Drought Tolerant

Palms are Drought Tolerant!!! Really...

In California and so many other places around the world, water, or lack thereof, is an increasing concern. It's a problem that is not going to go away, now or in the future. This has led to a movement (alright, practically a stampede) towards drought tolerant plants. This is a good thing in general...does a lush lawn really belong in Palm Springs, or anywhere else in Southern California for that matter??? So we see more agaves, yuccas, cactus, and other prickly, spiny, and frankly, often quite unattractive plants being snapped up by consumers and specced by architects. What is often overlooked is the inherent drought tolerance of many palms, including most of those commonly available in California, such as Syagrus, Bismarckia, Dypsis, Chamaerops, Butia, and even Kentia and some Chamedoreas, such as C. plumosa. All of these palms are native to habits that are subject to long periods without rain. For example, Bismarckia is native to a location in Madagascar that is subject to a monsoonal (seasonal) climate. It often goes 4-6 months without significant rainfall. Same goes for many, many Syagrus and Butia species. And Chamaerops is native to a climate even harsher than S. California. Chamaedorea plumosa can withstand being incredibly dry, providing the bamboo look with a fraction of the water. And Cycads are even tougher than palms...

So please, don't get lost in the water-wise rhetoric. Palms and cycads are NOT waterhogs, and can be planted with a clean conscience. And with a palm like the 'Coconut Queen', its even possible to maintain the tropical look.


  • Bismarckia nobilis
  • Brahea armata
  • Butia capitata 'Pindo Palm'
  • Butia eriospathe
  • Chamaedorea plumosa 'Baby Queen'
  • Chamaerops humilis - Green Form
  • Chamaerops humilis var 'Cerifera' - Moroccan Blue
  • Syagrus hybrid 'Coconut Queen'
  • Syagrus romanzoffianum 'Queen Palm'

Nearly all cycads are drought resistant or drought tolerant, but especially species from the following genera.

  • Cycas
  • Dioon
  • Encephalartos
  • Macrozamia

Other Plants

  • Brachychiton rupestris
  • Plumeria
  • Strelitzia species 'Bird of Paradise'


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Vista, CA 92084
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