For many, images of Florida involve the ubiquitous palm tree. From the panhandle to the Keys, you’ll find palm trees swaying in the breeze. Here’s a fact you might not know: Though most often referred to as a tree, the palm is closer to a grass because of its root system. However, it is in a completely different family.
They are a perfect plant for Florida. Palms love the heat and humidity, are salt tolerant, and they can withstand the strong winds and flooding that can be present at times in Florida. They are rarely blown over, even in hurricane winds. When you see one on the ground, it is usually because the soil has become too saturated to hold the palm’s roots. Though you’ll find hundreds of sizes, shapes, and colors of palms here, there are only 12 that are native to Florida.
There are a lot of choices when comes to choosing a palm for landscaping, but let’s look at a few of the more popular ones suitable for Central Florida.
Top Palms for Central Florida Landscapes
Coconut palm — This is the palm that comes to mind for most when they think of Florida. As the name implies, this palm bears the coconut fruit. Contrary to what many think, while all coconut trees are palms, not all palm trees are coconut trees. The coconut palm can grow nearly 100 feet tall, doesn’t require shade, and is extremely drought and salt tolerant.
Queen and pigmy palms — The queen palm is an import from South America. This fast-growing palm with its wispy canopy is a favorite because its root system makes it ideal around pools and decks. The pigmy is basically a smaller version of the queen.
Sabal Palmetto — This Florida native is one of the hardiest and most widely found palms in Florida. It is easy to care for and handles short freezes well. Also known as the cabbage palm, it is Florida’s state tree and is found on the state flag.
Dwarf bamboo palm — This palm prefers shade. That along with its size make it ideal for shady decks or even indoors. The hardy bamboo palm gets its name from its tall, slender trunks that resemble bamboo.
Lady palm — This clustering palm looks more like a shrub, with its multiple thin trunks topped with differing layers and heights of fan-like fronds. It can grow in the sun or shade but keeps its deepest color if in the shade. The lady palm is moderately salt and cold tolerant.
Mediterranean fan palm — Slow-growing with multiple trunks of fan-shaped leaves that form a large shrub, the Mediterranean fan palm is a popular landscaping option. A bigger fan palm, the Mexican fan palm, is suitable for businesses or residences with larger lots.
Keep Your Palms Healthy With Challenger Irrigation
Though many palms are low maintenance, they still need care. For your landscape watering needs, call us to inspect and repair your existing irrigation system, or see us to install a new one. We are a full-service irrigation company for residential and commercial properties in Central Florida, including Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, and Citrus counties.