9 Palm Trees for USDA Zone 8 Gardens & Landscapes

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Written By Shannon Campbell

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Home » USDA Zone 8 » 9 Palm Trees for USDA Zone 8 Gardens & Landscapes

If you live in a climate that is hot enough, you’ll be able to grow beautiful and statuesque palm trees.

These tropical and Mediterranean evergreens add year-round color, texture, and style to your property, and most can be used in a number of practical ways in the landscape as focal points, street trees, accents, and more!

Most palm trees grow best in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11. But gardeners in USDA zone 8 will be pleased to know that their zone is just warm enough to accommodate a number of cold-tolerant palm trees.

Here are nine of the best palm trees for zone 8.

9 Palm Trees For Zone 8 Gardeners to Plant Today

1. Blue Hesper Palm (Brahea armata)

Blue Hesper Palm
Image by Torquay Palms via Flickr

Gardeners in Florida will likely recognize the striking blue Hesper Palm, a popular specimen in the state and a native of Mexico.

If only all gardeners who reside in zone 8 were as familiar with this gorgeous tropical palm! With its bold form, silvery blue color, and ornamental foliage, it is an excellent option for zone 8 landscapes.

In summer this impressive palm lights up with enormous feathery garlands of yellow flowers that soar up and out from its crown and can grow up to 15 feet long.

They then turn into rounded golden fruits. And of course, its leaves remain bright and pristine through winter, so it provides year-round color and texture to your property.

Plant the Blue Hesper Palm in moist, well-draining soil and full sun. It is an adaptable palm, able to tolerate poor, dry soil, though it prefers loamy and sandy soils with neutral to acidic pH levels.

Other Common Names: Mexican Blue Palm, Blue Palm, Gray Goddess, Sweet Brahea Palm

Growing Zones: 8-11

Average Size at Maturity: 20-40 feet tall, with a 15-20 foot spread

Flowering Season: Late Winter to Early Spring

2. Pindo Palm (Butia capitata)

Pindo Palm
Image by Megan Hansen via Flickr

The Pindo Palm is one of the most cold-tolerant palm species grown in the United States and is a particularly popular landscaping species along the east coast.

It possesses a stunning growth habit, with feathery pinnate leaves that burst out from the palm’s thick trunk, forming a dense canopy that looks almost fountain-like.

This palm is also known for its yellow summer fruits, which add ornamental appeal and are entirely edible.

Known as Pindo dates, these fruits can be made into jams and jellies according to the University of Florida Gardening Solutions. They are usually planted away from paved areas so the falling fruits won’t cause a mess.

You can plant the Pindo near a pool to add some tropical flair, in a container as a patio plant, or use it more conventionally as a specimen or foundation planting.

Other Common Names: Jelly Palm, Brazilian Butia Palm, South American Jelly Palm, Yatay Palm

Growing Zones: 7-11

Average Size at Maturity: 18-20 feet tall, with a 14-16 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Mid to Late Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

3. Mediterranean Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis)

Mediterranean Fan Palm
Images by Lyrae Willis, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

A classic hardy palm for landscape gardening is the Mediterranean Fan Palm, the only palm native to Europe. This versatile and ornamental plant is known for its unique multi-trunk growth habit and dense but well-balanced foliage.

The leaves of these plants can be left to grow in a naturally shrubby form or pruned back to accentuate the shaggy and fibrous trunks, which are often considered to be the highlight of the species.

It will be a true attention-grabber in any space, so make sure to plant your Mediterranean Fan Palm where it can be seen and admired. You can even consider growing it in a container or as a houseplant if you have the space, as it will take well to either.

The Mediterranean Fan Palm should grow perfectly well outdoors in zone 8, just make sure to fertilize it each fall. It will tolerate a wide range of soil types and conditions.

Other Common Names: European Fan Palm

Growing Zones: 7-11

Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 feet tall, with a 6-8 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

4. Chilean Wine Palm (Jubaea chilensis)

One of the most grandiose of all palm species, the Chilean Wine Palm will become the center point of your property – if you have the space to plant it.

It is said to be the “most massive palm in the world” according to the Australian National Arboretum, with a huge trunk that can reach up to 6 feet in diameter.

Its narrow, gray-green pinnate leaves are narrow and very long, arching out from the crown and forming a round, symmetrical canopy. In summer it produces pale yellow and purple flowers followed by edible fruits filled with a coconut-flavored pulp. The sap of the Chilean Wine Palm can be fermented into wine, hence the name.

The Chilean Wine Palm is very long-lived for a palm tree, able to live for several hundred years in the right conditions. Plant in a location with full sun in fertile, moist, well-draining soil.

Other Common Names: Chilean Coquito Palm, Coquito, Honey Palm, Little Cokernut Palm, Palm Honey Tree, Chilean Cocopalm

Growing Zones: 8-11

Average Size at Maturity: 60-80 feet tall, with a 20-25 foot spread

Flowering Season: Summer

5. Sylvester Date Palm (Phoenix sylvestris)

Sylvester Date Palm
Image by Dinesh Valke via Flickr

Native to southern Asia, the Sylvester Date Palm is an unusual choice in US domestic landscaping, as it is more commonly planted on luxury estates, golf courses, and resorts.

Add a taste of tropical luxury with this beautiful palm. It has a thick trunk covered in a jagged diamond pattern which adds immense visual interest, topped off by a wide-spreading upright canopy.

The Sylvester Palm works well as a specimen, focal point, and accent tree. Its summer fruits can be used to make wine and jellies, and its sap is used as a source of palm jaggery (cane sugar) in countries like India and Bangladesh.

