Are the palms sunny or shady?

There are palm trees that are sunny

Quoting one of the poems of the writer Pedro Antonio de Alarcón (1833-1891), “I want sun! dying one day says a palm tree, which in a shady orchard, wrapped in its stiff branches, whose soul languishes without love».

This, which is still in the literature, is actually based on the reality of many palm trees. And it is that there are many who need the king’s star to grow properly, but there are others who do not. It is therefore necessary to know whether the palm trees are sunny or shady.


Do palm trees need sun or shade?

Many palm trees are sunny

In nature, palm seeds can germinate exposed to the sun if they have no other plants nearby or if they have been transported by wind, water or animals away from their parents; or they can do it in the shade. This does not mean that they are plants that need to live in these light conditions throughout their lives simply because they started life in sun or shade. In reality, there are many, like Archontophoenix or Howea (like Kentia), that grow in shade but as they get taller they gradually adapt to direct sunlight.

I would even go so far as to say that with a few exceptions, the vast majority enjoy being in the shade during their youth. Eye: shade, but not darkness. These types of plants need a lot of light from the start of their life. This is why they tend to have so many problems when kept indoors because they don’t get enough natural light.

So, to make it easier for you to know which palms are for sun, which are for shade, and which need shade when young but sun when mature, here is a selection based on my experience (in case you’re curious: I’ve been a collector since 2006, so I’ve had, and do have, a wide variety of plants, palms being one of my favourites):

sun palms

  • Bismarckia nobilis: this immense and majestic palm tree with bluish fan-shaped leaves (although there is a variety with green leaves, this one is more sensitive to the cold), needs to be in the sun from its youth. See file.
  • Chamaerops humilis: Mediterranean heart of palm. It has fan-shaped leaves, green, bluish depending on the variety. It resists drought like few others, and it does not fear frosts as long as they are not very intense (although it supports up to -7°C).
  • All of the genus Butia: Butia capitata, butia yatay, Butia archeri,… They grow slowly, but are somewhat drought tolerant and tolerate both cold and frost. See file.
  • Virtually all of the Phoenix genus: phoenix canariensis (Canarian palm), phoenix dactylifera (date palm), phoenix roebellinii (dwarf palm), sylvan phoenix (wild palm, very thorny), phoenix andamensis (similar to the canary, but much smaller), etc. only the phoenix rupicola It appreciates the shade if the degree of sunshine is very high, as it happens in the Mediterranean for example.
  • Jubaea chilensis: the Jubaea palm. Slow growing, pinnate leaves and thick trunk. Slow growing, but a gem that deserves its place in a garden. It resists frost (down to -10ºC) without any problem.
  • Washington: both the washingtonia robusta like the Filiferous Washingtoniaas well as the hybrid Washingtonia x buccaneerThey need sun from the beginning of their life.

shade the palm trees

  • all the squid: Within this genus we find many so-called rattan palms. They are usually climbers, growing in the shade of the rainforest canopy.
  • All Chamaedorea: like the Chamaedorea elegans (palm in the living room), Chamaedorea metallicaThat is Chamaedorea seifrizii. They are ideal plants to grow in small gardens, patios or even indoors, as they usually do not exceed 2 meters in height.
  • All Cyrtostachys: like the Cyrtostachys renda (red palm). These tropical palms, which can have one or more trunks depending on the variety, need shade and very high ambient humidity, as well as mild temperatures throughout the year.
  • Gender Dypsis: like the Dypsis lutescens (areca) or the Dypsis decaryi. Originally, they grow in the shade and gradually expose themselves to the sun. But I recommend always keeping them in the shade to prevent them from burning.
  • howea: like the Howea forsteriana (kentia), or the Howea belmoreana. Although I have already said that in nature they usually grow in the shade and end up being exposed to the sun, in a country like Spain it is better to always keep them in the shade, because it gives them is very difficult to adapt to direct sunlight. exposure.
  • Raphis excelsa: the rapis is a multi-stemmed palm with very thin trunks and fan-shaped leaves, widely used indoors for decoration.

Palm trees that grow in the shade and eventually get exposed to the sun

  • Archontophenix: like the Archonphoenix maxima, Archontophoenix alexandrae, Archontophoenix purpurea, etc. All of these genera start out in the shade, but eventually get exposed to the sun.
  • Album Dictyosperma: it is the only species of the genus Dictyosperma. It has a thin trunk and pinnate leaves. It is commonly known as the hurricane palm because it resists high winds very well. However, it is very sensitive to cold.
  • Genus Caryote: like the Karyote urens That is Caryote mitis. Palms that grow slowly and whose pinnate leaves resemble the tail of a fish.
  • Genus Veitchia: like the Veitchia merrillii vague veitchia arecina. They are tropical palms, which have a very thin trunk and a crown with few pinnate leaves.
  • Virtually all Pritchardia: like the peaceful Prichardia vague Prichardia minor. They have a certain resemblance to the Washingtonia, but their trunk is more slender, and their leaves are even more elegant.
  • All Sabals: like him Uresan Sabal, Maritime Sabal That is mexican sabal. They are palms that grow very slowly, but they are very beautiful. They have large fan-shaped leaves and colors ranging from green to bluish green. See file.

As you can see, not all palms are sunny or shady. I hope this information can help you choose a species for your garden.

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