While palms in general are known for their love of sunlight, it may come as a surprise that there are some palm species out there that will tolerate and in some cases prefer low light and part sun conditions.
If your yard is a bit “sun challenged” then here’s a list of some cold hardy palms for shady areas of your landscape.
Butia Capitata – Pindo Palm
Known for its tropical flavored fruit popular for making wine and jelly, the Pindo palm has a very tropical appearance for such a cold hardy palm.
Pindo palms have large, curved pinnate fronds and will get to a height of approximately 25 feet.
They prefer well draining soil and will grow in part to full sun.
Zone Tolerance: 7b-11
Read my full article on the Pindo palm HERE
Chamaerops Humilis – Mediterranean Fan Palm
The Mediterranean Fan palm is a shrub-like suckering fan palm that has become quite popular in many colder areas. It’s smaller size makes it ideal for entryways, small yards and around pools.
They have small green fronds and have a silver variety known as the “Cinera”. These palms get approximately 10-15 feet in height and 15 feet wide at maturity
They are drought tolerant and prefer well draining soil with part to full sun.
Zone Tolerance: 7a-11
Read my full article on the Mediterranean Fan palm HERE
Livistona Chinensis – Chinese Fan Palm
The Chinese Fan palm has become quite popular in subtropical and temperate climates over the years. It is tolerant of moderate freezes, low light conditions and its ability to grow well as an indoor palm.
These palms have large, circular light green fan fronds that droop at the ends. They can achieve a height of about 40-50 feet and can grow at faster rates if given ample moisture.
Chinese Fan palms are drought tolerant, but prefer humid environments. They grow in a variety of soils and prefer part to full sun.
Zone Tolerance: 8a-11
Read my full article on the Chinese Fan palm HERE
Phoenix Roebelenii – Pygmy Date Palm
With its growing popularity in temperate and subtropical climates, the Pygmy Date palm is a perfect candidate for low light areas. They are a compact palm ideal for entryways and near pools due to their nice tropical appearance.
Pygmy palms have small, light to dark green pinnate fronds that grow approximately 2-3 feet in length. Its solitary trunk can get up to 10-15 feet high at maturity.
They will need will need moist, well draining soil with occasional fertilization to keep it looking its best. Prefers part sun, but will tolerate some full sun in temperate climates.
Zone Tolerance: 9b-11
Rhapidophyllum Hystrix – Needle Palm
Arguably the most cold hardy palm in the world, the Needle palm is a great choice for those in extreme northern areas that would still like to grow an outdoor palm. They are extremely cold hardy, tolerant of low light and ideal for growing around the border of properties due to their dense hedge-like stature.
The Needle palm is suckering with several trunks and sharp needles near the base. The small, dense palmate fronds vary from light to dark green and can reach a height of about 6 feet tall and even larger in width.
Needle palms need hot, humid summers and will grow in a variety of soil types. They will need part to full sun and can be grown as a ground palm underneath larger specimens.
Zone Tolerance: 6b-11
Read my full article on the Needle Palm HERE
Sabal Minor – Dwarf Palmetto
Naturally growing in many areas of the Southeast U.S., the Dwarf Palmetto is a shade loving trunkless palm known to be almost as cold hardy as the Needle palm.
There are many different species of dwarf palmetto and can range greatly in size and appearance. Fronds can get up to 6 feet in width in some varieties and will only show a slight trunk in the most mature of specimens.
They prefer swampy humid conditions, grow in a variety of soil types and love heavily shaded areas underneath larger growth where they are native.
Zone Tolerance: 6b-11
Serenoa Repens – Saw Palmetto
Known for its medicinal prostate health benefits, the Saw Palmetto is another dwarf variety similar to the common Dwarf Palmetto. They can be found widely scattered and tucked underneath larger trees along highways and interstates across northern Florida.
Saw Palmettos have small fan fronds that vary from light to dark green. There is also a silver form with a much brighter color and contrasts well when planted next to each other. They can get approximately 10 feet tall and much wider in width creating a hedge-like appearance, much like the Needle palm.
These palms love hot humid areas and can grow in a variety of moist soil types. They can tolerate full sun, but prefer part sun and shade.
Zone Tolerance: 8a-11, possibly lower
Trachycarpus Fortunei – Windmill Palm
The Windmill Palm may just be the most popular cold hardy palm out there. They can grow in a variety of climates, handle various lighting conditions and are extremely cold hardy. Their wide availability and medium size have made them a hard palm to pass up for folks living in northern regions where summers are milder.
Windmill palms have many species and can vary in appearance with a compact crown of green fronds and a fibrous trunk. They are a mid-size palm averaging a height of about 15 to 20 feet tall. These palms prefer temperate areas and can suffer a bit in extreme heat and humidity.
They prefer moist, well draining soil and thrive in part or full sun.
Zone Tolerance: 7a-11
Read my full article on the Windmill Palm HERE