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Mexican Blue Palm, Blue Hesper Palm, Gray Goddess

Brahea armata

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Brahea (BRAH-yuh) (Info)
Species: armata (arm-AH-tuh) (Info)
Synonym:Erythea armata


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer


Grown for foliage

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Gilbert, Arizona

Mesa, Arizona (2 reports)

Phoenix, Arizona

Queen Creek, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Aptos, California

Brentwood, California

Canoga Park, California

Encino, California

Hayward, California

Lemon Grove, California

Los Altos, California

Martinez, California

Merced, California

Mountain View Acres, California

Oakland, California

Oceanside, California

Reseda, California

Ridgecrest, California

San Leandro, California

Spring Valley, California

Union City, California

Visalia, California

Willits, California

Live Oak, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida

Augusta, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Metairie, Louisiana

Natchez, Mississippi

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

North, South Carolina

Galveston, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 12, 2015, Kell from Northern California, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Per Jan Emming owner of the Destination:Forever Ranch and Gardens, a 40 acre desert botanical garden and sustainable living homestead in the Arizona desert with a nursery:

Brahea armata is an extremely attractive palm endemic to the Baja Peninsula. A true desert native, it tolerates high heat and dryness along with significant cold, making it a good choice for harsh desert locales where many other palms won't perform well. They are fairly slow-growing and large plants of 50 feet/15 meters tall may well be well over 100 years old.

Mexican blue fan palm (Brahea armata) is distributed in the central and northern parts of the Baja California peninsula, from about San Ignacio to within about 15 miles of the US border. The most well-known stands are probably those ... read more


On Aug 8, 2013, marino760 from Victorville, CA wrote:

I love this palm. It's one of only a handful of palms that do very well in this high desert climate. Temps as low as 14 degrees for a couple of nights never fazed it at all. It is slow growing and takes many years to become a specimen. The color can and does vary from plant to plant being anything from a striking dark gray blue to a lighter greenish gray with only a hint of blue. Do not expect it to become bluer with age. Rather purchase one that already has the color you prefer. I don't baby this palm at all and it thrives pretty much on it's own with periodic deep watering. This palm should be a staple for the desert southwest.


On Nov 4, 2012, Mendopalmfarm from Willits, CA wrote:

These palms are super hardy. I have dozens in my collection and recently got a 36" box specimen. It has a super thick trunk about 6' tall and another 6 ' of canopy above. These palm are hardy and drought tolerant their roots stretch way out. I plant all mine directly in the ground never had a problem with transplant death. They love super hot sun


On Oct 20, 2011, SuburbanNinja80 from Plainfield, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

Well I found this palm in my "Palm Won't grow here and other myths book." Don't like the thorns on it. On there other hand maybe I should try this also.


On Sep 5, 2009, swamptreenelly from Newark, CA wrote:

The Mexican blue hesper palm grows to an old age in the San Francisco Bay Area, many specimens growing in Union City, Hayward, Fremont and Newark area.
They look their best when cleaned to expose trunk. The Guadelupe palm also has an early history in our area.


On Jan 24, 2009, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

This really is a touchy palm masquerading as easy. Young newly planted palms or even if still in containers are NOT drought tolerant and require a good amount of water. Failing to get that they will just up and die,especially if combined with a heatwave.
Mine is blue leafed like the one in cactuslovers photo growing in light shade with morning sun under a tall Ash tree. Although many green leafed B.edulis are planted all over the bay area and even the silver armata can be found at local botanical gardens..the Blue armata is nowhere. So,I can't really picture what mine will look like in 20 years. I can't picture what I WILL look like in 20 years!..or don't want too.


On Sep 28, 2006, desertpalm from gilbert, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

In my experience, this palm is the easiest palm to grow in maricopa county arizona. It likes high pH soils and takes the heat as well as any palm I have tried. I have (6), planted from 15 gallon pots(2' tall) planted 2 to 2 1/2 years ago, with color variations from powder blue(no grey) to light blue-green to blue with shades of grey. My largest(~8' tall) have about 2' of trunk and are growing 6-8 new palms per year. At just after sunset and just before sunrise, when blue light(mie) scattering of the suns rays dominates the ambient light, these palms positively glow. I never water more frequently than a 7 day drip irrigation schedule in the hot summer once established, and about 12 days in winter, but I will spritz them with the hose frequently at the end of hot, dry days(>104, dry). ... read more


On May 29, 2005, jawadkundi from Lahore
Pakistan wrote:

the grey goddes is an amazing specimen in terms of climate as for it is tolerant to a patio and even to a hardier direct sun sited environment, it requires lesser water and more heat (indirect preferred) it also stays as a contrast to its environment, i first placed him for two years in total shade and it shown as silver green and now it stays in an half direct sun light and half partial shady site, it shines almost white silvery, the humid of my garden in Lahore, Pakistan - it really enjoys the heat, it is a spectacular palm for an outrageous display of varied color transformation and speed in growth as compared to my other love the " bismark ", the extreme sensitive nature of him has really made me think out right for his regular precise water requirement. its new leaf takes almost thre... read more


On Jul 23, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is another palm rapidly becoming popular with landscapers, particularly in the warmer areas of the Southwest. It is prized for it's blue-green to silvery leaves, and incredibly showy flowers that droop way beyond the ends of the leaves. It is one of the hardier palms for this area (Southern California) and seems to be happy into the low 20s. The blue coloration on the leaves is a powder substance that helps it conserve moisture in the heat, reflect sun rays, and may even help it survive some cold. IT can easily be rubbed off on your hand. This palm is a moderately slow grower, though fast compared to most of the other 300 or so palm species that can be grown in So Cal. A 20 year old plant may have about 6-10 feet of trunk. Some plants in Mexico have reached heights over 30' but... read more