Palms in gardens

Dictyosperma album Dictyosperma album
Dictyosperma albumDictyosperma album
Butia yatayButia yatay
Phoenix canariensis and BismarckiasPhoenix canariensis and Bismarckias
Phoenix canariensis heavily prunedPhoenix canariensis heavily pruned
Jubaea chilensis, young plantJubaea chilensis, young plant
Washingtonia filiferaWashingtonia filifera
Jubaea chilensis, adult plantJubaea chilensis, adult plant
Phoenix roebeleniiPhoenix roebelenii

The enormous variety of palm trees make them a great asset in the landscape, and although most of the species are of tropical origin, there are many which can be cultivated in a Mediterranean climate, and even in places where the temperature can fall below -15ºC (5ºF).

In addition, their growth and dimensions can be predicted in advance, in the assurance that, as long as their needs are met, we shall achieve exactly the kind of tree we aspire to.

They transplant easily even when very big, and need only a small amount of soil compared with what trees of a similar size require in order to grow.

Palms can be an outstanding feature and a special attraction in themselves if given enough space to show them off at their best. Groups of just one species can be very effective, especially if polarisation is avoided, and trees of different sizes are planted. Good results can also be obtained by grouping different kinds of palms, so that there is a contrast of colour and/or shape in the foliage.

As palms can take quite a few years to form their trunks, at first they will take up more space than they need later on. Therefore, if planted in streets, enough leaves should be either tied up or cut, in order not to obstruct or endanger people or vehicles passing by.

When bordering roads and avenues, they should be spaced according to their kind. Sometimes a good effect can be obtained by placing them close to eachother, so that their foliage can intermingle, or on the other hand, by separating them sufficiently to avoid entwinement (Jubaea chilensis among others).

It goes without saying that in choosing a palm one has to take into account the height to which it will eventually grow. Small gardens need small species, such as Phoenix roebelinii, leaving the larger kinds of palms for where there is space for them to grow. The proportions, the scale and the volume of the trees must always come first when making a decision.