palms in pots

Palms are fantastic for planting in planters. Many areas in the perimeter of the house look great with potted palms: framing the front door, around the pool area, or even on a patio or porch. The slow rate of growth, the ease of maintenance, and the drought resistance of most cold-hardy palms make them excellent container palms. 

Is a palm’s life expectancy different in a container?

Not only do palms survive in containers, but they also thrive due to the palm´s development of superficial roots. Most cold-hardy palms have a slow to medium growth rate, which makes their lifespan perfect for a container. This means they don’t need to be transplanted into a bigger container for years! As long as the soil mix allows for good water drainage and is properly cared for, potted palms are a great addition to any home!

Where should I place them? 

Front Door: Front doors and front porches are great places to plant palms to elegantly decorate and mark the entrance. The corner of a bigger front porch can be livened up with a potted palm.

Pools or Spas: Most pools or spas benefit from a palm or two in the vicinity, yet some hardscapes make it impossible to plant a palm in the exact place we want. In order to achieve the desired look without resorting to a bulldozer, container palms are a great option! Additionally, palms do not shed leaves like a tree or bush does, making them an easy maintenance option that will, without a doubt, make your pool or spa instantly tropical! 

Porch or Pergola: When placing palms in containers for a porch (front or back) it is a good idea to use either one big palm or groups of 3 or 5 pots of staggering heights. When planting palms inside pergolas, it is important to keep in mind how tall and how quickly the palm grows. 

Which palm should I plant in my container? 

If you plan on leaving the palms in their pots year-round, you need to make sure the palms' cold hardiness is appropriate to your growth zone. Unless you have the space and muscle to bring the potted palms indoors each winter, this is the best way to ensure years of healthy, thriving potted palms.

Although most palms can be planted in containers (at least for a part of their life) we recommend four cold-hardy palms that will look beautiful for years in their containers. 

Pindo Palm: The Pindo palm is a slow-growing, stately palm with abundant downward arching feathery fronds. Pindo Palms can be planted as large palms in appropriately large containers. The added height makes them majestic canopy palms.

European Fan Palm: The European Fan Palm is a slow-growing palm that has silver-green fan-like fronds. It looks beautiful in a container both as a full bush when young and as a more mature, sculptural palm with a trunk. This palm does not grow past 15 ft in zones 7b-8, meaning it can live as a potted palm for its entire life. European Fan Palms can be seen in planters all over the world! They are famously planted in cement containers along the streets of Barcelona.

Dwarf Palmetto: The Dwarf Palmetto is a great option to plant in a container. It grows slowly up to 6 feet and has upright fan-like green fronds that resemble the fronds in a Sabal palmetto, without the trunk. It has big fan-like fronds and is sure to decorate any pool or patio beautifully. It is also cold hardy down to 10° F, with short dips to 0° and easy to care for, requiring little maintenance. These look great in short containers because of their upright nature.

Saw Palmettos: Depending on the color of the pot, you may want to choose a green or Silver Saw Palmetto. If you want a lighter contrast to a dark planter or pot, use the silver saw palmetto. If planting in a lighter container or against a light floor, it might be best to choose the Green Saw Palmetto. These palms thrive in containers as they are cold-hardy to 20° F with short drops to 10°, easy to maintain, and drought and pest resistant. Saw Palmettos are sure to accent any corner of your pool or patio! These palms look great in nearly any container, from tall and wide containers to small ones.

green saw palmetto

What material and size container should I get?

Planting palms in planters is not only advisable but it is also recommended! Getting the appropriate sized and shaped container for your palm is crucial. For example, if you live in a windy area, it is best to go for a square or a cylindrical planter to have a better support base to avoid tipping. As for materials, lighter materials such as plastic or fiberglass are more manageable when you need to move them around, but also more likely to topple over. Heavier materials like ceramic or concrete are difficult to move, yet sturdier. Consider the conditions of your home in order to choose the material that best suits your needs.

Lastly, always buy your palms and containers from a recommended source. Atlanta Palms guarantees the quality of all its palms.