If you are thinking of adding a palm tree to your garden or your home, you will probably be wondering how fast do palm trees grow. It makes a big difference to how quickly you should expect a space to be filled if the plant is a fast grower or a slow grower, so it’s a good idea to check before you select a palm tree.
Palm trees have varying growth rates between the different kinds of trees, and the location of the palm makes a big difference to the growth rate too. However, most palms grow between a few inches and a few feet per year. Your palm will grow faster if you regularly fertilize it and make sure it has the nutrients it needs.
How Fast Do Palm Trees Grow On Average?
Unfortunately, there is not an average estimate for how fast palm trees grow, because it can vary enormously from tree to tree. The different kinds of palms have very different growth rates.
For example, a Lady Palm might only grow up to around three inches in a year, whereas a Carpentaria Palm might grow a full six feet in one year if it is in particular suitable growing conditions.
Palms do need to be in a place where the temperature will never drop lower than eighteen degrees F, and they also need reasonably neutral soil – think pH values between 4 and 8.
What Affects How Fast A Palm Tree Grows?
There are a number of factors that will affect the speed that your palm tree grows.
Factor One: The Kind Of Palm
The thing that usually makes the biggest difference to how quickly a palm grows is what kind of palm it is. Some are much quicker growing than others and will shoot up at great speed, while others grow far more slowly and will only gain a few inches a year.
It’s important to know how quickly the kind of palm you are thinking of planting will grow so you know where to plant it and how quickly it will fill the space. If there are other competing plants, you need to know which will outstrip which most quickly.
Factor Two: Conditions
The second thing that affects the growth speed of a palm is the conditions in which it is planted. A palm that has everything it needs and the best conditions to grow in will grow much more quickly than a palm that is growing in a bad spot.
Your palm needs quite a few things to grow well, including warmth, light, humidity, space, and the right nutrients. If you can give your palm access to all these things in the right quantities, it will grow much faster.
Many of the shorter palms like bright but indirect light, so if you are growing a palm tree in your home, this is what you should try to provide. Other palms, particularly the large varieties, prefer plenty of direct light, so make sure that they are not too overshadowed by other trees if you are planting them outdoors.
You will probably find that if you live in one of the coldest zones your palm can tolerate, it grows much more slowly than if you grow one in a warm climate. There isn’t much that you can do about this if you are growing palms outdoors, so you will just have to accept a slower growth rate.
Fertilizing your palm tree regularly with a palm plant fertilizer will help it grow faster because it will have all the nutrients that it needs. Find guidelines for the specific palm you are trying to grow, but as a rule of thumb, palm trees like to be fertilized three or four times per year.
How Fast Do The Different Kinds Of Palm Trees Grow?
There are a great many different palm trees and their growth rates can vary enormously.
The Lady Palm
Lady palms are very slow growers, so if you are thinking of planting one, you should take this into account before settling on this variety. They will often only gain between three and ten inches per year, even if they are growing in the optimal settings.
Indoors, they will grow even more slowly, so be aware of this if you have planted one indoors, where light levels will be much lower.
The Mexican Fan Palm
This is a more quickly growing palm, which can gain around four feet per year. It is among the fastest growing palms when it is planted in the right conditions. It is native to Mexico and California, but when planted in other places, such as Arizona, Nevada, and Louisiana, it may not gain height as quickly.
The Windmill Palm
The Windmill Palm is another slow grower, and will usually gain fewer than eight inches in a whole year. It is often grown indoors because it tends to remain quite compact and tidy, and it is not hard to keep on top of.
Windmill Palms are also hardy plants that can be grown in many zones, including all the way down to Zone 4 indoors. You should not grow them outdoors in zones lower than 8 or they will not survive. Even in zones just above this, they may grow quite slowly and might suffer from cold weather damage.
The Queen Palm
A Queen Palm will grow an average of about two feet per year in most situations and can be grown in Zones 9-11. It has a mature height of 49 feet, so it will take a long time for it to reach maturity, even though it is not the slowest growing palm.
If you are planting it in cold zones, make sure you position it in a sheltered spot and be prepared for decreased growth speeds as a result of the temperature.
The King Palm
This palm tree will also grow about two feet each year provided the conditions are suitable. It needs fertile soil and plenty of light but will suffer if it gets too much sunlight all at once.
It’s a good idea to grow King Palm trees in slightly shady spots so that they don’t get sun damage to their leaves – as this will slow their growth and leave them more vulnerable to pests and infections.
You may struggle to grow them in states with an enormous amount of bright sunlight, such as Arizona or Texas, but they do still like sunshine and will thrive in places like Hawaii.
The California Fan Palm
This palm is quite a fast grower, gaining around three feet each year when grown in good conditions. They can reach around eighty feet when they are at their top height, so it should take around thirty years for them to reach their maximum growth.
They are also very flexible trees that will grow almost anywhere in the Western and Southern United States. If you are looking for a tall tree that will look extremely impressive and dramatic in your yard or leading up to your doorway, these are an ideal option.
They can be grown in zones 8-11, so they are pretty widespread and can propagate themselves as well as being cultivated by humans.
The Foxtail Palm
This Australian palm tree can gain over a foot each year. They get to around thirty feet tall, but some people do grow them indoors – provided that there is enough space for them to grow upward.
Despite being Australian, they will survive in cooler environments and you can grow them in many warm parts of America as well. If you are growing them indoors, they should have enough access to light and warmth.
They will rarely grow to a full thirty feet when indoors, but you need to be aware that they could before planting them, or you might run into issues as they get bigger. Nobody wants to be trying to remove a twenty foot tree from a house because it is getting too tall.
The European Fan Palm
European Fan Palms are not very quick growing plants, and only reach a maximum height of around sixteen feet. If you want a low-growing palm in your garden, this is a good option, as long as you live somewhere reasonably warm.
When these trees are young, they grow fairly quickly and can gain about ten inches per year. However, as they get older, their growth rate will decrease considerably, and an older tree will often only grow a few inches in any given year.
You will also see that it rarely grows more foliage, and a single frond is a pretty average per year. If you want to fill a space quickly these may not be an ideal option.
However, because these are European, they are much more tolerant of cold weather than many other palm trees. They will handle cooler zones, and can be grown in places like Texas easily, even though this is not a tropical climate.
They are very popular for gardens because they do not get too tall and dominate the landscape as much as other palms.
The Carpentaria Palm
This is one of the fastest growing palms there is and it can gain an impressive six feet in a year.
It is also able to reach over a hundred feet at its maximum height, which makes it unsuitable for many gardens because it is so tall it dominates everything else. However, few get that tall when they are not in competition with large rainforest trees.
This is an Australian species, but unlike the other Australian palm mentioned, it does not deal well with cold weather, and it will very quickly stop growing if temperatures drop. It will cope with tropical states such as Florida, but colder temperatures will prevent it from growing and may kill it quickly, especially if it is grown in an unsheltered spot.
The growth rate of palm trees varies enormously between the different kinds, and if you are trying to choose a quick growing palm to fill a space in your garden, you will have to select carefully to make sure you get one capable of gaining height fast.
However, you should also pay attention to the conditions in which you will plant the palm. You need to make sure that you are meeting all its requirements to the best of your ability. Palms need regular fertilization and plenty of indirect light to grow well. In particular, making sure that your palm has plenty of food may encourage it to grow quickly.