Many of you reading this are probably aware that Texas is a HUGE state.
Even driving from one end of the state to the other can seem like you’re taking a cross-country trip!
With that said, there is a huge difference when it comes to growing zones in Texas.
While the northernmost tip of the Texas panhandle is in a solid zone 6, the southernmost tip of the Texas Gulf coast is in an almost tropical feeling zone 10.
This creates a huge opportunity for folks in Texas to grow palm trees.
While some palm trees will not grow in areas of Texas without winter protection, there are quite a few palms that are hardy enough to freezing temperatures that they will survive most North Texas winters.
Texas’ large size means varied growing zones, affecting palm tree cultivation.
Northern Texas is colder (zone 6) while Southern Texas is warmer (zone 10).
Here is a quick list of the 7 best palm trees for North Texas, considering cold hardiness and ease of care.
- Pindo Palm (Butia Capitata): Zone 7b-11, cold hardy, slow growing, tropical appearance, used for wine and jelly.
- Mediterranean Fan Palm (Chamaerops Humilis): Zone 7b-11, tolerates various conditions, small clumping fan palms.
- Needle Palm (Rhapidophyllum Hystrix): Zone 6-11, extremely cold hardy, clumping with dense crown, sharp needles.
- Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal Minor): Zone 6b-11, native to the southeast U.S., trunkless, tolerates various soils and conditions.
- Cabbage Palm (Sabal Palmetto): Zone 7b-11, common in Texas, slow-growing, edible heart, and tolerates various soils.
- Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus Fortunei): Zone 7a-11, cold hardy, versatile, slow/moderate growth, fibrous trunk.
- California Fan Palm (Washingtonia Filifera): Zone 8a-11, drought-tolerant, fast-growing, large size, needs space.
- Texas’ mild climate generally supports these palms, but occasional severe freezes may require protection.
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What Are the Best Palm Trees For North Texas?
We’ve rounded up the 7 best palm trees for north Texas climates.
Many of these palms are drought-tolerant and easy to care for–making them a perfect choice for beginners!
1. Pindo, Wine, Jelly Palm (Butia Capitata)
Zone Tolerance: 7b-11
Butia palms, also known as the Pindo, Wine, or Jelly palm are one of the most cold hardy of the pinnate species out there.
They are a popular choice for colder areas of Texas due to their ability to take brief temperature dips into the high single digits and tolerance to the hot, humid conditions Texas summers are known for.
The Pindo palm is slow growing and has a very tropical appearance with large, curving pinnate fronds that can range from light green to an almost silver color.
The fruit of these palms is very popular for making wine and jelly due to their fibrous consistency and tropical flavor.
They do best with well-draining soil in part to full sun.
Check out my full article on the Pindo Palm HERE
2. Mediterranian Fan Palm (Chamaerops Humilis)
Zone Tolerance: 7b-11
Known as the Mediterranean Fan Palm or European Fan Palm, the Chamaerops Humilis is the most northern-growing palm in the world and one of only two palms native to Europe.
These palms can be found growing from the Dallas/Fort Worth area to the north all the way down to the Texas Gulf Coast due to their tolerance to cold, moisture, drought, and hot humid summers.
They are small, clumping fan palms with a crown of dark green fronds.
While these palms develop suckers at the base of the trunk creating a grouping of several specimens, they can be grown as a solitary trunked palm as well.
They prefer well-draining soil in part to full sun.
Check out my full article on the Mediterranean Fan Palm HERE
3. Needle Palm (Rhapidophyllum Hystrix)
Zone Tolerance: 6-11
Known as possibly the most cold hardy palm in the world, the Rhapidophyllum Hystrix or Needle palm has become quite popular in areas where most other palms would not survive harsh northern winters. At least without some winter protection.
These palms will thrive anywhere within Texas due to their tolerance for subzero temperatures in the winter and their love of hot, humid, and swampy conditions during the summer.
Needle palms are clumping, much like the Mediterranean Fan palm, but with a denser crown of light green fan fronds with an almost bushy appearance.
