If you have palm trees or are planning to purchase a palm tree, you may have asked yourself, can palm trees survive the snow? Palm trees are hardy plants, but many people ask us if they are cold-hardy. In this article, we will discuss whether or not palm trees can survive the snow and what is the lowest temperature a palm tree can survive.
You might be surprised to learn that palm trees can survive the snow. Depending on the type of palm tree, it can exist in snow-covered conditions for a short time or can be winterized.
While cold-hardy palm trees exist, cold climates can only be endured for a limited amount of time. Read below to learn how to ensure your palm can adequately withstand those cold and snowy winter months.
What is the Most Cold-Hardy Palm Tree?
There are many cold-hardy palm trees available. Some species of palm trees even originate from cold climates such as Southern Asia. The Trachycarpus species of trees, which are fan palms, are often regarded as the most cold-hardy palm tree.
Out of this species, the most common is the Trachycarpus fortunei, also known as Windmill or Chusan Palm, and the Trachycarpus takil, also known as the Kumaon palm. The Windmill palm can grow up to 12-20 meters high. It is native to Southern Asia and grown successfully across the globe. The Kumaon palm can grow up to 10-15 meters tall and is indigenous to the Himalaya.
What is the Lowest Temperature a Palm Tree Can Survive?
The Windmill Palm can tolerate the lowest temperature at 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 degrees Celsius). The Kumaon palm can handle temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit; however, exposure to extreme cold will likely result in foliage damage. Palm cannot withstand temperatures that are too low as the plants are primarily composed of water. When their trunks freeze, their cells, and possibly the entire plant, can die.
Can Palm Trees Survive the Winter Outside?
Depending on how low the temperature drops, palm trees can survive the winter outside. If you have palm trees planted outside on your property and are unable to move them inside for the winter, there are a few things you can do to ensure your palm tree survives the winter outside.
Plant Cold-Hardy Palms
Not all palm trees are cold-hardy, some are better suited for warm climates. If you're still in the planning stages, it might serve you well to do a bit of research before you purchase your palm. By buying and planting a cold-hardy palm tree, you will save yourself, and your plant, a lot of stress.
We recommend reviewing the Arbor Day Foundations U.S. Hardiness Zone Map to determine which plants are best suited for your location, depending on your zone. For example, Zone 3 can experience a low of -30 to -40 degree Fahrenheit; therefore, it's best to grow or move a palm indoors during winter months. If you reside in zones 3 through 6, where low temperatures can range from -5 to -35, we recommend growing your palm indoors or in an area that is large enough for a temporary enclosure.
If you are going to grow your palm outdoors, without any support for your plant during winter months, we suggest doing so only if you're located in zones 7-10.
Winterize Your Palm Tree
If your plant must remain outdoors during cold months, we recommend winterizing your palm tree. By winterizing your tree, you are taking steps to ensure the soil stays moist and doesn't wholly freeze and also guaranteeing the leaves remain warm.
You can wrap your palm in burlap, which will help to retain heat and keep snow and moisture out. Cedar Rim Nursery recommends wrapping your palm in heat tape, then wrapping your palm in burlap, to ensure moisture stays away from the trunk, and it remains warm.
You could utilize Christmas lights or heat lamps to ensure your palm tree is heated appropriately. By wrapping your tree in Christmas lights, the bulbs will generate heat, as long as they aren't LED lights (they will not produce heat).
Alternatively, a heat lamp might be your best option depending on the size of your tree and your space. For a thorough review of the 12 best heat lamps, check out our post here.
For more information on winterizing a palm check out this post on the Majestic Palm.
Utilize an indoor space
An enclosure will allow your palm to stay warm and dry while protecting your tree from the harsh winter weather. If you plant your tree in a pot, you could move it to an enclosed area. A suitable space would be a shed or garage that has access to light. Click here to read our post on how to improve drainage in potted plants.
If you are unable to move your palm, you might try erecting a greenhouse before the ground freezes.
The Palram Greenhouse is popular among novice and amateur gardeners alike. It can withstand winds up to 75 miles per hour and allows sunlight to access plants easily. Reviews love Palrams excellent customer service and sturdy construction.
Will My Palm Trees Grow Back After a Freeze?
If your palm tree didn't escape the winter cold unscathed and exhibits signs of freezing, don't panic. You can treat and save your palm. As soon as you notice, your palm tree was exposed to damaging weather, thoroughly look over your tree to assess the damage. You may see that any damaged leaves may look worse over the coming weeks as the cells will slowly die.
Do not remove the leaves that are damaged. Wait until spring to determine how much of the plant was destroyed. Then any dead leaves, or fronds, can be removed. Take steps to treat any possible infection with a fungicide spray. Experts recommend a disease control spray.
The Bayer Advanced Disease Control for Rose, Flower, and Shrubs will help keep fungal diseases from spreading. Spray on any damage as well as at the crown roughly every two to three weeks.
Can a Coconut Palm Tree Grow in Cold Climates?
The Cocos nucifera or as it's widely known, coconut palm tree, is not a cold-hardy palm tree. To survive, the palm requires a temperature range of 54-55 degrees Fahrenheit, and it needs as much direct sunlight as possible every day. If the coconut palm tree is exposed to winter weather such as frost, it will likely not survive.
There are many variations and species of palm trees available. We hope this article helped guide you in choosing the best one if you happen to live in a cold climate. If you have a palm tree, let us know in the comments below!