Yes, you can have your own tropical paradise in cooler gardens! It is however important that you choose Palms that will cope with cooler temperatures during the colder months of winter.
Palm Trees add an exotic air to the garden, making a tropical paradise, especially when grouped together, and there are many to choose from which will grow in colder climates. They have a small root ball and mostly are suitable for planting near buildings, paths and in pots. This makes palms very suitable for smaller city gardens and also for the patio of your apartment. To save yourself some money, you could choose small palms, as they are very attractive plants at every stage of their lives!
To grow palms successfully, make sure that you dig a generous sized hole when planting, add lots of organic material and compost, and water well. In fact, completely fill the planting hole with water to soak the surrounding soil. Watch how quickly it soaks away. If slowly, then plant you new palm higher than the surrounding soil, and mound soil around it to improve drainage. After planting and pressing the soil firmly around the palm, be sure to water again well so the soil fills up all air pockets around the roots. No plant likes air around its roots!
All of the following varieties of Palm trees will grow well in cooler climates, and some are frost hardy, but it is best to protect them from frost and cold winds, as they are still tropical plants.
Trachycarpus Fortunei (Chinese Windmill Palm), is an attractive whorl of leaves with fine fronds. These are great planted in large terracotta pots on the patio, around the barbeque or pool and they will be happy for years as long as you ensure that they are well watered. Eventually they will grow to 6.0 - 8.0m.
Cultivation: Prefers a sunny position in good draining soil. These palms need to be watered well, and they like their leaves to be sprayed in hot weather. Chinese Windmill Palms prefer cooler temperatures making them particularly suitable in cooler climates.
Phoenix Roebelinii (Dwarf Phoenix or Date Palm), has arching, feathery fronds up to 2.5m long growing on a slender trunk up to 3.0m. Its smaller size makes Phoenix Roebelinii very suitable for courtyard gardens and compact city sections, providing a real tropical feel. Perfect for your own paradise!
Cultivation: Prefers a moderately compost rich soil with good drainage, in sun or light shade. During the hot summers months mulching will improve moisture retention. Dwarf Phoenix or Date Palm withstands some cold and are suitable for a range of climates.
Archontophoenix Cunninghamiana (Bangalow Palm), is a slender-trunked fast growing palm from the north-eastern regions of Australia. Eventually these palms will grow to 20.0m plus..
Cultivation: Prefers a gravel or stony soil with sharp drainage so plant in orchid mix or similar if you want to plant them in a pot. These palms have bigger leaves so they are best planted in a sheltered position as wind will tear the leaves. Great to grow from small palms as they grow quickly but they do need protection from cold when young, during the winter months.
So, it is best to plant a variety of palms in your own tropical paradise, as each will grow at their own pace depending on conditions but all the above will tolerate cooler temperatures. To achieve the best displays plant 3-4 of the same kind of palm together and layer your garden with different varieties which will enhance the tropical feel.
It won’t be long before you can sit under your palm trees with a glass of wine, cheese and biscuits enjoying your tropical paradise!