Palm (Palmetto) Tree: Types and Care

An ideal feature for a sun-soaked land, palm trees have a tremendous ability to withstand extreme temperatures. Here's a look at some of the various species available and different methods to care for them.
Think of Palm Trees and it conjures up images of a lazy afternoon by the beachside and the sound of the gentle rustle of the leaves. Found mainly in the coastal regions, palm trees are available in a variety of species, one can never imagine! Also used for decorations, these palm trees can even be grown in your own backyard. Although considered to be tropical in nature, palm trees are relatively maintenance free and have also been found withstanding cold temperatures.

There are two basic types of palm trees-Northern and Southern types. But apart from this, they can also be divided into two categories, which are classified on the basis of leaf structure.

Palmate:The leaf structure of this palm tree has the lobes spreading out from one center point. The pattern can be compared to the palm of our hand.

Pinnate:The leaf structure for this species has individual leaflets branching out from one common axis. The pattern strongly resembles a feather.

Types of Palm Trees

Although there are many species of this plant type, from the drought hardy palms to the cold hardy palms, from the palmate to the pinnate, here's a look at some of the species and the specifications of the most common and popular palm trees.

Dwarf Palmetto
This is one of the 14 species of the palmetto palms available. The dwarf palmetto (Sabal Minor) grows mainly during the spring and summer period. But it blooms mostly in late spring. The production of the seeds begins in the fall and continues till spring. Once mature, the Dwarf Palmetto can each, up to a height of 9 feet. With a moderate life span, this palm tree is also considered to be a shrub at times.

Cabbage Palmetto
The cabbage palmetto also known as the Sabal Palmetto is native to the U.S. The most striking feature of this palm tree is its conspicuous white flowers. The full bloom is noticed in the summer season. The major growth of this plant happens in the spring or the summer season. This palm tree cannot sustain cold weather.

Saw Palmetto
This palm tree is described as a shrub and is also known as the Serenoa Repens. Its most active growth period is noticed in the spring and summer season. Late spring finds the Saw Palmetto in full bloom. Compared to the others species, the Saw Palmetto has a longer life span and has very high levels of sustenance even in drought areas.

Chinese Fan Palm
This palm tree can grow up to a height of 25 feet. Although slow in its growth rate, it shows high levels of sustenance in cold weather. From the highways to the patios, this tree is characteristic because of the very large leaves.

European Fan Palm
Its easy nature to adapt to the varied surroundings makes this a favorite amongst many. The European Fan Palm is one the coldest hardy plants and is well-known because of its large fan-like leaves.

Date Palm
The Date Palm is mainly cultivated for its fruit. It is said that it has actually originated in the deserts of Northern Africa. The tree has its own characteristics with its pinnate leaves and the formation of the large crown of leaves on the top.

Palm Tree Care

Here are some tips and ways to go about when it comes to caring for your palm trees.
  • The ideal place for planting for trees always has to be in a warm and sunny area. Ensure that this area is also protected from strong winds.
  • The soil should have a blend of sand, perlite, and a good organic top soil in proper proportions. There should be loose soil at the bottom to ensure easy growth for the roots.
  • When it comes to watering, avoid the hose. Use a drip system to ensure proper and adequate supply of water.
  • Look for specific fertilizers designed for the palm trees. This would ensure a proper supply of nutrients and in turn, help the growth.
  • Always ensure you prune the dead fronds of the tree. This would ensure you are not clipping away any fronds that still have some nutrients in them, which would be useful for the plants.
  • For potted palm trees, water every 2 to 3 days to avoid them from drying out in case of hot temperatures.
There are over 2500 species of the palm trees. Used even for decorations, these add a tropical feel to any place. It is no wonder; we find the trees being imported from different areas even today.
By Kashmira Lad
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