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 8a-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.
|Scientific name:||Washingtonia robusta|
|Common names:||Mexican Fan Palm, Washington Palm, Skyduster.|
|Origin:||Native to desert regions of Mexico.|
|Growth Rate:||Moderate to Fast. Up to 70 – 100 ft tall and 5-10ft wide, but usually is not taller than 40ft.|
|Cold Tolerance:||USDA Zones 8a (10 to 15 F) to 11 (above 40 F).|
|Light Req:||Full sun.|
|Soil Req:||Widely adaptable|
|Fruit:||Yes. Brownish black.|
|Propagation:||By seed, germinating in 1-2 months.|
Mexican Fan Palm Identifying Characteristics
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 Palm Flowers and 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.
How To Care For Mexican Fan Palm
Washingtonia robusta is a fast growing palm that can get up to 70 – 100 ft tall and 5-10ft wide, but usually is not taller than 40ft.
Mexican Fan Palm is cold hardy and can tolerate cold down to 10F but temperature lower than 23F might damage leaves. It is great for growing in USDA Zones 8a (10 to 15 F) to 11 (above 40 F).
The Mexican Fan Palm needs growth best in full sun, but will tolerate some shade while young.
It can also tolerate drought, but grows much faster when receiving plenty of water. It likes moist well drained soil.
It doesn’t require much maintenance and can be pruned annually. To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season.
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.