16 Types Of Palm Trees | Indoor and Outdoor Varieties

Palm trees are most commonly associated with perpetual sunshine and tropical settings. Incorporate them into your landscape and you might just find yourself relaxing, watching their feathery fronds swaying in the breeze.

The best part is, you don’t have to live in the tropics to do it. Keep reading to explore 16 of the best palm trees for home gardens and indoor spaces. All grow in a wide range of hardiness zones (including cold ones) and to different maturity sizes. By the time you reach the end, you may already feel that relaxing breeze blowing.

Choosing a Variety of Palm Tree 

With so many options on the market, it can be a daunting task to wade through them all. Tree features and cost, alone, take time to research.

Allow me to make finding your favorite easy. For each type of Palm listed below, I’ve included maturity size, recommended hardiness zones, and care requirements. 

Choosing the best palm tree for your particular garden will be a simple matter of finding the best match for your proposed planting location, hardiness zone, and maintenance expectations. 

Another important aspect to be aware of is the presence of sharp thorns and spikes on some of these palm species. If you have small children or pets running around, this may be a deciding factor, as well.

Types of Indoor Palm Trees 

We’ll start with a few varieties that can be enjoyed year-round, no matter what hardiness zone you live in. If you don’t find a good fit for your garden, indoor palms can convey those same feelings of peace and relaxation, and with proper care, remain green in every season. 

I’ve chosen the following four options as the best choices for indoor palms due to their impressive tolerance for household environments, which can vary. In addition to their ease of care.

However, just as with any houseplant, adequate moisture and humidity levels, nutrients, ambient temperature, and light availability will all contribute to their success. 

Luckily, these are the same environmental factors that make us comfortable inside our homes, too. So, these should be easy. 

Areca Palm Tree

Areca Palm Tree

(Dypsis lutescens)

Tree Summary

The frothy Areca thrives in 65°-75°F temperatures and 40-60% humidity, as it grows to 5ft tall and wide, in zones 4-11. Bright, filtered light and nutrient-rich soil will promote vibrant color and lush growth. This can be grown in zone 3, as well. You just may need to move it around to catch the best light, in winter.

Tree Appeal

Sweeping, green fronds sprout from nodes along tall, bamboo-like stalks. In the wild, golden blooms and ornamental fruit also appear. But, Areca palms that are grown indoors rarely do.

Tree Care

Water when the soil is dry down 2”. If growth seems stunted, a palm-specific NPK can be applied twice throughout the growing season. Pruning to remove any yellowing fronds. 

Ponytail Palm

Ponytail Palm

(Beaucarnea recurvata)

Tree Summary

This unique palm will definitely be a conversation piece. Maturing 8ft tall by 5ft wide, the Ponytail prefers bright, morning light, temperatures above 60°F, and sandy soil, in zones 3-11.

Tree Appeal

Pendulous, green ribbons cascade down from atop vertical branches, giving this plant its name. Soft gray bark and tiny, white, summer blooms offer subtle and appealing contrast.

Tree Care

Desert-native Ponytail Palms are very drought tolerant. Water your palm when 75% of the soil is dry. Trim to remove yellowing foliage. When needed, a low-phosphorus NPK can be applied in spring or summer. 

Parlor Palm

Parlor Palm

(Chamaedorea elegans)

Tree Summary

This elegant palm cultivar is a popular houseplant choice. Rising to heights between 2 and 7ft, this tree exhibits consistent, healthy growth even in low light conditions. Yet, prefers 65-80° temperatures, diffused sunlight, and occasional spritzing.

Tree Appeal

Parlor Palms have more leaflets per stem than the Areca, giving this plant a fuller appearance. Energetic, green fronds grow along arching branches with a soft, tropical appeal.

Tree Care

Water well when the top 1” of soil is dry. Feed with slow-release, palm-formulated granules and trim only to remove fronds that are fading in color. 

Fishtail Palm Tree

Fishtail Palm Tree

(Caryota mitis)

Tree Summary

Presenting a delightfully unique leaf shape, the fishtail palm thrives in filtered sunlight and gritty, well-draining soil. Upward-growing stems often reach 10ft in height, in 65°-85° temperatures and 50% humidity.

Tree Appeal

Flat, pointed leaves have the appearance of fishtails that display appealing movement in the breeze from a window or fan. Wild Fishtail palms can be seen producing flowers and berries. Yet, rarely on houseplants.

Tree Care

Fishtail palms respond well to low, monthly doses of a palm-formulated, liquid fertilizer and consistently damp (but not soggy) soil. Pruning is typically not necessary. 

Outdoor Palm Tree Types 

You may be surprised to learn that Palms are, technically, not trees. Botanically speaking, these are woody perennials. A category that includes any plant that matures with a solid, semi-permanent branch structure.

