Mexican Fan Palm Tree – Washingtonia robusta

mexican fan palm2 Mexican Fan Palm Tree   Washingtonia robusta

The Mexican Fan Palm Tree, scientific name Washingtonia robusta, is very popular indoor and outdoor palm because of its striking appearance and cold hardiness which makes it a great choice for landscape in USDA zones 8b-11.This is a cold hardy, drought resistant and inexpensive palm that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Washingtonia robusta can be grown in states like Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon and Texas.

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Mexican Fan Palm Tree Profile

mexican fan palm1 Mexican Fan Palm Tree   Washingtonia robusta

Scientific name: Washingtonia robusta

Common names: The Mexican Fan Palm is also known as Washington Palm and Skyduster.

Family: Arecaceae

Origin: It is native to desert regions of Mexico.

Appearance: It has a single gray trunk ringed by old leaf bases, about 13 inches in diameter. The Mexican Fan Palm requires some maintenance to keep it attractive look.

Old leaves need to be trimmed, otherwise trunk will be sheathed in dead leaves, that form a brown, shaggy covering, also called a “hula skirt”, that extends nearly to the ground. Trunk is straight, a little swollen at the base, has no crownshaft, topped with a crown of 20-25 large fronds.

Leaves are rich glossy green, palmate, or fan-shaped, about 5ft long and 4ft wide. They have lance-shaped leaflets with elegant drooping tips that provide a very tropical appearance to the landscape. The petioles of mature palms are armed with short, sharp thorns. Be careful when trimming.

mexican fan palm3 Mexican Fan Palm Tree   Washingtonia robustaFlowers/Fruits: In the late spring, the Mexican Fan Palm produces small creamy flowers. Flowers grow in clusters on the branched inflorescence 8-10ft long that extends past the leaves. Flowers are followed by black berry-like drupes, about 1/2 inches in diameter. Fruits are edible, though thin-fleshed. They are sweet and taste like dates, can be dried or made into a jelly.

Growth Rate: Moderate to Fast. Washingtonia robusta is a fast growing palm that can get up to 50 – 60 ft tall and 5-10ft wide, but usually is not taller than 40ft.

Outdoor/Indoor Use: Both.

Cold Tolerance: Mexican Fan Palm is cold hardy and can tolerate cold down to 15F but temperature lower than 23F might damage leaves. It is great for growing in USDA Zones 8b (15 to 20 F) to 11 (above 40 F).

 Mexican Fan Palm Tree   Washingtonia robustaThere is a great book, written by David A. Francko that I really like, it’s called “Palms Won’t Grow Here and Other Myths: Warm-Climate Plants for Cooler Areas”. It goes into the details on how you can grow cold hardy palms in zones 7, 6 and even 5. This is the perfect foundation book for the gardener who would like to see a banana next to his cherry tree and a palm between his maples.

Light Req: Full sun to Partial shade. The Mexican Fan Palm needs growth best in full sun, but will tolerate some shade while young.

Water Req: Moderate. It can also tolerate drought, but grows much faster when receiving plenty of water. It likes moist well drained soil.

Maintenance: Easy. It doesn’t require much maintenance and can be pruned annually. To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continues release formula twice a year during growing season.

Propagation: Propagated by seeds. Best to sow seeds fresh in the spring. It will take around 4 weeks for germination to occur. Seedlings grow fast having 4 little leaves only after 6 months

Buy Mexican Fan Palm Today

We don’t sell palm trees on this site, but you can buy it from one of my favorite palm nurseries – Real Palm Trees. It has beautiful palm trees at discounted prices and offers a Free Shipping. This is one of the few sites that I trust, because each palm tree comes with Certificate of Authenticity that guarantees highest quality of the tree. All of their palm trees are properly grown and acclimatized to the correct hardiness zone.

Most importantly, you will receive a tree in perfect health and wouldn’t have to worry about it dying few weeks later. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee or you money back. To purchase a Mexican Fan Palm, click on one of the links below:

Buy Large Mexican Fan PalmOnly $409.95!
Buy Medium Mexican Fan PalmOnly $199.95!
Buy Small Mexican Fan PalmOnly $69.95!

For more photos click here Mexican Fan Palm Pictures.

~Susan Brian

P.S. If you like this palm tree, please click “Like” button below.

34 Responses to “Mexican Fan Palm Tree – Washingtonia robusta”

  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often. Margaret

  2. Well said. I just bought two 25 gallon Mexican fan palms and they look great. Thanks for all the info…

  3. My home association noticed one growing in our lot and has asked us to remove it. Is there any reason as to why it is not wanted? It just started growing and it is a nice sight to me.

