Butia bonnettii





Phil Bergman
Jungle Music Palms, Cycads and Tropical Plants

Nursery Location: 450 Ocean View Ave., Encinitas, CA 92024
Nursery Phone: 619 291 4605
Nursery Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9:00AM-4PM
Sunday typically closed
Directions to Nursery: Freeway Close. Take Freeway 5 to Encinitas
(10 minutes south of Oceanside, 30 minutes north of San Diego). Exit Leucadia Blvd West (toward ocean).
Immediate left on Orpheus Ave, left on Union St,
Right on Ocean View Ave to Nursery
450 Ocean View Ave
Mailing Address:
3233 Brant Street, San Diego, CA 92103


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Remember To Acclimate Your Palms

Lets say you’ve done your homework, you know how cold you get and which plants to purchase.  When you purchase your plants, remember to acclimate them to your area.  A cold tolerant palm may need a little help getting ready for your area.  If it was raised in a greenhouse, it might need a little protection before its ready for your cold or your sun.  Such a plant could be placed under a tree or next to the house for its first few months.  This is especially true if you’ve purchased it during the coldest part of the year.  Don’t just challenge the plant.  Rather, acclimate it slowly into the cold or full sun that you have to optimize your success.


chamaerops humilis

Getting Good Advice


If you look in a typical palm book, you will see statements such as “this species is well suited for temperate areas”.  What does that mean in your case?  Its not very helpful.  Words like temperate and semitropical and mild areas are sometimes more deceptive than helpful.  Yet these are the types of statements palm books make about growing different palm species.  All you want to know is “will it grow for me?”    

Nursery staff assist customers in finding the best species for his area  To answer this question for you, a palm grower depends on his experience and the experience he’s gathered from others over time.  For the past 35 years I’ve gathered cold tolerance information from my customers, my own growing experience, Internet discussions, and from meetings and conferences I’ve attended.   The knowledge that experienced growers attain becomes almost second hand to them.  The Palm Society of Southern California has, for years, pooled information and produced a publication about cold tolerance of many species.  The usefulness of this information is to let us all know which species have the best chance to survive in one’s garden, especially if he lives in a very cold area.    

Therefore, when you know how cold you get, talk with a palm nurseryman, an experienced palm enthusiast, or someone who really knows his stuff. This will keep you out of trouble and make your growing a lot easier.  Unfortunately, home improvement centers and general nurseries typically don’t know much about the species and specifically about their cold tolerance.  Most palm specialty nurseries will know which species are best for your area.  It might be wise to trust their opinions and recommendations.      

Be Realistic - Once you are armed with information about your cold weather and have a reliable and informed nurseryman for your plant material, pick the appropriate species for your area.  I can’t tell you how many times a customer has enthusiastically told me that their particular area is a “special microclimate” and that they can grow things no one else can grow.  Perhaps this is true, but palms show very predictable damage when exposed to certain temperatures.  Certainly there are a lot of variables but   Don’t expect the impossible.  Be realistic in your expectations.

Cold Hardy Palms

The Best Palm Tree Species for Cold Weather



by Phil Bergman




There are a couple of basic things to consider when selecting cold hardy palm species to grow in your locality.  First is to know how cold you get.  Second, learn the cold tolerance of the various species.  The final thing is to learn how to give your palms good culture and cold protection if needed.  This applies to periods before, during, and after the cold weather.


How Cold Do You Get?  The Most Important Question


Many palm enthusiasts do live in cold areas.  So we can guide the selections of such customers, we commonly ask them “How cold do you get?”  Most of the time customers guess at their low temperatures. These guesses are typically based either on hunch, the evening news, or what they read in the newspaper.  Very seldom is this information accurate unless the person has researched the subject and came up with accurate data.  It is not unusual for a customer from a known cold area to make comments like “We hardly ever get below 40 degrees”.  Although we know that this conclusion by the customer is not accurate, we try our best to have him take a more scientific look at his actual weather.    If you live in coastal Southern California or South Florida, cold weather is usually not much of a problem.  However, if you live in areas like Central and Northern California, most of Texas, Las Vegas, northern Florida, the southeastern U.S., or most of the Gulf States, cold weather is something you have seen or will eventually see.  And, you need to select the right cold hardy palms. 


You should begin to know and have your low temperatures on the tip of your tongue.  Even areas like Miami and San Diego do, from time to time, get unusual cold winters.   The major limiting factor in the successful growing of palms is the degree of cold weather that any given palm species will see during the winter.  Factors such as intensity of sun, presence of summer heat (or lack of it), and humidity are also very important.  But, cold exposure is the most limiting factor for those of us in the United States.  So, the goal is to know how cold you actually get on the coldest nights; and to determine if this is typical of your winters.  Try to get a maximum-minimum (high-low) thermometer.  Most palm nurserymen would rather you tell them your low temps than quoting “climate zones”, as the latter are unreliable and quite variable.   It is really helpful when a customer says “I’ve never gotten below 28 degrees in ten years” or “I always get into the teens”.      


The best way to determine how cold your garden gets is to purchase a maximum-minimum or hi-lo thermometer.  Taylor Company manufactures an excellent maximum-minimum thermometer and it is quite easy to use.  You just leave it out during the winter in the garden and read the lowest temperatures.  You can use the provided magnet to reset the low values so you can plot your low temperatures over the entire winter.  If it is presently Summer and you are not sure of the cold in your area, ask your friends about freezes.  Check the local weather log for your area.  Try to remember if you saw ice on the windshield of your car.  Look around in your neighborhood and see what other people have successfully grown.  All of these things let you know about your weather and what might be accomplished.  Therefore, when you contact us or another grower, you can say we typically get down to 25 degrees but once we saw 22 degrees.  This type of information is very helpful.



