14 Types of Palm Trees in Texas (That Will Thrive)

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Home » Texas » 14 Types of Palm Trees in Texas (That Will Thrive)

Palm trees are abundant in Texas. The palm tree family is huge and actually encompasses several different genuses, so there’s a huge variety to choose from.

There are dozens of Palm species that can grow in different parts of Texas, but usually each one has a specific climate it likes to grow in.

Texas USDA Hardiness Zones are 7a-10a and this range includes desert, coastal, plains, forest, and mountain climates!

Because of this beautiful diversity, it’s important to know which zone you’re in and what plants can grow there.

Interestingly, not all palm trees are beach-climate loving!

Even though we most often see palm trees along beaches, some prefer to grow in dry, desert-like conditions, others can handle more chilly weather and can grow up to north-central Texas.

Keep reading to see which Texas palm trees are perfect for your neighborhood!

14 Texas Palm Trees to Grow Successfully

1. King Palm (Archontophoenix alexandrae)

Alexander Palm, King Palm tree (Archontophoenix alexandrae)
Image by Fern Berg, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

Of course, this list begins with the King Palm, an impressive palm tree that’s become a favorite for many reasons. This tree is native to Queensland, Australia but is super popular in the U.S. and many other countries.

These trees grow fairly tall and have a single, vertical trunk that gives way to a huge palm canopy. Their canopies are quite wide, filled with palm leaves that fan out into thin segments..

In mid-summer, King Palm trees blossom with tiny purple flowers that are followed by their fruit. These little fruits start as bright green but darken to red as they ripen.

King Palm trees are ideal for tropical and subtropical climates. They will suffer from cold damage at temperatures 25 F and below.

These trees grow pretty slowly but are very low maintenance. They need little water and grow best in well-draining soil since they are highly susceptible to root rot.

  • Other Common Names: Alexander Palm, Alexandra, Northern Bungalow Palm, Feather Palm
  • Growing Zones: 9-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall by 10-15 ft wide
  • Season: Summer

2. Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta)

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

The Mexican Fan Palm is another popular palm tree in Texas, and is a bit more cold hardy than the King Palm.

As the name suggests, this palm is native to Mexico so you can imagine that it grows well in southwestern and southern TX along the border to Mexico.

However, Mexican Fan Palms can thrive in zone 8, which encompasses all of central TX and even up to Dallas and Fort Worth.

These palms can tolerate temperatures down to 15 F, but really should be protected once temperatures drop below 23 F. They’re also quite drought resistant and don’t need to be watered once established.

Mexican Fan Palm trees have a straight, grayish trunk that is usually covered in a “hula skirt” of dead leaf bases.

When the leaves die, they dry up but remain attached at the base, so these trees do require maintenance to remove the old leaves if you prefer a clean trunk.

  • Other Common Names: Washington Palm, Skyduster
  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 50-60 ft tall by 5-10 ft wide
  • Season: Summer

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

3. Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia nobilis)

Bismarck Palm (Bismarckia Nobilis) - Small Tree
Image by Fern Berg, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

The Bismarck Palm is native to Madagascar and looks very tropical, however it’s also quite cold hardy! These palms can also comfortably live in zone 8 and tolerate temperatures down to 15 F.

These trees have a large presence and are a great focal point in an ornamental landscape.

Bismarck Palms are very wide with leaves that can be 8 to 10 feet long, usually with 20 to 25 leaves on each tree. These leaves have a blue tint and contrast nicely against the grayish bark.

In late Spring, Bismarck Palm blossoms with fragrant flowers. The flowers are followed by small, blue fruits but these are inedible.

Bismarck Palm grows best in full sun but it can also grow in partial shade. These trees are known to be very adaptable to different types of soil.

Because they’re so wide, and also quite tall, Bismarck Palms are great shade trees and are a great option if you want to make your home look more expensive.

  • Other Common Names: Bismarkia Palm, Nobilis Palm
  • Growing Zones: 8-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall by 15-20 ft wide
  • Season: Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

4. Triangle Palm (Dypsis decaryi)

Triangle Palm
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

Triangle Palms are also native to Madagascar and have an equally bold look. These palms have straight leaves that fan out in a pyramidal way, giving it its name “Triangle Palm.”

Triangle Palms have a single and straight trunk that is marked by the old leaf bases of fallen leaves.

At its canopy, these palms open to several, 10-foot long leaves that have a blue-green color. These leaves split into thin segments and have a feathery look.

Since these trees are so wide, they need an open and spacious place to be big and breathe. Also, they do best with full sun or light shade, so they really shouldn’t be crowded.

