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23 Plants That Look Like Palm Trees

23 Plants That Look Like Palm Trees

Are you looking to add a tropical vibe to your backyard? Palm trees are definitely at the top of your list to achieve this aesthetic. 

However, the reality is that palm trees may not be accessible where you are. In this case, a more feasible alternative is to look for plants that look like palm trees. 

In this article, we compiled 23 plants that look like palm trees for you to choose from. 

23 Palm Tree-Looking Plants

    Let’s get to know each of them in more detail. Read on below!

    1. Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)

    Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
    Image: Seeds for Africa
    Scientific NameCycas revoluta
    Common NameCycadJapanese sago palmKing sago palmLiving fossilSago cycad
    Height0.5 to 2 meters
    Soil TypeLoam (Silt)SandGood DrainageMoist
    Maturity Period10 to 12 years
    ClimateTemperate Tropical
    WateringEvery 2 or 3 days
    Country of OriginJapan 
    Landscape LocationCoastalContainerHouseplantsPatioDrought Tolerant GardenRock Garden

    The Sago Palm is a native Japanese plant belonging to the cycad family. This shrub has a long lifespan of over 200 years.

    It is also called the “Living fossil” because it dominated the earth for over 100 million years. It has been used as an ornamental plant ever since ancient times. 

    Although it looks like a palm tree, it is a cone-bearing plant. These grow slowly from 0.5 to 2 meters tall and spread to 1.5 meters. 

    The Sago Palm has a short thick trunk with a rosette of large arching glossy green and feather-like leaves. Its leaves are feathery with light green spikes and are 0.9 meters long.

    It is also dioecious, or either male or female. Male cycads produce a cone, while female cycads produce flowers. 

    2. Traveler’s Palm (Ravenala madagascariensis)

    Traveler’s Palm (Ravenala madagascariensis)
    Image: In Defense of Plants
    Scientific NameRavenala madagascariensis
    Common NameTraveler’s treeTraveler’s palmEast-west palm
    Height30 to 50 feet tall
    Soil TypeHigh Organic MatterLoam (Silt)Good DrainageMoist
    Maturity Period10 years
    WateringEvery two days
    Country of OriginMadagascar
    Landscape LocationContainerWinter Garden

    The traveler’s palm is a flowering plant from the family Strelitziaceae. It is easily recognizable with its paddle-shaped leaves arranged like a fan on the top of its trunk. 

    It is widely cultivated due to its exotic foliage, especially in tropical and subtropical areas.

    3. Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

    Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
    Image: Nursery Live
    Scientific NameChamaedorea elegans
    Common NameChamaedoreaCollinia ElegansDwarf PalmGood Luck PalmMiniature Fish Tail Dwarf PalmNeanthebellaNeanthe Bella PalmNeanthe PalmParlor PalmParlour PalmReed Palm
    Height2 to 7 feet
    Soil TypeLoam (Silt)High Organic MatterGood DrainageMoistOccasionally Dry
    Maturity Period5 to 10 years
    WateringOnce or twice a week
    Country of OriginMexicoHonduras
    Landscape LocationContainerHouseplantsPatio

    The Parlor Palm is an upright subtropical palm that grows up to 7 feet in indoor environments. 

    The leaves of the Parlor Palm plant spread out in a drooping form, each having fused terminal pinnae. On the other hand, the base of the leaf’s petiole is thick and fleshy. 

    The Parlor Palm has a smooth green stem, similar to bamboo, which becomes woody as it matures. Its stem is erect and slender, 3 to 4 inches in diameter. 

    It’s one of the most sought-after indoor plants because it can tolerate low-light conditions, less watering, and low to medium humidity. 

    Another great benefit of having the Parlor Palm inside your house is that is can remove indoor air pollutants. 

    4. Paradise Palm (Howea belmoreana)

    Paradise Palm (Howea belmoreana)
    Image: Nieuwkoop
    Scientific NameHowea belmoreana
    Common NameBelmore Sentry PalmCurly PalmKentia PalmParadise PalmSentry PalmThatch Palm
    Height10 to 40 feet
    Soil TypeHigh Organic MatterGood DrainageMoist
    Maturity Period2 to 4 years
    WateringOnce a week
    Country of OriginAustralia
    Landscape LocationContainerPatioVertical Spaces

    The Paradise Palm is a flowering tree indigenous to Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands of Australia. It is usually found in hilly rainforests, unlike palm trees that grow along coastal areas. 

    This plant has prominent fronds that are divided in the midrib into leaflets. Its severe curve leaves give a narrow overall shape to the Paradise Palm, making it fit well in small spaces. 

