14 Different Types of Palm Trees & How Tall They Grow

Get your hammocks ready — these palm trees can provide shade from the tropical sun.

Updated February 22, 2024

Just thinking of palm trees conjures up the sweet thoughts of sipping a tropical beverage out of a coconut. The air is warm and salty from the sea breeze, and you've not a care in the world. That's what makes these trees the stuff of dreams. From tall skinny palms to short ones with tons of fronds, the palm tree has over 2,500 varieties. These 14 favorites show off their versatility and prove that palms not only love the heat of the South, but some are also cold-hardy.

Cabbage Palm


Often found chilling in the shade of broad-canopied oaks, the cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto) is a dwarf tree commonly found on the Southeast coast. It gets its name because the fronds look like cabbage and taste like it, too. Cabbage palm coleslaw, anyone?

These stout palms will thrive in places with a bit of shade. Plant it in sandy soil if possible and water it weekly until established.

Related: Good Landscape Plants to Use Near Pools 

Royal Palm


The quintessential tall skinny palm tree, the royal palm (Roystonea spp.) can reach up to 70 feet in height. These majestic palms decorate the iconic streetscapes of southern Florida. Their tidy leaf arrangement and the smooth green section of their trunk that occupies the space immediately below the canopy are breathtaking. Cooperating well with all Mother Nature brings, these tall beauties are not picky about soil, but they need full sun and ample irrigation. They can even tolerate occasional flooding.

Cane Palm


Bring the tropical vibe indoors with the cane palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens), which does well as a houseplant. Its showy upright clump of fronds grows out of multiple trunks that resemble bamboo. You won't necessarily need a green thumb to care for these frilly plants, though they love good drainage and a lightweight planting mix.

MacArthur Cluster Palm


The young MacArthur palm (Ptychosperma macarthuri) has fronds that reach toward the sun, and when it matures, it bears large drooping flower clusters that hang several feet below the canopy. Yes, it's truly a sight. The ever-changing palm flowers then produce colorful fruits in an impressive cycle, always decorated with the most gorgeous hues.  

These palms are small, typically topping out at no more than 15 feet, and will take full sun, full shade, or anything in between. It is a robust, drought-tolerant species that can grow in almost any type of soil. You'll often see it planted in groves for added drama. 

Butia Palm


Love making jelly? The Butia palm may become your fave. Also known as pindo palm (Butia capitata), this species is short and stout with enormous fronds up to ten feet long that curl gracefully toward the ground. Its fruit is similar to dates (the edible kind), and it's often made into sweet and tart jams and preserves. It is a slow grower but also highly drought-tolerant. 

Need to Know

Using the vibrant golden-yellow fruit of the Butia palm, you can make a tart but sweet jelly, but that's not all. Try it in smoothies, salads, or eaten raw as a treat.

Coco Palm


The impressive coco palm (Cocos nucifera) is perhaps the most widely recognized palm in the world because of its height. Often near the beach and on tropical islands, this tall, skinny palm has a thin trunk with a tiny canopy that bobs in the breeze up to 100 feet in the air.

Like storm chasers, this palm is highly tolerant of salt spray and hurricane-force winds. It basks in sandy soil and lots of moisture. But otherwise, its needs are minimal as long as you live in a climate where temperatures don't drop below freezing.

Foxtail Palm


With its exotic look, the foxtail palm (Wodyetia bifurcata) is a very refined species in the world of coarse-textured palms. The fronds are indeed foxy — soft and bushy like a foxtail — but the trunk is nearly white. Fast-growing in sun or shade, this palm is cool with drought but gets even more lush with plenty of moisture. It is a moderately sized palm and is adaptable to container culture, allowing it to be grown in cold climates. Northerners rejoice!

Bottle Palm


Bottle palms (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis) are easily identified by large trunks resembling a vase or wide-bottom bottle. The fronds arch beautifully, and they adore the heat. A slow grower, these unique palms will max out around 20 feet. They also do well in a container in a super sunny spot.

Silver Date Palm


This palm, also known as a sugar date palm (Phoenix sylvestris), is closely related to the species that produces the common edible date. And yes, the fruit is sugary sweet. The foliage is dense with a blue-green hue and neatly arranged in the rounded canopy. Native to arid scrub lands in India, it prefers loose, well-drained soils and tolerates significant drought, though it can look a bit shabby without a regular irrigation regimen.

Silver Fan Palm Tree


Typically, the silver fan palm (Chamaerops humilis) grows as a multi-trunked specimen, forming clumps up to about 20 feet tall with a width of 10 feet. They are impressive and look like fans with silvery-green fronds on full display. Not only is it spectacular in looks, it is extremely versatile. It's tolerant of extreme heat, drought, poor soil, and high winds — plus it's one of the most cold-tolerant palm species.

Silver Thatch Palm


Exotic and low maintenance? That's the silver thatch palm (Coccothrinax proctorii). This palm has showy silver-green fan-shaped fronds, which were traditionally used as a thatching material. This type grows upright with only a single trunk, which stretches about 20 feet into the sky. It's also quite tough and able to thrive in the most challenging conditions.

Canary Island Date Palm


A dramatic species, typically seen with a short trunk and huge crown of fronds that resemble a pom-pom, the Canary Island date palm (Phoenix canariensis) is one of the most popular palm trees for planting around the home. It's very adaptable to soil type and watering schedules, but it does require the arduous annual maintenance of pruning off the massive fronds as they die. Are they a lot to care for? Yep, but oh so gorgeous.

Related: 25 Rock Garden Plants for a Lovely Landscape Design

Kentia Palm


Interested in another palm houseplant? The Kentia palm (Howea forsteriana) is a winner due to its small size. It's slow-growing but highly ornamental with soft green fronds and trunks like stout canes of bamboo. Need some greenery in an entryway? The Kentia is a good fit. And it doesn't matter if it's low light — they'll thrive without full sun.

The Kentia loves a lightweight potting mix. When watering, let the soil dry completely before adding moisture the next time. 

Chilean Wine Palm


The Chilean wine palm (Jubaea chilensis) is one of the world's most massive palms, reaching 100 feet in height with a trunk up to 5 feet in diameter. The monolithic trees grow very slowly, taking hundreds of years to reach this size. In their native Chile, they are cut for their sap, which is turned into a product resembling maple syrup. They are drought tolerant and prefer dry, well-drained soil.

Fast Fact

Quindio wax palm is the tallest palm tree in the world and can be found in Cocora Valley, nestled in the Columbian Andes. The most recent recording has these tall, skinny palms topping out at a whopping 194 feet! 

The Tropical Beauty of Palms


Palm trees are a thing of beauty, not only producing gorgeous fronds but trunks of various sizes and some delicious fruit. Acai fruit, different types of dates, and palm oil all come from palms growing around the world. Growing them isn't always difficult either. Whether you live in a hot or colder climate, there is a palm to fit your landscaping needs or to keep as a houseplant. We love their tropical vibes that remind us to relax and feel the ocean breeze on our skin... even if we're sitting behind a desk. 

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14 Different Types of Palm Trees & How Tall They Grow