Living in a zone 8 climate can make growing palm trees a challenge. With seasonal dips in temperature, there’s a select list of palms that can survive & thrive in these regions.
For example, we live in piedmont North Carolina which means our coldest average temperatures in January are around 45-50 degrees. That said, it also can dip down below freezing 3-5 times per year.
It even snows occasionally! Imagine a palm tree with snow on it?
Here’s a list of the best zone 8 palm tree varieties that I’ve vetted:
Jelly Palm (Butia Capitata)
Summary: This unique looking palm tree is a great option for the variable Texas climates and produces a very distinct “jelly like” fruit instead of the coconuts you might expect.
The Jelly Palm is notoriously slow growing, so don’t expect an immediately regal palm aesthetic on your property.
That said, it is a remarkably durable, draught tolerant (once fully established) and venerable tree.
Each leaf creates 25+ slim leaflets from a spiny stalk. When fully mature, the densely popular sheaths create a wonderful canopy effect, just be sure to prune the ends or they may touch the grass.
The yellow fruit generally appears in the Texas Summer months, generating a fruity aroma. The fruits themselves ARE edible and sweet, so get those recipes ready.
European Fan Palm Tree (Chamaerops Humilis)
The European Fan Palm Tree is an extremely versatile and durable palm tree that can grow well in typical palm tree climates, but also can survive a frost and temps as lows 10 degrees.
The other benefit of this palm tree is that it is easy to maintain and doesn’t become unruly with age. Due to the compact multi trunk frame, the European Fan Palm will basically stay where it is with little pruning or maintenance needed.
Somewhat variable in height, this palm grows between 8-15 feet tall (fully mature, but it depends on growing conditions) and about 6-10 feet wide at the base (including multiple branch trunks).
Technically the European Fan Palm can grow in zones 8 through 11. It’s a more common sighting in North Florida and the Panhandle area and north into Georgia and the Carolinas.
The European Fan Palm might be a good option if you’ve tried another zone 8 palm and suffered due to some seasonal freezing.
Mazari Palm Tree (Nannorrhips Ritchiana)
The Mazari Palm Tree is a beautiful and resilient species that is native to the arid regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. This palm tree is also known as the Afghan Palm or the Mazari Date Palm. It is a popular ornamental plant that is widely grown for its attractive foliage and unique form.
The Mazari Palm Tree typically grows up to 20-25 feet in height, with a trunk diameter of around 1-1.5 feet. It has a slender, grey-brown trunk that is covered with old leaf bases. The leaves of this palm tree are feather-shaped, and can reach up to 8-10 feet in length. The leaflets are a bright green color and are arranged in a V-shape along the leaf stem. The tree produces small, yellowish flowers that are followed by edible, date-like fruits.
One of the main advantages of the Mazari Palm Tree is its hardiness and adaptability to extreme weather conditions. This tree is well-suited to hot and dry climates, and can tolerate temperatures as low as 15°F. It is also drought-tolerant and can survive with minimal water.
The tree is easy to grow and maintain, making it a great choice for both residential and commercial landscapes. It can be planted in a variety of soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils.
There are some wonderful PRACTICAL benefits to the Mazari Palm as well! It can serve as a windbreak and shelter for other plants, and can help to prevent soil erosion. The edible fruits of the Mazari Palm Tree are a popular food source in many parts of the world, and are rich in vitamins and minerals. The leaves of this palm tree are also used for thatching roofs, making baskets, and weaving mats.
Overall, the Mazari Palm Tree is a versatile and attractive species that is well-suited to a variety of growing conditions. Its unique form, hardiness, and usefulness make it a valuable addition to any landscape.
First off, the Sabal Palmetto can handle some serious weather. Hurricanes, tropical storms, salt spray, you name it! It can endure it all. Plus, it can grow in just about any type of soil, from sandy to loamy.
But here’s the best part: this tree is low maintenance. So, if you’re not the best at remembering to water your plants or fertilize them, the Sabal Palmetto is the perfect choice for you.
It’s also resistant to most pests and diseases, making it a lower maintenance Zone 8 option.
Now, let’s talk about the aesthetics. The Sabal Palmetto is a real stunner. Its fan-shaped fronds and tall, slender trunk make it the perfect choice for sprucing up your garden, park, or public space. Plus, it can grow up to 80 feet tall, providing plenty of shade for all your outdoor activities.
The Sabal Palmetto is the perfect choice for anyone who wants a low maintenance, hardy, and beautiful palm tree. Whether you’re a commercial grower or just looking to add some pizzazz to your home garden, this tree is a reliable and cost-effective option that can thrive in just about any condition.
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia Robusta)
The Mexican Fan Palm tree, also known as Washingtonia robusta, is a popular choice for homeowners and landscapers alike due to its unique appearance and hardy nature. This palm tree is an ideal choice for zone 8 growing zones for a variety of reasons.
One of the primary reasons why the Mexican Fan Palm tree is ideal for zone 8 growing zones is its ability to withstand extreme weather conditions. This species of palm tree can endure both high winds and drought, making it perfect for areas that experience harsh weather patterns. Mexican Fan Palm trees are adaptable to a variety of soil types including well-draining, sandy, and loamy soils.
