Factors to Consider in Choosing the Right Palm

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Warm or Cold?

The prevailing climate of your area will determine the limitations of your palm list. If you live in a warm to tropical region, you can cultivate most palm varieties. Since palms are endemic to tropical places, these can very well adapt to your place.

However, if you love palms but live in a place with cooler temperature especially during the winter months, choose cold hardy palms instead. There is quite a list of these palms that can be found online as well as tips on how to care for them. Some examples are Chinese windmill (Tracarpis fortunei), Cocos (Syagrus romanzoffiana), WineButia capitata), European Fan Chamerops humilis), Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)


Cold hardy palms require a different level of attention from real tropical palms. Taking the proper steps in caring for these plants ensures their survival and full growth.

Location, Location, Location

Have a plan in hand and make it a good one. Putting the palm in the right location can result in a garden that jumps at you as soon as you view it. Palms, even simple ones, can work wonders for a rather conservative garden. These provide character as well as shade.

Palms differ in their nature, too. There are palms that love full sun exposure. These do not exhibit signs of weakness or deterioration in spite of totally basking under the sun's rays. After all, their nature is the result of their evolution in a tropical zone. But some palms have low tolerance for heat.  These palms are endemic to cooler regions and are therefore cold hardy.

Garden Layout

Architectural landscaping can provide you with some basic guidelines on how to position your plants and palms. Positioning is important to their survival. For instance, placing palms close to each other may deprive them of sufficient soil nutrients as well as space.

Some palms require more space to extend their fronds. eg Bismarkia noblis. This goes for palms with moderate height but with a rather long reach. Windmill palms can be clustered together but with adequate space for their roots to breath.

Another thing about garden layout is how palms are put together with other plant species. The aesthetics have to go well together to create a magnificent resemblance to a real tropical paradise.  Putting together different tropical and sub-tropical plants, aside from palms, produces visual diversity. There should be a lot going on when it comes to your garden design, feather leafed palms with fan palms or just a mass planting of one type, like Bangalows around the base of Mt Warning which are mixed up with rainforest trees.

The location of your palms has to complement your garden design. Placing them on the side of stone pathways can create a natural canopy in the area. By knowing the features of each palm, you can manipulate these to your advantage. Bangalow palms are tall and skinny and so sometimes look nice behind other tropical looking plants.

Soil Condition

Some palms are more tolerant than others when it comes to the quality of the soil. Others can thrive in salty elements while some palms prefer plain moist and well-drained soil. Ask an expert to analyze your garden soil then seek recommendations on which palms to plant. Foxtails are good for dry areas and are reasonable cold tolerant, growing in areas sheltered from frosts around Canberra.

Remember to take into account your grand idea for the whole garden set up. This makes your palm selection more efficient because of the added limitations. However, this should not stop you from planting the palms that you want even if all conditions point otherwise. After all, it is easy to purchase the right amount and quality of soil.

Whatever palm you choose, it is certain that it will make your garden the best one in the neighbourhood. Palm foliage can make any garden or house property very warm and inviting. The fronds provide moderate shade and create a relaxing atmosphere as these sway gently against the wisp of a soft breeze.

Palms can grow more beautiful with proper care. Learning the basics will make your palms survive even when these are not in their natural habitat. But most of all, good palm care will turn your garden into the tropical paradise that others can only imagine.


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