 In Our Area Certain Palms, Including the Coconut Palm, Do Not Survive Outdoors


Yes, there are a few survivors throughout the entirety of Southern California.  But, as a very reliable rule, Cocos nucifera, will eventually die in Southern California from our cold weather.  This doesn’t mean you cant try, but the chances are you will fail.  The same applies to a lot of sought after species.  Cyrtostahcys renda, the Red Sealing Wax Palm, attracts many enthusiasts because of its dramatic red trunks.  No, it will not survive in cold weather.  It predictably dies at about 47 degrees Fahrenheit.  Archontophoenix cunninghamiana, the King Palm, dies at about temperatures below 24 to 25 degrees.  The typical Queen Palm dies at about 18 degrees.  So, if you know your garden gets down to 5 degrees, don’t think you’re going to keep alive any of the above species.  Plant palms that will predictably grow in your area.  If you like to make lists of palms that appeal to you (typically on the Internet or with books), bring that list to your local grower and he can tell you which ones to eliminate.  Many of our customers do just that.  Some specifically are searching for cold hardy palms.  If they aren’t sure, they might bring in a list of twenty-five plants, and we immediately eliminate some because they probably wont survive in his area.  Remember, the first things I ask a new visitor to the nursery is “where do you live and how cold do you get”.      


What About Microclimates?


It is true that microclimates are very important and do exist.  Being on a ridge is better than being in the bottom of a cold valley.  Overhead canopy also protective from the cold.  Such canopy can keep interior garden temperatures much warmer on a cold night, sometimes even 10 degrees F. warmer.  Large rocks jutting out of the ground can maintain the previous days warmth and release this warmth during the night.  Morning exposures to sun can quicken the re-warming of the plants after a cold night.  All of these things are important.  But, the cold that you measure (even in the microclimate areas) is the low.  This determines which species you can grow.  Another recommendations is to look around in your area.  If your neighbors tell you that a given species has died in the winter despite three attempts, perhaps that species is bad for you.  On the contrary, if people in your neighborhood are growing well a given species, the chances are you can grow it as well.  Except for the rare “warmer” individual microclimates, most neighborhoods share a similar low winter temperature. Cocos nucifera, a poor choice for all but the most tropical areas.    



Acclimate Palms

How To Use This Information


Use the following cold tolerance information as a general guide.  There is no crystal ball in the plant world.  The following information will help you pick the right species for your area.  But, it is not gospel.  It is not a guarantee.  It is meant to be helpful information only.  With this in mind, please read the next session.  The next section of this article is where I discuss the species and which would be right for you.

Palms for the Coldest Areas 


Palm Trees For Extremely Severe Cold Weather   (15 degrees F. and lower)

 Although a comprehensive list of all species is not possible here, there are many palms that do tolerate some degree of cold.  We shall break it down into three groups:  Palms for extremely severe cold weather, palms for moderately severe cold weather, and palms for  cold weather with definite freezes.  Obviously, plant species from a colder group would be grown easily by people who find themselves in a warmer grouping.  Remember that it's all about your lowest temperatures, not your climatic zone.


Butia capitata:  A blue-green colored pinnate palm of medium stature with a stout trunk and re-curved pinnate leaves.  Known as the Pindo Palm or the Jelly Palm, Butia capitata can tolerate temperatures slightly below 15 degrees.  I’ve just had reports of no damage to 12 degrees.

Butia bonnetii: Similar to Butia capitata but perhaps slightly more cold tolerant.  It has less blue in the leaves and is somewhat smaller.  Figure 12 - 15 degrees F.


Brahea armata:  A large, single trunk silver-blue leafed fan palm that tolerates heat, cold to about 15 degrees, and arid conditions.  Known as the Mexican Blue Fan Palm, this species is slow growing and tolerates xerophytic conditions.  More recent reports show definite leaf damage at 15 degrees F.


Chamaerops humilis:  A green to silver-green fan leafed, suckering palm that gets to about 15 feet.  It tolerates dry, arid conditions and temperatures to about 5-10 degrees.  Common name is Mediterranean Fan Palm. 

Jubaea chilensis:  A very thick trunked, tall pinnate palm known as the Chilean Wine Palm.  Known to be very slow growing, it can tolerate inland sun and a good deal of cold, probably to about 16 degrees.  You plant this one for your kids because its so slow growing.  Very valuable when mature sized

Jubaea X Butia: This is an unusual hybrid, often grown as an F2 hybrid from existing mature specimens.  It gives one a fast growing plant with a trunk almost the size of a pure Jubaea.  Reports are that this hybrid tolerates temps down to 14 degrees F.  It has a thick trunk and is much faster growing than pure Jubaea


Nannorrhops ritcheana:  A suckering, small (to 12 feet) attractive fan palm that has green and blue forms.  This clumping palm tolerates hot sun, dry conditions, and temperatures to about 16-17 degrees or slightly lower.   

Rhapidophylum hystrix:  Probably this species is the most cold hardy of all palms.  It is a small to medium sized, suckering fan palm that will grow in sun or filtered light.  It will tolerate under 0 degrees F.

Sabal bermudanaThis is a large trunked, full sun species that will tolerate temperatures to about 15 degrees F.  It has a full head of leaves and gets to about 20 feet.  It likes full sun and heat.

 Trachycarpus takil:  A single trunk palm similar to T. fortunei but a bit taller with deeper splits in the leaves.  It should tolerate 5 - 15 degrees, but more feedback is needed.


Trithrinax acanthicoma:  A medium sized, single trunk fan palm to about 15 feet with attractive spines on the fibrous trunk.  It tolerates full sun and takes temperatures to at least 15 degrees and perhaps 15 degrees F.