Another reason why the Mexican Fan Palm tree is a popular choice for zone 8 growing zones is its low maintenance requirements. This tree is relatively easy to grow and does not require frequent watering or fertilization.
It is also resistant to most pests and diseases, making it a low-risk investment for growers. These qualities make the Mexican Fan Palm tree an ideal choice for residential and commercial landscaping projects.
Mexican Fan Palm trees are also a highly sought-after tree species for their aesthetic appeal. These trees have a unique and attractive appearance that can enhance the beauty of any landscape. The long, narrow fronds of the Mexican Fan Palm tree fan out from the top of the tree, creating a striking silhouette. The tree can grow up to 80 feet tall, providing ample shade for outdoor activities.
In addition to their aesthetic appeal, Mexican Fan Palm trees are an excellent choice for those looking to improve air quality. They are known to purify the air by removing toxins and pollutants, making them an environmentally friendly choice for landscaping projects.
Finally, Mexican Fan Palm trees are also a popular choice for their ability to provide a habitat for wildlife. These trees can provide nesting sites for birds and shelter for small mammals, making them an ideal choice for those looking to support local wildlife populations.
Further Read: Our complete guide to the Mexican Fan Palm.
Mediterranean Fan Palm (Chamaerops Humilis)
The Mediterranean Fan Palm, also known as Chamaerops humilis, is a popular choice for landscaping in zone 8 growing zones due to its hardiness, adaptability, low maintenance requirements, and aesthetic appeal.
This palm tree can withstand harsh weather conditions, including high winds and drought, and is adaptable to various soil types.
It is relatively easy to grow and is resistant to most pests and diseases, making it a low-risk investment for growers.
The Mediterranean Fan Palm’s unique and attractive appearance, with blue-green fan-shaped fronds forming a dense crown atop the tree, enhances the beauty of any landscape.
The tree can grow up to 20 feet tall, providing ample shade for outdoor activities. In addition, it is an environmentally friendly choice for landscaping projects as it is known to purify the air by removing toxins and pollutants.
Moreover, Mediterranean Fan Palms provide a habitat for wildlife, including nesting sites for birds and shelter for small mammals, making them an ideal choice for those looking to support local wildlife populations.
Chilean Wine Palm (Jubaea Chilensis)
The Chilean Wine Palm, also known as Jubaea chilensis, is an excellent choice for gardeners in zone 8 growing zones. This palm tree is native to the central region of Chile and is known for its hardiness, adaptability, and aesthetic appeal.
One of the primary reasons why the Chilean Wine Palm is ideal for zone 8 is its ability to withstand harsh weather conditions. This palm tree can survive in temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit, making it an excellent choice for regions with colder climates. The Wine Palm is highly adaptable to various soil types, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils.
Another benefit of the Chilean Wine Palm is its low maintenance requirements. This palm tree is relatively easy to grow and requires minimal pruning and fertilization.
The Chilean Wine Palm is also highly valued for its aesthetic appeal. This palm tree can grow up to 70 feet tall, providing ample shade for outdoor activities. Its massive trunk can reach a diameter of up to 6 feet, making it a standout feature in any landscape. The palm’s fronds, which can grow up to 18 feet long, provide a striking visual contrast to almost any skyline.
Planting Zones for Palm Trees Explained
The truth is that most palm trees CAN survive in Zones 7-11, even if there are ones that do better than others. Here’s a quick summary of what you need to know about these planting zones.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed a plant hardiness zone map that divides the country into 13 different planting zones. Each zone represents a specific range of temperatures that plants can tolerate. These zones are based on the average annual minimum temperature of an area, which helps determine which plants can grow successfully in that region.
For palm trees, the ideal planting zones are typically zones 8 through 11. These zones are located in the southern part of the United States, including Florida, Texas, California, and parts of the Southwest. These zones have a year-round warm climate that is suitable for palm trees, making them the perfect environment for their growth and development.
In addition to temperature considerations, planting zones for palm trees also take into account other factors such as rainfall, humidity, and soil quality. Palm trees require well-draining soil and a moderate amount of water to grow properly. Overwatering or poor drainage can lead to root rot and other issues that can harm the tree’s health.
Zone 8 Growing Temperatures
Within Zone 8, there are actually 3 different subsets based on average temperature ranges. They are:
- Zone 8: min. average temperature is 10° to 20°F
- Zone 8a: min. average temperature is 10° to 15°F
- Zone 8b: min. average temperature is 15° to 20°F
Which US States are in Zone 8 Growing Zones?
While you can look at the map for the latest details, here’s the TL;DR on the majority Zone 8 growing zones in the continental United States:
While this list might help narrow things down, MOST states actually have multiple growing zones based on local climate and topography.
Western United States Zone 8 Growing Zones
Southern United States Zone 8 Growing Zones
- New Mexico
Southern Eastern Coast Zone 8 Growing Zones
- Florida (northern)
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- Washington, D.C.