Scale the heights with palm trees - Evewoman

Scale the heights with palm trees

Few landscape plants are as charismatic as palm trees. Most are tall and elegant with ornate stalks proudly holding out intricate canopies for all to see.

Others are small and petite with fascinating details for the keen eye to marvel at and curious hands to touch and feel.   

No wonder they are so highly valued, easily commanding prominent locations in any landscape scheme.

Yet working with palm trees is not as difficult as many people think. You don’t need to be an accomplished gardener to succeed. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Pick the right spot

Palm trees naturally grow in the tropics. Ideal growing conditions are therefore similar to those found in the tropics: warm temperatures, high moisture content and full sun. The spot should also have rich, fast-draining soils.

If your area does not nearly meet these ideal conditions, don’t worry.

Many palm species have been found to thrive even in less than ideal conditions. All you will need to do is amend your soil a little by adding lots of compost and a bit of sand to improve the structure.


If you source your palms from a nursery where it was grown under a shade (as is often the case) or you have imported from a more tropical location, you will need to help them get used to their new home.

The new outdoor conditions often present lower humidity levels, cooler temperatures and higher sunshine intensities, which can stress the newcomer.

The process of getting the new plants to become used to new environmental conditions is called acclimatisation.

It involves gradually shifting from conditions similar to where the plants have been raised to those prevailing in the new environment where they are being introduced over a two- to three-month period.

You could, for example, start with shade, and then slowly and incrementally increase the sun’s exposure every two to three weeks.


The importance of planning cannot be overemphasised. Whenever they are used, palm trees naturally command the most conspicuous and prime planting spots. It therefore follows that any mistakes on these spots will be prime and conspicuous as well.

Sketch out a planting plan showing the location of the palm trees in relation to the existing and planned structures, services and the rest of the vegetation you wish to accommodate.

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This will help you to rationally distribute your palm trees within the available space without compromising the functionality of existing and planned structures and services.

Remember to include some companion plants such as cycad and ferns, which go well with palm trees. Also incorporate a few earth mounds so that planting can be done at different heights for additional interest.

Plan the planting patterns according to your landscaping themes and the configuration of the other garden elements.

Smaller palm species such as archonotophoenix, howea, and roystonea look best when planted in groups. Taller species, on the other hand, look very dramatic when planted in rows along a sidewalk or driveway.




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