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We have nice beaches in North Carolina, but they can’t compare in beauty to the tropical kind. Besides their crystal blue water, what really makes tropical beaches special are the palm trees.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have palm trees in your yard? Do you live in a place that gets too chilly for tropical plants? If you answered yes to both of these questions, I have good news!
There are several cold hardy palms for zone 7 and even lower.
But before we dive into a thicket of palm trees, let me introduce one of the best stores to buy palm trees: the Palm Trees Store.
What Is The Palm Tree Store?
As you can guess from the name, it’s a company that specializes in selling real (not artificial) palm trees. Their mission is to break the stereotype that palm trees are hard to grow and take care of.
The Store sells dozens of different varieties of palm trees in multiple sizes and also palm seeds. All the species I wrote about in this post can be bought at the Palm Trees Store.
The Palm Trees Store offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. They provide a period of 15 days from the date of purchase for you to get a refund or store credit if you are not happy (conditions apply).
Read more about the company in our Real Palm Tree Store review.
So, What Palm Trees Will Grow In Zone 7?
The Picturesque Windmill Palm Tree
The Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei) can withstand temperatures as low as 10 F and is recommended for Zones 7B-11.
The specimen in the above image is only a baby. Given enough time (Windmill Palms grow less than 8 inches per year), it will likely grow to about 10 to 20 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide.
A mature Windmill Palm tree looks like it’s straight out of a travel magazine, featuring a crown of fan-shaped fronds and a hairy-looking trunk covered in plant fibers. It produces no edible fruit, but both male and female Windmill Palms produce bushy yellow flowers close to their foliage.
If you’re crafty, you can use a Windmill Palm’s trunk fibers to make items such as ropes, hats, and mats.
Sometimes called the Chusan Palm, this low-maintenance tree is drought tolerant. However, it does best with frequent watering and needs some shade in zones 8b and higher. It prefers rich, loamy soil but can grow in other types of soil.
Be careful not to water your Windmill Palm too much, as standing water can kill it. It isn’t fit to plant in an area that has a high water table, but you can get around this by growing it in a pot.
You can buy a Windmill palm tree from the Palm Trees store.
You can get it in three different sizes: small (1 to 4 feet measured from soil to top of fronds), medium (5 to 8 feet measured from soil to top of fronds), and large ( starts from 9 feet measured from soil to top of fronds).
The Highly Adaptable Dwarf Palmetto
Native to the Southeastern U.S., the Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal minor) is one of the most cold-hardy palm trees in zone 7.
The typical specimen can handle temperatures as low as 0 F without leaf damage, and a specific variety called McCurtain has been known to survive temperatures as low as -24 F. The Dwarf Palmetto is recommended for Zones 7-11.
This plant doesn’t look like a stereotypical palm tree, but it can still add some exotic flair to your landscape. Its large, fan-like fronds sit close to the ground, often concealing a tiny trunk above ground.
A Dwarf Palmetto may grow a trunk up to 5 feet deep underground, enabling it to survive extreme conditions above the soil surface.
These palms usually reach 4 to 5 feet in both height and width, and their foliage can range from green to bluish-gray. They produce small white flowers in the spring. In the fall, they attract wildlife with their small, black fruit.
Dwarf Palmettos are tolerant of droughts, shade, some salt spray, and even flooding. Because they’re so tough, they require little maintenance. However, you may need to fertilize your Dwarf Palmetto from time to time. It’s also a good idea to prune its browning fronds.
You can grow your Dwarf Palmetto in practically any soil, including sand or clay. Though it can grow in full shade, partial shade or full sun are preferable. It’s best to grow a Dwarf Palmetto from a container-grown plant, as it’s extremely difficult to transplant.
You can buy a Dwarf Palmetto tree from the Real Palm Trees store.
You can get it in only in one size: small (1 to 4 feet measured from soil to top of fronds).
The Fruit-Producing Pindo Palm Tree
The Pindo Palm (Butia capitata) isn’t as tough as the Dwarf Palmetto, but it can still thrive in a wide variety of conditions. Hardy in Zones 7b-11, it can survive temperatures as low as 5 F, although it’s best to give it protection for temperatures below 15 F.
Though it can reach 20 feet tall and have a trunk that’s 1.5 feet in diameter, a Pindo Palm will stay much smaller if you grow it in a container. The feathery fronds on this elegant plant can reach six feet in length and vary in color, from grayish to bluish-green.
The Pindo Palm produces both fruit and flowers. Its fruit makes for a delightfully exotic jelly, and you can roast its seeds to use as a coffee substitute. Its flowers can be red, white, or yellow, growing in groups of two male flowers and one female flower.
Like the other zone 7 palm trees on this list, the Pindo Palm is a slow grower. You can grow it in full sun or partial shade, and the soil just needs to have good drainage. It’s a good idea to plant it at least 10 feet away from any surface you won’t want to get stained by palm fruit.
