How To Grow Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta)

Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta)
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta). Photo by Flickr.

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.

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Quick Facts:

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.
Water Req:Low
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.

Mexican Fan Palm Pictures

Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta).
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta).
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta).
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta).
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta)
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta)
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta). Photo by Flickr.
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta)
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta). Photo by Flickr.
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta)
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta)
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta). Photo by Flickr.
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta)
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta). Photo by Flickr.
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta)
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta). Photo by Flickr.
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta)
Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta). Photo by Flickr.

More information can be found on EDIS and Floridata sites. Buy This Palm Tree »

6 thoughts on “How To Grow Mexican Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia robusta)”

  1. I should have bought a palm that was a 7 hardiness and I didnt. I bought the Mexican Fan Palm tree. Please help me help my tree. I bought the seedlings and put the in the yard in direct sunlight.

  2. Hello, thank you for all the great palm information on this site. I caught my neighbor right as he finished chain sawing the top off a gorgeous Mexican Palm (6ft tall) in his yard. I stopped him and asked if I could save the tree.
    The tree has no leaves but lost less then two inches at the top of the trunk.
    He let me dig up and take what was left of the tree, From what I can tell it has a nice root ball and roots. I’ve read your advice on replanting but does this poor stump have a chance? I could send you a photo if you would like to see it.

    THANK YOU
    Palm Lover in Los Angeles

  3. WE hv this fan tree and it is getting too tall in our front yard of our mobile home… If we was to cut it down to a lower level.. What would the tree do? Continue growing from center or outside? It is a healthy tree.
    Friends of ours has America no grew so high could not trim n eats a very messy tree.

  4. We have two Mexican palms. This past winter we had hard freezes and snow one time. This is Houston. The trees are fine and it is mid may.

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