Palms For Moderately Severe Cold Weather


(16 to 23 degrees F. or warmer)


All plants from the previous list. 

Acoelorrhaphe wrightii:    A profusely suckering, thin trunked, medium sized fan palm that is native to the Everglade area and likes wet conditions.  It will tolerate high moisture conditions and temperatures to about 18 to 20 degrees.  It prefers full sun.

 Arenga engleri:
An attractive, suckering pinnate palm with heights to about 10 to 12 feet with very fragrant blossoms.  The leaflets are irregular and tropical appearing.  Tolerates filtered light or sun in most areas.  Blossoms are fragrant.  Cold tolerance estimated at 18 degrees.

Brahea aculeata:  A single trunk, medium sized fan palm with blue-green leaves that is somewhat slow growing and tolerates temperatures to approximately 18 to 20 degrees

butia x syagrus m.h

Brahea edulis:   A slow growing medium sized fan palm with a rather stout trunk and green leaves.  Tolerates full sun and wind.  At maturity can reach 25 to 30 feet.  It tolerates down to about 18 to 20 degrees.  12 to 15 degrees will definitely damage the foliage of this species.

Brahea nitida: Another Brahea species that tolerates about the same temperatures as the other two but has not armor on the petioles and has large, somewhat flattened green leaves.

Butia eriospatha:  Similar to Butia capitata but only tolerates to about 18 to 20 degrees.  It is distinguished by wooly material on the heart and flowers.

Butia X Syagrus:  This is an interesting hybrid that gives the speed and a bit of the look of the Queen but the cold hardiness of the Pindo Palm.  It takes down to about 15 to 16 degrees and is very attractive.  It’s known as the Mule Palm

Butia paraguayensis:    Similar to Butia capitata but smaller and more green, tolerates to about 20 degrees.

Calamus carytoides:   A surprising palm that is armed, suckering, small to medium sized with irregular leaflets and cold tolerance to about 22 degrees.  Best for filtered light.

Dypsis decipiens

Caryota urens:   A massively tall, single trunked and attractive palm that is monocarpic and dies when it blossoms after about 25 years.  Very attractive.  Will tolerate to about 18-20 degrees, perhaps a bit lower, and needs lots of room.

Ceroxylon species:  There are some species of Ceroxylon that may tolerate down to about 20 degrees.  These are single trunked, very tall pinnate palms that grow into full sun and wont take dry desert wind.

Chamaedorea radicalis: 

A dwarf, shade or possibly sun tolerant trunkless pinnate palm that only gets to about 4 feet tall and has colorful orange-red fruit.  Good for the interior of a garden and tolerates about 18-20 degrees.  Good for cold coastal areas.  Note that there is a trunk forming variety of this species that has similar cold tolerance.

Livistona sp.

Dypsis decipiens: 

A fairly new introduction to the palm market, this is a gorgeous palm that is single or multiple trunked, crown shafted, pinnate and tolerates down to about 20 degrees.  Native to Madagascar, this species is slow growing but worth the wait.  Size is up to 30 feet, although this would take many years.

Jubaeopsis caffra:   A suckering, medium sized, pinnate palm that is expensive and hard to find.  It prefers full sun and is wind tolerant.  Tolerates temperatures to about 22 degrees.

Livistona australis:
A tall, single trunked fan palm with good sun tolerance and cold tolerance to about 20 degrees.  It is fast growing for a fan palm and very attractive.

Livistona chinensis:  Slower growing than Livistona australis, with larger flatter, less divided leaves and a fatter trunk.  Can tolerate sun filtered light or full sun and temperatures to about 18 to 20 degrees.


Livistona decipiens:   A fast growing Livistona species that takes about 18 degrees F.  It has wispy and drooping leaflets, gets very tall, is fast growing for a fan.  It prefers full sun.

Livistona species, other;   There are other species of Livistona that may tolerate down to 23 degrees.

Phoenix theophrastii

Phoenix canariensis:    A massively large, single trunked, dark green pinnate palm that needs lots of room, is slow growing, and armed.  Definitely a centerpiece palm.  Very valuable when mature, this palm can be transplanted and can attain heights to over 50 feet.  Tolerates cold to about 18 degrees and needs full sun.  12 to 15 degrees will damage the foliage.

Phoenix reclinata:
A suckering, medium to tall, pinnate and armed palm that makes gorgeous clumps and is a centerpiece palm.  Demands full sun and tolerates temperatures to 18 to 20 degrees or slightly lower.

Phoenix sylvestris:  Native to the Himilayan Mountains and nearby mountain ranges, this single trunked, large, silver-green pinnate palm prefers full, hot sun and will take temperatures down to about 20 to 22 degrees.  It is very armed and needs room.

sabal species

Phoenix theophrastii: A suckering, heavily armed and sharply pointed suckering pinnate palm that tolerates more cold than the similar P. reclinata but gets somewhat taller.  Heights to over 30 feet.  Tolerates down to about 16 degrees or lower and needs hot sun.

Rhapis excelsa:  Also a great house plant, this small, suckering fan palm tolerates to 18-20 degrees and prefers filtered light or shade.  Rhapis humilus may be even more cold hardy that R. excelsa

Sabal minor:
A single trunked, sun-loving, dwarf fan palm that will tolerate down to 15 degrees and demands full sun or possibly strong filtered light.  It is trunk-less or forms minimal trunk. 


Sabal, other species:
It is possible that certain other Sabal species can tolerate 23 degrees or lower.  This list might include Sabal etonia, Sabal palmetto, and several others.

