Some hardy palms will survive winters in much of lowland Britain in sheltered gardens with favourable local conditions. However, plants that are in exposed positions, in containers or wet at the roots will be more liable to winter damage. As a result, the temperatures quoted are a general guide only – and the term hardiness is applied to mature specimens as young plants are more liable to being damaged by cold weather.
See also our page on palms for indoors.
- Palms can be grown in containers of John Innes No 3 compost
- Hardy palms that will be planted out in the garden should initially be grown in containers and brought under cover (ideally into a frost-free greenhouse) during winter until well rooted in at least a five litre pot
- Plant in mid-spring to allow time for the palm to establish before winter. Choose a well-drained spot in a sheltered position as few palms tolerate windswept locations
On heavier clay soils prone to winter waterlogging, thoroughly cultivate a wide area and throw up the soil into a low mound 25cm (10in) high. Planting into the centre of this mound will keep at least some of the roots above the saturated soil in winter.
Palms grow slowly and need adequate space as they do not compete well with surrounding plants and most are not tolerant of shading.
Water and feed as for other trees.
As the palm stems thicken with age, the plants become more tolerant of lower temperatures. Prolonged winter frosts and cold winds damage leaves and may kill the central growing point. Where cold winters occur, prepare plants with a protective wrapping.
Palms grown in containers should also be protected or brought under cover for the winter. Where containers are left outdoors, ensure the pot is bubble-wrapped to prevent frost damage to the roots.