top of page

Exploring Palm Tree Survival in Illinois: A Chilling Challenge



While Illinois may not be the ideal location for palm tree enthusiasts due to its cold climate, there is a small area near Cape Girardeau city where growing these exotic beauties is possible. However, it is crucial to be prepared for the occasional extreme temperature drop that can pose a threat to palm tree survival. This article will provide valuable insights on how to protect and nurture your palm trees in Illinois.


Climate Overview:

Illinois boasts a moderate climate, with hot and humid summers averaging temperatures between 70°F (21°C) and 77°F (25°C), while winters can be chilly to cold, with temperatures ranging from 22°F (–6°C) to 37°F (3°C). The USDA zones in Illinois range from 4a to 7a, making it challenging for palm trees to thrive.


Extreme Weather:

With the highest recorded temperature at a scorching 117°F (47°C) and the lowest dipping to a bone-chilling –36°F (–37.8°C), Illinois experiences a wide range of extreme weather conditions. Throughout the year, the state sees various rainstorms and an average of 37 inches of snowfall. Moreover, spring and summer bring the added danger of tornadoes.


Optimal Palm Tree Locations:

To give your palm trees the best chance of survival in Illinois, aim for zone 7 in the vicinity of Cape Girardeau. This area, located close to the Kentucky border, experiences a milder and more favorable, damp subtropical climate compared to other parts of the state. However, remain vigilant as just one exceptionally cold day can be fatal to your precious palm trees.


Protecting Your Palm Trees:

When a cold front is approaching, it is crucial to take proactive measures to safeguard your palm trees. Provide them with burlap, covers, mulch, and other protective materials to shield them from the harsh elements. Being prepared and proactive is key to preserving the beauty and vitality of your palm trees in Illinois.



While cultivating palm trees in Illinois certainly presents a challenge, it is not impossible with careful planning and protection. By choosing the right location, understanding the climate, and taking necessary precautions, you can create a mini oasis of tropical splendor in the midst of Illinois' chilly winters. Embrace the challenge and take delight in the unique beauty that palm trees can bring to this unlikely setting.

Palm Trees In Illinois

Needle Palm Tree – Zones 5b-11 (- 15 to - 10F)

European Fan Palm Tree – Zones 7b-11 (5 to 10 F) 

Pindo Palm Tree – Zones 7b-11 (5 to 10 F) 

Sago Palm Tree – Zones 7b-11 (5 to 10 F) 

Saw Palmetto Palm Tree – Zones 7a-11 (0 to 5 F) 

Windmill Palm Tree – Zones 7b-11 (5 to 10 F)

bottom of page