Bible Gardening with Palm Trees
Palm trees grow throughout the Holy Land and are mentioned in many Scripture verses, from Genesis to Revelation. Everywhere in the Holy Land, in Jesus'' time and today, palms wave their regal heads in the breeze. The name of the date palm genus, Phoenix, comes from the word Phoenicia, which is the modern land of Lebanon and Syria, and means "land of palms."
The large feathery leaves of palms symbolized victory or triumph. As Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, people greeted Him by waving palm leaves. Every Palm Sunday, in churches around the world, Christians wave palm leaves to commemorate Jesus'' triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. John 12:13 describes how the crowds greeted Jesus: "They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, 'Hosanna!' 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'"
Palms are desert plants. Most are hardy only in warmer areas, such as California, Florida, Hawaii, and the Gulf states. If you live in a frost-free area, palms make ideal centerpieces for a Bible garden. Small- to medium-sized palms include the umbrella palm (Hedyscepe canterburyana), which grows up to 20 feet tall, the walking-stick palm (Linospadix monostachya), which grows up to eight feet tall, and the parlour palm (or "love and good luck palm"; Chamaedorea elegans), which usually grows 4 to 6 feet tall and does well indoors or out.
Some palms are surprisingly hardy in cold weather and can be seen growing in Seattle, Portland, southern England, and southern Russia. Two hardy palms that will survive single-digit temperatures are the Chinese windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei), which reaches 20 feet tall, and the Mediterranean fan palm (Chamaerops humilis), which grows up to 25 feet tall. People who live in colder climates can plant palm trees in pots on their porch or patio. Plant small palms in large pots that will not be too heavy for you to move inside for the fall and winter; place them near a window.
Palms need little maintenance; they require reasonably rich soil and occasional water. Young palms actually prefer some shade, which is why they make successful indoor and patio plants. Mature palms need more sun and will need to be transplanted to the outdoors as they age.
In Psalm 92:12-15 we are told that the righteous will flourish like a palm tree, bearing fruit in old age and staying fresh and green.
Revelation 7:9 describes a future scene in heaven. A great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, and people, stood before the throne and in front of the Lamb, waving palm branches in their hands. What a joy to have a palm in your garden to remind you of this scene!