How To Grow Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei)

Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei)
Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei). Photo by Flickr.

The Windmill Palm Tree, scientific name Trachycarpus fortunei, is one of the most popular palms because of its cold hardiness that makes is perfect for landscapes in USDA zones 7-11.

This palm can be grown in states like Alaska, Alabama, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee and more. It is very easy to grow and maintain. Can also be grown indoors.

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Quick Facts:

Scientific name:Trachycarpus fortunei
Common names:Windmill Palm, Chusan Palm, Chinese Windmill Palm.
Origin:Native to central and eastern China.
Growth Rate:Slow. Up to 25 ft in height and 5 ft wide.
Cold Tolerance:USDA Zones 8a (10 – 15 F) to 11 (above 40 F).
Light Req:Partial shade to full sun.
Water Req:Drought tolerant.
Soil Req:Widely adaptable.
Fruit:Yes. Blue. Not edible.
Propagation:By seeds, germinating in 2 months

Windmill Palm Identifying Characteristics

Trachycarpus fortunei has a slender single trunk that is around 8 to 10 inches in diameter. The trunk is covered with a loose mat of coarse gray or brown fiber and is a bit narrower at the base.

The Windmill Palm has palmate, sword-like leaves that are 4 ft in diameter. They range from dark green to yellow-green in color that seem almost silvery on the underside. Leaves grow upward more so than outward. The petiole is about 1 ½ feet long and armed with sharp thorns.

Windmill Palm Flowers and Fruits

The Windmill Palm is dioecious, male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. In the early summer Windmill Palm produces large plumes of yellow flowers on the male plants and greenish on the female plants

Flowers are held on 3ft long branched stalks. Later flowers of the female plants transform into bluish-black fruits that are about 1/2 in (1.3 cm) in diameter. The fruits get ripe in the mid fall. The Windmill Palm fruit is not edible.

How To Care For Windmill Palm

Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei)
Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei). Photo by Flickr.

Windmill is slow growing palm that can reach 25 ft in height and 5 ft wide but is also known to grow as tall as 40 ft in the wild.

Windmill palm is extremely cold hardy and can tolerate cold down to 10F when mature enough. It is great for growing in USDA Zones 8a (10 – 15 F) to 11 (above 40 F).

The Windmill Palm likes partial shade and moist well drained soil. Enough moister in the soil speeds up plant growth and improves the appearance.  Although Windmill Palm is very drought tolerant, irregular watering and drought will slow its growth rate dramatically.

For the best results, water it every other day, for the first three months, and weekly for the remainder of its first year.

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

Propagated by seeds. Windmill palm seeds will germinate in 8 to 12 weeks without a lot of fuss. Sow seed at 75°F in spring or fall.

Windmill Palm Insects and Diseases

Very few insect and disease problems exist to endanger growing Windmill Palm trees. Scales and palm aphids are pests that usually cause problems for Windmill Palm.

Windmill Palm may be infected by root rot, moderately susceptible to lethal yellowing disease, and leaf spots. For more details on how to treat your Windmill Palm click here: Palm Tree Insects.

Windmill Palm Pictures

Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei) under snow
Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei). Photo by Flickr.
Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei) under snow
Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei). Photo by Flickr.
Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei) in snow
Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei). Photo by Flickr.
Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei) trunk
Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei). Photo by Flickr.
Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei)
Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei). Photo by Flickr.
Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei) covered with snow
Windmill Palm Tree (Trachycarpus fortunei). Photo by Flickr.

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