    The Paradise Palm grows best in indirect light and fast-draining soil. It can be used in drought-tolerant gardens as a container plant or to cover vertical spaces. 

    5. Madagascar Palm (Pachypodium lamerei)

    Madagascar Palm (Pachypodium lamerei)
    Image: Gardenia
    Scientific NamePachypodium lamerei
    Common NameMadagascar palmClub foot
    Height4 to 20 feet
    Soil TypeChalkLoamSand
    Maturity Period10 years
    ClimateSubtropical Mild temperate 
    WateringOnce or twice a month
    Country of OriginMadagascar
    Landscape LocationContainersPatiosMediterranean Garden

    The Madagascar palm is a succulent from the family Apocynaceae. This plant thrives in various types of soil and is drought-tolerant. 

    It has a tall silver trunk with sharp spikes. As a stem succulent, its photosynthesis process occurs through its trunk.

    At the top, you will see shiny dark green leaves that grow in clusters. It also produces fragrant white flowers.

    6. Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis)

    Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis)
    Image: Gardenia
    Scientific NameLivistona chinensis
    Common NameChinese Fan PalmChinese Fountain PalmFountain palmSerdang
    Height10 to 30 feet
    Soil TypeMoistWell-drained
    Maturity Period3 to 10 years
    WateringOnce a week
    Country of OriginJapanTaiwanChina
    Landscape LocationSpecimen plantContainer plant

    The Chinese Fan Palm is an evergreen plant native to Japan, Taiwan and China. 

    The leaves of the Chinese Fan Palm are divided into 75 segments that droop downward, giving a fountain effect to the whole plant. 

    Its dense canopy of emerald green cascading leaves grows from a smooth brown trunk that reaches between 10 to 30 feet tall. 

    The Chinese Fan Palm grows best in moist, well-drained soil and full sun. It makes a great specimen plant or container plant in landscapes.

    7. Cascade Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum)

    Cascade Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum)
    Image: Rohan Musgrave on Palm Pedia
    Scientific NameChamaedorea cataractarum
    Common NameCat palmCascade palmCataract palmMexico Cat palmMexico Hat palm
    Height3 to 6 feet
    Soil TypeLoose potting soilHigh Organic MatterWell-drained
    Maturity Period2 to 5 years
    WateringOnce every 5 to 7 days
    Country of OriginMexico
    Landscape LocationContainer plantSpecimen plant

    The Cascade Palm is usually found in areas with flowing water, originating from Mexico. 

    This plant is a trunkless clumping palm that can grow up to 6 feet tall, while the glossy leaves of the Cascade Palm form a large dense clump with long thin leaflets. 

    Its flexible think leaflets and trunkless habit allow the Cascade palm to resist being washed away by flowering water. 

    The Cascade Palm is best used as a pot plant indoors or in shaded areas in your garden and as a stabilizer for garden banks or ponds. 

    8. Banana Palm (Musa acuminata)

    Banana Palm (Musa acuminata)
    Image: Gardenia
    Scientific NameMusa acuminata
    Common NameBanana palmCavendish bananaBanana plantDessert bananaEdible banana
    Height12 to 20 feet 
    Soil TypeMoistWell-drained
    Maturity Period4 months
    WateringOnce a week
    Region of OriginSoutheast Asia
    Landscape LocationContainersParksGardens

    The banana palm is a perennial herb indigenous to Southeast Asia. 

    This plant has a trunk with short stems. Attached to these stems are large, paddle-shaped leaves. 

    During the blooming season, it produces yellow-green flowers that later turn into yellow banana fruit.

    This plant is widely cultivated for banana production and ornamental decoration because of its distinct foliage. 

    9. Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)

    Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
    Image: Ashley Hosmer
    Scientific NameDracaena marginata
    Common NameDragon treeMadagascar dragon treeMalaysian DracaenaPleomeleRed-marginated DracaenaSong of IndiaStraight-marginated Dracaena
    Height6 feet
    Soil TypeHigh Organic MatterLoam (Silt)Good DrainageOccasionally Dry
    Maturity Period10 years
    WateringOnce every 10 to 14 days
    Country of OriginMauritiusMadagascar
    Landscape LocationContainerHouseplant

    The dragon tree is a tropical plant native to Madagascar. It has a single trunk with leaves that grow spirally, and green sword-like leaves that have red edges. 

    Dragon trees are common indoor houseplants that can survive in low light conditions and do not need constant watering. They are also helpful in purifying indoor air. 

