, protect these palm trees with an extra layer of mulch and cover the foliage with a frost blanket.

Outdoor container plants can be moved to a protected area, away from prevailing winds. A sheltered site along a south or southeast facing wall can provide some radiant heat as well as protection from wind. Potted palm trees can be wrapped with insulating material or placed on top of heating mats for added protection.

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67 photos of step-by-step instructions for creating

It's no secret that empty plastic containers from various drinks cause a lot of inconvenience with disposal, as they do not decompose for many years. And the disposal of this kind of garbage will cost too much.

Modern summer gardeners use PET bottles not only to store water and other liquids. After all, you can use it in a very interesting solution: to build a unique palm tree from bottles with your own hands on a personal plot, which will undoubtedly attract the curious glances of passers-by.

The manufacturing process requires only the usual set of tools, skill and good mood.

Benefits of PET containers: a beautiful palm tree

Do not rush to throw away empty plastic bottles, they can easily be turned into a unique evergreen palm tree that flaunts in a summer cottage. You can also improve the courtyard near the house, the playground, while profitably utilizing a sufficient amount of waste.

Before making a palm tree from bottles, stock up on used containers in brown (for the tree trunk) and green (for leaves) color. It is better to take a container of 1.5 and 2 liter volume. The height of your southern "beauty" directly depends on the number of accumulated bottles.

A set of the following tools and parts will be useful:

  • sharpened scissors and knife;
  • tape;
  • cord or braided wire to hold the foliage;
  • plastic pipe or iron fittings for the base of the palm trunk.

It is important to consider that the aesthetic appearance of the future tree depends on containers of the same diameter. But the combination of different shades of green will only give the palm a bright, unique look.

Step-by-step work

If you correctly follow the recommendations for the manufacture of plastic containers, you can assemble a unique tree of the height you need in one free evening. Before starting, thoroughly rinse empty bottles and remove labels from them.

Foliage Assembly

For prepared green bottles, it is necessary to cut off the bottoms with a knife, and the top one will just be a leaf blank. The remaining part is carefully cut into strips with scissors, heading towards the neck of the bottle. Keep in mind that the thinner the cut strips are, the more magnificent the crown of the palm tree will turn out.

We do this until we get the required amount of foliage, which then needs to be strung on a tight rope, cord or wire. It is necessary to screw the lid on the first and last parts to further create the petiole of the leaf.

Experienced craftsmen recommend making a crown of a maximum of seven leaves, so the palm tree will look more magnificent.

Assembling the tree trunk

For brown bottles (at least ten pieces), we cut off only the bottom, then we make longitudinal cuts of the same size right up to the neck of the bottle - these are the stem petals. It is better if you get six equal, fairly wide strips along.

The finished trunk is assembled in the same way as the crown of a tree (bottle stem blanks are strung on the base), as shown in the photo of a palm tree. The base of the tree is carried out using a metal or plastic pipe of the desired length and diameter.

Next, we assemble the finished product by stringing the trunk from the bottom up (outwardly it looks like a pine cone) and attaching a crown to it.

The prepared crown of the palm tree is fixed with glue or tape to the top to get a uniform fluffy foliage.

It is worth considering that the finished craft will not be easy at all, which is why it is reasonable to take a heavy base for the trunk, which is dug into the soil for half a meter, or poured with concrete.

A beautiful evergreen palm tree made from empty polyethylene bottles, which brings warmth in both winter and summer, is ready! In such a simple way, it is possible to independently create a paradise southern corner in a free garden area.

If you turn on the scope of your imagination, you can erect coconut fruits on a finished palm tree. You can implement this idea from a contrasting shade of bottles, or small juice bottles, which will undoubtedly delight children who will frolic near the tree.

Crafts made from polyethylene bottles are extremely durable and useful - cleansing the natural environment from harmful garbage.

Photo of a palm tree from bottles

How to make a palm tree out of plastic bottles


If you don't know how to make a palm tree out of plastic bottles, then we'll show you. You may have admired the neighboring installations made of plastic bottles more than once: there are various animals and a sprawling green palm tree. In fact, it is not so difficult to implement it. If you are not new to needlework, love to experiment and can get a few plastic bottles - you can easily transform your site without spending a lot.

For the stem you will need brownish plastic - this is what kvass is usually sold in, and for the leaves - green, from carbonated drinks. But, depending on your imagination, the tree can be transparent, and blue, and red.

The size of the bottles found will affect the splendor of the crown, but this does not mean that you need to get a huge container for the cooler somewhere. One and a half or two liters are ideal for neat, and moderately sprawling foliage. They do not have to be the same - a slight difference in the length of the leaves will not affect the appearance of the product. Do not throw away corks either: they are useful for decorating flower beds or creating an original mosaic on the fence; you can put them in the decoration of the trunk of your palm tree.

In addition, a piece of rigid cable is required for the trunk of a palm tree, with a diameter slightly smaller than bottle necks. Two metal rods, up to 25 cm high, and two metal pipes that serve as the basis for the tree. They will have to drill holes for the cable. Rectangular stable stand with an area of ​​approximately 60x40 cm and a thickness of more than 5 mm.


  1. How to make palm leaves from plastic bottles
  2. How to make a stem for a palm tree from plastic bottles
  3. How to connect the individual parts of a palm tree from a plastic bottle

How to make palm leaves from plastic bottles

Take green bottles and cut them in half. Cut the upper part, leaving the whole neck (about 2-3 cm from the lid), into many narrow strips. The thinner they are, the more they will turn out on each sheet and the more magnificent the crown will come out.

String blanks on the cable. Insert the resulting leaves into the holes drilled in the metal tube.

How to make a stem for a palm tree out of plastic bottles

  • Now cut off the bottoms of the brown bottles (there is usually a clear outline where you need to cut off).
  • Then cut out small triangular pieces to a height of about 2-3 pieces and turn inside out. When folded back, these petals will give the impression of scaly growths on the trunks of real palm trees.
  • The number of cut bottoms depends on the planned height of the structure.
  • According to the principle of the cone, string the resulting parts with a neck onto the base. Each part should sit on the previous one with a slight shift. Fix the elements.

How to connect the individual parts of a palm tree from a plastic bottle

The last step in how to make a palm tree from plastic bottles is to connect all its parts together. What you need for this: