7 Palm Trees for USDA Zone 9 (for a Tropical Touch)

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Written By Shannon Campbell

Off-Grid Gardener & Food Forager

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Home » USDA Zone 9 » 7 Palm Trees for USDA Zone 9 (for a Tropical Touch)

If you live in one of the warmer regions of the US, such as USDA hardiness zone 9, you don’t have to rely on conifers for year-round evergreen beauty.

Palm trees are excellent evergreen species to grow in zone 9, and well worth planting if you want to add a touch of the exotic to your property.

They are an ideal landscaping tool if you live in warm to hot climates that are dry and coastal, as many palm species are tolerant of heat, drought, and salt spray.

Like all evergreens, palm trees will provide color and texture to your surroundings in every season, with their feathery fronds in green, blue, gray, and yellow, and their rough patterned trunks.

Take a look at these impressive palm trees for zone 9 landscape gardening.

7 Palms To Plant On Your Zone 9 Property

1. Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis)

Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis) Trees
Image by Fern Berg, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

A botanical symbol of the Canary Islands, the aptly named Canary Islands Date Palm is a large, single-trunk palm tree with a very rounded crown, upright growth habit, and long, palmate, arching fronds.

It has a very thick and columnar trunk that can span up to 50 feet tall, excluding its fronds. In its early years the trunk, along with the arching fronds, looks almost like a giant pineapple!

This majestic palm tree is guaranteed to add a touch of exoticism to your zone 9 landscape. Its long panicles of yellow flowers and reddish summer fruits will provide extra color too. Use it as a specimen, accent, or street tree. Despite its size, it also grows relatively well in containers.

Plant the Canary Island Palm in a location with full sun exposure and evenly moist, loamy, fertile, and well-draining soil. This palm is famously low maintenance, so there is little else it will need beyond annual fertilizer.

Other Common Names: Pineapple Palm, Slender Date Palm, Canary Date Palm

  • Growing Zones: 9-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 40-60 feet tall, with a 20-40 foot spread
  • Fruiting Season: Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

2. Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta)

Mexican Fan Palm Lyrae Willis
Images by Lyrae Willis, Own work, for Tree Vitalize

An exceptionally large and fast-growing zone 9 tree, the Mexican Fan Palm can sometimes grow up to 100 feet tall in cultivation!

Despite its height, it has a relatively small and sparse crown comprised of ornate, fan-shaped palmate leaves, and a thin columnar trunk.

It is one of the world’s most widely planted palm trees and is used to great ornamental effect in hot climates, most often as a street tree, accent, specimen, and in public parks and boulevards.

The Mexican Fan Palm also grows enormous sprays of fragrant white flowers, which can grow up to 10 feet long, eventually producing clusters of tiny black fruits. It is a common sight planted along coastlines due to its high salt tolerance and wind resistance.

In its youth the dead fronds will hang below its crown, creating a ‘hula skirt’ effect which the tree is famous for. Despite its novelty, these leaves can create a fire hazard and should be removed as soon as possible.

  • Other Common Names: Thread Palm, Skyduster, Spanish Palm
  • Growing Zones: 9-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 40-80 feet tall, with an 8-10 foot spread
  • Fruiting Season: Summer to Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

3. Jelly Palm (Butia capitata)

Jelly Palm Tree and Fruit Butia capitata
Images via Nature Hills and Moxfyre, Own Work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Also widely known as the Pindo Palm, the Jelly Palm is a medium-sized palm native to some South American countries. It has a very handsome form and ornate, evergreen, compound leaves.

It has a single trunk that is fairly stout and retains the texture of its cut leaves. It is the dense canopy that is most beautiful, with leaves growing upward and outward in a graceful arching fashion.

In summer, the Jelly Palms’ yellow and white flowers only add to their attractiveness, growing in long spikes and omitting a fragrant, fruity scent. The real treasure appears in late summer when these flowers produce date-sized fruits.

These fruits are completely edible, and in South America, they are used to produce a tasty jelly, hence the name ‘jelly’ palm.

The Jelly Palm is pest and disease-resistant, and highly tolerant to drought, salt, and heat. It is one of the hardiest of all ‘feather’ palms.

  • Other Common Names: Pindo Palm, Brazilian Butia Palm, South American Jelly Palm, Satay Palm, Wine 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

4. Mazari Palm (Nannorrhops ritchiana)

Mazari Palm
Image by Daderot via Wikimedia (CC0 1.0)

Native to southwestern Asia, the Mazari Palm is a shrubby, clustered palm species that is rarely used in US landscaping gardens.

This has begun to change in recent years, as more Western gardeners have come to recognize the unique beauty and adaptability of this palm tree.

The Mazari has a low-growing base which produces long stems that grow in tight clusters.