Triangle Palms have a fast growing rate and need little water to thrive. They’re not very cold hardy and only tolerate freezing temperatures once they’re mature.

However, a benefit of these tropical trees is that they bloom all year long!

  • Other Common Names: Three-sided Palm, Madagascar Three-sided Palm, Neodypsis Decaryiraveler’s Tree
  • Growing Zones: 10-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 10-20 ft tall by 10-15 ft wide
  • Season: Spring

5. Caranday Palm (Copernicia alba or Trithrinax campestris)

Caranday Palm
Image by Bernard DUPONT via Flickr

The Caranday Palm is a rare species that isn’t often found in Texas, but it can grow super well in the south.

This species is originally from the Amazon basin, so it thrives in hot and humid conditions. If you’ve ever been in southern Texas in the summer, you know it’s hot and humid!

These tropical trees have straight, grayish trunks that give way to blue-green leaves, sometimes with a hint of silver.

The leaves aren’t so long, only reaching about 2 feet. The leaves are quite rigid and upright, so Caranday Palms have a spherical canopy.

When the leaves die, they stay attached to the tree at first but eventually fall to the ground. Their leaves are covered in a wax that has been used to make lipstick, candles, or balms.

Interestingly, these trees fruit first, then flower! In late summer, they produce little black fruits followed by small white flowers.

  • Other Common Names: Carandá Palm, Wax Palm, Caranday Wax Palm
  • Growing Zones: 9-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall by 10-15 ft wide
  • Season: Summer and Fall

6. Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens)

Saw palmetto
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

The Saw Palmetto is a mini palm that would be perfect for any of you doubting whether you can fit a 40-foot tall or 10-foot wide grandiose palm in your yard!

Saw Palmetto trees have rhizomatic roots- a type of root system that spreads irregularly and often leads to new trees popping up next to the original that you planted! This makes Saw Palmetto a great ground cover tree to go below taller trees.

It’s a great pick for homesteading or food forests because of its versatile uses. The flowers make delicious honey and attract lots of native birds.

The black berries are edible and traditionally medicinal. Plus, oil can be produced from the seeds and the leaves can be used for building.

The Saw Palmetto is one of the hardiest trees on this list, tolerating temperatures down to 0 F! This makes it viable even for northern TX.

  • Other Common Names: Silver Saw Palmetto Palm, Scrub Palm
  • Growing Zones: 7a-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 5-10 ft tall by 1-5 ft wide
  • Season: Spring and Fall

7. Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei)

Windmill Palm tree or Trachycarpus fortunei
Image via Fast-Growing-Trees

Windmill Palms are also quite cold hardy and are known to do well in semi-temperate climates. This species of palm is native to Asia, so it better tolerates cooler temperatures and humidity rather than dry, desert climates.

Windmill Palms have light green leaves that fan out and slightly droop down. They grow in a tall, vertical way with a single trunk.

Their flowers are fragrant and bloom during the whole year! They can be cream, yellow, or pale green, although the female flowers tend to be greener.

These trees are dioecious, which means they have male and female flowers on different trees. This means you need the male and female tree to have fruits. However, their dark purple fruits are inedible anyhow.

Windmill Palms grow slowly and are at their best in acidic to neutral soil. They like partial sun or shade, so they can be planted in a shady corner where nothing else will grow.

  • Other Common Names: Chusan Palm, Hemp Palm, Nepalese Palm, Chinese Windmill Palm
  • Growing Zones: 8a-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 10-40 ft tall by 6-10 ft wide
  • Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

8. Cabbage Palm (Sabal palmetto)

Cabbage Palm tree
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

The Cabbage Palm is a really common species for landscaping that can be found all throughout the southern U.S.. In fact, it’s the state tree of Florida because this iconic palm is everywhere!

This is a fairly tall species, with a tall and slender trunk reaching about 50 feet high. Its leaves extend outward in a circle, so the Cabbage Palm has a round canopy.

The dead leaves drop but their leaf base remains, leaving a criss-crossing pattern of old leaf bases on the trunk.

In the Spring, Cabbage Palms blossom with little, creamy white flowers that are very fragrant.

These are followed by little fruits that ripen at the end of the summer. These fruits are inedible but the young leaf buds, or “palm hearts”, are often eaten in salads!

These trees are perfect coastal plants, with high wind and salt tolerance. They’re very strong and usually live to about 150 years!

  • Other Common Names: Cabbage Palmetto, Florida Palmetto, Sabal Palm, Blue Palmetto
  • Growing Zones: 8a-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 40-50 ft tall by 10-15 ft wide
  • Season: Spring and Summer

9. California Fan Palm (Washingtonia Filifera)

California Fan Palm tree
Image by Laura Camp via Flickr

The California Fan Palm is one of the few palm species that’s native to the U.S.. Its genus name, Washingtonia, is named after president George Washington!