Maintaining the Sylvester’s neat, aesthetic appearance will take some time and effort as you’ll need to regularly trim the skirt of dead leaves that will form at the top of the trunk.

Otherwise, it is fairly easy to grow and care for with regular fertilizing. It prefers moist, well-draining soil but is fairly drought-tolerant.

Other Common Names: Sylvester Palm, Wild Date Palm, Toddy Palm, Silver Date Palm

Growing Zones: 8b-11 (may need some protection in 8a)

Average Size at Maturity: 30-60 feet tall

Fruiting Season: Early Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

6. Chinese Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei)

Chinese Windmill Palm
Image by Torquay Palms via Flickr

One of the most popular hardy palm trees is the Chinese Windmill Palm, named for the way the long stems of its palmate leaves fan out from the palms trunk, resembling the formation of a windmill.

It is a narrow palm with a straight, thick trunk that is shaggy and fibrous, and has a slow growth rate of less than a foot per year.

The Windmill Palm looks especially effective at the entrance of a property or grown along driveways, and it grows equally well outdoors and in containers. This palm has been used in its native China as a resource for making household items, such as clothing or rope, for countless centuries.

Plant the Chinese Windmill Palm in full to partial shade, in fertile, well-draining soil. Plant in a sheltered location and add some minor frost protection such as mulching in case of unpredictable weather in winter.

Other Common Names: Windmill Palm, Chinese Fan Palm, Hemp Palm, Chusan Palm, Fortunes Palm, Nepalese Fan Palm

Growing Zones: 7-11

Average Size at Maturity: 8-10 feet tall, with a 4-6 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

7. Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)

Saw Palmetto
Image by weta2000nz via Flickr

One of the most cold-tolerant palm trees on the market, the Saw Palmetto can be grown in as low as zone 7!

It will grow well in zone 8 and as a native species hailing from the southern coastal plains of states like Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, it will be fairly easy to grow in most warm US climates.

This palm grows as a clumped, multi-stemmed shrub with low-growing stems that can grow as creeping ground cover. Its fan-shaped leaves grow tiny sharp teeth on their stems, hence the name ‘Saw Palmetto’. It can be grown as a short screen, a backdrop to a mixed flower bed, or individually as a focal point.

The Saw Palmetto also produces small yellow flowers in spring that are both useful and ornamental. They are attractive to pollinators and can be used to produce very high-quality palmetto honey.

Other Common Names: Silver Saw Palmetto

Growing Zones: 7-11

Average Size at Maturity: 3-6 feet tall, with a 1-5 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Late Summer to Mid Fall

8. California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera)

California Fan Palm tree
Image by Laura Camp via Flickr

As the name suggests, Californian gardeners will be well acquainted with the California Fan Palm. Its tall, thin trunk, fan-shaped leaves, and rounded canopy are a somewhat common sight in arid, dry southwestern climates.

It is a truly unique specimen, being the largest native palm in the country and the only palm native to the western United States.

It is used extensively in landscaping outside of its native zone and makes an excellent centerpiece for a back or front yard.

In summer this palm lights up with enormous sprays of creamy white flowers that transition into tiny black fruits. It is a popular choice for public parks and wide open landscapes due to its large size.

The California Fan Palm is easy to grow and maintain. It is relatively pest and disease resistant and its dead leaves can be pruned very quickly to maintain neatness.

Other Common Names: California Palm, Desert Fan Palm, Petticoat Palm, American Cotton Palm, Arizona Fan Palm

Growing Zones: 30-80 feet tall, with a 15-foot spread

Average Size at Maturity: 8-11

Flowering Season: Summer

9. Cabbage Palm (Sabal Palmetto)

Cabbage Palm
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

Hardy and adaptable, the Cabbage Palm is an easy choice for US gardeners who want to grow a cold-tolerant palm tree on their property.

This tree thrives in warm, coastal areas, and grows as a tall, upright, single-trunked palm. It has a rounded canopy made up of costapalmate leaves, which are palm leaves that are a mix of fan-shaped and feather-shaped.

The Cabbage Palm is widely used in landscaping as a street tree, specimen, or in loose groupings due to its tough, durable nature. It is particularly tolerant to drought and salt spray, and highly resistant to pests and disease.

This palm tree is believed to be hardy down to zone 8a, but some frost protection is recommended in case of unpredictable weather events where temperatures drop below 10 degrees F. Cabbage Palms planted in zone 8b should not need protection.

Other Common Names: Sabal Palmetto, Cabbage Palmetto, Palmetto, Sabal Palm, Blue Palmetto, Common Palmetto, Swamp Cabbage, Garfield’s Tree, Carolina Palmetto

Growing Zones: 8-11

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 feet tall, with a 10-15 foot spread

Fruiting Season: Fall

Ornamental Palms for Dry Zone 8 Landscapes

Keep in mind that palm trees have different needs than the average deciduous landscaping tree, so you’ll need to get familiar with these growing requirements before you buy them.

No matter how different they are, most palm trees require full sunlight, regular and thorough fertilizer, consistent water in their first years, and so on.

If you take care to familiarize yourself with them and choose the right species for your landscape, you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous palm trees that add evergreen color and an exotic element to your property.

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Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

Shannon has always loved looking after trees and plants since as long as she can remember. She grew up gardening with her family in their off-grid home and looking after her neighbor's plant nursery. As a child she also participated in native tree replanting, and as an adult has volunteered in reforestation programs in northern Vietnam. Today, she puts her horticultural efforts into tending her vegetable and herb gardens, and learning about homesteading and permaculture. When she’s not reading, writing, and gardening, she’ll be out fishing and foraging for edible flora and fungi in the countryside around her home.

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