What Is The Shortest Palm Tree

What is the shortest palm tree? Palm trees are an iconic symbol of the tropics, often evoking images of swaying palms and hot white sand beaches. Palm trees come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some growing up to 200 feet tall. But not all palm trees are giants! Some specialized varieties are much smaller and can serve as portrait specimens in even small gardens.

The shortest palm tree is the Pygmy Date Palm. It’s scientific name is Phoenix roebelenii and it forms a single trunk about 12 feet tall. Some specimens have been known to reach up to 15 feet, but less than a dozen have ever reached that height. The typical height for this palm is shorter than information found on most growing guides.

Pygmy Date Palm has dense foliage with pointed, arching leaves. The leaves sprout from thick fibers at the top of the trunk. They can reach 2 feet long and 2 feet wide. They are divided into feather-like segments that fan out from the trunk like a giant, soft-green fountain. The trunks are thin with occasional bumps. The stems are thin, fresh-green in color, with a thin sugary coating.

Pygmy Date Palms can be grown indoors or out and make great landscape specimens. They are low maintenance and tolerate conditions from full sun to partial shade. The roots are slow to spread, so they are unlikely to damage sidewalks or driveways. They can serve as a focal point, in groups as a backdrop for an entryway, and as topiary specimens.

The Pygmy Date Palm is also cold hardier than other types of palm trees. It is one of the few palms that can tolerate temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. In mild climates it can tolerate low temps down to the teens. In colder climates it may only survive temperatures down to 25-30 degrees.

Main Plant Care Requirements for Pygmy Date Palm

With its small size, the Pygmy Date Palm is ideal for smaller areas and can also be container-grown, indoors and out. Here are some pointers for keeping it healthy:

  • The preferred soil is a mixture of peat moss, perlite, and sand, ensuring it has good drainage.
  • Pygmy Date Palms can tolerate drought, however you should water it once every 1-2 weeks.
  • Pygmy Date Palm likes morning sun and afternoon shade.
  • To keep the soil moist, use peat-based potting soil or add a light layer of mulch.
  • Fertilize once a year in the spring with a slow-release fertilizer.
  • Cut off dead, diseased or injured leaves with sterilized pruning shears.
  • Prune off dead flower stems periodically as they appear.

What is the Dwarf Royal Palmetto?

The Dwarf Royal Palmetto is a small and slow-growing variety of palms that has become increasingly popular in home landscapes. It can grow up to 10–15 feet tall, with a spread of 5–10 feet and a single trunk. Its fronds are bluish-green and drooping, and its flowers are white to cream in color. The Dwarf Royal Palmetto is an excellent choice for windbreaks, along fences and walkways, and in container gardens.

The Dwarf Royal Palmetto is native to Florida, but can be found around the world in wet and dry areas. It is a hardy and resilient plant, as it can tolerate drought, salt, wind, and extreme temperatures. It is also disease and pest resistant.

Like other dwarf palms, the Dwarf Royal Palmetto needs plenty of light. It should be planted in well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter. It is slow-growing so it only needs light fertilization once a year. The best time to fertilize is spring or fall. Water it deeply once a week in the summer, and less in the winter.

Trees vs Palms: What Is The Difference?

The most obvious difference between trees and palms is their size and shape. Trees typically have a single trunk and multiple branches that form a canopy at the top. Palms, on the other hand, don’t have branches and their leaves grow from a single trunk.

Palms are also much slower growing than trees, and are often considered to be evergreen. The exception to this is some palm species, such as the Chilean Wine Palm, which lose their leaves in the autumn. Trees, on the other hand, usually shed their leaves during the autumn and winter months.

Palms are also more drought tolerant than trees. Their leaves are able to reduce water loss and many species have an extensive root system that allows them to survive in dry conditions. Trees, on the other hand, can’t survive in dry conditions and need more water than palms.

Finally, palms are generally more resistant to disease and pests than trees. Palms often have thick leaves and an extensive root system that are able to better protect the plant from pests and diseases. Trees, on the other hand, have thin leaves and less robust root systems and are therefore more prone to attack from pests and diseases.


The Pygmy Date Palm is the shortest type of palm tree, with a height of around 12 feet. It is native to Southeast Asia, has a dense foliage with pointed, arching leaves, and can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. It has become increasingly popular as a landscape specimen in recent years, due to its great looks and low maintenance needs. The Dwarf Royal Palmetto is another dwarf variety of palm tree with a similar height, that is gaining popularity in home gardens.

Pygmy Date Palm vs Coconut Palm

Although both Pygmy Date Palms and Coconut Palms are small palms, there are some key differences between the two. Pygmy Date Palms have a single thin trunk, while Coconut Palms have a thicker trunk with multiple branches. Coconut Palms are significantly taller, reaching up to 60-70 feet in height, while Pygmy Date Palms typically reach only 12 feet in height. Pygmy Date Palms are also more drought-resistant than Coconut Palms, and more tolerant of cold temperatures.

Growing a Pygmy Date Palm from Seed

Growing a Pygmy Date Palm from seed may be a challenging task, but it is possible! The process usually takes 8-10 months and has three main stages: planting, germination, and potting. The seeds should be soaked overnight in warm water before planting in a pot filled with well-draining soil. You should then keep the seeds in a warm and humid environment to aid with germination. Once fully germinated, the palms should be transplanted into larger pots and carefully monitored until they reach their full size.

Common Pygmy Date Palm Diseases

Pygmy Date Palms are generally considered to be pest and disease-resistant, however they can be prone to some common issues. These include scale insects and root rot, which can be caused by overwatering. It can also be susceptible to fungal diseases like black spots and leaf spot, which can be prevented by careful pruning and ensuring the plant is planted in well-draining soil.

Anita Miles is a nature enthusiast who loves to explore the different varieties of trees around the world. She has a passion for learning more about the different types of trees and their uses in landscaping. Anita is also an advocate for protecting our natural resources and preserving our forests for generations to come.

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