When navigating through various Palm tree options, consider the size of your planting space. If you’re lucky enough to have a wide, open landscape to fill, palms that grow as tall as your roof line will fit right in. 

Conversely, there are palm varieties perfectly sized to bring that balmy, tropical feel to smaller garden spaces.

Some will even thrive in pots, bringing that relaxing element onto front porches, decks, and balconies. 

Light is also an important factor. South-facing locations enjoy longer hours of direct sun. While north, west, and east-facing spots usually get either morning or afternoon sun. 

Christmas Palm

Christmas Palm

(Adonidia merrillii)

Tree Summary

This low-maintenance palm presents eye-catching features with just six hours of sun and well-draining soil, in zones 10-11. Yet, can also be grown in pots, in zones 4-9.

Tree Appeal

Christmas palms are named for their arching fronds and red fruits that dangle like ornaments, in December. Scars from fallen foliage create interesting rings around each trunk’s base, in contrast to a younger, pale green top.

Tree Care

Water Christmas palms weekly during the first season, after planting. Then, only in times of drought. If needed, sprinkle slow-release, palm-formulated granules around the tree’s base, beginning in spring. 

Bottle Palm Tree

Bottle Palm Tree

(Hyophorbe lagenicaulis)

Tree Summary

The Bottle Palm pushes visual interest a step further, taking on the shape of a Caribbean bottle of rum, in zones 10 and 11. These and potted specimens (in zones 4-9) exhibit robust growth in partial sun and well-draining soil.

Tree Appeal

A multi-textured trunk, with a bottle-shaped silhouette forms “maturity rings” as old fronds, fall away. New ones are born from the trunk’s younger bottleneck.

Tree Care

Water Bottle palms when the soil is dry down two inches. Trim away any yellowing fronds, in spring. Then, apply a palm-specific or triple 8 NPK. 

Cardboard Palm Tree

Cardboard Palm Tree

(Zamia furfuracea)

Tree Summary

Looking for something with a shorter profile and thicker foliage? The Cardboard palm matures to 5ft by 8ft, in zones 9-11. Yet, can be wintered over, in zones 4-8. Both require full sun and well-draining soil.

Tree Appeal

Long, ovate leaves of greenish-blue sprout on alternating sides of sprawling, pendulous stems. Leaves have a smooth, firm texture. Giving them a “cardboard” feel.

Tree Care

Water Cardboard palms deeply in summer to build up moisture reserves within thick underground taproots. Then, reduce winter watering by half. When needed, slow-release palm granules can be applied twice per growing season. 

Sago Palm Tree

Sago Palm Tree

(Cycas revoluta)

Tree Summary

In optimal conditions, this ancient Sago can mature to 10ft tall and wide, in zones 8-11. Bright, indirect sun and moist soil will promote dense growth.

Tree Appeal

Layers of vibrant, feathery fronds crown a stout trunk that’s textured with dried remnants from fallen foliage. The Sago can be grown as a shrub or tree when fronds are removed to reveal its trunk.

Tree Care

Water and mist Sago palms weekly to maintain sufficient moisture and humidity levels. Trim away any browning fronds and when needed, a palm-focused fertilizer can be applied in spring or summer. 

Windmill Palm Tree

Windmill Palm Tree

(Trachycarpus fortunei)

Tree Summary

The towering Windmill palm makes a stunning feature and is hardy down to zone 7. Reaching heights around 40ft (15ft, in pots), these prefer full/partial sun and well-draining soil.

Tree Appeal

This new palm has been specifically cultivated to bring a tropical feel to colder climates. Large, splayed fans materialize in a spiral pattern atop a tall, craggy trunk. Perfect for shading south or west-facing windows.

Tree Care

Drought tolerant Windmill palms require watering only during extended dry periods. If necessary, fertilizers specific to Palms can be applied in summer. Pruning is typically not necessary. 

Palm Trees With Spikes 

Palms are just like any other plant, in that, over time, they’ve adapted to their environments in order to survive. 

Many of the palms on this list are native to environments like rainforests and deserts, which they share with wildlife that are also seeking to survive.

Since palm trees store water and nutrients in their trunks, it has been necessary for them to protect these areas. Some varieties have adapted with smooth, slippery trunks that are difficult for critters to climb. While others have developed thorns and spikes that achieve the same.

While absolutely stunning in gardens and open landscapes, these next Palm tree types come with thorns or spikes that may be concerning, around small children and pets.

European Fan Palm Tree

European Fan Palm Tree

(Chamaerops Humilis)

Tree Summary

Contrary to Windmill palms, the European Fan arranges its fronds horizontally. Maturing 10ft tall and wide, with multiple trunks, this elegant tree prefers full/partial sun and sandy soil. 

