Everyone Loves Palm Trees! A Great Guide to Self-Cleaning Palms

Pretty your place with Palms!

This wouldn’t be Florida without the waving fronds of the tropical palms. Palms are the easiest way to “tropicalize” your garden and give great shade but also allow the breeze to flow through. Always fertilize your palms with a palm fertilizer 3 to 4 times a year in the warmer months. Most gardeners prefer self-cleaning palms. Self-cleaning means that they will drop their fronds on their own as they mature. This is a great dollar saving option- no tree service and the palms always look great! Here are a few of our full sun favorites.

Foxtail. This is a relatively new comer to Florida, with dark green foxtail-like fronds and a smooth grey trunk. One of the fastest growing palms that can reach a height of 30 feet. Mostly planted as a specimen but can be in multiples. Can be damaged by temperatures below 28 degrees.

Christmas. Named for its red seed at Christmas time, this is the most popular palm in south Florida. Grows fast when young and can reach a mature height of 25 feet (in about 25 years). Considered a dwarf in the palm world, these can be used in many locations around the garden and are typically found planted in multiples. Great palm choice.

Royal. TOO BIG!!! This palm can only be used on large estates. Maturing to a height of 70 feet, the falling fronds can damage most plants and people. It is native to south Florida.

Montgomery. Similar look to the Christmas palm but the fronds stand out straight from the trunk and the Montgomery grows taller, faster. Mature height of 25 feet. Plant on the south or east side of the house to keep warmer in cold winters.

Alexander. One of my favorites. Great for planting through pavers to give shade during the Summer. Matures to a height of 20 feet with an average growth rate.

Coconut. Everybody loves a coconut palm. These offer the perfect tropical look, but should only be grown on the coast because of their cold sensitivity.

These are all self-cleaning palms that will add a tropical look and give you that shade from the searing sun. Palms can be planted any time of the year but your greatest growth will be in late Spring through Summer.

Coconut Palms, a very familiar sight.


A small newly planted Foxtail Palm

A Christmas Palm or Adonidia.

Montgomery Palm Trees.

These Royal Palm Trees are giants.

Marvin’s Favorite: Alexanders