    10. Bamboo Palm (Dypsis lutescens)

    Bamboo Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
    Image: House of Plants
    Scientific NameDypsis lutescens
    Common NameAreca PalmBamboo PalmButterfly PalmCane PalmGolden Butterfly PalmGolden Feather PalmYellow Palm
    Height20 to 40 feet
    Soil TypeWell-drained
    Maturity Period10 years
    WateringOnce a week
    Country of OriginMadagascar
    Landscape LocationContainer plant

    The Bamboo Palm is a common tropical plant the originated from Madagascar. It is easily recognizable for its arching compound and pinnate glossy green fronds that arise from its fleshy base. 

    This plant is also called the “Butterfly Palm” because its leaves curve upwards in various stems, spreading like a butterfly’s wings. 

    The Bamboo Palm can tolerate high humidity and reduce indoor air pollution as an indoor plant. 

    11. Cardboard Palm (Zamia furfuracea)

    Cardboard Palm (Zamia furfuracea)
    Image: Terra Forma Landscapes
    Scientific NameZamia furfuracea
    Common NameCardboard CycadCardboard PlantCardboard SagoJamaican SagoMexican Cycad
    Height0.5 to 1 meter
    Soil TypeLoam (Silt)SandGood DrainageMoist
    Maturity Period1 to 3 years
    WateringOnce a week
    Country of OriginMexico
    Landscape LocationCoastalContainerHouseplantsDrought Tolerant Garden

    The Cardboard Palm is a cycad from the family Zamiaceae. It is indigenous to Mexico and Central America’s humid and dry areas. 

    This plant has a cylindrical trunk with leaves growing from the center. It has compound, round, and pinnate leaves with fuzzy leaflets and serrated margins.

    As an indoor plant, the Cardboard Palm is low maintenance and can survive in full sunlight or partial shade. 

    12. Majesty Palm (Ravenea rivularis)

    Majesty Palm (Ravenea rivularis)
    Image: Florida Palm Trees
    Scientific NameRavenea rivularis
    Common NameMajestic PalmMajesty Palm
    Height10 to 12 feet
    Soil TypeMoistWell-drained
    Maturity Period8 years
    WateringOnce or twice a week
    Country of OriginMadagascar
    Landscape LocationHouseplantLawn plant

    The Majesty Palm is endemic to the riverbanks and forests of Madagascar. 

    The foliage of the Majesty Palm forms a crown of arching leaves divided into long thin fingers. It has a cylindrical brown, grey trunk slightly inflated in the middle. 

    The Majesty Palm is a great choice for a house or lawn plant. To keep the plant healthy, apply fertilizer with magnesium or a pinch of Epsom salt. 

    13. Spineless Yucca (Yucca gigantea)

    Spineless Yucca (Yucca gigantea)
    Image: World of Succulents
    Scientific NameYucca gigantea
    Common NameSpineless yuccaGiant yuccaSoft tip yuccaBue stem yucca
    Height30 feet
    Soil TypeLoamWell-drained
    Maturity Period7 years
    WateringOnce a week
    Country of OriginMexico
    Landscape LocationContainerHouseplant

    The spineless Yucca is a large succulent indigenous to Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Belize. It thrives in an arid and sandy environment.

    This plant is also not part of the palm tree family. It’s actually part of the Asparagaceae family.

    The spineless Yucca is a succulent with a single trunk that grows up to 30 feet tall. It has spineless leaves that span up to 4 feet long. 

    It produces white flowers that turn into fleshy oval brown fruits in summer. 

    It has become a common ornamental plant because of its tolerance to different environmental conditions and minimal need for care and attention. 

    Other Yucca plants that also resemble palm trees are the beaked yucca (Yucca rostrata), aloe yucca (Yucca aloifolia), and Mojave yucca (Yucca schidigera).

    14. Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)

    Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
    Image: Gardenia
    Scientific NameRhapis excelsa
    Common NameBraodleaf Lady PalmFan Tufted PalmLady Palm
    Height6 to 15 feet
    Soil TypeLoam (Silt)Good DrainageMoist
    Maturity Period4 years
    WateringOnce a week
    Country of OriginChinaVietnam
    Landscape LocationContainerHouseplantShrub border

    The Lady Palm is another evergreen plant that resembles a palm tree, originating from China and Vietnam. It is recognizable for its bamboo cane-like trunk, where its shiny fan-shaped leaves emerge. 

    During summer, small yellow flowers bloom among its foliage from the Lady Palm. 

    The Lady Palm is a reliable indoor plant, requiring only indirect light, deep shade, and low humidity. It also thrives in well-drained soil and once a week watering. 

