Palms on the Edge: Species and Strategies for Landscape Utilization Academic Article uri icon


  • An emerging niche in landscape design is the creation of exotic venues in commercial and residential settings using unusual plant materials. For instance, the creation of a tropical looking pool area at a hotel, a southwestern desert look for a Mexican restaurant or an oasis for the consumer at a shopping venue can all be in part achieved by the addition of specific plants. Palms (Arecaceae) can be an important component of this effort, even in temperate landscapes. This article focuses on issues related to the incorporation of palms in temperate landscapes. Although palms are signature plants of tropical regions, a surprising number of species can be grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture cold hardiness zones 8, 7, or colder via a combination of appropriate genotype selection, attention to microclimates in design specifications, and/or special cultural practices to mitigate the impact of cold temperatures. Cold-tolerant palms can be a critical design element, especially when paired with other lush tropical-appearing plants, to achieve the goal of creating the illusion of an exotic tropical locale in temperate-climate landscapes. Genotypic and site specification, careful attention to establishment requirements, and modified maintenance practices are critical determinants for success that will be addressed.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • McDonald, G. V., Schnelle, M. A., & Arnold, M. A.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • McDonald, Garry V||Schnelle, Michael A||Arnold, Michael A

publication date

  • January 2009