California Fan Palms are also tall, columnar trees with a round canopy. Although, California Fan Palms have a bushier canopy because their leaves split into very thin segments.

The leaves are waxy, gray-green and grow to be 3 to 6 feet long. When the leaves die, they dry up but don’t fall on their own.

Unless removed, the dead leaves pile up giving the trunk a cone shape, hence the name “Petticoat Palm.”

In the Spring, these trees bloom with little white flowers that are slightly fragrant. Their fruits are black once they ripen, at the end of the summer.

These trees can grow as far north as central TX and are cold hardy down to 20 F.

  • Other Common Names: Arizona Fan Palm, American Cotton Palm, Desert Fan Palm, Petticoat Palm
  • Growing Zones: 8a-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 40-60 ft tall by 10-20 ft wide
  • Season: Spring and Summer

10. Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal minor)

Dwarf Palmetto
Image by weta2000nz via Flickr

The Dwarf Palmetto is also native to the U.S., primarily found in the southeast. So, you can imagine, it thrives in the humid and wet climate of eastern TX. Because it has adapted as a coastal plant, it’s also quite salt and drought tolerant.

These palms can be considered more of a shrub than a tree, because they’re so small and just as wide as they are tall. They usually don’t have a trunk but Dwarf Palmettos can be trained to be small trees.

The leaves are dark green with a hint of blue and are typically 3 feet long. The flowers are white and are super fragrant.

They grow on long stems, called petioles, that can be 6 feet long- making them longer than the leaves!

Obviously, Dwarf Palmettos are great for smaller gardens or yards, or they can be grown in a container on a patio. They thrive in shade so they’re also great understory trees.

  • Other Common Names: Bush Palmetto, Scrub Palmetto, Bluestem Palmetto
  • Growing Zones: 7-10
  • Average Size at Maturity: 4-6 ft tall by 4-6 ft wide
  • Season: Spring and Summer

11. Mediterranean Fan Palm (Chamaerops Humilis)

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

The Mediterranean Fan Palm also grows in a bushy way, often with multiple trunks and, seemingly, multiple little trees. Although, usually their trunks aren’t very pronounced and can be hidden in their shrubby shape.

These trees have large leaves that can be 2 feet long. The wide spreading leaves are what make this tree wider than it is tall, and makes it look more like a bush.

These trees are also very colorful! Their leaves are vibrant blue-green and their flowers are bright yellow. Their fruits are yellow when they appear but turn orange to brown as they ripen.

The Mediterranean Fan Palm is the only palm tree native to Europe and has adapted to tolerate hot and cold climates. It grows very slowly and is even slower in colder regions.

This tree is often planted in groups as a privacy fence but it can also be trained individually to grow as a little tree.

  • Other Common Names: European Fan Palm, Dwarf Fan Palm
  • Growing Zones: 9-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 6-15 ft tall by 6-20 ft wide
  • Season: Spring and Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

12. Mexican Blue Fan Palm (Brahea Armata)

Mexican Blue Fan Palm tree
Image by cultivar4123 via Flickr

The Mexican Blue Fan Palm could be one of the most ornamental palms on this list. Its leaves are colorful and its presence is bold!

These palms have thick trunks that are covered by fibers from the dead leaf bases. The leaves grow outwards and look as if they’re bursting from the trunk. And at 5 feet long, the canopy of this tree looks like a starburst!

As the names suggest, these gorgeous leaves are light blue with a gray tint. Plus, the leaves have many, thin segments that make them look like feathers, which adds to the “bursting” look.

Mexican Blue Fan Palms grow slowly but with little maintenance and grow to be very strong. They’re heat and wind tolerant, thriving in full sun and cold hardy down to 18 F. They grow well in poor, dry soil and only need to be watered sparingly.

  • Other Common Names: Big Blue Hesper Palm, Blue Fan Palm, Gray Goddess, Short Blue Hesper
  • Growing Zones: 9-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 20-40 ft tall by 12-25 ft wide
  • Season: Spring and Summer

13. Needle Palm (Rhapidophyllum Hystrix)

Needle Palm tree
Image by weta2000nz via Flickr (Needle Palm in Center)

Needle Palms are another small variety of palm tree that can be grown in small yards or on a patio. Because of their size, these trees are adapted to growing in shade, so they can be tucked into shady corners of your yard.

Needle Palms have short, thick trunks that are often shrouded by their bushy leaves. The leaves are dark green and can span 3 feet wide. The leaves have many, super thin segments, each of which have a needle-point tip.