  4. I am not sure what palm tree you have on your lot but some palms produce fruits that are toxic to pets and humans. That might be the case. You should definitely ask them. Susan

  5. I live in San Diego, CA. II found a small (10″) Mexican Fan Palm growing as a “weed” in one of my apartment complex lots. I dug it up and transplanted it into a 8″ tall well-drained pot with native soil and potting soil. I will put in in full sun. How much water will it require? Any necessary fertilizers? Thank you so much!

  6. I have a palm in my yard that just sprouted and has been fine, but the base has gotten pretty wide and it is pushing against my block wall pushing it outward. I can see that it is where we have pruned the tree (the remaining stems that is the problem. I would like to know if there is a way to remove them from the tree safely, so as not to damage the tree, but to remove the old stems to reduce the girth of the tree from the wall. I do not believe the base will grow any wider as it is about 9′ tall now. Can you help?

  7. I read with interest that the fruit can be made into jelly. Boil the fruit as with other jellies? And how do they get the fruit down from the tree or are they using the fallen fruit? I also read that the California Fan palm seeds are edible when crushed. Is that true of the Mexican Fan Palm since they are closely related?

  8. I have a question that I’m not able to find an answer to, or even address. Being chairmen of the maintenance committe in my area for the past 7 yrs.
    We have many Washingtonians planted along our throughfare, some have a large bulbous area at the base of the palm. I’m thinking its a fungus, but not sure. Before I ask our maintenance contractor I’d like to know what I’m talking about. It does not seem to be harming the palm, but would like to know the long term effects. The soil is mostly semi-moist, most trees are 15 yrs old. We have lost many to lightining,
    which we expect. Otherwise they do fine.
    I would like to mention we also have a rare one that is half green and half yellow fronds. Only one of about 100 plus trees.
    Thank you for any info. you can supply.
    R. C. May Chairman, VEGC Maintenance Committee

  9. Hi Richard. It is hard to diagnose your problem. Have you tried anything to remove this fungus? I know that liquid copper Fungicide works very well against fungal and bacterial infections. Try it and let me know if this works. Here is a link: Bonide Products Copper Fungicide. ~Susan Brian

  10. I bought 6 mexican palms(5 single trunk and one 10 ft double trunk) and 5 small windmills that are located by the pool 4 years ago. I have them well protected from the West Texas wind behind a 8ft cinder block fence. I thought they were well protected except that we had a snow storm that lasted 5 days with a minimum of about 8 degrees. This was quite a shock for them and all the leaves browned. This has never happened before. I guess I am very nervous and the waiting game is not fun. I used “palm Food” to feed them and have been watering them, slowly. Its been warm for about three weeks now but no sign of green in the middle. Did the cold get to them? If not how can I help them get their health back. the trees were a huge investment that I am not giving up on. Please help.

  11. Hi Patience,
    Sorry to hear about your palms. To determine how sever the damage is, look at the bud. If but tissue is not severely damaged, your palms will recover. Fertilizing them was a mistake. Fertilizer promotes growth and since your palms have cold damage, that will only stress out your palm trees even more. Think of a fertilizer as a vitamins. You don’t drink vitamins when you sick. Here is what you need to do: 1) Prune all dead leaves, leaving dry leaves around the bud. 2) Spray your palms with liquid copper fungicide to prevent bacterial and fungal infections. I use Bonide Products Copper Fungicide. 3) Keep watering. Hope this helps. Susan Brian.

  12. I live in Northern Utah and bought a Mexican fan palm for indoor use. immediately after planting the outer/older leaves died. the center bud seems to be ok but the leaves around them are starting to get crunchy and brown…will it be ok? I planted it in a large clay pot with miracle grow palm tree soil mixed with pea gravel and a few river rocks….

  13. What is the root system (depth and width) for a mexican fan palm? Can the mexican fan palm be topped out as to dwarf the heigth and keep from growing so tall it makes it hard to trim without a ladder. We have a pole saw but the trees are getting too tall for that now. The trees are in the landscaping around our pool. We have 2 trees at least 20′ and one that is new and small about 4′. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  14. Hi. I live in central Florida and have just purchased a home on ten acres previously used as a nursery. Sadly the groves of palms and live oaks have been neglected for approximately four years. So, in hopes of neatening things up, I began pruning away at a lovely fan palm. Unfortunately I ended up having one of the frond thorns go right thru my leather glove and deep into my thumb. Of course my DH immediately came to my rescue with the tweezers and antiseptic but now my thumb feels strange, almost numb feeling. I’m not sure what to make of it and am wondering if they have some sort of poison on the thorns? Such a strange feeling. Any thoughts? It’s been nearly 36 hours since the incident and no swelling at all, just a numb feeling. Thank you for your thoughts!!