 Syagrus romanzoffiana:
The Queen palm can tolerate to about 18 degrees and is solitaire, tall, and has a medium sized trunk.  The leaves are pinnate and plumose (fluffy).  17 degrees or colder will kill this species.  It demands full sun.

Trachycarpus martianus: A medium sized, single stemmed fan palm with wooly material on the petiole.  Prefers full sun, but can tolerate strong filtered light.  Very attractive.  Tolerates down to about 20 degrees


Trachycarpus wagnerianus:  A medium sized fan palm with small, stiff leaves.  It prefers full sun and can tolerate wind.  It can withstand temperatures to about 20 degrees and by some reports down to 15 degrees.


Trithrinax campestris:   A very sought after and hard-to-find suckering, blue fan palm that tolerates hot dry sun and temperatures down to about 18 to 20 degrees

Washingtonia robusta:  Similar to W. filifera but thinner trunked and taller.  Prefers full sun and tolerates 18 to 20 degrees F.  Fairly fast growing and commonly available.  12 to 15 degrees will defoliate this species. Washingtonia filifera is more cold tolerant than W. robusta.


Brahea moorei
Caryota mitis
Chamaedorea klotzchiana

Palms For Cold Weather with Predictable Freezes


(24 to 28 degrees F.)


In this bracket, you can grow all those palms in the previous two groups and a lot more.  Please note that this group is quite large.  All species that apply here will not be included, but I shall list many to give you some ideas of the nicest species possible. 

Acanthophoenix crinita:  A new introduction.  A spiny single trunked pinnate palm that gets to about 12 to 18 feet and is fast growing.  Tolerates about 27 degrees and likes strong filtered light or full sun.  Note that A. crinita is more cold tolerant than A. rubra.


Allogoptera arenaria:    A small, suckering, pinnate palm for full sun.  It will tolerate some salt exposure and in habitat grows near the ocean.  Will tolerate to 25 degrees.


Acrocomia aculeate:   These spiny single trunk palms will take a freeze and go down to about 28 degrees.  They like sun and a lot of room.

Archontophoenix maxima (walsh river):  Similar to the King Pam with a new reddish leaf and silver discoloration on the back of the leaves.  A real beauty!  Cold tolerance to about 26 degrees.

Archontophoenix cunninghamiana:
The King Palm is crown shafted, single trunk with pinnate leaves.  It tolerates down to 24 or 26 degrees.  It is quick growing and like morning or full sun.

Archonotphoenix myolensis:   Another variety of Archontophoenix with a different colored crown shaft (purple green) and similar cold tolerance to the maxima.  It also has droopy leaflets.  Cold tolerance probably similar to maxima, but unclear.

Archontophoenix purpurea (purple crown shaft, Mt. Lewis):   A very nice palm that will take down to about 28 degrees with a purple crown shaft at maturity.  Tolerates full sun or possible AM sun.


Arenga pinnata:   A large single trunk pinnate palm with silver underside of the leaflets and a fibrous material on the trunk.  Needs room and strong filtered sun, working its way into sun. Cold tolerance upper 20's F.

Bismarckia nobilis:    A great palm!  Silver colored leaves if you buy the silver form.  Single trunk with a moderately large trunk.  Very striking.  Takes down to about 22 degrees if it is a good sized specimen.

Brahea moorei:   A small, single trunk fan palm that takes down to about 26 to 28 degrees.  Unlike other Braheas, this ones very small and like filtered light.

Burretiokentia hapala:    A strikingly beautiful single-trunked pinnate palm from New Caledonia with interesting colors at the base of the leaves.  A great palm for So Cal.  Size is about 25 feet when mature.  It likes filtered light or AM sun.  Cold tolerance is mid-twenties.


Burretiokentia koghiensis:       A unique and beautiful solitary-trunked pinnate palm from New Caledonia. It has a white crown shaft and red emergent leaf.  A great palm for So Cal.  Size is about 25 feet when mature.  It likes filtered light or AM sun.  Cold tolerance is mid-twenties.

Calamus species, various:   There are various species of these typically suckering, spiny palms that can take 28 degrees.  All prefer filtered light and need room to do their thing.

Caryota gigas:   This is a very nice large, single trunked fishtail palm that has interesting leaflets with blackish color to the trunk and fiber of the trunk.  Medium grower but will get very tall.  Likes sun.  This species is not as cold tolerance as urens and takes down into the low 20’s F.

Ceroxyln alpinum
Chamaedorea hooperiana
Chamaedorea costaricana

Caryota mitis:   A suckering fishtail that is not quite as cold tolerant as other species, but will take 28 degrees.  It prefers bright filtered light and gets to about 20 feet if well grown.

Caryota ochlandra:  Probably a variant of urens, but slower growing.  It takes down to about 20 degrees.  Single trunk and for sun.

Ceroxylon alpinum:  A tall, thin trunked pinnate palm like the other Ceroxylon, can tolerate full sun, likes humidity and can take down to 28 degrees.

Ceroxylon quindiuense:   Taller than C. alpinum with droopy leaflets.  Can tolerate sun if it works its way into the sun.  Likes humidity.  Moderate growth rate.  Takes to about 27 to 28 degrees.

Chamaedorea costaricana:  A great suckering pinnate palm that gets to about 14 feet and will tolerate filtered light and temperatures to about 25 degrees.  A mainstay of a tropical garden.

Chamaedorea klotzschiana:    A unique single trunk palm that gets to about 10 feet and has grouped leaflets.  Will take about 27 degrees and looks best in shade or filtered light.

Chamaedorea fragrans:    A suckering simple leaf palm that does best in filtered light and gets to about 10 feet.  Very rare and hard to find.  Will take to about 26 degrees. 

Chamaedorea hooperiana: An attractive suckering pinnate palm that gets to about 12 feet. It will tolerate filtered light and temperatures to about 25 degrees.  It’s a great addition to any tropical garden.


