The wonderful micro-climate on the Sarasota area islands, like Longboat Key, Siesta Key and Lido key create a warmer area making it possible to grow tropical plants from hardiness zones further south. This allows for islands landscapers to select from a large variety of palm trees including some very exotic species to create a tropical paradise in your yard.
Below are some interesting palm trees and plants that can create that tropical look and remain hardy even in winter if planted on the islands or bayfront locations.
Florida Thatch Palm Tree
A native of the Florida Keys, this beautiful little palm tree is an endangered species. The Florida thatch palm is almost like a cross between, a cabbage palm, cocoanut palm and pigmy date palm.
It's leaves are shaped in thatched fans, however the fronds are broader and more flexible than a sabal palms and are a bright medium green color with a glossy texture similar to the fronds of a cocoanut palm. A smaller palm tree, the Florida thatch palm will grow to a similar size as the more popular pigmy date palm.
Planting these trees not only adds beautiful and rare tropical specimen plants to your landscape but also helps by adding to the numbers of this endangered Florida native. It can be hard to find a sample to look at but if your willing to go on a drive, there are rows of these beautiful little palm trees thriving on the mainland side of the south bridge to Manasota Key along the westbound lanes. Take notice on your next trip to Englewood Beach.
Bottle Palm Tree
One glance an it's obvious why this very exotic specimen palm gets it's common name. Originating from the Mascarene Islands in the Indian Ocean, this unique looking palm tree adds a tropical atmosphere to any yard.
There are some things to consider when deciding on whether or not to go with a Bottle Palm. They are very slow growers and take many years to mature to their full height of 20 feet. So select a palm tree that is already fairly large. Also bottle palms are NOT cold hardy and will not tolerate any frost. I would only recommend them for areas near the waterfront as Sarasota bay and the Gulf will protect against freezing temps. Soil should not be an issue as the Bottle Palm Tree prefers sandy well-drained soil and requires full sun. Easy conditions for Longboat key or Siesta key yards.
Flame Thrower Palm Tree
The Flame Thrower Palm, also called the blushing Palm, Watermelon Palm, Red Feather Palm, and Red Leaf Palm is an amazing and beautiful addition to your tropical landscape.
From the island of New Caledonia, this palm tree gets it's name from the newly emerging fronds that can have a striking red or maroon color for two weeks or so after emerging. This very tropical looking, medium sized palm tree is also amazing because it is actually cold-hardy down to 25 degrees. This palm tree will grow to a height of nearly 25 feet and prefers full sun to light shade. This tree does however prefer moist yet well-drained conditions so it is not advisable to plant in a very hot and dry area. The trunk is also a focal point with a swollen green crownshaft over the ringed trunk ads to the beauty of this hardy and easy to care for tree.
Travelers Palm Tree
One of the most memorable and striking tropical plants in the world is the Travelers Tree. Often mistaken for a palm tree this very unique plant is not a palm at all, but a relative of the Bird of Paradise. Like so many other exotix-looking tropical plants the Travelers Tree originates from Madagascar.
A fully grown Travelers Tree in an incredibly impressive sight, with huge paddle-like leaves that can reach lengths of nearly fifteen feet long that are arranged along a single plan creating the appearance of a large fan. Travelers Trees require planty of space as they can grow to large sizes topping out at 50 feet. The complete size of the fan like leaves and spread across 20 feet or more when full grown. The Travelers Palm can live in our sandy Florida soil just fine and despite it's exotic and lush appearance can be somewhat drought tolerant as the plan stores water in the leaf stems. This tree will tolerate some cold but will not tolerate frost so as with the bottle palm best plant a travelers tree near coastal waterfront areas or in areas sheltered from the winds.
Specimen Palm Trees if planted in the correct locations can be easy for your landscape maintenance company to keep healthy and growing will adding a centerpiece and dramatic look to your yard.