Is it possible to grow palm trees in Oregon?

By Tree Expert Codey Stout
Published On

Are you looking to plant palm trees in the Pacific Northwest?

In this TreeTriage.com article, we cover:

  • How to grow palm trees in Oregon
  • Which palm trees survive in Oregon conditions
  • How to know which species of palm trees will survive in each specific area using the USDA zones for plant hardiness

And much more!

Is It Possible To Grow Palm Trees In Oregon

So, if you’re wondering how to grow palm trees in Oregon, this quick guide has all the tips and tricks to help you make it happen.

What Do You Need To Know About Growing Palm Trees in Oregon?

There are over 2,500 different species of palm trees, and a few species are tough enough to withstand the harsh almost-freezing winter temperatures of the Oregon coast and other inland areas.

Although there isn’t a plethora of completely reliable information about growing palm trees in Oregon to date, we’ve provided you with some solid research.

To successfully learn how to plant palm trees in Oregon, you must know about the plant hardiness zone map. Plant hardiness is a specific plant’s ability to survive adverse growing conditions based on a carefully constructed map made by the US Department Of Agriculture (USDA).

Since many palm trees won’t survive in Oregon’s harsh climate, gardeners need to understand their specific plant hardiness zone before planting a palm tree there. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Oregon tree specialists to have them evaluate your land and give you all the tips you’ll need to grow a thriving palm tree.

Oregon, like many other coastal territories, has countless microclimates, so the best way to understand whether or not a palm tree will grow in your specific area is by taking a glance at the surrounding area to see if other people have also planted palm trees.

What Are The Suitable Conditions For Growing Palm Trees?

Palm trees add a tropical feel to any situation, and since Oregon has 362 miles of shoreline, it’s a solid candidate for flourishing palm trees (given that they are the correct species for surviving colder conditions).

Although Oregon isn’t the most ideal place for growing palm trees, there are still plenty of places in this beautiful Pacific-bordering state where palm trees flourish.

So, if you’re trying to grow palm trees in Oregon, here are some factors you’ll want to pencil into the equation if you want them to last.

Warmer Conditions

The majority of palm trees only grow in warmer conditions, so the warmer coastal regions of Oregon that receive good rainfall are naturally a great place for installing cold-hardy palm trees.

Loose, Sandy Soil

Palm trees thrive in light, well-drained soils that allow the roots to easily spread into the ground. Clay soils that don’t have many air pockets are not a good place to plant palm trees, so we recommend digging into the ground to get a feel for the consistency of the soil before planting.

Which Types Of Palm Trees Can Survive In Oregon?

Since Oregon ranges from 4b (-25° F coldest winter temp) to 9b (20° coldest winter temp) on the USDA plant hardiness zones map, there isn’t very much wiggle room for growing palms, so accuracy is vital for keeping your palms alive.

Windmill Palms

The Trachycarpus Fortunei/Trachycarpus Wagnerianus or Chinese Windmill Palm tree is said to be the most plant hardy palm tree throughout the world. Do you want a tree that produces a type of energy in your space?

You might try a Windmill palm because it’s extremely hardy. The University of Florida suggests that the Windmill palm doesn’t need much protection during the winter months, so these are a great option for planting in Oregon if carefully watched.

The great thing about Windmill palms is their compact shape because it makes them easy to incorporate into landscaping projects.

Fan Palms

Mexican fan palms, European fan palms, American fan palms, whatever you want to call them. We recommend planting fan palms in Oregon because it thrives in plant zones from 8 to 11, just enough to keep existing in cold Oregon climates.

Jelly Palms/Pindo Palms

The Butia Capitata or Pindo Palm (often referred to as Jelly palm) is a slow-growing evergreen palm with long leaves that grow outward from the tree’s base, giving it an elegant crown.

Jelly palms are said to have plant hardiness of 8b above which means they’ll survive in areas like Portland down to 15 degrees, so they’re the perfect option for Oregon residents looking to add a little bit of beach to their home.

Date Palms

Are you looking to grow tall palm trees on your property/project? Try date palms. Growing to heights of over 100 feet, date palms typically yield the delicious edible date fruit highly cultivated in places like the Middle East.

Although growing date palms in Oregon might be a gamble, it’s still possible in sheltered locations throughout southern Oregon.

How Do You Care For Palm Trees In Oregon?