Their flowers are creamy-white and grow in large clusters. They blossom in Spring but are usually covered by the dense foliage. Throughout the Summer the fruits ripen and turn a dark, reddish-brown yet these are also hidden in the leaves!

Another good option for growers in northern TX, Needle Palms are cold hardy down to 5 F. They’re also highly drought tolerant and can grow in compact soil.

  • Other Common Names: Blue Palmetto, Porcupine Palm
  • Growing Zones: 6-10
  • Average Size at Maturity: 3-6 ft tall by 4-8 ft wide
  • Season: Spring and Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

14. Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera)

Date Palm Lyrae Willis
Images by Lyrae Willis, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

Lastly, but possibly the best pick, is the Date Palm, a species that humanity has a long history with.

This tree has been cultivated by people in the eastern Mediterranean for thousands of years! This tree has been grown for its fruit, to produce oil, as building material, and much more.

Date Palms are tall trees with open canopies of feather-like leaves. Their leaves can be 10 to 16 feet long and fan out in every direction.

These trees provide great shade either for people or smaller trees below, as they were classically used as an overstory tree in ancient food forests.

Date Palms are still one of the most popular fruit trees in northern Africa and eastern Mediterranean.

Because this is their native climate, these palms are highly drought tolerant and adapted to coastal weather.

Because of its long history, there are now many varieties of date palms with varying fruits.

  • Other Common Names: Phoenix Sylvestris Palm
  • Growing Zones: 9-11
  • Average Size at Maturity: 50-80 ft tall by 20-40 ft wide
  • Season: Spring and Fall

Comparing Texas Palm Tree Varieties

VarietyDescriptionGrowing ZonesAverage Size at Maturity
King PalmTall, with a single vertical trunk and wide canopy.9-1130-40 ft tall x 10-15 ft wide
Mexican Fan PalmStraight grayish trunk, often with a “hula skirt” of dead leaves.8-1150-60 ft tall x 5-10 ft wide
Bismarck PalmLarge presence with wide, blue-tinted leaves.8-1130-40 ft tall x 15-20 ft wide
Triangle PalmStraight leaves fan out pyramidally.10-1110-20 ft tall x 10-15 ft wide
Caranday PalmIdeal for hot, humid conditions.9-1130-40 ft tall x 10-15 ft wide
Saw PalmettoRhizomatic roots, cold hardy down to 0°F.7a-115-10 ft tall x 1-5 ft wide
Windmill PalmNative to Asia, suitable for semi-temperate climates.8a-1110-40 ft tall x 6-10 ft wide
Cabbage PalmTall and slender trunk. Round canopy with palm hearts edible in salads.8a-1140-50 ft tall x 10-15 ft wide
California Fan PalmColumnar tree with a round, bushy canopy.8a-1140-60 ft tall x 10-20 ft wide
Dwarf PalmettoSmall size, adaptable as a ground cover or shrub.7-104-6 ft tall x 4-6 ft wide
Mediterranean Fan PalmGrows in a bushy way with multiple trunks.9-116-15 ft tall x 6-20 ft wide
Mexican Blue Fan PalmOrnamental with thick trunks and starburst canopy. Light blue-gray leaves.9-1120-40 ft tall x 12-25 ft wide
Needle PalmSmall variety. Bushy leaves with needle-point tips.6-103-6 ft tall x 4-8 ft wide
Date PalmTall trees with open canopies, feather-like leaves.9-1150-80 ft tall x 20-40 ft wide

Pick Your Palm!

Of course, there are many more species of palm trees that could be included.

Most palm trees like to grow in hot, dry or coastal climates and since Texas has these conditions, lots of palm trees are eligible to grow in the state.

What’s most important is that you do some research to see what zone you’re in and make sure you pick a palm that fits your climate.

There’s such a huge range of palm trees and, with that, a range of what growing conditions they need. So it pays off to see what they need and what you have!

The benefit of there being so many kinds of palm trees is that you can surely find what you’re looking for.

Whether you want a smaller, more manageable tree or a huge, delicious date-producing palm, there’s definitely a Palm tree in Texas for you!

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Peyton Warmack-Chipman

Environmental Politics & Permaculture Enthusiast

Peyton considers trees not just as plants that provide shade or yummy fruits, but as necessary for a healthy life and community. Peyton has done most of her research on environmental politics, but recently has shifted her focus towards actual agricultural practices, learning about ideas like agroforestry, food forests, and permaculture gardening. She's most often in the kitchen whipping something up, but otherwise can be found on long bike rides or doing research.

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