Chamaedorea metallica:   A cute small single trunk, simple leaf palm with a metallic sheen to the leaves.  Takes down to 26 degrees.  Looks best in the shade.

Chamaedorea microspadix:
A cute suckering, pinnate palm that gets to about 8 feet, likes filtered light, and tolerates down to 20 degrees.  Has beautiful orange-red fruit and is easy to grow.  Makes a nice houseplant.

 Chamaedorea plumosa:   A great single trunked fluffy pinnate palm that gets surprising tall at about 20 feet.  Similar to the C. glaucifolia but more cold hardy and will take full sun.  Hardy to 26 degrees.  

Chamaedorea tepejilote:  A great, stately Chamaedorea with thick trunks and prominent rings.  It has long pinnate leaves and demands shade or strong filtered light in our area.  Cold tolerant to 28 degrees.  A great houseplant.  It is single trunked.

Dypsis ambositrae

Chambeyronia macrocarpa:  This plant is a winner!  Single trunk, crown shafted, thick leaflets and pinnate.  And, a new red leaf!  Slow growing but worth it.  Does best in filtered light.  Takes to 28 degrees.  Chambeyronia hookeri has a cream colored crown shaft and similar cold hardiness.


Coccothrinax species:  There are multiple Coccothrinax that take 28 degrees or colder.  All are single trunk, fan palms with thin trunks.  Some have matting on the trunk and C. crinita is the old man palm with a hairy trunk.  Prefer bright full sun.

Copernicia species:   There are multiple of these fan palms that take 28 degrees or colder.  Most are single trunk.  All are fan palms.  They like heat and full sun.  Some get quite big!  Its been reported that Copernicia glabrescens will take down to 20 degrees.


Cryosophylla species: A beautiful fan palm with a thin trunk and silver color to the underside of the leaves.  Like strong filtered light or sun along the coast.  Many species will take 28 degrees.

Cyphophoenix elegans:   An elegant single trunk, crown shafted palm with a thin trunk and graceful leaves.  From New Caledonia.  Takes down to 28 degrees.


Dypsis ambositrae:  A single trunk sometimes suckering, crown shafted palm that will tolerate full sun and temperatures to 26 degrees.  It is medium sized with red and brown colors on the petiole and a white stem.

Dypsis lutescens
Dypsis baronii

Dypsis baronii: A great suckering, crown shafted pinnate palm for strong filtered light or possibly full sun in some areas.  It develops a silver colored trunk.  Hardy to about 28 degrees.  Size to about 15 feet.

Dypsis decaryi:  The Triangle Palm will take down to about 28 degrees and is unique with its swirl of leave bases making the triangle.  It likes full sun and heat.  Height to about 25 feet in Southern California.

Dypsis lutescens:  A golden colored, medium sized, suckering, crown shafted palm that is known at the Butterfly Palm and the Areca Palm.  Not particularly rare, but it is a great landscape item that goes down to about 25 degrees.  Overall height to 15 to 20 feet.

Dypsis prestoniana
Dypsis plumosa

Dypsis leptocheilos:

The “teddy bear palm” will tolerate about 25-26 degrees.  It takes full sun, and is fairly heat tolerant (if kept watered). It’s ultimate height is about 25 feet in Southern California.

Dypsis plumosa:

This is a fast growing Malagasy palm.  It has a white crown shaft, a green trunk and green leafs.  It is hardy down to about 24-25 degrees and is sun/heat tolerant.  Height of about 20 feet in Southern California.

Dypsis onilahensis:

This is a stunning multi-stemmed palm from Madagascar.  It has a white crown shaft with a blue/green trunk.  They are moderate growers and cold tolerant down to about 23-24 degrees.  The grow in full to partial sun and are fairly heat tolerant.  The get about 25 feet in Southern California.

Dypsis prestoniana:

This Dypsis is large and impressive.  With plumose leafs and thick petioles, this beast of a palm can reach height of 30′ plus.  It have a very nice white crown shaft and either a green or blue/green trunk.  They are cold tolerant down to 24-25 degrees and are an excellent sun palm.

Dypsis lanceolata:

This is a graceful and beautiful palm.  It is multi-stemmed and colorful with white, green, peach, red and brown colors gracing the trunk and crown.  It is cold tolerant down to about 25 degrees.  This palm only gets about 15 feet in Southern California.


Dypsis pembana:

This is a fast growing and beautiful palm from Madagascar.  It has a white crown shaft, a green trunk and glossy green leafs.  This species can be either single or multi-stemmed.  It is hardy down to about 27-28 degrees and is sun tolerant, but does well in filtered light as well.  Height of about 25 feet in Southern California.

Dypsis madagascariensis:

This is a moderate to fast growing palm from Madagascar.  It has a white crown shaft and plumose leafs.  Depending on cultivar/type it can be either single or multi-stemmed.  It is hardy down to about 24-25 degrees and is sun/heat tolerant.  Height of about 25-30 feet in Southern California.

Dypsis psammophila:

This is a slow/moderate growing palm from Madagascar.  It has a white crown shaft, and a dark green to blackish trunk.   It’s multistemmed and has slender stems.  It is hardy down to about 26-27 degrees and prefers filtered light.  Height of about 10 feet in Southern California.

Dypsis saintelucei:

This is a moderate growing and beautiful palm from Madagascar.  It has a white crown shaft, a dark green/black trunk and keeled leafs.  It is hardy down to about 26-27 degrees and is sun or filtered light tolerant depending on locality. Height of about 20 feet in Southern California.

