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 as well. While the northernmost tip of the Texas panhandle is in a solid zone 6, the southernmost tip of the gulf coast is in an almost tropical feeling zone 10.
While the southern part of the state can enjoy a fairly wide variety when it comes to palm tree types, folks living in other areas of the state are probably wondering if there are any palm trees for north Texas climates that will survive their frigid winters.
The following are 7 palm tree types that will survive in a majority of north Texas growing zones as well as a couple that will handle the zone 6 area of the panhandle with little to no winter protection!
Pindo, Wine, Jelly Palm (Butia Capitata)
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 cold dips into the high single digits and tolerance of 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.
Zone Tolerance: 7b-11
Mediterranian Fan Palm (Chamaerops Humilis)
Known as the Mediterranean Fan Palm or European Fan Palm, the Chamaerops Humilis is known as 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 a small, clumping fan palm 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.
Zone Tolerance: 7b-11
Needle Palm (Rhapidophyllum Hystrix)
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 without some sort of 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, however great care is needed when handling these palms as these needles can cause injury.
Zone Tolerance: 6-11
Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal Minor)
Native to the southeast U.S., the Sabal Minor or Dwarf Palmetto is one of the most cold hardy fan palms on the planet along with the previously mentioned Needle palm.
Due to their tolerance of below zero winter temps, 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. In fact, there are several areas of Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma where the Dwarf Palmetto grows naturally in moist, swampy habitats.
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.
They tolerate a wide range of soil types and will thrive in part shade to full sun.
Zone Tolerance: 6b-11
Cabbage Palm (Sabal Palmetto)
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, however 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. 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. The heart of the palm is edible and has been used as a vegetable for salads, pastas and dips, however removing the heart will kill the palm.
They tolerate many soil types and prefer part to full sun.
Zone Tolerance: 7b-11
Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus Fortunei)
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, they are also very versatile in their tolerance for many climate types.
The Windmill palm has been a very popular choice for folks wanting to grow a trunking palm in their north Texas garden due to their ability at handling moderate levels of heat and humidity as well as cold, moist winters without any significant damage.
Windmill palms are slow to moderate growing with a solitary, fibrous trunk and a crown of glossy green fan fronds. They are a medium-sized palm with a smaller crown, so they won’t take up much room if you have a smaller yard.
These palms prefer well draining soil and do best in part to full sun.
Zone Tolerance: 7a-11
California Fan Palm (Washingtonia Filifera)
A popular palm throughout the southwest U.S., the Washingtonia Filifera or California Fan Palm is the least cold tolerant of the palms on this list, however it is worth mentioning since it has had some long term success in areas of north Texas.
The Washingtonia Filifera 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 in the most ideal conditions (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 an ample amount of space to grow.
They will need well draining soil and prefer part to full sun.
Zone Tolerance: 8a-11
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.
While severe freezing events can be rare, a few of the palms on this list may need some level of protection during an unexpected deep freeze. However, for the average Texas winter, these palms shouldn’t have any trouble taking brief periods of freezing temperatures if kept happy and healthy.