Several palms against the pink and orange sky at sunset

How to Care for Palm Trees in Adelaide [+ 6 Best Species]

A golden sand beach, blue waters, and the warm sea breeze. That’s your little tropical paradise.

But hold on. Something’s missing.

You guessed it right. It is hard to imagine a tropical island without the iconic palm trees. 

One of the most extensively grown trees in the world, the palm is great for almost every landscape setting. While they are tropical plants, you can grow palm trees for your home and garden in the Mediterranean climate of Adelaide too.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t require some tender loving care. So let’s see how to select the right species and grow palm trees in Adelaide.

6 Best Palm Trees to Grow in Adelaide

Palms grow well in tropical conditions and warm-weather spots. Though they are generally intolerant to chilly weather, some species can thrive in cooler temperatures too, as well as indoors. 

According to the president of the Palm and Cycad Society of South Australia, Max Bawden, it’s not even very difficult. “South Australia doesn’t have any native palms, but a range of varieties work quite well in our climate,” he told SALife.

Let’s take a closer look at the types of palm trees that are best suited for Adelaide, SA.

1. Cocos Palm

Cocos Palm tree with clusters of fruits

This majestic palm tree is great for urban landscapes including streets and parks. They grow to an average height of a whopping 10 metres. Does that sound like much? If it does, skip this species as some individuals can even shoot up twice as much!

These big trees need regular water supply in the growth phase. The average temperature requirements are around 26-27°C. But this palm shouldn’t succumb to mild frosts either. 

2. Bangalow Palm

Several Bangalow Palm trees in a row

When planted in clusters, the Bangalow palm can add a tropical vibe to any environment. Since they have shallow roots, they can be planted near pools and structures without any concern. 

Some trees of this variety can grow up to 25 metres in height. But don’t worry: it’s just an exception. 7 to 8 metres is much more common!

3. Dwarf Date Palm

Also known as pygmy date palms, these small species grow to a height of 3 metres. With the right pruning, they can be grown in indoor spaces as well. 

As long as they get bright, indirect light and average humidity, these palms do not need special care. Since they can withstand cold temperatures of around 14-15°C, pygmy date palm trees are ideal for Adelaide.

4. Kentia Palm

Walking path through thickly planted Kentia Palms

While Kentia palms are preferred as houseplants, they can grow up to 12 metres in ideal conditions. 

These palms can adjust to a wide variety of soil types and prefer high humidity. They can even grow in fairly low light and won’t mind moderate cold. Make sure to keep the young trees in indirect sunlight, though!

5. Nikau Palm

A single Nikau Palm tree with ocean in the background

Originating in New Zealand, the Nikau palm has a majestic appearance and can grow to a height of 15 metres. This species has excellent adaptability and can thrive in areas having moderate to high rainfall. 

However, they are slow growers and the first flowering can take up to 40 years.

6. Wine Palm

Chilean Wine Palm closeup
Torquay Palms, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The wine palm has a thick trunk and is another big grower, reaching as much as 20 metres. 

However, if you’re aiming for that height, don’t expect it to happen very fast. Some trees may need 5 or 6 years to reach it, if then. They need well-drained soil and can tolerate heat and cold better than some other palm varieties.

What’s the Palm Tree Life Cycle?

All palm varieties germinate with a single leaf. In other words, they are monocots and part of the grass family. Since these are slow growers, a germinating seed won’t turn into a full-grown tree until a few years later. 

That said, every variety has a unique growth rate. Typically, they will keep growing for 8 years and beyond.

As the tree grows, the branches will grow heavier and it will shed old fronds. The first flowers come when the tree is around ten years old or more. Most palm trees flower in large clusters and these turn into clusters of fruit after pollination. The life of a palm tree can be between 30 to 100 years depending on the species.

Palm Tree Care: What You Need to Know

Is palm tree care fairly simple?

You bet it is! These plants are best grown in a bright location. Most palm varieties do not like harsh temperatures and strong winds. Make sure to care for the young trees and plant them in the right spot. But once they are fully grown, they need less care.

For indoor plants, placing them near a north-facing window should do the trick. Allow air to circulate freely around the plant to reduce the risk of fungal diseases. Indoor palms can be moved outside during summer. However, bring them back indoors in winter when there is a chance of frost.

Palm trees prefer frequent watering, but except for a few hardy ones, they do not like damp, cold feet. At all times, ensure that the soil remains well-drained. Summer is the time for applying a balanced fertiliser or a “palm special” fertiliser to the base of the tree. Avoid fertilising in winter as the growth rate slows down.

Keep in mind that palm trees can get affected by fungal infections like bud rot and Fusarium Wilt. These diseases can damage the trees and without special care, the fungus can spread. In such cases, it is best to consult a specialist to ensure a proper treatment for your palm tree

What’s the Cost of Removing Palm Trees in Adelaide?

A white truck removing a tall palm tree

The big advantage of palm trees is that the yellowed palm fronds tend to fall off on their own. But, preventing the large ones from dropping on urban spots or your garden is a good idea. So, it is best to prune old or diseased fronds in advance. 

Timely pruning will help the tree to focus on growing new ones. However, do not remove more fronds than needed as that will hurt growth. You can consult tree removal experts for proper palm tree pruning and maintenance in Adelaide.

Speaking of removals, an unhealthy palm tree can be a significant risk to the community. That makes the removal of damaged or diseased trees a necessity. For removing a large palm, you need the support of experts who can ensure safety during the process.

The cost of removing a palm tree in Adelaide depends on the size of the tree. Taller palms will need a safety assessment and a safe removal strategy. Due to the shape of the fronds, disposing of the green waste of the palm trees is another challenge.

The average cost of palm tree removal in Adelaide is around $500. The removal of a small to medium-sized palm tree can cost between $200 to $600. For older and taller trees, the costs can be more than $1500. 

Adelaide Palm Trees Care: FAQs

How do you maintain a palm tree?

The two important aspects are selecting the right soil and the proper light for your palm tree. Next focus on regularly scheduled watering and fertilisation.

What palms grow in full sun in Adelaide?

Some palms that can grow well in full sun in Adelaide are the Kentia palm and the Triangle palm.

Do palms prefer sun or shade?

That depends on the variety of the palm. Some varieties prefer indirect light, while others prefer direct sun.