Gaussia maya
Dypsis utilis

Dypsis utilis:

This is a moderate growing palm from Madagascar.  It has a hairy crown and trunk.  The new leafs are red/pink emergent.  The trunk also tends to branch.  It is hardy down to about 27-28 degrees and is sun/heat tolerant, but does well in filtered light as well.  Height of about 20 feet in Southern California.

Hedescepe canterburyana

Euterpe edulis:  A slender, elegant, pinnate and crown shafted palm that will reach 35 feet and grow in AM or full sun.  It is quick growing and cold hardy to 26 degrees.  Most people that see one have to have it.

Gaussia maya:  A unique palm with a swollen belly at the ground that suddenly disappears with age.  It is pinnate and only holds 4 to 5 leaves.  Cold hardy to about 26 degrees.


Hedescepe canterburyana:

This palm is from Lord Howe Island.  It is a moderate growing and stunningly beautiful.  It has a keeled leaf with a white crown and white/green trunk.  It is sun to part sun tolerant, depending on proximity to the coast.  This species is hardy down to about 25 degrees.  The ultimate height is about 20-25 feet in Southern California.

Howea belmoreana:  Another winner!  It is like the Kentia but with re-curved leaves and more leaflets.  It is also somewhat slower growing and hard to find.  Prefers filtered light.  Recent information shows that it is more cold tolerant than Howea forsteriana.  Tolerates to 25 degrees or a bit colder. 


Howea forsteriana:  What a great palm the Kentia palm is.  Graceful, elegant, beautiful pinnate foliage.  Gets to about 30 feet or taller.  Prefers AM or filtered light.  It can tolerate coastal full sun.  Great house plant.  Cold hardy to about 26 degrees.


Hyphanae species: All this class are fan palms, many with silver color to the leaves.  They all sucker or branch and love full sun.  They don’t like a lot of water.  Some will tolerate down to 28 degrees.

Laccospadix australasica:
Another winner!  It’s like a miniature Howea with a red emergent leaf and beautiful red fruit.  Looks best in filtered light and takes down to about 27 degrees.  This species only gets about 10-15 feet ultimately in Southern California.  A garden favorite.

Laccospadix australasica (suckering form):

This type is very similar to the single trunk variety, except it seems to stay a bit shorter (7-10 feet), does not have a red emergent leaf and is more cold hardy.  It looks best in filtered light like the solitary version and tolerates about 24-25 degrees.       


Licuala elegans (L. peltata var. elegans):  A great solid leaf, tropical fan palm that is slow growing and worth the wait.  It likes filtered light and is hard to find.  Takes to 28 degrees and does not sucker.


Licuala radula:
This is one of the prettier Licualas you can grow.  It has a divided tropical fan leaf, which is mottled and is solitary trunked. It, like most Licualas, is slow growing, but I highly recommend it to sophisticated collectors.  It likes filtered light and is hard to find.  Takes to 28 degrees.



Licuala ramsayi:  A narrow trunked, tropical fan palm with divided leaves.  Prefers filtered light and will tolerate 28 degrees.  Very exotic appearing.  It is single trunked.

Licuala spinosa:   A suckering Licuala that takes 26 to 28 degrees and likes filtered light.  It is slow growing. 

Oraniopsis appendiculata

Linospadix monostachya:  The Walking Stick Palm is very cute, single trunked, with irregular widths to its pinnate leaves.  It gets up to about 8 feet and likes filtered light.  It tolerates 26 to 28 degrees. 


Livistona benthamii:  Livistona benthamii is a beautiful palm.  It has a slender trunk and full crown.  The max out at about 20-25 feet in Southern Califrornia.  There are multiple Livistonas that will take 28 degrees or colder, e.x. L. drudei, L. inermis, L. mariae (rigida), L. muelleri and L. nitida. 

Livistona sarabus:

This is a charming but wicked plant is Livistona saribus with huge leaves and large, black re-curved spines on the petiole. It gets about 30 feet in Southern California and will tolerate around 28 degrees.

Normambya normambyi: An elegant, thin trunked palm with chopped leaflets (fishtail like) and a tropical appearance.  I like it best in strong filtered light.  It takes down to about 28 degrees. 


Oraniopsis appendiculata:   A surprising single trunked pinnate palm that gets quite tall with a lot of time and is native to the Mt. Lewis area of Queensland.  It takes down to about 27 degrees and is real fun.  Somewhat slow growing, however.

Parajubaea cocoides: A large pinnate palm native to high elevation in South America.  It likes full sun and has huge seeds.  Cold hardy to 24 degrees.



Parajubaea torallyi var. microcarpa: There are three varieties of Parajubaea torallyi (v. torallyi, v. sunka and v. microcarpa).  All are similar in appearance, though there are subtle differences in how they hold their foliage and growth rates.  All these types are hardier that P. cocoides, and are faster growing as well.  They max out at about 25-30 feet.  Cold hardy to 21 degrees.


Parajubaea torallyi var. torallyi: This palm is also known as the “South American Coconut”.  It is a fast growing and beautiful cultivar of Parajubaea.  They max out at about 25-30 feet.  Cold hardy to 21 degrees.

 Phoenix roebelenii: The Pigmy Date Palm is single trunked, pinnate and very dainty.  It demands full sun and is quite easy to grow.  It gets to about 12 feet and is fairly common.  It takes down to about 25 degrees.

 Phoenix rupicola:  A large single trunked pinnate palm with spine armor that is smaller than the P. canariensis and has a smaller leaf.  The leaflets are shiny green and softer to the touch than some of the more wicked Phoenix species.  It tolerates 23 degrees.

Polyandrococcos caudescens:  A unique single trunked pinnate palm with beautiful orange fruit.  It gets to about 20 feet and will tolerate temperatures to at least 27 degrees, possibly lower.  It has a silver color to the leaflets, giving it a ceroxylon appearance.

