The California Fan Palm Tree, scientific name Washingtonia filifera, is one of the most popular palms in subtropical climates because of its beautiful appearance and low maintenance.
This is a large tree that can tolerate cold down to 15F making it perfect for growing in zone 8b. This palm can be grown in states like Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon and Texas.
|Scientific name:||Washingtonia filifera|
|Common names:||California Fan Palm, Desert Fan Palm, American Cotton palm, Arizona Fan Palm, Petticoat Palm|
|Origin:||Native to North America.|
|Growth Rate:||Moderate. Up to 50 ft tall and 15 ft wide.|
|Cold Tolerance:||USDA Zones 8a (10 – 15 F) to 11 (above 40 F).|
|Light Req:||Full sun|
|Water Req:||Moderate. High drought tolerance|
|Soil Req:||Widely adaptable|
|Propagation:||Seed, germinating in 6 weeks – 2 months|
California Fan Palm Identifying Characteristics
The California Fan Palm has heavy grey trunk ringed with old leaf scars. When the leaves die they bend downwards and form a skirt around the trunk.
Trunk is a little swollen at the base and can get up to 3ft in diameter at its widest point. Palmate, or fan shaped, leaves emerge from the trunk forming a loose and open crown.
Leaves are grey-green, about 4-6ft across with tips of fronds arching down. The leaf stems of mature palms have curved thorns. The leaflet edges have fibrous white cotton-like threads.
California Fan Palm Flowers and Fruits
In the early summer, the California Fan Palm produces creamy flowers that hang in clusters from the crown. Flowers are small held by stalks that extend beyond foliage.
The California Fan Palm has male and female flowers on the same inflorescent. The flowers are followed by black fleshy berry-like fruit, ½ inch in diameter with a single seed inside that mature sometime in September.
How to Care For California Fan Palm
In the wild Washingtonia filifera is known to grow up to 70ft tall, but in cultivation it is usually not more than 40-50 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide.
It is cold hardy to about 10 F and can tolerate frost. It also recovers pretty quickly from the damage. Great for USDA Zones 8a (10 to 15 F) to 11 (above 40 F).
It likes full sun but can also grow in partial shade.
It can also tolerate drought but does best in moist well drained soil. It can tolerate alkaline soil. To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season.
This pest and disease resistant palm is very easy to maintain. Rarely it might have some problems with Phytophthora bud rot, pestalotiopsis, diamond scale fungus.