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Top Five Palm Species to Grow in Melbourne

Dwarf Date Palm

For people who live in Melbourne, you know that the weather is unpredictable. With our extremes in cold, heat and unexpected storms, it’s little wonder that we are known for having “Four seasons in one day”.

When it comes to gardening, many people have the misconception that palms can’t grow in Melbourne. The extreme frost during the winter, combined with hot, dry summers mean that they assume that a tropical garden is unachievable in Victoria.

Stroll through the Royal Botanical Gardens Victoria, and you’ll be surprised that there are approximately forty species of palms that are not only surviving but also thriving.

In this article and also in this featured article, you’ll find out the top five palm species that you can grow in Melbourne. These recommended palms include:

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 1. Chinese Windmill

Botanical name: Trachycarpus Fortunei


Tolerates extreme frost to -15°C.

The windmill or Chusan palm is native to the mountainous areas of Taiwan, China, southern Japan, northern Myanmar and India. It is one of the most cold tolerant palm species and suitable to grow in Victoria. Unsuitable for tropical regions of Australia, the windmill palm does not tolerate summer climates that are warm, wet and humid. Too much rain and humidity cause fungal diseases.

The trunk of the palm looks like it’s covered in hessian. Growing up to 7 metres – and 15 metres after 100 years – the windmill palm is extremely hardy and tolerant. This makes it an ideal choice for beginner gardeners.

Growing guide:

  • Full sun
  • Well-drained soil
  • Fertilise with a palm fertiliser
  • Requires moderate watering. Do not overwater or it will suffer from root and trunk rot.
  • Requires a regular watering schedule as an irregular one will interfere with its growth pattern.

Shop for Chinese Windmill

2. European Fan Palm

Botanical name: Chamaerops humilis


Tolerates extreme frost to -15°C.

The European fan palm, also known as the Mediterranean fan palm tree, is a popular choice for cold climates due to its hardiness and tolerance to the wind. It is one of the only palms native to Europe. It’s the northernmost growing palm in the world and grows on the on dry hill slopes of the Mediterranean. The palm grows well with cool, moist winters and dry summers.

Growing in multiple trunk clumps, the palm has a shrubby look, and trunks are covered in brown fibres, with a base of bluish green or silvery leaves. The palm produces small yellow flowers and fruit that turn brown when ripe. The European fan palm has attractive fan like leaves.

This slow growing palm takes 10-15 years and grows up to 2.5 metres. Although it enjoys full sunlight and moderate temperatures, its hardiness allows it to endure colder temperatures. Once the plant is established, it is drought tolerant.

Growing guide:

  • Full sun, at least four hours of direct sun a day
  • Very hardy
  • Keep well drained to avoid root rot

Shop for European Fan Palm.

3. Wine Palm

Botanical name: Butia Capitata


Can tolerate extreme frosts

The wine palm, also known as jelly palm, is one of the hardiest palms in the world. Native to South America, the palm has feather-like leaves and a stout trunk. The palm can grow to 4.5 metres height, and 25 metres after many years.

Leaves range from light green to blue grey colour and grow between 1.5-3.0 metres.

An ideal palm for growing in Victoria, the wine palm is tolerant of cold and drought. Clay soils may be suitable if well drained. The palm produces edible fruit that tastes like wine and jelly.

Growing guide:

  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Very hardy
  • Well drained soil

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4. Dwarf Sugar Palm

Botanical name: Arenga Engleri


Tolerates moderate frosts up to -7°C

The dwarf sugar palm is considered amongst the finest cultivated and landscape palms. With its distinctive, long fishtail-shaped leaves, dark olive in colour, the leaves are extremely attractive. It has fragrant yellow flowers.

Growing a dwarf sugar palm in Victoria will add a touch of tropical beauty to your garden. This clustering palm grows no more than 3.1 metres tall and may have a five metre spread.

 Growing guide:

  • Prefers partial shade than full sun
  • Well-drained soil
  • Hardy but not drought tolerant

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5. Dwarf Date Palm

Botanical name: Phoenix Roebelenii


Tolerates moderate frost

The dwarf date palm, also known as pygmy date palm, is a popular choice for tropical gardens. Originally from Asia, it is the smallest palm of the date palm family and grows to approximately three metres high. This attractive dwarf palm has fine, arching green fronds and a stout trunk.

A slow growing and long lived variety that is suitable for well lit indoor positions, patios or open gardens. Once this palm is established, it is drought tolerant.

Growing guide:

  • Sheltered positions or indoor, also thrives in full sun
  • Ensure good drainage
  • Feed with slow release plant food or liquid fertiliser
  • Regular deep watering in growing season

Shop for Dwarf date palm.

Looking for native and exotic palms in Melbourne? Check out our extensive range of palms. At True Green Nursery, we offer FREE DELIVERY on orders over $300 within 15km of Melton in Melbourne. Browse our range today!