Mexican fan palm tree

Mexican Fan Palm Tree

A Fast-Growing Tropical Beauty

Why Mexican Fan Palm Trees?

If you’re looking for a tall, mature palm quickly, look no further than the Mexican Fan Palm. The Mexican Fan Palm grows up to 5 feet a year, delivering a tropical look to your garden in no time.
Often referred to as the Washington Palm, the Mexican Fan Palm has upright branches with leaves spread elegantly on the ends. Spread in an elegant fan silhouette with lush, light green color, the fronds of the Mexican Fan Palm catch the eye of guests and neighbors alike.
Best of all, Mexican Fan Palms are carefree, standing up to drought and tough landscape conditions with ease. Simply plant and let the sun and rainfall take care of the rest. When it comes to the Mexican Fan Palm, you won’t have to lift a finger.

Why is Better

When you order your Mexican Fan Palm from Fast Growing Trees, you get the benefits of easy upkeep plus the promise of healthy, faster growth. We’ve planted, grown and shipped your Mexican Fan Palm with care…now, you reap the rewards with a better root system, fuller results, and faster growth.
These fast-growing palms sell quickly. We recommend getting yours today before they’re gone…get your Mexican Fan Palm today!

Planting & Care

1. Planting: Choose a location that receives a lot of sunlight (6+ hours daily) with well-draining soil.

Dig your hole 2 to 3 times the width and slightly shallower than the root ball. Hold the tree straight as you begin to backfill the site, tamping down the soil as you go. When finished, apply water to settle the soil and remove any air pockets.

If you’re container-planting, choose a pot that is 1 to 2 times larger than the pot that the plant initially arrived in. Use a quality acidic potting medium, such as a palm or citrus mix. Partially fill the container part way, position the palm and fill the remainder leaving a slight space from the rim of the pot. Choose a location on the patio, backyard, or front/side of the house providing it will receive full to partial sun. Water until it begins to flow through the bottom drainage holes, keep the soil slightly moist but not saturated.

2. Watering: Stick your finger into the soil down to a depth of 2 inches and feel around for any moisture. If the soil is drying out, go ahead and water.

3. Fertilizing: You can apply palm fertilizers that contain specific nutrients best suited for palms. The slow release of these nutrients will provide consistent, targeted feeding to help your tree grow strong and healthy. If you prefer, you can use a balanced fertilizer such as an 8-8-8 formula for quicker growth in spring and summer.

4. Pruning: Palms do not need much pruning except to remove damaged fronds. Be careful not to pull off any dead or damaged fronds as that can leave a wound behind. Always remove any damaged fronds by pruning them off with a sharp pair of sterilized pruners.

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Mexican Fan Palm

The Mexican Fan Palm, Washingtonia robusta, can grow to be a large palm tree and is sure to bring a tropical, resort-style look and feel to any landscape in the Southwest. From Mexico, this classic-looking palm tree thrives in full sun and requires low water once established. It’s a drought tolerant palm tree noted for its slender, slightly curved trunk. In fact, some choose to have the trunks skinned for a unique ‘cigar cut’ effect that can create a more formal appearance. Feel free to speak with a Moon Valley Nursery pro if you desire this ‘cigar cut’ look, we can do it!

Another one of its notable characteristics are its crowns of large, fan-shaped, bright green fronds with shorter leafstalks. These leafstalks feature a red streak on the undersides that add to its attraction. An evergreen Mexican Fan Palm is ideal for use on larger properties and is often seen used as street trees and for adding vertical effects in large gardens. It’s a fast growing, cold hardy palm with salt tolerance, so it is an excellent choice for beachside planting and coastal areas. Thanks to its grand, statuesque appearance, and spectacular leaves, homeowners may want to install night lighting to highlight its attractive features.

At Moon Valley Nurseries, we grow and nurture small to large Mexican Fan Palms on our farms, so if you are looking to add an instant tropical resort-style look to your landscape, buy as big as you can. Let us do all the work. We have an experienced landscape crew ready to plant a Mexican Fan Palm tree in your landscape, no matter what landscape application you choose.

Be sure to use Moon Valley Nurseries Super Charged Moon Juice and All Natural Planting Mulch for spectacular results. You buy it ‘“ we deliver and plant it!

