Tropical looking palms for zone 9 Florida.

td1026July 2, 2011

I'm interested in some tropical looking palms, as queen palms and Mexican fan palms are grossly overplanted here in central Florida. I was wondering what are some tropical foliage palms that will survive zone 9 winters?

Will any of the following palms survive here?

Triangle palm

Kentia palm

Robellini palm

Everglades palm

Foxtail palm (Home Depot says these are hardy to 25, but I'm not so sure..)

If none of these I'll probably stick with date, pindo, & chinese fan palms.

Also, feel free to recommend tropical foliage plants/trees/flowers for zone 9 if you'd like.


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All the following yoy mentioned should survive your winters. Foxtail palms would be damaged or killed by freezes, but the foxtails at the Orlando theme parks show little or no damage (im sure some were protected though). I also recommend Bismarkia palms, Sengal Date palms, Royal palms, Sabal Palmettos, Chamaedorea radicalis and Microspadix, Cat palms, Sago palms, and tons of others. You can also plant some philodendrons for a tropical look with some hibiscus, plumeria, bromelaids, bananas, heliconias, birds of paradise, elephant ears, cannas, jasmine, gardenia, Michellia, lots of different flowering gingers, sun ferns, cast iron plants, peace lilies, pothos vines, and a million others! Some of the ones mentioned a frost tender so you should protect them when a frost is possible (and keeo them in a nice microclimate underneath the canopy of the trees. Definitely visit some of the theme parks or botanical gardens nearby because they have tons of tropical plants in your type of climate. You can also get some ideas as well!
Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 9:17AM
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None of those would do well except the everglade palm, The foxtail would die for sure. If you want a nice looking tree, Get a Queen palm. European fan palm, they are pretty nice looking palms and they are very cold hardy. The issue with zone 9 is it can get quite cold, and My Foxtail Does not like it in zone 10a, (Melbourne FL) I protect it in the winter.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 3:15PM
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Robellini and Everglades palms would be fine. We have them all over the place in Lakeland, and only one of mine even had leaf burn from the last couple of winters. I'm certainly not in a favorable microclimate, and certainly not next to the lakes. The others are questionable at best, and I know a few people even near the lakes lost Triangle Palms.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 6:17PM
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And what about areca palms?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 10:28PM
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I think kentia palms should be fine in shade. If anything it might not be so crazy about your summer weather, but Orlando does not get very serious freezes if any most years. If you are away from the city and in as bad of a microclimate as you think, then you probably do get a decent freeze at least once a winter most years. All it takes is one freeze a year to really limit your options. Much of Orlando is a zone 10a (even after the past 2 record cold winters, Orlando managed to stay between 25F and 30F).
Areca palms should be fine. They may be damaged by a hard freeze, but I think recovery is likely.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 10:52PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Hope you have a good landscape plan lol There are other problems to palms besides cold . First is size even dwarf types are very space consuming. Be sure to allow enough room There is a lot more palms than you'll ever be able to grow well anyway. "Floridata" has tons of info on all things florida.
The reason Queens and MFP are so common is because they are hardy and cheap. Look around your neighborhood take notes on what you like and dislike about their methods . A good landscape plan will save you not only money but time effort and the result will be far more satisfying long term. Good luck gary

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 5:53AM
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Thanks Gary, this isn't the first time I've landscaped with palm trees, so I know what I'm doing. I'm especially knowledgeable with Florida landscaping so I won't have any problems. I have more than plenty of room in my yard for palms and then some.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 10:00PM
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you in zone 9a or 9b?... a lot of difference between the two in terms of what will survive... .but growing palms in your zone (either) is a hit or miss sort of thing as your winters vary a lot more than do ours in So Cal... here we are pretty consistent year to year so we have a pretty good idea what will make it.. .but where you live, some years a coconut might do great for you, and the next year queen palms could be damaged. The good thing is you have a climate that palms grow a lot faster in, so you might just look at some of the more marginal one as 'annuals' and when they die you won't be disappointed, and just replace them the next time around. Dypsis lutescens, Dypsis decaryis and Wodyetias would certainly be considered 'annuals' in your area, but you may end up keeping them alive for over 10 years if the winters work out in your favor... but chances are eventually you will be replacing all three with something else.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 3:54PM
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Clermont is definitely a 9a. 9b doesn't really kick in until you get toward the coast of Tampa Bay on the west side, much closer to Orlando on the east side, and Sebring/Avon Park down the US-27 corridor in the south.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 9:40PM
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Sabal Palmetto, Sabal Minor, Sabal Louisiana, Needle Palm, Saw Palmeto, Euro, Windmill, Pindo... these are pretty much bullet proof in this area. 2 yrs ago I lost my 6' Bismarkia to the cold and even lost a few small Saw Palmetos (probably due to the wet, cold winter. One day the high was 33F with rain, snow flurries and sleet throughout the day. coldest day here 2 yrs ago was 16.7F)... it can get pretty cold here on occasion. I'm between Tampa and Orlando, out in the country and we tend to be several degrees colder than just a few miles up the road. Here's some pics from 2 yrs ago!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 10:04PM
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