Recommended Palm Tree Planting - Knowledgebase Question

Hollywood, FL
Question by JCastron
March 8, 1998
We have a 400 home development and someone is recommending that 3 Washingtonia Palms be clumped together as front plantings. Our homes are single family one level homes and we fear the height and maintenance of Washingtonia. Is this a good palm to plant here or can you recommend others?


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Answer from NGA
March 8, 1998

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You are right--Washingtonia Palms would not look right in the setting you described. They would look good if the buildings were tall, but would overwhelm smaller structures.

Some palms that would be better are:
Chinese Fan Palm (Livsistona chinensis) grows to 25'. This palm is gracefully fan shaped. Needs moderate fertility. Nurseries in South Florida have them in containers.

Fountain Palm - height is variable. Plant in fertile soil in full sun. Nurseries specializing in palms will have them.

Fishtail Palm (caryota ) - grows to 25'. Plant in carefully made sites; water faithfully; keep lawn grasses from encroaching upon the root zone.

Madagascar Palm (Chrysalidocarpus) - grows to 30'. Clump-forming palm by means of gracefully bending stems. A favorite for foundation plantings. Most nurseries in south Florida offer Madagascar palm in varying sizes in containers.

I would caution you against planting the same type of plant in each yard. "Monocultures" like this invite insects and pests, which can decimate this type of uniform planting (think of all the elms that have died from Dutch Elm Disease). Better to plant a variety of plants and encourage a diverse landscape.

You might check with a few landscape architects for their opinions as well. This is a costly project--best to get several opinions.

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