Outdoor Palm Tree Types and Classification

Types of Palm Varieties Outdoor


When reading about the palms, the very first thing that you must understand is that the palms are not trees. As a matter of fact, the correct category classification for the palms is the woody perennial. They are pretty similar to the bamboos.


Moreover, each kind of palm tree will be a part of the Aceraceae family. However, this is the only similarity in palm plants, as almost all palms are different. They also belong to different genera, and their diversity is in line with the differences in their physical attributes.


Broadly, the most recognizable variants are the tall palm trees, which you will see in places like Florida. However, there are more than 2600 different types of outdoor palms. So, you can find outdoor palm tree types in all shapes and sizes.


In a year, palm trees can grow up to 10 inches. You’ll be surprised to know the lifespan of palm trees. They can live for 70-80 years, depending on the variety.


In This Article:


This guide will address a few of the prevalent types of outdoor palm plants. So let us get started and address them one by one.


Palm Tree Origin

Palm Tree Origin


The palm tree’s lineage can be traced in Northern Africa, India, the Southern Pacific Islands, and some parts of Southeast Asia. You can find different outdoor palm tree types, depending on their species.


For instance, the historical relevance and genetics of the Phoenix Dactylifera or the ancient Date Palm are traced in Egypt. On the other hand, the genetics of the Cocus Nucifera or Coconut Palms is split between two adverse origins, Pacific and Indo-Atlantic.


However, given its massive geographical diversity, where do the palms grow? The answer to this question is subjective and depends on the climatic conditions. In Japan, India, America, Australia, South Pacific Islands, and Australia, you can find palms in abundance.


Their numbers are higher in latitudes between 30° N and 30° S. Typically; palms thrive in subtropical or tropical climates. There are hardier varieties in palms found in the hotter and cooler temperatures, extending 44° N and 44° S.


How Many Different Types Of Outdoor Palms Are There?

Many Different Types Of Outdoor Palms Are There


There can be small palm trees as well as large ones and with the right palm care tips, you can have them around for years. Now, let us discuss a few prevalent outdoor palm tree types.


Here are 11 different types of outdoor palm plants:


1.  Mediterranean Fan Palm

This is one of the most prevalent palm varieties outdoor plants. It is a cold-hardy palm species with spines that go all the way to the trunks and can be quite painful to touch. However, an excellent thing about this palm species is that it is relatively easy to care for.


These are not susceptible to diseases or pests, but you must still watch out for common pests, such as scale, mealybugs, or spider mites, and take remedial actions as and when you spot a problem.


Botanical name Chamaerops humilis
Also known as European fan palm and the Mediterranean dwarf palm
Where it grows? Its native area is the Mediterranean, Europe and North Africa.
Ideal growing conditions
  • Will need regular feeding and watering
  • Space two palms at least four feet apart
  • Keep away from high traffic regions
  • Thrive in full sun, but partial shade works too
  • Place in an area with 4-6 hours of direct sunlight.
  • Can adapt to varying soil textures – sand, clay, or loam, and pH levels – slightly acidic to slightly alkaline
  • Till these outdoor palm tree types are established, they must be watered regularly, and more during hotter climates
  • Once matured, let the soil dry about two inches between two watering sessions
  • Cool nights and sunny days are favorable but can withstand extreme hot and cold weather.
  • Appreciate regular fertilizing via a slow-release fertilizer across the growing season
  • These palm varieties outdoor  require average humidity


Physical appearance Its leaves will be in the color palette of gray-green, blue-green, or yellow-green, depending on its native land.


2. Coconut Palm

Speaking of different types of outdoor palm plants, how can we miss the coconut palm? It is a thirsty tree that enjoys high humidity and warmth.


