Skip to Content

Can Palm Trees Survive Snow? (All You Need to Know)

To have a tropical feel in your outdoor space, no other trees are quite suitable likes these hardy palm trees. However, even though palm trees are known for their hardiness, you may not know whether or not palm trees are cold-hardy.

Therefore, a common question can raise in your mind that can palm trees survive snow or not. Thus, let us quickly find out the answer to this query from the explanations added ahead.

Can Palm Trees Survive Snow?

Depending on the variety of palm trees, some incredibly cold-hardy palm trees can survive the snow if the snow-covered condition lasts for a short time or if the palm trees can be winterized. But if any part of palm trees is damaged during this freezing period, those damaged parts are unrecoverable.

Although most of the time, palm trees are credited to be tropical plants for thriving in the best condition in the warm tropical areas, there are many cold-hardy palm trees that incredibly can survive the harshness of snow.

However, the survival of palm trees entirely depends on two factors, the first one is the total duration of freezing conditions and the second one is winterization. 

Palm trees certainly do have many impressive cold-hardy species but those species can endure the harshness of snowy conditions and cold temperatures for a certain amount of period, not always.

This means, only if the freezing snow-covered condition stays for a short amount of time, the cold-hardy palm trees can survive the show. 

Or else, if the cold-hardy species of palm trees can be winterized properly during the snowy condition, they can survive the severe coldness of the snow. 

However, during this survival period of palm trees in the snowy condition, some areas of palm trees can get damaged. And after the snowfall period or winterization, those palm trees indeed will be able to thrive again but the damaged parts won’t recover at all. 

Also, once the center of a palm tree even if it’s a cold-hardy palm is frozen, that tree isn’t salvageable. 

Does Snow Harm Palm Trees?

Palm trees aren’t naturally supposed to go dormant during the heavy snowfall period, therefore, if an unexpected hard freeze due to heavy snowfall shocks the palm trees, the tees not only will be harmed but will lose life ultimately. 

Besides, even if the palm trees are winterized, the fronds of the palm trees can turn brown and droopy due to snow. Sometimes, internal decay in the palm trunk can happen too due to snow. 

How Cold Can Palm Trees Survive? What Temperature Do Palm Trees Need To Survive?

The cold-resilient palm trees can survive a cold temperature up to 20°F (-7°C) on average.

Also, there are many cold-hardy palm tree varieties that remarkably can endure a cold temperature below 0°F (-18°C). However, other varieties of palm trees are capable of tolerating cold up to 40°F. 

 Moreover, palm trees need a temperature ranging between 54°F-55°F to survive well. 

Can Palm Trees Live In Cold Climates? Will Palms Recover From Frost?

Most of the species of palm trees can live in a cold temperature of 40°F. And the cold-resilient species of palm trees can live in a cold climate of 20°F, some can even tolerate a cold climate as cold as 0°F. 

However, even if palm trees can endure cold, they cannot really recover from the damages that happened to them from frost.

Some drooping fronds may grow again newly but internal damaged in the trunk and sudden shock from a hard freeze aren’t recoverable. 

How To Keep A Palm Tree Alive In Winter?

Winterization is the most effective way of keeping a palm tree alive during the cold months of winter. The most useful ways of keeping both an indoor palm tree and an outdoor palm tree alive have been explained individually below for your information. 

Winterizing An Outdoor Palm Tree

Wrap With Burlap: 

Before the first frost hits your outdoor palm tree, wrap the trunk of the palm tree using burlap.

And if the temperature is seeming to go below freezing point, it would the best if you wrap the palm tree with several burlap layers starting from the base to the top of the palm tree.

In case, the fronds are uncovered, use plastic bags to cover the exposed fronds so that it insulates the tree entirely. 

Wrap With Pipe Insulation: 

While using pipe insulation, you have to apply mulch to the surrounding soil of the palm tree to safeguard the roots.

After that wrap the fronds and trunk of the palm tree with pipe insulation. And then tuck the tip over to prevent water from penetrating into the insulation.  