Tree Appeal

Large, serrated fronds form a perfect circle around the top of clumping trunks. The stem of each frond is lined with sharp spines that are meant to protect them.

Tree Care

More water is required during faster growth periods in the warmer months. A low-phosphorus palm fertilizer can also be applied at this time. Prune only to remove yellowing fronds. 

Pygmy Date Palm

Pygmy Date Palm

(Phoenix roebelenii)

Tree Summary

This tropical stunner welcomes guests with open arms and vibrant color when planted in full/partial sun and well-draining soil. These can be grown in the ground or in pots, throughout zones 3-11. 

Tree Appeal

Long, pendulous arms, trimmed with slender leaflets, form an open crown. At the base of each are sharp, rigid thorns. In temperate climates, yellow flowers may burst forth from the crown’s center. 

Tree Care

Watering needs to increase with higher sunlight exposure. Less is required in fall and winter. Pygmy Palms are sensitive to standard fertilizer salts. Organic options will prove more successful. 

Sylvester Palm

Sylvester Palm

(Phoenix sylvestris)

Tree Summary

The majestic Sylvester palm is basically a pigmy on a much taller trunk. Reaching heights around 40ft (15ft, in pots) in zones 8-11, these prefer full sun exposure and well-draining soil.

Tree Appeal

Silver-green fronds, with similar thorns to the Pygmy, form a perfectly circular canopy atop a diamond-patterned trunk. Creamy white flowers develop edible dates that are enjoyed by wildlife and people alike.

Tree Care

Water Sylvester Palms well for the first month, to hasten root establishment. Then, only in times of prolonged drought. If growth seems sparse, apply palm-formulated granules around the tree’s base, in spring.

Fast Growing Palm Trees 

If you’re preparing a landscaping plan and looking for plants that will quickly fill in their planting spaces, then my final three recommendations for the best types of palm trees are for you!

As we’ve seen, Palms come in vastly different shapes, sizes and growth rates. Interestingly enough, the fastest growing cultivars are those with tall trunks and soaring crowns.

Trunks can be thick or thin, with foliage that is either wide-spreading or compact and close to the trunk. These are important features to consider with a fast-growing tree.

They’ll help you determine which will be the best fit. So, that they don’t end up growing right up against a window or infringing on other, carefully-picked plantings. 

Queen Palm

Queen Palm

(Syagrus romanzoffiana)

Tree Summary

The queen of all palms reaches 50ft by 10ft, at maturity. At a rate of 24” annually, in zones 9-11. These can be kept smaller and wintered over in zones 4-8, and prefer full sun and well-draining soil.

Tree Appeal

Far-reaching, bright green fronds sprout 5-6 at a time from atop a potential 1-2 story trunk. In optimal conditions, concentrated clusters of golden blooms develop ornamental, orange berries.

Tree Care

In spring and summer, water Queen palms every 7-10 days. Tapering off to every 3-4 weeks, in the fall. Fertilize only in the cooler months to avoid foliage and root burn. 

Majesty Palm Tree

Majesty Palm Tree

(Ravenea rivularis)

Tree Summary

This rapid grower may be more compact but it’s not short on pizzazz. Its full crown and pyramidal trunk mature to 20ft by 18ft, at a rate of 12” per year. In zones 9-11 these should be positioned in full/partial sun and well-draining soil.

Tree Appeal

Lending a tropical vibe to indoor and outdoor spaces, large, vibrant fronds fan out from the apex of a ribbed trunk that seems to hover just above the ground.

Tree Care

Caring for Majesty’s palms involves weekly or bi-weekly watering, depending on the season. Two applications of a slow-release palm fertilizer, per growing season, will stimulate faster, more lush growth. 

Mexican Fan Palm Tree

Mexican Fan Palm Tree

(Washingtonia robusta)

Tree Summary

The Mexican fan palm is not only the fastest grower (3-5ft per year!) but also the largest. Topping out at 100ft tall, at maturity. Faster growth is supported by a full variety of soil types.

Tree Appeal

These sky-scraping trees are icons of Southern California. 20-25 palmate fronds form a top-heavy crown that ripples in the Pacific Ocean breeze. Smooth, statuesque trunks slightly bend to gravity without ever fully yielding.

Tree Care

Potted fan palms will dry out quickly. Weekly watering will keep fronds green. A palm-specific fertilizer will improve water absorption and usage efficiency.

FAQ Best Types of Palm Trees

Final Words on Palm Tree Varieties

So, there you have it! 16 of the best palm trees to consider for your garden and interior spaces. The best part? You don’t need to live in a temperate hardiness zone to do it.

Many of the warm-climate palms we’ve seen can still be grown in colder climates. All you have to do is winter them over inside your home. They’ll be just as happy with daily misting and a sunny location.