    This plant can also be used as an accent plant or shrub border in outdoor gardens. 

    15. Gum palm (Dioon spinulosum)

    Gum palm (Dioon spinulosum)
    Image: Gardenia
    Scientific NameDioon spinulosum
    Common NameGiant dioonGum palmMexican dioon
    Height12 meters
    Soil TypeMoistWell-drained
    Maturity Period10 to 20 years
    WateringOnce every 3 to 4 days
    Country of OriginMexico
    Landscape LocationIndoor plantFocal plantParksGardens

    The gum palm is another palm-tree-looking cycad belonging to family Zamiaceae. It is indigenous to the tropical rainforests of Mexico and Central America. 

    It’s one of the tallest cycad plants in the world. However, it was recently declared endangered due to the destruction of its natural habitat. 

    It has a short, stout trunk with feather-like leaves arranged like a rosette. It also produces a 15- centimeter red berry as a fruit. 

    The gum palm is an outdoor ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical regions. 

    16. Oil Palm (Elaeis guineensis)

    Oil Palm (Elaeis guineensis)
    Image: CABI Digital Library
    Scientific NameElaeis guineensis
    Common NameOil PalmAfrican Oil PalmMacaw FatObe PalmWild Oil Palm
    Height26 to 66 feet
    Soil TypeLoam (Silt)SandClay
    Maturity Period2 to 3 years
    WateringOnce or twice a month
    Country of OriginAngolaGambia
    Landscape LocationRoadside Tree

    The Oil Palm is a tropical plant native to Angola and Gambia. It is widely cultivated for being the main source of palm oil worldwide.

    Upon maturity, the Oil Palm develops a single stem that reaches up to 66 feet tall. It has long pinnate leaves that make up its prominent palm-like fronds. 

    This tree grows well in tropical and subtropical areas and is best used as a roadside tree in landscapes.

    17. Vulcan Palm (Brighamia insignis)

    Vulcan Palm (Brighamia insignis)
    Image: National Tropical Botanical Garden
    Scientific NameBrighamia insignis
    Common NameŌluluAlulaVulcan palmCabbage on a stickFalse kamaniPalila lokelani
    Height16 feet
    Soil TypeLoamSandPotting soilWell-aeratedWell-drained
    Maturity Period2 to 3 years
    Watering2 to 3 times a week
    Country of OriginHawaii
    Landscape LocationContainerHouseplantRock Gardens

    The Vulcan palm is a perennial flower plant native to Hawaii. It comes from the family Campanulaceae.

    This plant is commonly found in the islands of Kauaʻi and Niʻihau in Hawaii, with dry forests. 

    The Vulcan palm has a swollen base that is a succulent stem. It develops into a smooth gray bark. 

    At the top of this plant are rosettes of light green cabbage-like leaves – hence its nickname “cabbage on a stick.”

    Unfortunately, the Vulcan palm is endangered due to the loss of its natural habitat, which has been converted into pastureland for raising cattle. 

    18. Christmas Palm (Adonidia merrillii)

    Christmas Palm (Adonidia merrillii)
    Image: Monaco Nature Encyclopedia

    Scientific NameAdonidia merrillii
    Common NameChristmas PalmDwarf Royal PalmManila Palm
    Height15 to 25 feet
    Soil TypeLoam (Silt)ClaySand
    Maturity Period10 to 20 years
    WateringOnce every 9 days
    Country of OriginBorneoPhilippinesMalaysia
    Landscape LocationContainerPatioVertical SpacesWinter Garden

    The Christmas Palm is a broadleaf evergreen plant native to Borneo, Philippines, and Malaysia. 

    This palm-looking tree has a slender gray trunk that grows up to 25 feet. Its solitary trunk supports the arching shiny green leaves of the Christmas Palm that are 4 to 5 feet long. 

    During summer, the Christmas Palm blooms small cream-colored flowers in its canopy. These flowers later turn to red fruits during Christmas, hence its name. 

    Christmas Palms are best used in residential areas as street trees. 

    19. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

     Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
    Image: Wikipedia
    Scientific NameBeaucarnea recurvata
    Common NameElephant foot treePonytail palmBottle palmPonytail plant
    Height30 feet tall
    Soil TypeSandGood Drainage
    Maturity Period10 years
    WateringOnce every 1 to 2 weeks
    Country of OriginMexico
    Landscape LocationContainerHouseplantsPatio

    The Ponytail Palm is an evergreen caudiciform tree native to semi-desert areas of Guatemala, Belize, and southeastern Mexico. 