Wrap With Heat Tape:

First, pull the fronds of the palm tree back and tie them up together vertically in a bundle.

Then wrap the palm tree with heat tape (bought at hardware shops), start wrapping around the trunk beginning at the base and continue wrapping till the top. You must leave a thermostat out at the trunk’s bottom. 

After wrapping with heating tape, wrap layers of burlap around the palm tree and secure using duct tape. If fronds are peeking out, further insulate using plastic bags. 

Wrap With Christmas Lights: 

Using Christmas lights is the easiest way of keeping a palm tree alive. Tie the palm tree leaves in a bundle and then wrap the bundle of leaves with one Christmas light string. However, avoid using newer LED Christmas lights, use the old-fashioned ones. 

Wrap With Chicken Wire: 

While wrapping the palm tree with chicken wire, keeping the palm tree in the midst in a square shape, place 4 stakes at 3 feet distance.

Then wrap 1-2” of chicken wire circling the post making one 3ft×3ft basket. And fill leaves inside the square basket until it’s full to safeguard the tree. 

Note: No matter what method you choose to use, always remember to remove all the insulation and mulch as soon as the weather starts getting warmer. 

Winterizing An Indoor Palm Tree 

Indoor palm trees are generally potted palm trees. So, to winterize such a palm tree to keep it alive in winter, you should move the palm tree pot to an enclosed but warm and dry place such as your garage. 

You must provide the palm tree with enough indirect but bright sunlight and keep the soil in the pot moist, not soggy. Also, lessen the watering too.

Make sure that the air inside the place is humid enough and the palm tree is away from dryness and cold drafts.

Which Palm Trees Can Survive Snow?

As most you surely do want to know which varieties of palm trees can survive snow, thus, the most cold-resilient palm trees are briefly explained and listed below. 

Chinese Fan Palm Tree (Livistona chinensis):

Native to China and southern Japan, the Chinese Fan Palm trees are strongly cold-resilient palm trees with moderate growth. 

When these beautiful Chinese Fan Palm trees are fully grown up, they can tolerate a temperature as cold as 20°F-25°F (-7°C to -4°C).

However, if the temperature goes below 20°F, the leave will be damaged. And if the temperature goes below 15°F, it’s a total defoliation. 

Cabbage Palm Tree (Sabal palmetto):

Cabbage palm trees are the state tree of Florida and South California and they are also incredibly cold-resilient.

After reaching maturity, this palm tree can endure cold up to 10°F-15°F (-12°C to -9°C). But a temperature below 10°F may cause the leaves damage. 

Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta): 

Northern Mexico origin, Mexican Fan Palm tress are the most prevalently planted palm tree species. Mexican Fan Palm trees are also remarkably hardy can survive cold temperatures between 15°F-20°F. 

California Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia filifera): 

California Fan Palm trees are widely popular as ornamental trees in Arizona, California, and Mexico.

These palm trees can endure cold temperatures quite well and mature California Fan Palm trees can survive a cold temperature between 15°F-20°F (-9°C to -7°C).

Needle Palm Tree (Rhapidophyllum hystrix):

Native to the coastal grassland of the south-eastern USA, Needle Palm trees are the most cold-hardy species of palm trees. They can easily endure the harshness of cold temperature up to     -5°F (-21°C) without minimum protection. 

European Fan Palm Tree (Chamaerops humilis):

European Palm trees aka Mediterranean Palm trees are a tough species of palm tree that are able to withstand as cold as 5°F-10°F (-15°C to -12°C). These palm trees also can survive the coldness of 3°F (-16°C) without any permanent damage. 

Saw Palmetto Palm Tree (Serenoa repens):

Saw Palmetto Palm trees, known as Sabal Palm trees are also an unbelievably cold-resilient palm tree species that easily can withstand cold temperature down to 0°F-5°F (-18°C to -15°C). 

Final Thoughts

Many cold-hardy varieties of palm trees remarkably can survive snow, a few among them can even tolerate the severity of snow without any protection. However, all of these cold-resilient palm trees only can endure snow-covered condition for a short time or if they are winterized.