Palms are generally associated with tropical regions, and thus they can be used to invoke a tropical feel in any garden. Although most palms are not able to tolerate cold temperatures, there are quite a few that can tolerate temperatures well below freezing, and thrive in the temperate climate of the Pacific Northwest. This page is meant as a brief summary of some cold-hardy palm genera and comments on their potential for growing in the Pacific Northwest. Some species are better adapted than others, and many are marginally hardy. I hope that this page will help to sort out the confustion and provide clear information on the track record and future potential of various palm species.
The Pacific Northwest may be defined as the states of Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. Eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, and inland British Columbia cannot grow many palms (some areas none) because of cold temperatures. Many more palms are growable west of the Cascades, especially in larger urban areas or areas with a lot of water around (or both). Some of the mildest coastal regions and peninsulas are able to support a wide variety of palm species. The best climate in the Northwest for palms is coastal Curry County, Oregon, which has significanly milder temperatures than the rest of the Oregon coast.
The page consists of information summaries for each genus, and a small photo gallery. It does not include all palms listed here - for that I would suggest a visit to the Virtual Palm Encyclopedia. I have also added a small Internet Message Archive compiled from discussion forums, showing where I got some of this information. This page itself began as a post to an internet forum entitled 'Possible Palms for the Pacific Northwest.' I have also included a page of links to related sites.
INTERNET MESSAGE ARCHIVE
LINKS TO RELATED SITES
All information and photos on this page (excluding the archive, and except where noted) are Copyright, © 2002 Ian Barclay.