The ideal growing environment for palm trees is generally a tropical, subtropical or temperate climate with a long growing season, consistently warm temperatures and plenty of moisture. Most species thrive within 30 longitudinal degrees of the equator. Few species can tolerate even brief exposures to freezing temperatures.
Most palms prefer the ocean-tempered, moist conditions found in zones eight through 11 on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone map. Some species such as coconut and royal palms require full sunlight, but most prefer moderate shade. Nearly all species require a loose, aerated and well-drained soil that is rich in nutrients and slightly acidic, although coconut palms prefer sandy conditions. A consistent water supply and relatively high humidity levels create ideal conditions for most palms.