Botanical name Cocos nucifera
Where it grows? They grow globally in tropical coastal regions. However, they are native to Indo-Malaya.
Ideal growing conditions
  • Thrive in full sun, and need a minimum of six hours of daily sunlight
  • These outdoor palm tree types prefer temperatures of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit but grow best between 85- and 95-degrees Fahrenheit
  • It cannot grow if the temperature falls below 64 degrees Fahrenheit
  • The soil must be moist consistently by watering once or twice a week
  • Liquid fertilizer must be fed all year round with fertilizers rich in boron, manganese, phosphorous, and nitrogen
  • Pruning must be done only in case of decaying or dead leaves
  • Robust and sturdy containers needed
  • Well-draining palm soil mix works best, and adding a mulch layer only makes it better.


Physical appearance They have a single brownish-gray trunk with a crown of green fronds.


3. Date Palm

Now, we are moving ahead with the next pick in the outdoor palm tree types. If you aspire to produce fruits in date palm trees, you will require both female and male trees; if not, a single date palm works well. These are slow-growing species.


Botanical name Phoenix dactylifera
Where it grows? They are majorly grown in the Canary Islands, northern Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, India, Mexico, and the U.S. state of California.
Ideal growing conditions
  • Dry, sunny, and hot weather conditions are ideal.
  • Spring or fall is the best weather for planting date palms
  • Require full sun exposure and very well-draining soil
  • Sandy conditions work well, but it can tolerate salty soil too
  • Once well-established, the plant is drought-tolerant, but in the flowering season, water requirement is high
  • For pollination, the temperature should be about 95 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Extremely cold or harsh weather conditions can kill these palm varieties outdoor
  • Excessive moisture or humidity can result in rotting
  • Manure is an excellent fertilizer, but specialty palm tree fertilizer is better.
Physical appearance These types of outdoor palm plants are easily identifiable because of the vast clusters of yellow, red, or brown fruits. They are tall trees, about 23 meters. Moreover, they have a rough, long trunk and arching feathery fronds.


4. Areca Palm

Once upon a time, areca palm used to be an endangered species, but today, you can drive across any street in the warm climate, and you can spot dozens of these. Moreover, they do not need much trimming or pruning.


Botanical names Dypsis lutescens
Also known as Bamboo palm, butterfly palm, golden cane palm, and yellow palm
Where it grows? These grow well in the spring and have a slow to moderate growth. They are native to Madagascar, with all sun, warmth, and rain.
Ideal growing conditions
  • Pick a site with good drainage and peat-based potting mix
  • Slightly acidic, rich soil is the best but avoid soggy soil as it can cause root rotting
  • The plant enjoys bright, filtered sunlight and are tolerant to full sun
  • Though sensitive to overwatering, they like moist soil
  • Average temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal; anything below 50 degrees Fahrenheit can be harmful.
  • High humidity is needed
  • Requires fertilizing with a liquid fertilizer from spring to early fall


Physical appearance These outdoor palm tree types are beautiful, tall, clumping palms, which look similar to bamboo. They have golden, smooth trunks, like bamboo clumps with full and narrow fronds.

RelatedAreca palm growth rate,How To Care For Areca Palm,Date Palm Life Expectancy

5. Cabbage Palm

When you search for the types of outdoor palm plants, cabbage palm is a mandatory inclusion. It grows to be a tall tree of 90 feet or more in the wild, but it is about 40-60 feet in cultivation. They are drought-tolerant.


Botanical names Sabal palmetto
Also known as Corypha palmetto, Inodes schwarzii, Sabal jamesiana
Where it grows? Primarily found in the Southeast, typically Bahamas, Cuba, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.
Ideal growing conditions
  • Temperature below 11 degrees Fahrenheit can kill the plant
  • Partly shaded or a sunny site with well-drained soil works well
  • Must be water deeply and frequently
  • Eliminate little seedlings as they become weedy
Physical appearance It is an evergreen, elegant palm with a round, full costapalmate canopy and a single trunk with fan-like leaves that go to 180 cm. The greenish-gray leaves are divided into several thread-like leaf pieces.


Other fan palm varieties include Mexican Fan Palm, California Fan Palm etc.


