How To Grow Chinese Fan Palm Tree (Livistona chinensis)

Chinese Fan Palm Tree (Livistona chinensis)
Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis). Photo by Wiki Commons.

The Chinese Fan Palm Tree, scientific name Livistona chinensis, is getting very popular in Florida landscapes. It is also great for indoors and can be used as a houseplant. This palm is very cold hardy and can tolerate drought which makes is great for desert conditions.

With some cold protection, this palm can grow in states like Alabama, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.

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Quick Facts:

Scientific name:Livistona chinensis
Common names:Chinese Fan Palm, Chinese Fountain Palm, Fountain Palm.
Origin:Native to China and southern Japan.
Growth Rate:Slow. Up to 25 ft tall and 15 ft wide.
Cold Tolerance:USDA Zones 9a (20 – 25 F) to 11 (above 40 F).
Light Req:Partial shade to full sun
Water Req:Moderate.
Soil Req:Widely adaptable.
Fruit:Yes. Grayish-blue. Not edible.
Propagation:By seeds.

Chinese Fan Palm Identifying Characteristics

Livistona chinensis has a single straight grey-brown trunk ringed with old leaf scars. It is slightly swollen at the base, about 17-18 inches in diameter.

Trunk is topped with an evergreen dense crown of palmate, or fan shaped, leaves that droop downward creating fountain-like effect. Large, partially segmented leaves can grow up to 6ft in diameter and range from bluish green to glossy olive green in color. The petioles are armed with sharp thorns.

Chinese Fan Palm Flowers and Fruits

Chinese Fan Palm Tree (Livistona chinensis) flowers
Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Chinese Fan Palm Tree (Livistona chinensis) fruits
Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis). Photo by Flickr.

The Chinese Fan Palm produces yellow-cream flowers that are held by, shorter than the leaves, inflorescence. Flowers are bisexual, male and female flowers grow on the same plant. Flowers are followed by small, oval fruits 1 inch long. Green fruits turn dark blue to blue-gray when ripe.

How To Care For Chinese Fan Palm

In its native habitat this slow growing palm can grow up to 50ft tall, but in cultivation it usually doesn’t get taller than 25ft and 15 ft wide. This palm will grow faster if fertilized.

It’s cold hardy and can tolerate cold up to 10F. It is great for growing in USDA Zones 9a (20 to 25 F) to 11 (above 40 F).

It grows best in partial shade or full sun. Prefers moist but well drained soil. Chinese Fan Palm tolerates drought very well.

To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season.

Propagated by seeds.

Chinese Fan Palm Pictures

Chinese Fan Palm Tree (Livistona chinensis) in a pot
Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis). Photo by Flickr.
Chinese Fan Palm Tree (Livistona chinensis)
Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis). Photo by Flickr.
Chinese Fan Palm Tree (Livistona chinensis)
Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Chinese Fan Palm Tree (Livistona chinensis)
Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Chinese Fan Palm Tree (Livistona chinensis)
Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Chinese Fan Palm Tree (Livistona chinensis)
Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Chinese Fan Palm Tree (Livistona chinensis) trunk
Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Chinese Fan Palm Tree (Livistona chinensis)
Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis). Photo by Flickr.
Chinese Fan Palm Tree (Livistona chinensis)
Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis). Photo by Flickr.

More information can be found on EDIS and Floridata sites.

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3 thoughts on “How To Grow Chinese Fan Palm Tree (Livistona chinensis)”

  1. The Chinese Palm can tolerate single digit temps (6F) as the one I have had for 7yrs now standing tall at 6ft from a seedling without any visible cold damage to the foliage. I have since moved to another state, however, I still posses ownership of the property and have the benefit observing the growth of that particular Palm. As this article states, the Chinese Palm can handle drought extremely well even in the Sandhills of Sc. In addition, It is no where near a building, nor does it receive any special protection from me. An extremely reliable Palm for even zone 7b!

  2. I was wondering if Chinese Fan palms are easily transplanted. We have (5) 20-25′ palms and want to move them to make room for a new neighborhood front entrance sign.

    Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!
    Lori True

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