Palms and exotic trees

These bold, exciting plants add impact to any garden. They make eye-catching features, especially in modern urban plots, and bring a tropical touch or holiday feel to any outdoor space. Most prefer a warm, sheltered spot, in conditions similar to their homelands, although some palms will withstand temperatures down to -12°C They may need a little more cossetting than most trees, but are well worth the effort.


Palm trees are grown for their dramatic fan-shaped leaves, although some may also flower and possibly even produce fruit. Other exotic trees may put on colourful flower displays and have lush, tropical foliage.


Most prefer a warm, sheltered site, and dry conditions in winter. They are often happy growing in containers, which can be moved into a sheltered spot during the colder months.


Extreme cold and winter wet can easily kill these exotic beauties, so give them the warmest spot in your garden. Be prepared to wrap them for protection overwinter from frost, at least until they’re well established.

Did you know?

Botanically speaking, palms are not true trees – they are large woody herbs, closely related to grasses and bamboos.

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.