Palms for Europe
Carlo's personal list of many of the palms
suitable for growing, outdoors, in various parts of Europe all of
which can be seen on his own island of Sicily.
Carlo Morici, Via N. Fabrizi 3, 98123 Messina, Sicily, Italy
Chamaerops No. 14, published online 23-08-2002
on this article:
Click here to read them or to add your own.
Over the last few years, by visiting many botanical
and private gardens, I have built up a list of many of the palms,
which should be suitable for outdoor growing in different parts
of Europe. The list is not exhaustive; there are undoubtedly many
other species, which should do as well.
Perhaps the most suitable species for the Mediterranean
area, where drought is common, are Washingtonia filifera and robusta,
Phoenix canariensis (the most common) and dactylifera, and of course
Chamaerops humilis. They are sometimes to be seen in a semi-wild
state, aggressive enough to compete with the indigenous vegetation.
All the plants on which I based my work have survived
many winters without protection, such as wrapping, mulching etc.
Sometimes a south facing wall behind the plant may have helped during
the critical period.
I have taken account only of established plants
(at least 3-4 years old); seedlings are much less strong. All the
plants listed are actually growing outdoors in Sicily.
The most tender species listed are not suitable
for public areas such as parks or street-side planting because their
leaves may be damaged by cold winter winds, and in February may
look very messy, but in June or July a whole new crown of leaves
will have grown.
Don't forget that acclimatization is important for
palms to be grown in a temperate climate.
Finally remember that different palms have different
habits and needs. Always choose the right palm for your site or
the right site for your palm.Palms For Outdoors In Europe
1. Very tender, needing sheltered sites:
Dictyosperma album var. 'Rubrum'
2. Suitable for southern Italy, Sicily and areas
with similar climates where frosts are very rare, light and of short
variegated forms of Rhapis excelsa
Serenoa repens (various forms)
3. Hardy in the "Riviera" (Down to
4. Hardy in Rome and similar climates (down to
Sabal mexicana (syn. S. texana)
5. Very hardy, most even in parts of the U.K.:
Chamaerops humilis (various forms)
There are many new palms that will in time be added
to the lists, and will hopefully be available through the nursery
trade. But already we can plant up a complete palm garden with:
crownshafts (Archontophoenix, Rhopalostylis), spiny species (Trithrinax,
Rhapidophyllum), trunkless palms (Sabal minor, Phoenix acaulis),
three-ranked leaves (Neodypsis), fishtail leaflets (Wallichia densiflora,
Caryota spp.), variegated leaves (Rhapis excelsavanegata'), simple,
undivided leaves (Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii), branching trunks
(Nannorrhops ritchiana, maybe even Hyphaene), blue leaves (Brahea
armata, Chamaedorea metallica, Serenoa repens).
The list of palms we can grow is thankfully long,
and getting longer. If you have the space, the money and the time,
it would be possible to set up a little Fairchild Garden - just
The author would like to thank Mr Pietro Puccio,
from Palermo, Sicily, who, with his experience, helped add many
taxa to the list.
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