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Phoenix dactylifera, photo courtesy of Gilles Delacroix/Garden World Images
Phoenix dactylifera, photo courtesy of Gilles Delacroix/Garden World Images

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Zones 8, 9, 11-24, H1, H2
Full Sun
Regular Water

Phoenix dactylifera


Evergreen, Palms and cycads, Trees


These feather palms are mostly large trees, though the following list includes one dwarf. Trunks are patterned with bases of old leaf stalks. Small yellowish flowers appear in large, hanging sprays. On female trees, blossoms are followed by clusters of dates—but only if the tree has been in the ground for at least several years and if a male tree is nearby. 

Dates of Phoenix dactylifera and Phoenix sylvestris are the ones found in produce markets; those of other species don’t have as much edible flesh. Date palms hybridize freely, so buy these trees from a reliable nursery that knows the seed or plant source.

Phoenix dactylifera

Leaves killed at 20°F (–7°C), but plants have survived 4°F (–16°C). Native to the Mideast. Classic palm of desert oases. Slender-trunked tree to 80 ft., with a crown 20–40 ft. wide; gray-green, waxy leaves havestiff, sharp-pointed leaflets.Sends up suckers from base;natural habit is a clump ofseveral trunks. Bears dates ofcommerce; principal variety is‘Deglet Noor’. Too large andstiff for most home gardens.Does well at seaside, in desert.

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