Both disease and insect-resistant, the Pindo Palm requires little care. It’s somewhat tolerant of salt spray, as well as droughts. Just fertilize it regularly, don’t let the soil get excessively dry, and prune its dead fronds to keep it looking healthy.
You can buy a Pindo palm tree from the Real Palm Trees store.
The Palm-like Beaked Yucca
The Beaked Yucca (Yucca rostrata) isn’t a real palm, but this slow-growing succulent can visually play the part in your landscape. The most palm-like variety of this plant is called “Sapphire Skies”.
Native to Mexico and West Texas, Beaked Yuccas can withstand heat waves, droughts, and temperatures as low as -10 F, making them ideal for xeriscaping in desert environments.
The Beaked Yucca features a round, perfectly symmetrical crown of icy blue-green leaves, each of which is sword-shaped and about two feet long. In late spring, the plant produces yellowish flowering stalks that hold large clusters of white flowers.
As a Beaked Yucca grows, old leaves become part of its trunk, giving it a hairy appearance all over. It will also grow branches as it ages. This majestic plant can grow 6 to 15 feet tall and 4 to 10 feet wide.
It’s extremely important to plant a Beaked Yucca in well-draining soil since persistently wet soil or standing water can kill it. But even though it prefers dry conditions, you should water it occasionally during dry periods. Beaked Yuccas do best in full sun.
The roots of Beaked Yuccas are vulnerable to desert beetle grubs, agave bugs, aphids, mites, mealybugs, and scale bugs. One way to protect your yucca from these pests is by applying insecticide in the spring and summer.
You can buy a Beaked Yucca tree from the Real Palm Trees store.
The Compact European Fan Palm Tree
Often called the “Mediterranean Fan Palm”, the European Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis) is the only palm tree native to Europe.
Some sources say it’s suitable for Zones 8-11, whereas others say it can handle Zone 7b or even lower with proper care. It can handle temperatures down to 0 F and possibly lower, although its foliage may die and have to regrow from its trunk.
If you live in Zone 7b or lower, there are tricks you can use to get this palm through the winter. One way is to grow it in a pot and bring it indoors when it’s cold since it makes a fine houseplant. Outdoors, growing it in a raised bed in cactus potting soil may keep its roots from freezing.
In a pot, this compact cultivar will only reach about 4 feet tall. If you plant it in the ground, it could grow up to 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide. But in the Southeast, you’re more likely to see it at only half that size.
The European Fan Palm is different from the others on this list in that it grows multiple trunks. Its other striking feature is its fine-textured, fan-shaped fronds that can range from light green to silver.
Good drainage is extremely important for this palm and it likes to get dry between waterings. Once established, it can be impressively drought-tolerant.
Plant it in an area that receives full sun or light shade, preferably away from walkways and other areas with foot traffic areas so its spiny stem won’t poke people. Unfortunately, European Fan Palms aren’t salt tolerant. But unlike other palms, they are resistant to lethal yellowing disease.
You can buy a European Fan palm tree from the Real Palm Trees store.
Palm Tree Tips
- Some palm trees grow wide root systems. As a result, it’s a good idea to spread mulch several feet around these varieties.
- Don’t bury any part of a palm tree’s trunk, as this can cause it to rot.
- Even though palm trees can be drought-tolerant, it’s important to water new transplants often. For the first few months, don’t let the soil dry out. But to prevent fungal disease, don’t make the soil soggy.
- In the spring of your palm tree’s first year, Gardening Know How recommends doing a foliar feeding, which means spraying fertilizer onto its leaves.
- Every four months during the first year, Gardening Know How also recommends applying time-release granular fertilizer with a 3-1-3 ratio. You can also use Epsom salt as a fertilizer.
- You can control the size of your palm tree by growing it in a container.
- Is your zone too cold even for the palm trees on this list? Several palm varieties make good house plants. A notable example is the parlor palm, which does fine in average indoor lighting.
FAQ About Palm Trees
Windmill Palm trees typically grow less than 8 inches per year. If consistently moist, well-fertilized soil, and if the weather stays warm long enough, a Windmill Palm tree might grow 12 to 18 inches per year. 20 inches per year is possible, but rare.
In ideal conditions, Windmill Palms can grow up to 40 feet tall. But more realistically, mature Windmill Palms can reach 25 to 30 feet in height. Probably because of how slowly they grow, you’re most likely to see them from 10 to 15 feet tall.
Before planting a Pindo Palm, you’ll need to choose a site that receives full sun. The soil should be well-drained sandy or clay loam with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5. Keep in mind that a Pindo Palm’s fruit can stain whatever they land on!
Now You Know Some Cold Hardy Palms For Zone 7
Nothing says “paradise” like a palm tree, so I’m so glad that a few varieties can grow as far north as me.
I hope you enjoyed this list! If you did, please share it. Also, let me know your thoughts or concerns in the comments.
To discover more tropical plants for zone 7, read this article with other hardy tropical plants. If you’re landscaping to increase your property’s value, I’ve also written an article on how to choose plants for that.
Featured image by Duane Burdick
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