6. Royal Palm

It is one of the top palm varieties outdoor plants and is a classic South Florida palm tree.They have a slow to moderate growth rate. They are tall and usually go to 50 to 80 feet in height and 15 to 25 feet in width. It has self-cleaning leaves, meaning they naturally fall from mature trees. So, pruning is not needed.


Botanical names Roystonea regia
Also known as Cuban royal palm or Florida royal palm
Where it grows? It is a majestic palm native to Mexico, parts of Central America, Cuba, and South Florida.
Ideal growing conditions
  • These outdoor palm tree types do not do well in salty soil but can tolerate salty spray.
  • Moderately drought-tolerant, they grow well in damp, swampy areas with regular watering
  • Space these palms 8 to 10 feet apart
  • Can manage with partial shade, but the full shade is ideal
  • Topsoil or organic peat moss is suitable
  • Should be fertilized with top-notch granular palm fertilizer containing micronutrients in summer, spring, and fall.
Physical appearance These types of outdoor palm plants are huge and are regarded as one of the most beautiful palms in the world. The plant has smooth gray-white or gray trunks with bright green crown shafts and full fronds.


7. Foxtail Palm

Taking this list of outdoor palm tree types forward, we have the Foxtail palm. It is a refined coarse-textured species. It is one of the fast-growing palm trees.


Botanical names Wodyetia bifurcata
Also known as Wodyetia Palm
Where it grows? It is one of the types of outdoor palm trees, native to the Australian outback and hugely popular across several Southern US states.
Ideal growing conditions
  • Water regularly, but do not overwater.
  • The soil must be moist but not wet.
  • Fertilizer should be used once every six months.
  • Perform regular pruning
  • Keep away from pests, such as mealybugs, spider mites, or scale.
Physical appearance It looks like a soft bushy foxtail, and unlike most dark brown palms, this is white. The palm seems quite like the Royal palm, but their size difference separates them.


8. Butia Palm

These are stout and short types of outdoor palm plants. It has huge fronds up to ten feet in length. This plant is drought-tolerant and slow-growing with edible fruits, which are dates that can be made into preserves and jams.


Botanical names Butia capitata
Also known as Brazilian Butia Palm, Jelly Palm, Pindo Palm, South American jelly palm, Yatay palm
Where it grows? These outdoor palm tree types are native to Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina.
Ideal growing conditions
  • The plant prefers hot weather and can survive in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Adaptive to a variety of soils and all sun conditions, they thrive in well-draining soil and full sun.
Physical appearance The plant is known for its chunky, wide trunk, spiky fronds, and blue-green leaves.


8. Bottle Palm

Bottle palm is a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, slow-growth plant. However, it is not one of those self-cleaning palm varieties outdoor plants.


Botanical names Hyophorbe lagenicaulis
Also known as Palmiste Gargoulette
Where it grows? The plant is native to the Mascarene Islands, wherein the temperature is balmy and warm, and the soil is loose and sandy. It is cultivated mainly in Florida, southern California, Hawaii and other warm climates.
Ideal growing conditions
  • Planting in northern climates is not advised.
  • Require warm temperatures all year round.
  • It prefers dry soil.
  • Thrive in well-drained soil with plentiful potassium
  • Must be kept away from frost
  • Should be wrapped in a blanket in colder temperatures
  • Fertilization should happen in early spring


Physical appearance As is clear from the name, Bottle palm’s trunk looks quite like a bottle, which is the distinguishing factor of these types of outdoor palm plants. When young, the trunk of these outdoor palm tree types is rounded and swollen, but as it matures, the trunk elongates. Its trunk is grayish-white and smooth and has scraggly leaf scars.


9. Spindle Palm

When you need one of the low-maintenance and trouble-free palm varieties outdoor, this can be a good pick.