Ptychosperma elegans:
An elegant single trunked pinnate palm with a gorgeous overall appearance.  It is a good growing, think trunked and crown shafted.  Cold hardy to 26 to 28 degrees, at which temperature it might show some damage.  Prefers strong filtered light or coastal sun in some cases.

Pritchardia species:  There are quite a few Pritchardias that will take 28 degrees, perhaps a bit colder.  There are also some that don’t tolerate these temperatures..  This is where your palm grower comes in.  All are beautiful, all are fans, and most are medium sized.  Good ones for 28 degrees include P. affinis, remota, minor, and a few others.

Pseudophoenix sargentii:
The Cherry Palm is slow growing.  When I say slow, I mean slow.  But, because of its unique bulging trunk, silver colored crown shaft, and gorgeous overall appearance, it is worth the wait.  Cold tolerance to 28 degrees.  Likes full sun and to be put in the ground.

Ptychosperma rakkii:

This species is similar in appearance to P. elegans, but has a few key distinctions.  It is more stout, with a thicker stem, leafs and petioles.  It is more sun hardy and also seems to be more tolerant of cold and heat.  Ultimate height is unknown, but is probably close to 20 feet.  Hardiness is about 24-25 degrees.

Ravemea glauca
Ravenea madagascariensis
Rhapis humilis

Ravenea glauca:  A rather small Ravenea with a trunk about 4 inches in diameter and a height of about 20 feet.  Very dainty and pretty.  It takes down to about 26 or 28 degrees and likes sun or filtered light.  Photo by unknown author c/o Palmpedia

Ravenea madagascarensis:   A somewhat silver tinted pinnate palm with a thin trunk and a preference for full sun.  Crown shafted.  Takes to about 26 degrees.

Ravenea rivularis: The Majesty Palm is a thick trunked, fast growing pinnate palm that likes water, nutrition, and room.  It looks best in AM sun, not full sun (unless you’re a good grower).  The girth gets quite large.   Takes to about 27 degrees.

Rhapis humilus:  This gorgeous suckering fan palm is a knockout.  It gets quite tall (to 16 feet), prefers filtered light, likes moisture, and is very exotic.  Its miniature cousin,  the related palm Rhapis multifida, is just as gorgeous but smaller.  Both take down to about the mid to lower  20’s F.


Rhapis multifida:

This is a very slender and graceful lady palm type.  It is shorter and less sun hardy than R. humilis, but is cold hardy into the mid-20’s.  It’s dainty growth habit, clean fiber and finely divided leafs make this an exceptional and elegant addition to any garden.  Max height of 8-10 feet.

Rhopalostylis bauerii:   A very attractive crown shafted pinnate palm that prefers filtered light, though many people grow them in sun coastally, and is from New Zealand.  It is somewhat slow growing, single trunked, and tropical appearing.  This species gets approximately 20-25 feet in Southern California.  It takes down to 24 degrees, a bit lower than the Kentia Palm. 

Rhopalostylis sapida:   The Shaving Brush Palm or Nikau Palm has similar cold tolerance as the R. bauerii, but takes more sun.  It likewise is slow growing but worth the wait.  Every palm enthusiast must have one.  Plant in filtered light unless you’re right on the coast.


Roystonea borinquena:

This is the Puerto Rican Royal palm.  It is shorter and thinner than it’s Cuban counterpart, but is equally and perhaps more cold hardy.  It is a fast grower (to 40 feet) and is tolerant of costal winds in California, which the Cuban Royal is not.  This species is hardy to 24-25 degrees.

Roystonea regia:  This is a drop-dead beautiful, single trunked, crown shafted pinnate palm with a large grey trunk with bulging at the base.  It takes down to about 26 – 28 degrees or colder and gets very tall.  It demands full sun.  Persistent cold can cause its demise.  More recent experience might suggest that Roystonea borinquena has a bit more cold hardiness than R. regia.

Sabal species:  There are lots of Sabals worthy of trying that can take down to 28 degrees or lower.  All tend to be large, although some are small.  All are fans and like full sun.  Sabal bermudiana is quite large with huge leaves; Sabal causarium has a thick trunk and gets very tall (may tolerate down to 20 degrees); Sabal etonia is near trunk-less and likes full sun; Sabal mauritiformis (the Tropical Sabal) is very gorgeous with a full circle leaf; Sabal rosei is quite large and has re-curved leaves; Sabal uresana is blue and a knockout.  There’s lots more Sabals, and some will take into the mid teens.  Talk to your palm nurseryman.


 Syagrus coronata:   A medium sized, sun loving pinnate palm that doesn’t look like a Queen Palm at all.  Very unique and single trunked.  Cold hardy to about 26 degrees.

Syagrus sancona: This is a much larger species that approaches the size of the Queen Palm.  It has a thick trunk, pinnate leaves and is quite beautiful.  Cold hardy to about 27 degrees.



Syagrus schizophylla:  A unique Syagrus that is smaller than the S. sancona and can be grown in sun or strong filtered light.  Takes down to 28 degrees.

Synecanthus fibrosa:  Single trunk, pinnate, understory with irregular widths to the leaflets.  Gets up to about 10 feet and takes down to 28 degrees.

Thrinax species:   All these take 28 degrees or less, are thin trunked fan palm that like full sun.  Try Thrinax excelsa, parviflora, radiata or others. 

Trachycarpus species other:  There are multiple new to the market Trachycarpus that take 28 degrees or colder.  Try species like T. martianus, nanus, oreeophilus, latisectus and others to have some fun.  All are fan palms and like sun or strong filtered light.  Most are small or medium sized.


