Northwest Palm Trees

By Forrest Smith -

Every once in a while, we think of moving back up to the Portland area, or somewhere in the Northwest. I’ll greatly miss the palm trees of Southern California, but part of me is interested in seeing what I could get to grow, or how lush and tropical of a landscape I could create, given the colder climate.   Of course I envision a yard that is more related to the climate, but I would love to have a patio or courtyard that stays green year-round and has the tropical feel that we have here in San Diego.   

This post are some of my notes palms that may be possible to grow in Portland and the Northwest. There are of course palms that grow just fine in the Northwest. For our summer visit, I was impressed how large some of the specimens have gotten over the years. I’ll of course plant some of those, but I am interested in things that aren’t as common.

Mule Palms

Nice Mule Palm in Eugene

Washington Mule Palm

Bolivian Mountain Coconut

These are supposeadly cold hardy down to 16 degrees, and they look fantastic — exactly the frond type I love. I don’t hear too much about them, but perhaps worth digging into.   I guess the following page says that they don’t like damp cold…so they probably won’t do well in the Northwest (although if I had that vacation home in southern Oregon where it’s a bit dryer…). I don’t know, maybe super-well-draining soil?

Other Palms

Many of these probably don’t work in reality, but maybe possibilities for palms in Portland (8b):

Arenga engleri

Butia X Syagrus

Chamaedorea costaricana (Costa Rica Bamboo Palm)

Dypsis decipiens

Dypsis heteromorpha

Acrocomia totai

Chamaedorea radicalis

Chamaedorea linearis

**Some of the above list uses the following source…I’m not sure I believe some of it:

Other Sources

This one seems like a pretty good source: