Guest Column

Kathy’s Gardening Guide: Landscaping with palm trees


Palm trees dot the landscape in our Florida home! If you are missing out on this great addition to your yard, the warm months of the year are a great time to plant palm trees.

Be sure to consider the space you have available, proximity to structures and the amount of sun and water in your desired area. Some palms remain small enough to be closer to a house while others will grow very large over time and need more space.

Although an established palm requires little attention, it is often necessary to trim these trees as the weather warms up (not during the dormant months of late fall through winter). It is important to properly remove any fronds that are entirely brown and dry.

They are weighing down the tree and should be cut at the base of the branch, close to the trunk or the soil depending on the type of palm. Be careful not to pull on branches as this can damage healthy parts of the tree.

We have several varieties of palms currently available at the nursery:

  • Sylvester Palms (Phoenix Sylvestris): The Sylvester palm will be a large tree and, therefore, needs space to grow. They grow approximately 1.5 feet per year and can reach a maximum height of 40-50 feet. These palms are cold hardy, drought tolerant and moderately salt tolerant. Sylvester palms are one of the most popular palms in this area and easily recognizable by their diamond cut trunk.
  • Queen Palms: Queen palms have cascading fronds that blow beautifully in the wind. They can reach a height of 50 feet but fit in somewhat tight spaces because they grow tall and skinny. These palms feature bright glossy leaves and clusters of orange dates. Queen palms create a tropical feeling and are, therefore, popular around patios, pools and other relaxing areas.
  • Roebellini Palms (Pygmy Date Palms): Because of its size, this miniature palm tree is well suited to be planted closer to your home. Roebellinii palms are slow growers with a maximum height of only 10-11 feet. They are popular at the end of driveways, outside front doors, or as the centerpiece to a garden bed.
  • Majestic Palms: This palm loves the humidity of our Floridian climate. The fronds of a majestic palm can fan out to 15 feet wide. They are slow growers that tolerate some shade and thrive in naturally wet areas.
  • European Fan Palms: These palms are slow growing trees that can reach 8-15 feet tall. European fan palms are hardier than most palm trees and can handle partial shade, colder temperatures and dry periods. They have finely textured fronds with colors ranging from green to silver.
  • Bismarck Palms: These silvery blue-green palms can serve as a centerpiece for your landscape. Bismarck palms have a thick trunk and fronds that can reach a span up to 16 feet wide. Although this palm only grows 1-2 feet per year, it has the potential to eventually reach 60 feet tall.
  • Sago Palms: These wide trunk palms are dark green and lush, remaining relatively close to the ground even after several years. It would take 50 years for a sago palm to reach 10 feet tall. They have a large cone of seeds growing out of the middle of the tree. Because these seeds are poisonous to pets, we tend to avoid using them in fur-friendly yards.

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Flower of the Week: Lantana

Please email Kathy at for any questions or gardening tips you would like to see in the future. For more information and ideas, visit Kathy’s Creative Gardens & Nursery, 196 N. Roscoe Blvd. The phone number is 904-655-7373.