Small palm trees are sure to give your landscape that tropical feel without having to take up too much space. We’ll break down the most popular for landscapes into two categories:
Those that get to be only about 10-12 feet tall and the favorite ones used as a ground cover.
If by chance you are looking for indoor palms click here for a list of the best ones. Indoor palms aren't necessarily just small varieties. They can be young, slow growing large ones that will suit containers indoors year round. Display on your patio in the summer if you wish.
It can be hard to figure out just what kind of palm tree you’d like to have. These two groups will help you decide which ones are best in your landscape depending on what kind of display you are after.
10-12 feet tall, and smaller palms for ground cover.
Most will do well in containers or soil and require some shade throughout the day.
Being smaller also means they are generally shaded by other trees in the wild.
There are some exceptions so check the links to each tree for more information.
These are a list of the small palm trees will usually stay under 10-12 feet tall, rarely taller and also don’t get very wide.
It’s a lot easier to plan your landscape if you know exactly how big the trees will be in 5-10 years time.
Plan and pick carefully now and it will save you time, money and energy in the future.
Cardboard Palm- scientific name- Zamia furfuracea and ( not technically a palm tree) stays fairly small growing 4-6 feet tall.
It has some very unique looking leaves that soon become stiff to the touch. and that's why the name cardboard.
It is considered slow growing but easy to grow in containers, indoors or out.
Pygmy Date Palm is a cute single trunk fine feather leaf tree. It grows well in containers or soil with exposure to full pr part sun.
All the bamboo palms are considered in the small category
growing generally to a max of 10-12 feet. The bamboo, hardy and dwarf bamboo varieties.
There are both the solitary and clustering feather leaf types.
The parlor palm is a close relative and in the same family
as the bamboos. It is the Chamaedorea family. Most of the palms in this family
are on the small side. The parlor has a single trunk and will get only to 8 feet tall. They are slow growing and prefer heavy shade making it one of the most popular palms for indoors.
The diamond or Joey palm has very large beautiful corrugated leaves, a underground trunk, and is solitary. Considered small as it doesn't get taller than 12 feet when not in natural habitat.
Mazari palm is of the clumping variety. It prefers dry desert climate, is cold tolerant and gets to be about 12 feet in height and width. Has deeply divided,triangular shaped fan leaves and is slow growing.
Green needle palm from North America only get to be about 12 feet tall at most. They are a clumping variety that have some sharp spines. Don't plant to close to pathways.
Chinese needle palm only gets to about 5-7 feet wide and tall. A beautiful display of deeply divided fan leaves. It is the clustering variety.
The ruffled fan palm and a few of its close relatives in the Licuala family are generally short in stature.
They include the Elegant Licuala and the Mapu palm (Licuala mattanensis) The Mapu palm only gets to 2 ft tall.
The ruffled and elegant both have large undivided corrugated looking fan leaves.
The Mapu has large split multi-colored almost modeled fan leaves. All of these have single trunks.
There are a few dwarf sized banana palms that could easily fit into a smaller landscape. Some are also
Here's another great resource to learn about all the plants, trees, and bushes great for container gardening and how to care for them. www.enjoy container gardening.com.
The tiger palm only gets to be about the 10 ft mark or so.
A couple of its close relatives—the ivory cane and the ivory crownshaft will get a few feet taller.
The tiger has a solitary trunk. The other two are clumping.
All display different colored crown shafts and feather leaves.
The group of lady palms are considered small.
The lady palm gets 10ft, the dwarf to about 7 ft and the slender 12 or so ft.
All are clumping with deeply segmented fan leaves.
The dwarf palmetto is a bit different in that it usually has no trunk above ground. It is a solo variety that often appears to be growing its leaves right out of the soil. Very cold hardy with beautifully split fan leaves.
The dwarf majesty grows to 8 or so ft tall. It has feather leaves and a single trunk.
The sago palms are the perfect small palm trees and will make great addition to you landscape. They will do well in soil or containers.
The Arikury palm is very tropical looking. Green arching feather leaves with a single trunk.
The bottle palm is generally considered small. It is a slow grower and rarely will it get to be more than 12 feet tall. If it does it will take it many years.
The seashore palm- (Allagoptera arenaria) gets only anywhere from 5-9 feet tall and a bit wider. They are a single trunk variety that grows underground.
It has fine feathery type leaves, produces a fruit that both looks and smell like a pineapple. Easy to care for plus does well in containers outdoors for growing in part to full sun.
If you plant a few couple they make for a great ground cover but look just as stunning with a single plant.
These are the best small palm trees that creep and cluster with trunks either above or below ground.
They will generally fill out slowly and not get too tall.
There are others- not included here- that are clustering but taller that would be more appropriate for using as a privacy screen because of their size.
The cat palm, miniature fishtail or metallic palm, and parlor palms are all in the Chamaedorea branch of the palm family.
Any one of these will accent your garden as a ground cover. The shortest is the metallic or miniature fishtail getting only to a height of about 4 feet.
The Chinese needle and the dwarf palmetto are both great choices for ground cover under larger trees and plants. Both have deeply segmented fan leaves and won’t get out of control by growing too fast.
The window pane palm is a feather leaf palm that almost appears to have leaf windows- thus its name. This palm gets about 5 ft or so tall at most.
There are other palms that will thrive in containers when they are young but that can get much taller than these when planted in the landscape.
Now that you have a list of the best small palm trees for landscapes, I hope the information will help you in planning a "little slice of paradise" of your very own.
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