Pause Before Planting These Palms

Palms are some of the most drought tolerant and low maintenance plants you can grow in South Texas. Just be sure you’re planting a type that’s well-adapted for our climate.

Late April begins the recommended time for planting palms and succulents in San Antonio. In the past, a fellow palm enthusiast recommended which palms to grow here. I consulted with him again — this time on which palms to avoid, mostly due to their maintenance and temperature requirements.

Majesty palm (Ravena rivularis)-While this tree may be nice in a pot out on your deck or near the pool, consider treating it as an annual. Majesty palm can only tolerate the briefest of freezing weather, requires heavy fertilization and prefers a wet environment.

Pygmy date palm (Phoenix robelenii)-It’s hard to resist this beautiful tropical tree often planted three or more to a container. Ideally suited to container culture in San Antonio, temperatures below 27 degrees or prolonged freezes will burn the leaves or kill the tree. Pygmy date palm will thrive for many years in very large container as long as it’s fertilized monthly, watered regularly and brought into the garage or sunroom when temperatures are forecast to drop to the upper 20s or lower.

Bottle palm (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis)-This palm has a truly amazing bottle shape and only holds four to six leaves in its crown at a time. Native to Round Island east of Madagascar, bottle palm is a tropical palm that is killed by any freezing weather and starts to decline when temperatures stay below 55 degrees.

Palms are some of the most drought tolerant and minimal maintenance plants you can grow in South Texas. Just be sure you’re planting the correct species.

Picture of Steven Siebert
Steven Siebert
While Steven Siebert is a SAWS Water Resource Planner, Conservation runs through his veins. As a life-long gardener from the tundra, Steven is thrilled to have the opportunity to garden in south Texas twelve months of the year. Steven is a palm enthusiast and a life member of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo serving on the wine committee. Steven’s favorite title though is Uncle to his nephew Ryan and niece Madison.
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