    Despite the resemblance, it belongs not to the palm family but to the asparagus (Asparagaceae) family. 

    The ponytail palm has a swollen trunk that stores water to survive long periods of drought. It also has long green curly, and thin leaves growing on the trunk. 

    This plant also does not require much care and attention, so it is a common houseplant in Europe. 

    20. Triangle Palm (Dypsis decaryi)

    Triangle Palm (Dypsis decaryi)
    Image: Monaco Nature Encyclopedia
    Scientific NameDypsis decaryi
    Common NameTriangle PalmThree-Ranked PalmTriangular PalmThree-Cornered PalmThree-Sided Palm
    Height25 to 35 feet
    Soil TypeChalkSandLoam (Silt)DryWell-drained
    Maturity Period20 to 50 years
    WateringOnce a week
    Country of OriginMadagascar
    Landscape LocationRoadside TreeSpecimen plantContainer plant

    The Triangle Palm is a medium-sized tree with a prominent solitary trunk and a three-pointed crown of feather-like fronds. This plant is native to Madagascar. 

    The name of this plant came from the triangle shape formed towards the top of its trunk, from which its evergreen fronds emerge. 

    The Tringle Palm grows best in well-drained soil. It can be used as a roadside tree, specimen, or container plant in landscaping. 

    21. Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)

    Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)
    Image: Garden and Bloom
    Scientific NameStrelitzia reginae
    Common NameBird of ParadiseBird of Paradise FlowerBird’s Tongue FlowerCrane Flower
    Height3 to 5 feet
    Soil TypeLoam (Silt)High Organic MatterGood DrainageMoist
    Maturity Period4 to 5 years
    WateringOnce a week
    Region of OriginSouth Africa
    Landscape LocationContainerPatio

    The Bird of Paradise is a flowering plant indigenous to South Africa. It thrives in warm climates. 

    It has stiff oblong green leaves with a red-colored rib. These leaves are arranged in two levels, resembling a fan-shaped crown.

    This plant is widely cultivated for its crane-looking flowers. It is also low-maintenance, making it a popular ornamental plant. 

    22. Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta)

    Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta)
    Image: South Florida Plant Guide
    Scientific NameWashingtonia robusta
    Common NameMexican Fan Palm
    Height50 to 100 feet
    Soil TypeLoam (Silt)SandGood DrainageOccasionally Dry
    Maturity Period4 to 12 years
    WateringOnce a week
    Country of OriginMexico
    Landscape LocationSpecimen PlantRoadside TreeDrought Tolerant Garden

    The Mexican Fan Palm is a broadleaf evergreen tree which originated in Mexico but has now been naturalized in Texas, Hawaii, California, and Florida. 

    This tree has a columnar trunk that grows between 50 to 100 feet. A crown of fan-shaped fronds grows from these trunks, reaching 3 to 5 feet long. 

    Mexican Fan Palms are wind-tolerant, making them a great choice of street tree for lawns with tall houses, buildings, and large parking lots. 

    23. Royal Palm Tree (Roystonea regia)

    Royal Palm Tree (Roystonea regia)
    Image: Love to Know Garden
    Scientific NameRoystonea regia
    Common NameCuban Royal PalmFlorida Royal PalmRoyal Palm
    Height66 to 98 feet 
    Soil TypeLoam (Silt)SandMoistWell-drained
    Maturity Period5 years
    WateringOnce a week
    Country of OriginMexico
    Landscape LocationOrnamental treeRoadside tree

    The Royal Palm Tree is an evergreen tree native to Mexico. It has a smooth silver-gray trunk with large glossy deep green fronds. 

    The trunk of this tree bulges slightly towards the middle, marked with closely spaced rings. The feathery fronds emerge from its smooth green crown shaft, which spreads 10 to 15 feet long. 

    Royal Palms are ideal as roadside trees or ornamental plants in streets and parks. 

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the difference between cycad and palm trees?

    Cycads and palm trees differ in their leaves. Cycads generally have flat blue-green or green leaves, while palms have small and narrow yellow-green leaves.

    Are yuccas related to palms?

    Yuccas and palm trees are not related. Yuccas come from the Agave family, while palm trees come from the Arecaceae family.

    What is the cactus that looks like a palm tree?

    A yucca plant is a cactus that looks like a palm tree. They have stiff and narrow leaves resembling a palm tree’s leafy crown. 

    What plants are similar to palm trees?

    These plants often get confused with palm trees: cycads, yuccas, beaucarnias, cordylines, and tree ferns.

    Which of these palm tree look-alikes have you seen? Share your photos with us in the comment box below!

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