Fan Palm Tree Stock Photos and Images

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  • Tulum Mexico. Traveller’s Palm or fan palm tree leaf stems
  • Fan palm tree, Wat Phra Kaeo, Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand
  • leaves of a big fan palm tree (travellers tree). picture taken from a special angle
  • Fan-shaped palm tree (Arecaceae), close-up
  • Close up of the woven trunk of a Mexican Fan Palm tree (Washingtonia Robusta – Areacaceae)
  • Close up of California Fan Palm tree trunk and rock wall. Murray Canyon. Indian Canyons. Palm Springs California
  • California fan palm tree frond in Andreas Canyon, Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, near Palm Springs, California
  • Flowers on Wahingtonia fan palm tree ( Washingtonia filifera) on Gran Canaria, Canary Islands.
  • Close-up Of Fan Palm Tree
  • Fan palm tree silhouetted on a blue cloudy sky
  • California fan palm tree, Washingtonia filifera, in Joshua Tree National Park, California.
  • Livistona chinensis, Chinese Fan Palm, tree palm with fan shaped variously split leaves, terminal crown, cream coloured flowers
  • Girl in front of fan palm tree
  • Fan Palm Tree Blue Sky Hawaii
  • Huge Ferris wheel with fan palm tree leaves in front of it at Royal Flora Ratchaphruek in Chiang Mai Thailand
  • Vasto, Italy: European fan palm tree (Chamaerops humilis, Arecaceae), known as the Mediterranean dwarf palm, with the Adriatic Sea in the background.
  • fan palm tree at the royal palace in phnom penh cambodia
  • Fan palm tree at a tourist resort
  • blue fan palm tree specimen in a garden
  • Flowers of the Chusan palm, Trachycarpus fortunei
  • Fan palm tree and Phra Si Ratana Chedi, Wat Phra Kaeo, Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand
  • CAYE CAULKER BELIZE Wooden house and fan palm tree
  • Palm leaf, arecaceae
  • Close up of the woven trunk of a Mexican Fan Palm tree (Washingtonia Robusta – Areacaceae)
  • Close up of California Fan Palm tree trunk and rock wall. Murray Canyon. Indian Canyons. Palm Springs California
  • Green fan of palm tree leaves surrounded the top of the tree, summer, Spain
  • fan palm tree trunk with cut off dried leaves, close-up view of fiber fan palm trunk
  • Low Angle View Of Fan Palm Tree
  • Fan palm tree silhouetted on a blue cloudy sky
  • California fan palm tree, Washingtonia filifera, in Joshua Tree National Park, California.
  • Livistona chinensis, Chinese Fan Palm, tree palm with fan shaped variously split leaves, terminal crown, cream coloured flowers
  • Girl in front of fan palm tree
  • Detail close-up of mature grown fan palm tree with shades of green yellow and red with intersecting lines forming natural background pattern and struc
  • Fan Palm at Kamaole Beach County park on the island of Maui in the State of Hawaii USA
  • Close-up of a yellow flowering European fan palm tree (Chamaerops humilis, Arecaceae), also known as the Mediterranean dwarf palm, cultivated in Italy.
  • fan palm tree at the royal palace in phnom penh cambodia
  • Lookinh upwards into a large fan palm tree in the Daintree Rainforest, Queensland, Australia
  • Fan Palm tree
  • Flower scapes of the hardy Chusan palm, Trachycarpus fortunei
  • Fan palm tree, Wat Phra Kaeo, Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand
  • CAYE CAULKER BELIZE Fan palm tree in house garden
  • Desert fan (Washingtonia filifera), Erindi Private Game Reserve, Namibia
  • Fan of palm tree
  • Unique twisted California Fan Palm tree. Palm Canyon. Indian Canyons, Palm Springs, California
  • Mexican fan palm, Washingtonia robusta tree trunk bark pattern
  • Ruffled Fan Palm Tree Trunks Licuala Grandis at Jardin de Balata Martinique
  • Low Angle View Of Fan Palm Tree
  • Fan Palm Tree leaves
  • California fan palm tree, Washingtonia filifera, in Joshua Tree National Park, California.
  • Livistona chinensis, Chinese Fan Palm, tree palm with fan shaped variously split leaves, terminal crown, cream coloured flowers
  • Fan Palm Tree closeup texture background
  • Detail close-up of mature grown fan palm tree with shades of green yellow and red with intersecting lines forming natural background pattern and struc
  • Fan Palm at Kamaole Beach County park on the island of Maui in the State of Hawaii USA
  • Close-up of a yellow flowering European fan palm tree (Chamaerops humilis, Arecaceae), also known as the Mediterranean dwarf palm, cultivated in Italy.
  • Looking up at the crown of a fan palm tree, San Francisco bay area, California
  • Beach, San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily, Italy
  • Chamaerops humilis / Dwarf Fan Palm tree leaves against the wall of a fountain
  • Fan palm with seeds against a blue sky in Varadero Cuba
  • July Full Moon peeking behind a California Fan Palm tree as seen in Las Vegas, Nevada. Stock photography by cahyman
  • CAYE CAULKER BELIZE Fan palm tree in house garden
  • Young, small California Fan Palms in the foreground with mature tall ones beyond on a tree farm in the Coachella Valley
  • Fan like spread of palm fronds on a fan palm tree, Key West, Florida, USA
  • Fan palm tree with big round leaf lit by vibrant sun in Australian tropical rain forest, Licuala ramsayi
  • Florida mockingbird chicks in their nest crying to be fed. Nest is nestled in a Florida Chinesese fan palm tree (Livistona chinensis). The Florida
  • Ruffled Fan Palm Tree Trunks Licuala Grandis at Jardin de Balata Martinique
  • Close-up Of Fan Palm Tree Leaf
  • Bright and colorful natural background of the fan shapes of traveler palm trees growing in a tropical garden
  • California fan palm tree, Washingtonia filifera, in Joshua Tree National Park, California.
  • Livistona chinensis, Chinese Fan Palm, tree palm with fan shaped variously split leaves, terminal crown, cream coloured flowers
  • Silhouette of fan palm tree with storm clouds rising behind it
  • Detail close-up of mature grown fan palm tree with shades of green yellow and red with intersecting lines forming natural background pattern and struc
  • CALIFORNIA – Detail of California fan palm tree in Anza Borrega Desert State Park.
  • Close-up of a yellow flowering European fan palm tree (Chamaerops humilis, Arecaceae), also known as the Mediterranean dwarf palm, cultivated in Italy.
  • