Palm Garden at the Auckland Botanic Gardens

Palm Garden

Explore New Zealand's largest public palm collection

A refreshing retreat in the heat of summer

Whether you are looking for a winter walk that gives the illusion of the tropics or a refreshing retreat in the heat of summer, the Palm Garden is a magical destination. Stroll along shady paths to the soothing sound of the streams and enjoy the simple structural beauty of the palms off-set by flashes of flamboyant colour from tropical vireya rhododendrons, hibiscus, clivias and bromeliads.

The Palm Garden is New Zealand’s largest public collection of palms, with our only native palm, the nikau (Rhapalostylis sapida), represented alongside many cool-tolerant palms from all over the world. Located on the Western boundary of the Auckland Botanic Gardens, the palms are planted amongst mature native trees alongside two streams, which together provide a variety of microclimates. If you wish to use palms in your garden to create both structure and a touch of the exotic, visit the Palm Garden or contact us for ideas on finding the right palm for your space.

Cultural

The Palm Garden connects visitors to the diversity of palms a very important economic crop and among the most extensively cultivated plant families in the world. They range throughout the tropics and have a long history of use by humans. Alongside ornamental cultivation, different types of palms produce useful: fibres, woods, various wines, nuts, fruits, waxes and oils – including dates, coconuts, rattan and coir. Like many other plants and animals, palms are threatened by deforestation of tropical forests for agriculture and urbanisation.

Initial planting of the Palm Garden started in 1992, with recommendations made by palm expert Keith Boyer and support from the New Zealand Palm and Cycad Society. In 1996 the Palm Garden received a boost from visiting botanist, Sebastian Bano who assisted with future planning, planting site recommendations and research on palms suitable for growing in Auckland.

Gardening Tips for Palms
  • Palms prefer good drainage and need protection from full sun, strong winds and frost during the initial few years after planting.
  • During dry periods water the palm deeply and regularly for the first five years after planting or transplanting palm.
  • Check Council rules on planting and transplanting palms for example phoenix palm (Phoenix canariensis) is banned from sale, propagation, distribution and exhibition Auckland wide.
  • New Zealand’s native palm, the nikau (Rhopalostylis sapida), has some regional variations and we recommend the Chatham Islands form as a particularly beautiful garden plant.
Rhopalostylis sapida Chatham

Rhopalostylis sapida Chatham Island form at the entry to the Huakaiwaka visitor centre

Research

Horticulturalists at Auckland Botanic Gardens are evaluating palms and associated plants in this collection for their suitability to Auckland. The collection is also made available for research into the potential weed impact of palms. Cultural practices that optimise palm health are also evaluated. For more information or recommendations please contact us.

More plants that thrive in dry conditions...