Many people order tropical palm trees online because they like their vibrant colors, cool features, or rarity. Some popular species include the Lipstick Palm or Sealing Wax Palm (Cyrtostachys renda), Seychelles Stilt Root Palm (Vershaffeltia splendida), Christmas Palm (Adonidia merrillii), Bottle Palm (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis), and Coconut Palm (Cocos nucifera). They are typically sold in small sizes (under 15 inches tall) and are bare-rooted (shipped without soil).
The problem with this practice is two-fold:
1) Tropical palms (Zone 11) are really only successful outdoors in south Florida, the Brownsville area of Texas, and Hawaii. Of course, they can be grown in a heated greenhouse with proper care and maintenance.
2) Tropical palms are typically sensitive when in their seedling stage and require an extensive recovery/transplant period in order to survive to maturity. This translates into a high mortality rate, even among the most experienced collectors.
NOTE: If you are a rare palm collector or have a particular green thumb, you shouldn’t be discouraged from trying one or two tropical palms if you want to, but don’t put too much stock or hope on them! (Palm collecting, after all, is all about trial-and-error. In other words, push the limits of palms as an experiment to see if “the impossible” can be done.)
This group of Seychelles Stilt Root Palms enjoy the constant warmth and humidity of Hawaii’s climate. Their paper-thin leaves sustain cold damage when temps drop below 45 degrees F.