Wallichia disticha:  A unique feather palm with matting on the trunk and a single plane arrangement of the leaves.  Its fat from one side, thin from the other.  Looks like a Caryota.  Cold tolerance to about 28 degrees.  Its cousin, W. densiflora is also about the same cold tolerance, but this species suckers.

 Wodyetia bifurcata:   The foxtail palm can take down to about 24 degrees.  Cold weather can show tip burn, but the tree often survives.  It is single trunk, pinnate, likes full sun and lots of heat, and should get to about 25 feet.  Well grown, it is a knockout!

Wodyetia X Veitchia:

This is known as the “foxy lady palm”.  It is a hybrid between Wodyetia bifurcata and Veitchia joannis.  This is a gorgeous and fast growing palm.  It gets about 25-30 feet and is hardy to about 25-27 degrees.

Palms For Minimum Temperatures Above 28 Degrees:

Count your blessings, for there are a lot more species you can grow.  Certainly, any of the above are for you, but you’re going to have some real fun because the list expands dramatically.


What To Do If You’ve Suffered Cold Damage

Here in Southern California, in 2007 we had one of the worst freezes in 60 years.  People have reported damage to palms that have been around for decades.  Farmers in some areas have lost the year’s crops.  It’s frustrating for all of us.  But, there’s an optimistic side to all of this.  Except in the hardest hit areas, most palms came back.  Some were lost.  This once again emphasizes the basics when you plant palms.  Be realistic in picking the right species.  Uninformed purchases from large depot type stores without proper guidance may result in losses.  Plants grown in warmer areas outside of your area and then market to you might not withstand your cold weather.  To avoid these problem, support local nurseries near you and get their advice.   

If you have a palm that’s been damaged by cold, there are things to do and inspect to see what your plant’s future might be.  Everyone notices the discolored and browned leaves.  Burn can be a faint yellowish-brownish discoloration or, if severe, a dark chocolate-brown or black discoloration.  This may become more apparent as days or weeks proceed.  So, if you see this, how can you see if the plants going to make it?  You check for evidence that the palm is still growing.  Here’s how:

1.  Look at the new spear coming out of the crown.  Is it green and healthy looking? (good sign).  Is it a mixture of green and brown? (worrisome but better than totally brown).  Is it totally brown or black?  (very worrisome)  Is it mushy? (bad sign)  Does it pull out with a gentle tug? (bad sign)
2.  Is the crown of the palm below the spear firm and hard? (good sign)  Is it mushy or soft? (very bad sign).
3.  Is the trunk collapsing or showing vertical indentation lines?  (very bad sign).  Is the trunk leaning over or bending? (get the shovel out).
4.  Are some of the older leaves still green despite the spear looking bad?  (probably of no importance.  It’s the spear and new growth that count)
5.  Is the new growth spear emerging out of the crown? (most important good sign).  Measure this by holding an older leaf petiole right up next to the spear and with one stroke mark both horizontally with a magic marker.  This shows you where the spear is right now.   Then inspect it in a day or two to see if the spear is emerging or moving upwards.  If it is moving out, that shows promise.  It’s no guarantee the palm will live.  But, if after a few weeks there’s not a millimeter of movement, that’s not good.

There are exceptions.  Spears can pull out and occasionally the plant will live.  There can be spear growth and yet the plant goes on to die.  A plant can stall for some time and yet still recover.  But, these inspections above are indicators of what’s to come.  Remember to give prophylactic fungicides down the throat of the plant when you see cold damage.  Although no studies I’m aware of document it’s benefit, most growers advise this treatment.  Possible fungicides to use include copper based fungicides and another named Daconil ( Chlorothalonil ).  It might be marketed under different names, so ask for help when purchasing.  Always use protective gear when spraying pesticides.



Syagrus X Butia:

This is the opposite hybrid to the “mule palm” (Butia X Syagrus).  It is a bit more queen-like in appearance, though it certainly has Butia features.  It is slightly less cold hardy, about 18 degrees and has a thinner trunk usually.  This species is great for sun and heat and will eventually get 25 feet or so.

Mule Palm (same as Butia X Syagrus):

This hybrid is strikingly beautiful and is quite hardy.  It is great for sun and heat and is often grown in desert and harsh climates.  It is called a “Mule Palm” as this intergeneric hybrid generally does not produce viable seed.  They get about 25 feet tall,

Trachycarpus takil

Serenoa repens:  A dwarf, suckering fan palm that is typically green in color, but occasional blue-colored varieties are available.  It will tolerate down to 10 degrees.


Sabal palmetto

Sabal palmetto:

This is a very hardy species.  They can take down to 10-12 degrees.  As you can see in the photos they are quite full and lush.  They are native to the Southern states (various cultivars), but are commonly recognized as a Floridian native.  This species is also very heat tolerant and can get up to 30 feet or bigger eventually.

Sabal riverside:  A blue-green, large fan palm that tolerates hot sun and is quick growing.  It is probably a form of a Caribbean Sabal that just happens to take cold quite well.  Recent reports are this species does well at 12 degrees F.

Sabal species hardy

Sabal species (hardy):

Other very hardy Sabal species that should take 15 degrees or lower include S. etonea, minor and causarium.  These species vary in height and appearance, but all seem to be heat tolerant as well.


Trachycarpus fortunei:  A single trunk, medium height fan palm with a hairy trunk and nice full head.  Known as the Chinese Windmill Palm.  It will tolerate temperatures down to about 5 degrees.


Washingtonia filifera:  A large single-trunked, tall fan palm that loves the hot desert areas and tolerates temperatures to about 15 degrees or slightly colder.  Note that Washingtonia filifera is definitely more cold hardy that it’s sister, W. robusta.     

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