Each stem is topped with a semi-palmate fan-shaped leaf that grows to about 4 feet long and is blue-green to gray-green in color. It produces white flowers on long, monocarpic stems that die back once the flowers drop.

This species is one of the toughest and hardiest palms on the market. It is incredibly drought-resistant in zone 9 and tolerant of high heat, moderate winter frosts, and poor-quality, infertile soil.

It is most important to provide the Mazari with full sun, dry conditions, and well-draining soil. Fertilizer is highly recommended.

  • Other Common Names: Mazzari Palm
  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 10-20 feet tall, with a 5-10 foot spread
  • Fruiting Season: Summer

5. Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana)

Queen Palm Syagrus romanzoffiana - leaves flowers - Sin Medieterraneo .cultivation 2020-04-30
Image by Lyrae Willis, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

You’ll probably recognize this next palm, given its popularity in some of the hottest parts of the country, particularly in Florida and southern California.

The Queen Palm is an elegant single-trunk palm tree with slightly drooping pinnate leaves topping off a tall, branchless trunk.

The Queen Palm has some of the showiest flowers, which are creamy white and grow in long plumes in summer.

These are followed by huge clusters of small bright orange fruits which also add some ornamental appeal. Plant it in full sun with moist, well-draining soil and apply fertilizer regularly for optimal growth.

Be aware that the fruits can become a problem, as noted by the University of Florida Extension, as they weigh over 100 pounds and contain thousands of seeds, which can cause seedlings to spread.

Due to these seedlings, the queen palm is considered invasive in some parts of the US, so make sure to check its status in your state.

  • Other Common Names: Cocos Palm
  • Growing Zones: 9-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 50-70 feet tall, with a 20-30 foot spread
  • Fruiting Season: Fall to Winter

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

6. Blue Hesper Palm (Brahea armata)

Mexican Blue Palm Brahea_armata
Image by Rjcastillo, Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Another Florida favorite is the Blue Hesper Palm, which can grow as low as zone 8. It is an unusual but stunning landscape palm, with a relatively short trunk overwhelmed by a large, round canopy made up of pristine powdery-blue fan-shaped leaves.

Each leaf can grow up to 5 feet long. It is slow-growing and can take up to 10 years to reach its full height, but it is attractive in every stage of its life.

In summer it produces long arching panicles of white flowers that last for a few weeks before giving way to small dark fruits. This palm will be a striking addition to your zone 9 landscape in every season and is well worth considering for a focal point or as part of a foundation planting.

Plant the Blue Hesper Palm in full sun and moist, well-draining soil that is either sandy or loamy.

  • 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: Summer

7. Silver Date Palm (Phoenix sylvestris)

Sylvester Date Palm
Image by Dinesh Valke via Flickr

Another highly popular landscaping palm, the Silver Date Palm is a South Asian native that has also been naturalized around the world and is a common sight in the hottest states in the US.

It has a single robust, diamond-patterned trunk and large feather-shaped leaves that can grow to 15 feet long and form an impressive upright spreading canopy. In summer it produces inflorescences of small white flowers, followed by sweet edible purple-black fruits.

The Silver Date Palm is a tall and majestic species, cutting a striking figure wherever you plant it. It is most often used as a specimen or focal point and is a popular choice for luxury estates, golf courses, and to line public boulevards and avenues.

Plant the Silver Date Palm in moist, well-draining soil. It will need minimal maintenance, including occasional trimming of dead leaves and fertilizing during the growing season.

  • Other Common Names: Sylvester Palm, Wild Date Palm, Toddy Palm, Sylvester Date Palm
  • Growing Zones: 8b-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 30-60 feet tall
  • Fruiting Season: Early Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

Zone 9 Palm Trees Compared

Tree NameGrowing ZonesAverage Size at Maturity
Canary Island Date Palm9-1140-60 feet tall, 20-40 foot spread
Mexican Fan Palm9-1140-80 feet tall, 8-10 foot spread
Jelly Palm7-1118-20 feet tall, 14-16 foot spread
Mazari Palm8-1110-20 feet tall, 5-10 foot spread
Queen Palm9-1150-70 feet tall, 20-30 foot spread
Blue Hesper Palm8-1120-40 feet tall, 15-20 foot spread
Silver Date Palm8b-1130-60 feet tall

Four Seasons of Tropical Color

These are just a few of the many gorgeous tropical palm species that can thrive in zone 9 environments.

Of course, palm trees have their own special set of needs. For example, while they will tolerate more heat and drought than most deciduous trees and conifers, the majority of palm species will need regular palm fertilizer applied between 1-3 times per year to stimulate growth and foliage production.

But with enough research and care, you’ll find that these zone 9 palm trees are relatively easy to establish and maintain, and you’ll be enjoying their tropical evergreen beauty in no time.

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Photo of author

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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