If you are fond of palm trees, you might be wondering where these beautiful trees are found throughout the United States. They are often associated with deserts and hot spaces, but they can also grow in colder areas.
Palm trees grow in all 50 US states, although they will struggle in the colder states and may need to be moved indoors if a particularly hard freeze is expected. They can tolerate cold weather surprisingly well, however, and may manage to survive even in the snow.
What US States Have Palm Trees?
We all associate the sunny states like Florida and Arizona with palm trees, so you won’t be surprised to learn that they certainly grow there – but they also grow in all of the other US states, provided they are given good conditions and protected from harsh environments.
Of course, it depends on the variety of palm tree. Some palm trees will grow in much colder conditions than others and have a greater tolerance for freezes and chills. Other palms need hot weather to survive and are sensitive to even mildly cold temperatures.
If you wish to grow a palm tree in your state, you will need to look at the minimum temperatures that the tree is likely to experience and choose a palm tree accordingly. Do not just pick your favorite palm and stick it in the ground, or it is quite likely to die.
However, even if you live in a cold state, you should be able to find a palm tree that will make your home feel tropical, no matter what the weather is actually like.
Where Do Palm Trees Come From?
Palm trees grow all over the world, but they mostly evolved in hot, tropical regions. It is thought that most palm trees come from Southeast Asia, Northern Africa, India, and the South Pacific Islands. Of course, different palms come from different places.
The date palm is thought to have some links to Egypt, while the coconut palm likely evolved in the Pacific and Indo-Atlantic. Both genera now grow all over the world, however, and it isn’t absolutely clear where they originated from, or if these associations are accurate.
In general, palms will grow anywhere with tropical or subtropical climates, and hardier palms may manage to survive in cold climates, but they will grow quite slowly and might die if particularly harsh conditions hit.
Can Palm Trees Grow In Cold Climates?
Even though we think of palms as desert-lovers and tropical trees, some varieties are cold hardy, and will even survive mild frosts. Almost all palms will be killed by hard freezes, however, so if you wish to grow a palm tree and you live in a cold climate, grow it in a pot.
This will allow you to bring it into a garage or unheated shed during the winter, protecting it from true chills. If you have planted it outside, thickly mulch the ground around its roots to protect them from freezing, and it may survive.
Are Any Palms Native To America?
It is thought that thirteen different palm species are native to America, and there are over 2,500 palms in total. The native species include:
- Florida Thatch Palm
- Miami Palm
- Needle Palm
- Everglades Palm
- Texas Palmetto
- Mexican Palm
- Scrub Palm
- California Fan Palm
- Florida Silver Palm
- Buccaneer Palm
- Florida Royal Palm
- Cabbage Palmetto
- Dwarf Palmetto
Many other species will happily grow throughout the US and have become naturalized there, despite not having originated in this country.
Which States Have Natural Palm Trees?
There is some dispute about which states may have native palm trees, but as you can guess from the list above, Florida is one of them. There is also strong evidence to suggest that palm trees evolved in:
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
Other states may also have native palms, but it is difficult to be sure of this, because cultivated palms can easily spread to the wild, and often thrive in states where they did not evolve.
Which US Cities Are Famous For Their Palm Trees?
It’s hard to say which cities have the most palm trees because this is constantly changing and counting the trees isn’t easy, but some cities are more known for their palm trees than others.
For example, Miami, Florida is known for being filled with palms of all kinds and if you visit it, you will see them gently waving in the breeze. Sadly, the Miami Palm is nearly extinct and rarely to be found.
Other Florida cities such as Jacksonville and Orlando have plenty of palm trees.
Of course, Windsor Boulevard in Los Angeles is probably one of the best-known streets that is lined with palm trees, near the giant Hollywood sign. Another famous palm tree city is McAllen, in Texas, which is known as the “City of Palms” because it is so full of naturally occurring palms.
Hawaii is strongly associated with palm trees, perhaps more so than any other place on earth. Honolulu is particularly packed with these iconic trees, but almost any city in Hawaii will have them in abundance, including both native and non-native varieties.
Almost all warm parts of the US will have naturally occurring palms in and around the cities because these trees thrive and spread in warm conditions. As you travel north, palms will become fewer and may only be seen when they have been planted and maintained by people.
All of the states in the US have some palm trees, but they are certainly more common in the warm states. Growing palms in a very cold environment is challenging, so palm trees are much rarer in the north of the US, where hard frosts are likely to kill them.