Palms as a whole are easy to maintain in terms of pruning, but of the many species that can be cultivated in Florida's climate, relatively few can thrive and look their best without a consistent fertilizing program. Chemical cost of an optimal plan for a mature palm is about $50.00/tree/year and over ten years palm fertilization becomes a costly proposition for large landscapes.
As clients consistently ask for "low-maintenance" landscaping, I encourage selections from the "really low-maintenance" list of palms that can be depended upon to look well even under conditions of utter neglect.
Cabbage Palm-Sabal Palmetto Native!
Carpentaria- Carpentaria accuminata A personal favorite, for its fast growth, smooth, slender trunk, and glossy, weeping foliage.
Chinese Fan Palm- Livistona chinensis
Coconut Palm- Cocos nucifera 'Maypan,' 'Malayan,' 'Jamaica Malayan'- these are varieties of coconut resistant (though not 100%) to the ubiquitous disease Lethal Yellowing.
European Fan Palm- Chamaerops humilis; Great for compact situations where slow growth is required. Needs well-drained soil.
Key Thatch Palm- Thrinax radiata Native! Slender, elegant, and drought-tolerant to boot.
Saw Palmetto- Serenoa repens Native! Shrub mass, screen, or accent plant for well-drained sites.
Text by Leigh Fulghum