The base of the trunk contains many sharp needles that can get up to 6 inches in length making them great for deterring wildlife and creating a property break.
Be careful when handling these palms as these needles can stab you very easily!
Check out my full article on the Needle Palm HERE
4. Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal Minor)
Zone Tolerance: 6b-11
Native to the southeast U.S., the Sabal Minor or Dwarf Palmetto is another palm tolerant of sub-zero temps along with the previously mentioned Needle palm.
Due to their tolerance of severe freezes, heavy moisture, and hot, humid conditions in the summer, these palms can also be grown throughout the entire state of Texas with little to no trouble.
There are several areas of Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma where the Dwarf Palmetto grows naturally in moist, swampy habitats.
I was surprised when I found out there are Dwarf Palmettos native to Oklahoma and Arkansas!
The Sabal Minor is a slow-growing trunkless palm with green to bluish-green stems of fan fronds growing straight from the ground ranging in appearance and size.
With so many unique sizes and appearances, everyone who grows palms should try one of these.
Dwarf Palmettos tolerate a wide range of soil types and will thrive in part shade to full sun.
5. Cabbage Palm (Sabal Palmetto)
Zone Tolerance: 7b-11
Another Sabal variety native to the southeast U.S. would be the common Sabal Palmetto or Cabbage Palm.
These palms grow like weeds in their native environment, but they are slightly less cold-hardy than the Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal Minor).
Cabbage palms are a common sight throughout much of Texas, especially areas to the east and south where temperatures and humidity can reach excessive levels during the summer months.
Texas has its own variety of Cabbage palms known as the Texas Sabal or Sabal Mexicana. These are a much larger form of palmetto than the common Florida Sabal.
They are also very cold hardy tolerating brief temperature dips into the single digits.
The Sabal Palmetto is a slow-growing trunking palm with a crown of small to medium-sized costapalmate fronds that range from light to dark green.
It’s important to mention that the heart of the palm is edible! While removing the heart will kill the palm, people have made vegetables for salads, pastas, and dips.
Cabbage palms tolerate many soil types and prefer part to full sun.
Check out my full article on the Sabal Palm HERE
6. Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus Fortunei)
Zone Tolerance: 7a-11
One of the most versatile palms on this list would have to be the Trachycarpus Fortunei or Windmill Palm.
Not only are they one of the most cold hardy palms out there, but they are also very versatile in their tolerance for multiple climate types.
The Windmill palm has been a very popular choice for folks wanting to grow a trunking palm in their north Texas garden.
With their ability to handle moderate levels of heat and humidity as well as cold, moist winters without any significant damage, Windmill palms have been a go-to for anyone wanting to grow palms, but are just starting out.
Windmill palms are slow to moderate growing with a single, fibrous trunk, and a crown of glossy green fan fronds.
They are medium-sized palms with a smaller crown, so they won’t take up much room if you have limited space.
Windmills prefer well-draining soil and do best in part to full sun.
Check out my full article on the Windmill Palm HERE
7. California Fan Palm (Washingtonia Filifera)
Zone Tolerance: 8a-11
A popular, drought-tolerant palm throughout the southwest U.S., the Washingtonia Filifera or California Fan Palm is the least cold-tolerant of the palms on this list.
I thought it would be worth mentioning since it has had some long-term success in areas of north Texas.
The California Fan palm has been grown successfully in areas south of Dallas/Fort Worth tolerating moderate humidity and temperature dips into the low teens and even high single digits.
The drier the better!
California Fan palms are fast-growing with a wide, smooth trunk and a crown of large, light green fan fronds.
These palms get very large and will need a decent amount of space to grow.
They will need well-draining soil and prefer part to full sun.
The Wrap Up
One thing to keep in mind is that while Texas enjoys a fairly mild climate most of the year, its proximity with the northern plains states will make it susceptible to the occasional arctic blast.
Severe freezing events can be rare and a few of the palms on this list may need some level of protection during an unexpected deep freeze.
I have to say that these palms shouldn’t have any trouble taking brief periods of freezing temperatures for the average Texas winter if they are kept happy and healthy.