Caring for palm trees will take more work than growing other kinds of trees in Oregon, but we are confident that you’ll be successful when using our plant maintenance tips.

Here are a few more points to stay on top of when caring for your Oregon palm trees.

Use Fertilizer

Palm trees require fertilization, especially in areas like Oregon where their winter survival is questionable. Using fertilizer when initially planting palm trees is recommended to help the palm securely spread roots into the ground.

Proper spacing

When planting multiple palm trees, give them enough space to form a healthy root base.

Each species of palm is different, so it may take some additional research or consultation from a tree professional in your area to understand how far apart you should plant your palm trees of choice.

According to Broward.org, palm trees need at least 6 feet of space for proper root growth. That means you should avoid planting palms in narrow concrete/blacktop openings.

Soak Palms In Water During Summer Months

Rather than lightly dousing your palm trees daily, you should soak them in a three feet basin with water up to six feet around the base of the tree during the summer months to help them grow to their full potential.

Palm trees grow most during the summer, so they must receive enough water. You likely won’t have to worry much about watering your palms in Oregon during the winter considering the large amounts of rain.

Planting palm trees in the summer is another recommended practice to help allow the roots to expand into the soil during the palm’s period of fastest growth.

Avoid Over-Trimming

Since most palm trees shed their dead leaves naturally, there is no reason for pruning.

Dead leaves help protect palm trees from the sun, and they also provide a nesting place for birds. Don’t trim a palm skirt in the hot months of the summer because it can scorch the previously shaded trunk.

*Note: Never cut green leaves off of a palm tree because they contribute to manufacturing sugars for the tree.

Don’t Climb With Spikes

Palm trees sometimes require maintenance, but don’t let maintenance crews climb up with your palm trees with spikes as this can open them up to potential diseases. Instead, direct your maintenance crews to use a lift when maintaining your palms.

Avoid puncturing the trunk of your palms at all costs. That means you should also be careful even when using the weed wacker close to your palm trunk.

Dig Wide Instead Of Deep

Since Oregon soils are typically a heavy clay type, the best thing to do when digging a hole for a new palm tree is digging a wide hole. If the hole is too deep, the tree will sink over time.

The Portland Nursery also recommends mixing pumice, grit, or organic matter in with the soil using an excellent blend to allow a comfortable place for the palm’s roots to spread outward.

Can You Grow Palm Trees Indoors In Oregon? Which Types?

Hypothetically, any type of palm tree will grow indoors anywhere if provided with the correct living conditions. We’ve done some research to find out which are your best options for growing palm trees indoors in Oregon, and this is what we found.

European Fan Palm

The Chamaerops Humilis or European Fan Palm isn’t a tree we’d recommend growing outside in Oregon (although it could technically survive on the Southern Coast), this is a species we’d recommend growing inside because of its slow growth and relative resistance to cold temperatures.

You might also try growing a Mediterranean fan palm indoors if you live in Oregon.

Pindo Palm

Being one of the most common palm trees in the United States, in Oregon we recommend growing Pindo Palms indoors for the best results.

Although Pindo palms are relatively plant-hardy (HGTV designates them to zones 7b-11), you’ll get the best results protecting those Pindos indoors rather than watching them suffer through the winter.

Queen Palm

The Queen’s palm falls in plant hardiness zones 9b to 11, making it extremely difficult to grow outdoors in Oregon. Reaching heights of up to 50 feet, the Queen’s palm is a great option for growing in larger indoor structures.

The Key To Beautiful Palm Trees In Oregon? Constant Care!

Just like any other plant or living being, the best way to maintain healthy palm trees in Oregon is by constant care. You should always ensure your specific palms are cared for according to the recommendations made by professional arborists.

Fertilizer, a sufficient amount of water and sunlight, and constant supervision will help your Oregon palm trees stay in good condition.

Examine the fronds of your palm trees regularly to ensure they are a healthy green color. If you notice your palm tree has insect infestations or other problems, you may need to send some pictures to a professional arborist for advice.

Seattle or Vancouver may not yield outdoor palms, but if you live in certain parts of Oregon you may have some luck!

Be sure to ask us any of your palm tree-related questions so we can help you cultivate a thriving palm on your beautiful Oregon land.

Meet Your Tree Expert

Codey Stout

Codey has years of experience removing trees in residential and commercial environment. The only thing Codey likes doing more than removing intrusive trees, is removing unsightly stumps.
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