What’s the freeze point?

After being away for nearly two weeks, we didn’t expect to return to the Blizzard of 2011!   Needless to say, deep south Texas won’t be getting the blizzard part – but our temperatures are expected to be the lowest we’ve had this winter.  Actually,  lower than last winter too!   –  and our local landscapes were  damaged substantially in last January’s cold snap.   You may want to consider protecting your tender vegetation.  Just to help you decide which palms are most at risk, here is a little info on the cold-hardiness of the most common varieties grown here in the Valley.  

Meditarranean Fan Palms


MEDITERRANEAN FAN PALMChamerops humilis.   Med fans are cold hardy to 16-17 degrees – and thought to be hardy as low as 0 degrees.   I do know that they suffered little damage in Dallas during the winter of 2010 – and those temps dropped into single digits!


WINDMILL PALM,  Tracycarpus fortunii.  Unscathed or minor damage at 10 degrees; thought to be hardy to at least 0 degrees.

CHINESE FAN PALM,  Livistona chinensis. 

Chinese Fan Palms in the field

 Thought to be hardy to 20 degrees.   


PINDO PALMS,  Butia capitata.  No damage to 14 degrees; thought to be hardy to 10 degrees.

TRUE (or EDIBLE) DATE PALM, Phoenix dactylifera.  Some people call this palm a Mejool (Mejool is  a type of dactylifera).  Damaged but recovered at 19 degrees. 

ROEBELLENII OR PYGMY DATE PALM, Phoenix roebellenii.   Minimum temperature with no damage is 25 degrees – but it has been my personal experience that the fronds will burn at temperatures in the upper 20s.   The damage will be almost unnoticable by early summer. 

SYLVESTRIS or SILVER DATE PALM, Phoenix sylvestris.  This is the most cold hardy of all the date palms.  Undamaged at 22 degrees.  Like the roebellinii, sylvestris puts on many sets of fronds during a growing season – thus, it looks full and healthy quicker than other varieties.

Queen Palm

QUEEN PALM OR COCUS PLUMOSA,  Syagrus romanzoffiana.   Damaged by recovered at 24 degrees.

CUBAN ROYAL PALM, Roystonea regia.  Hardy to 28 degrees.  This palm only puts on a set or two of fronds each year – you may think it is dead after a hard freeze.  Be patient and, if you are unsure, give it until late summer to recover.   

Texas Sabal

TEXAS SABAL, Sabal texana or Sabal mexicana.  Hardy to at least 5 degrees and reported to survive sub-zero temperatures.    This is the only palm tree native to the Rio Grande Valley (translation: no fuss, no muss)

Clustering Fishtail Palm

CLUSTERING FISHTAIL PALM,  Caryota mitis.   Hardy to 28 degrees.   My personal experience is that the fronds will burn at this temp – but the tree is unharmed.  It is very slow to grow its first set of fronds after a freeze.  Mine took 8 months last year – and I can’t tell you how many times we nearly yanked it out. 

CALIFORNIA FAN PALM,  Washingtonia filifera.   Little or no problem at 15 degrees.  Thought to be hardy to 0 degrees. 

MEXICAN FAN PALM, Washingtonia robusta.  Variable damage below 22 degrees; hardy to about 20 degrees. 

PAUROTIS OR EVERGLADES PALM, Acoelorrhaphe wrightii.  Variable leaf damage at 22 degrees; root hardy to at least 15 degrees.

BISMARK PALM, Bismarckia noblis.  Hardy  to 28 degrees.

All of the temperatures given are from Betrock’s Cold Hardy Palms.



About Simmons Oak Farms

21225 Krupala Road Harlingen, Texas 78550 (956) 425-5859 We're a wholesale growers of trees & palms. Our goal is to provide our customers with top quality plants at competitive prices.
This entry was posted in Cold Hardy Palms, Palms and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s