Do you live somewhere where December temperatures are still in the 80s and trying to figure out just how to put Christmas lights on a palm tree?
Although it may not have quite the same traditional Christmas movie vibe, hanging lights on a tropical tree can still feel equally magical. Bring out the palm tree Christmas lights and let’s get decorating with the entire family!
What You’ll Need
When decorating palm trees for Christmas, I follow the rule of less is more. Along with the lights I also like to surround the palm with some Christmassy plants. It’s definitely an answer for how to decorate a palm tree for Christmas without it looking tacky.
Besides the light strands, you only require a few everyday tools and bits to add a bit of festivity to your yard.
- Outdoor lights with LED bulbs
- Outdoor extension cord
- Twist ties*
- Light duty staple gun*
*The twist ties and staple gun are not always necessary but can help if the strand keeps dropping while the ladder is only required for taller trees and higher fronds. Read on for the instructions below and decide whether you need them.
Best Lights to use when Decorating Palm Trees
Before we get into how to wrap palm trees with Christmas lights. Let’s first discuss what type of light decorations are best, as there are several good options for palm tree Christmas lights.
Although fairy lights always look whimsical, they are not always the most sturdy design and can be less suitable for palm trees. Whereas mini LED string lights or rope lights are great. Personally, I recommend rope lights for wrapping around the tree trunk but be sure to check that they are rated for outdoor use.
Whatever style of lights you choose, remember to always try and find lights on a wire color that blends in with the tree’s trunk.
8 Steps How to Put Christmas Lights on a Palm Tree
Ready to get in the spirit of the holiday season? Follow my simple step-by-step guide for lighting up your palm tree and you won’t be disappointed.
1. Measure the Circumference of the Palm Tree
Before buying LED lights online, you need to find out how many lights you actually need to nicely wrap around the trunk. Using a tailor’s tape is best for this as they are more flexible.
2. Decide on the Spacing
Next, find the height of the palm and decide on how far apart you want to space the lights. The closer your lights are, the brighter the tree will shine at night. This is up to personal preference, just remember that the tighter your rows the more lights you will need.
Once you have these measurements you divide the height of the tree by the distance between the spaces, then simply multiply by the circumference. For example, a 4-foot high tree trunk with a circumference of 2 feet and lights spaced at 3 inches would be 4ft (48inches) divided by 3inches = 16 multiplied by 2foot = 32 feet of lighting.
3. Start at the Bottom of the Trunk
With the extension cord connector plug at the end, start wrapping the (UNPLUGGED!) rope light around the palm tree from the base of the trunk. Wrap tightly so that the rows don’t slip down.
4. Secure with Twine or Zip Ties
Be sure to preserve wonderful plant life while setting the holiday sentiment by using natural twine, specialized plant tape, or zip ties. Never use metal fasteners as this could create a fire hazard. Always remove the ties when you remove your festive lights.
5. Lengthen the Rope Light if Needed
Create more length to reach the top of the trunk by connecting more string lights. The tree will look more beautiful if its entire trunk is illuminated.
6. Decorate the Fronds
It is more difficult to place lights on the fronds (palm tree branches) but with a few cleverly placed zip ties you can make it work. Let the lights run along the length of the branch and secure with twine, plant tape, or zip ties. No need to close them tightly because again, you don’t want to hurt the tree.
7. Use a Ladder for Higher Areas
You don’t have to go all the way to the top as you do on a traditional Christmas tree, decorating the lower branches can be enough. If you do want to go further up, be sure to use a ladder following standard safety procedures and have a friend on standby to help.
8. Connect the Extension Cord
Once all the Christmas lights are in place, you can connect the extension cord to the power source and plug in the lights. As with all external decorations, please be sure that you use only outdoor-rated extension cords.
How not to Decorate a Palm Tree for Christmas
Need some more Christmas inspiration for your yard? How about a few pointers on what not to do with your palm tree lighting? There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to do it.
As I said, the best route is the simple one in this case. Wrapping lights around the base is often already enough for a pretty-looking front yard for the holidays.
If you want your garden to look extra bright at night, why not place twinkling lights on other yard elements? For example, you can hang LED light nets over the bushes or place Christmas decorations on top of your path lighting.
Any tree can become a Christmas tree when lit correctly. As long as you are mindful of the tree’s health and only use outdoor-rated equipment you can have a palm tree that Santa would be proud of.
Don’t take any chances on safety. Only use products that are designed for use outdoors and have some there to help and also watch out for you. Falling off the ladder or having an electrical fire is the last thing you want during the holidays.