Botanical names Hyophorbe verschaffeltii
Also known as Palmiste marron
Where it grows? It is native to the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean.
Ideal growing conditions
  • Can take full to partial sun
  • Once established, it is salt-tolerant and drought-tolerant
  • Though frost can kill the plant, mild cold is bearable
  • Needs top-notch soil or organic peat moss added to the hole
  • A good watering once a week will suffice
  • Fertilizing once a season in spring, summer and fall is enough
  • Opt for high potassium granular fertilizer
  • Distance between two palms should be six-feet
Physical appearance These types of outdoor palm trees are distinguished with their golden stalks during young days and pillar-like trunks in older days. Its trunk is sturdy and straight, with ridges that resemble a spindle.


10. Chinese Fan Palm

There are different types of outdoor palms that thrive in humid and warm climates, and this is one of them. This slow-growing palm is best planted in spring. This also makes a great indoor palm variety.


Botanical names Livistona chinensis
Also known as Fountain Palm
Where it grows? These are palm varieties outdoor & indoor tolerant. They are native to south-eastern Asia and are found in large numbers in Taiwan, South-eastern China, Hainan, and Japan. The palm grows as an ornamental tree in South Africa, the US, and subtropical parts.
Ideal growing conditions
  • Grow best in full to partial shade
  • Require at least six hours of sun daily
  • Can tolerate moist soils with good drainage but thrive in loamy, rich soil with acidic to neutral pH.
  • Feeding palm fertilizer from late winter to early fall is recommended
  • Water enough to keep the soil moist
  • More watering is required in fall, summer, and spring
  • These outdoor palm tree types can survive even colder temperatures but thrives in warm, humid weather


Physical appearance Because of the way the fronds arch up and spill downward, it appears like a fountain. Every frond of the palm is about 40-60 inches in length. They have a bushy appearance.


11. Queen Palm

Now, we have arrived at the last of the listed palm varieties outdoor, Queen Palm. These are attractive, tall trees, but not everyone can grow them.


Botanical names Syagrus romanzoffiana
Also known as Cocos palm, cocos plumosa, jeriva
Where it grows? It is native to South America but grows across the world as an ornamental garden plant.
Ideal growing conditions
  • It needs full sun, but light shade also works
  • Sandy, acidic soils are the best
  • Pick fertilizers that cater to the plant’s magnesium, potassium, and iron deficiency, and use them twice a year
  • Require moderate watering, and a little more during young days
  • Enjoy hot and humid weather
  • Younger trees tend to die with frosty conditions, but well-established ones can survive a dip to 15 degrees


Physical appearance These majestic plants are single-trunked with bright, pinnate leaves that droop in a graceful canopy.


Related: Majesty Palm Potting & Care Guide,How To Care for Date Palms


Frequently Asked Questions

Ques 1. How many types of palms are there?

Ans. There are more than 2600 species of palms worldwide.


Ques 2. What is the most beautiful palm?

Ans. Cat Palm, Butterfly Palm, Queen Palm and the Chinese Fountain Palm are a few of the most beautiful palms you will ever come across.


Ques 3. How do I identify my palm?

Ans. To identify the palms, you need to observe the leaves’ distinctive shape (fan-like or feather-like). Trunk size can also help with identification.


Ques 4. Which palm is famous in the garden?

Ans . Aren Palm and Raphis Palm are most famous in the gardens.


Ques 5. Is there a dwarf palm tree?

Ans . Yes, there are some palms, which stay under 20 feet. They are the dwarf palms.


Ques 6. What is the smallest outdoor palm tree?

Ans . Dwarf palmetto that reaches about 3 feet (1 m) is the smallest outdoor palm.


Ques 7. Which palms have thorns?

Ans . Phoenix palms are one species with thorns.


Ques 8. Can I put my potted palm outside?

Ans. Depending on their light requirements and the weather outside, you can move the potted palms outside.


Final Word

This guide has tried to sum up everything around palm varieties outdoor. Of course, we have covered some of the most prevalent variants, but thousands of other varieties are out there. Happy Gardening!