Uncommon Palms In Phoenix

sherizona(9b)October 21, 2011

I have a nice big yard and there are currently about 40 palms in it. Yes, it looks very tropical! I am wondering if anyone has experience growing other types of palms out here in the desert. I'd like to expand my collection but don't want to waste/kill palms that can't deal with our crazy summers here in Phoenix.

This is what I have so far:

- Mexican Fan Palm

- California Fan Palm

- Canary Island Date Palm

- Windmill Palm (these clearly don't like the heat but they typically fill out about this time of year)

- Sago Palm (yes, I know it's a cycad ;)

- Pygmy Date Palm

- Queen Palm

- Mediterranean Fan Palm

- Pindo Palm (Boy does this guy take his sweet time growing! It's going to look awesome when I'm 95.)

I have noticed a few Royal Palms around the resorts, but wasn't sure if they'd do ok in full, all day sun. Would Mule Palms work? I'd have to mail order, I can't find them anywhere in town. Date Palms are an option but they are pricey and grow even slower than the Pindo.

Does anyone have anything else growing that seems to do ok? I have no problem babying something, there are currently over 350 plants in my yard so I'm not allergic to plant care. Ideas would be appreciated!!

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I almost forgot my favorite one, the Bismarck Palmetto. This guy grows 4-5 feet a year and I have him in full sun.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 3:27PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Wow! You've got a lot of palms, lol. I'm envious!

The first one that came to mind was Bismarck, but then I saw your follow up message with the pic of yours. Yours is really nice! I love Bismarcks too, though I don't have one. Yours is really nice!

What about Mexican blue fan palm? Brahea armata? I see those in full sun quite a bit and they do great. Of course, it's a pauper compared to your bismarck, lol, but they do have good blue color and are fun.

I see "Lady Palms" (Rhapis excelsa) in shade or mostly shaded conditions and they look really happy. Again though, shade seems to be the key.

True palmettos do great here too (Sabal palmetto). They're similar to Mexican or Desert fan palms but they've got toothless leaf petioles ("leaf stems") and the petiole reaches almost to the tips of the leaves and they have that neat waved-not-flat leaf (there's a name for that cupped-palm shape that you probably already know, but I forget what it's called off the top of my head). There used to be quite a few of them near Paradise Valley Mall but they got removed during the big landscape renovation there.

I'm sure others will chime in too. Let us know what you add to your collection! And please don't be shy about more pics. :)

Take care,

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 8:02PM
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I also love palms and over the last couple of years have been collecting a few different species.

So far my collection includes:

California Fan Palm (of course...)
Canary Island Date Palm
Queen Palm
Chinese Fan Palm

...ok now for the unusuals...

Triange Palms
Coconut Queen Palm from Jungle Jacks in San Diego
Cuban Royal Palms
Shaving Brush Palm
Christmas Palm from FL
Foxtail Palm (one is 7'+ ft tall!)
King Palm

Would love to know if anyone else has experience with these palms or others. Trying to grow some sabals from seed, but no luck so far.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 10:58PM
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oops, i forgot 3 more...

Pygmy Date Palm
Pindo Palm
Clumping Fishtail Palm

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 2:12AM
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Raimeiken - z9b - Peoria, AZ

One unusual palm I'm trying to grow outdoors is Bamboo Palm - Chamaedorea microspadix.

I planted one this past spring and it was about 10" tall. It's on the north side of my house so it's getting only morning sun and then shade for the rest of the day.

It did good here during the summer I suppose. The tips of the leaves got burnt. It's got new shoots coming out from the ground now though. I've read that they can take the cold pretty well even without protection.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 10:56PM
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Wow some unusual ones for this region for sure! I love foxtail palms and it's great to see someone has them growing out here. Now the big question....are these all mail order/brought in from somewhere?

I also grew a few Nubian desert palms from seed but couldn't for the life of me get them to grow more than a few months before they died.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 6:39PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

Mexican blue fan palms and Sabal palmettos aren't too hard to find in the Valley. I've seen each for sale several times at local nurseries and big box hardware stores. I'd love to hear about the others as well.

Keep us posted! :)
Take care,

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 3:50PM
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Grant, where have you seen sabals for sale here? The only ones ive seen are huge ones at moon valley for $$$$$...

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 2:23PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

I've seen sabals at Home Depots (Scottsdale) and at Baker Nursery too. It wasn't within the last month, but I know for sure I've seen them, so I'd check/call first. They were mostly in 24 inch boxes, so not giant, but off to a good start. I love those smooth leaf stems/petioles. I'd grow a ton of palms except I don't want to deal with having to find/hire someone to trim off the fronds when they get too tall, and some types do get tall fast, LOL.

Take care and keep us posted. Happy (palm) hunting!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 8:15PM
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aztropic(9b Mesa,AZ)

There are literally hundreds of different exotic palms that can be grown here in the Phoenix area. Problem is availability.Most are brought in from California or Florida or grown here from seed.Some of the species I've had in the ground for several years that do well (some with protection) include:

Yes,I do have examples of all the above species planted in the ground and growing in Mesa,Arizona.It really is possible to grow them all with minimal care if you pick an appropriate site in the yard.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 11:31PM
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WOW Aztropic! That is beautiful. We recently purchased a home and moved to Phoenix from NY. I have been planting all sorts of palms in my yard. I have conducted a lot of research both on the internet and driving around town looking at yards to see the growth habits of the different palms in relation to location and sun exposure. I see you have it all figured out. Congrats!!

I have all my palms carefully selected. They have only been in ground for 1-5 months.

For now my small list includes:

Mediterranean Fan Palm
Queen Palm
Pindo Palm
Windmill Palm
Pygmy Date Palm

I hope to find a Sabal Palmetto somewhere and any other slow growing small - medium size palm.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 12:01PM
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How are tall tropical palms like royals ,protected from the cold and frost?

This post was edited by jacaranda4321 on Mon, Nov 4, 13 at 22:17

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 6:35PM
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No one knows how to protect non hardy palms ?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 11:49PM
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A year ago I gave up trying to save my established, chlorotic queen palms. I tried everything-supplemental manganese, zinc, iron. I decided it wasn't worth the stress, so I had them cut down.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 10:02PM
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grant_in_arizona(USDA Z9 Scottsdale AZ)

I'm with you, Richsd! I see so many sad, chlorotic queen palms around town, often with a green, vigorous, glorious Mexican or Desert fan palm (Washingtonia robusta and filifera, respectively) growing at its feet. I love them when they're pretty, but they're not low maintenance for most folks. My neighbor three houses down has three glorious ones, but he calls them "his babies" as he's constantly attending to them, LOL. Happy gardening all!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2013 at 6:09PM
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