Drought Plants : Palm Trees

Palms are perfect for this dry weather as they require hardly any water to survive once established plus they bring something unusual to your garden.

Windmill Palm, Fan Palm - Trachycarpus fortunei

Despite their prominence in hotter climates, palm trees are very hardy plants and most will thrive in the British climate providing there are not weeks of snow  and very low temperatures of below -10c like last winter.They are slow-growing but grow up to 20 or 30ft depending on the variety.

Choosing a palm tree
Before you buy a palm tree, you should think about the location where it will be planted, as different species have varying requirements. Additionally, the height of the mature palm tree, as well as the spread of its fronds should be considered to ensure that it fits well with its surroundings. Another major factor is if you are looking for a hardy outdoor  palm tree or an interior palm.

If you’re looking for palm tree for your garden, the Chilean wine palm is an excellent choice. With a huge rounded trunk, it can grow up to 15m tall and thrives in bright, sunny areas. Its canopy can spread up five metres and its lovely angular leaves make this palm tree a fantastic focal point for any outdoor space.

For indoor situations, consider a Kentia palm tree. Excellent for bright indoor locations, such as conservatories or entryways, it grows to a height of about two metres and produces flowers in the summer for an extra splash of colour.

Caring for your palm tree
Palm trees are easy to grow and simply need good soil plus protection from frost if not hardy.

When planting a tropical palm tree, the plant should be pre-soaked before putting it in the ground, especially if planting is occurring during a dry spell. The hole should be significantly larger than the root system, as the loosened soil around the palm tree will allow better root penetration.

To get the most from your palm tree, it should be watered and fed on a regular basis. It’s best to apply fertilisers during warmer months when the palm tree is actively growing. Since they are usually shallow-rooting plants, palm trees should also be thickly mulched.

Palm trees don’t require much in the way of pruning and this task usually simply requires the removal of dead fronds and suckers. While fruit-bearing palm trees can be a pretty addition to a garden, the fruit can also be messy, so some gardeners may choose to remove the fruit before it ripens.

Buying palm trees

There are many different palm trees to choose from and it is a good idea to visit a specialist nursery to make sure you get professional advice on the best variety for your garden. Hardy palms such as dwarf fan palm trees, Chusan palm trees and the Jelly Palm, have distinct characteristics and an ability to survive our not-so-temperate winters.

There are many UK nurseries specialising in palms offering a choice of shapes that provide interest whatever the english weather might bring throughout the year.Here are three with nationwide delivery service:







Palm trees are a common sight in many english gardens. Martin Gibbons, who set up the Palm Centre 21 years ago in Richmond, has witnessed how the changing UK climate has made Palms more popular.  Read about my visit to Martin’s mecca for Palm trees :


This post was written by:

- who has written 872 posts on My Climate Change Garden.

I am not an experienced gardener - more of an enthusiastic amateur who learns by trial and error and who is keen to "manage" the effects of shifting weather patterns on my garden. Writing this blog is my passion and it has evolved over 12 years to inspire engagement with climate change outside our back doors, in our personal gardens and green spaces. My mission is to fertilise and expand this platform to grow a community of global gardeners communicating about the effects of climate change on our plants and exploring how each individual can make small changes in our lives to become more sustainable. The future of our gardens and #OurPlanet is in our hands - please plant your own seeds for our collective sustainable future.

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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Peter Phillips Says:

    Hi debbie

    I’m a fanatical exotic garden designer/landscaper and stumbled across your site……..just wanted to say that you have a great blog and very resourceful. Keep up the great work.


    Peter Phillips
    Urban Tropics

  2. Debbie Says:

    Thanks Peter for your kind comment.
    I think your website is great and love yr planting ideas.
    Used to live in Hampstead so feel sure you are providing inspiration for London designer gardens.

  3. louis brewsell Says:

    I do believe I have a Fox Tail palm which I moved it from a pot into a garden soil. Now the palm tree is showing signs of going brown, is there anything I can do to survive this plant.

    Looking forward to hearing from you


    Mr L Brewsell

  4. Debbie Says:

    Hi Louis
    Palm trees are pretty resilient but often moving them can cause shock to the plant.
    Was it in a more sheltered spot in the pot?
    Not sure where you live exactly but if in the UK then it will need some wind and frost protection.
    Here is a link to a website that might help you.
    Thanks for contacting Climate Gardens.

  5. Misty Cole Says:

    Care for palm trees is different then the other trees it requires extra knowledge about them, so best solution if you think that you don’t know enough is to call expert tree service to take care of them.

  6. JP Says:

    Palm trees are unlike any other tree. The way they circulate water makes them very similar to grass; pruning and maintaining them is an art!