  15. I have three 7 year old, 10 ft tall washingtonia’s,and live just south of dallas. Two trees still have nothing green coming out , looking like totum poles and the third has 5 small green leaves on it. What do I do? Should I cut back or down the ones with no green

  16. hey richard,i live in sc. i transplanted my sago palm last year because we got a bigger pool,i do not know what happened to it,it does not look good at all,i water it often but leaves are like dead,what should i do,als got somes spikes from tree help.com,still no good,thank you ,Linda

  17. hi i just purchased some seeds are there anytips you could give me in starting out. I know the basics but tell me what i really need to do and expect.

  18. I have a question, I bought a new house and in the landscaping they put two if these palms…are they going to ruin the house? cause they’re really close …and there’s some way to the palms stay at a same height..like 6ft?

  19. Hi,

    I need advise regarding a damaged mexican fan palm tree.

    Last week, someone peeled off most of the branches of a 7-8 ft tall palm tree in my society. Luckily a few branches were spared, but two days later, a gardener cut off the remaining green branches also, thinking it was a right thing to do!

    The hapless tree is now left to only a trunk with a green hood.

    I live in India and winters are about to start here.

    My questions are:

    1. Can the tree survive this damage?
    2. What can we do to increase its chances?
    3. How much time would it take to grow the branches again?

    I would appreciate advise to save that tree.

  20. Hi,
    I have couple thousand Washingtonia Palms and prune them couple times a year and there is significant amount of leaves pruned, however, we burn the leaves, which made me think that there should be some ways to make good use of it. I would appreciate if you had any recommendations on processing and using pruned washingtonia palm leaves.
    Thank you

  21. Hi Vinay. I am very sorry about your tree. Your tree is definitely in shock. The only thing you can do is to protect it from cold as much as you can and keep watering it. Put a sign on it letting gardener know that this palm should not be pruned. You will know in a few month if the tree will survive. It should start producing new fronds. Once the winter is over and it is getting warmer, apply fertilizer. Hope this helps. Susan Brian

  22. Hi Sofia. Palm trees don’t have large roots. The roots extend as far as the fronds of the palm. Some palms are slow growing and will stay short. Others can grow 50ft tall. You need to find out what palms you have. That will help figuring out how tall they will get. Susan Brian

  23. Just bought 2 12ft wasgingtonia palms 10 days ago. I live in Tampa, FL. I may have not watered enough the first week. They did get water but I’m afraid to little. On day 9 after planting it started raining, and has been for a few days now off and on. I noticed about 8-9 days after planting the tips of the palms are brownish and slightly yellow. Any suggestions? Hopefully ok after this rain or maybe still in shock from replanting.

  24. Hi Ron. It is totally normal for the palm to feel a transplant shock. A lot of the palm’s roots die when they transplanted and it takes some time for the palm to grow them back. Give it few weeks to recover. Just keep watering. Susan Brian

  25. We planted 6 Washingtonian Palms in Aug, fertilized in mid-Sept.
    4 Palms are doing well. The other 2 plams are still producing fronds. However, on one of the other 2 , as soon as the fronds spread they immediately beging to brown. On the other, the fronds are limp, and soon begin to turn brown.
    Suggestions, please?

  26. we have 11 Washingtonian palms in our backyard that we planted 3 years back, our problem is they are growing at a rapid rate, can we slow the growth rate down…we live in the central California valley

  27. We planted 11 Washingtonian palms 3 years ago, we live in the central California valley, I usually cut the palms back 3 times a year, this last year 2011 they started growing like crazy, how can we slow the growth we really like the height they are now…

  28. Hey Rick, try planting the “California” fan palm Washingtonia filifera. They look similar to the Mexican fan palm, but do not grow as tall.

  29. I bought a Mexican Fan Palm and was reading about them . When (how old) do they get fruit

  30. Hi, I live in glennville, Georgia I think in zone 8b. I wanted to know if a Mexican fan Palms are able to survive the winter here. We usually get a lot of Frost during the winter months but the past two years we have been getting a very mild winter receiving frost about 4 or 6 times the whole winter. I would really like to have some of these palm trees. And what temperature kills these trees and what temp. Kills the fronds only? I would really like to get an answers.

    Thanks!!!

  31. I have a 20 foot palm tree in my back yard about 15-20 feet from pvc sewer pipe. The roots broke my pipe and now I have to replace it! So who ever said the root base is only the size of the palm leafs at the top of the tree is wrong! $1300 dollars wrong!! Funny its the only tree in my whole back yard!!

  32. How much is Mexican Fan Palm grows in 1 year?

  33. How deep are the roots on this palm tree

  34. How deep are the roots of this palm tree

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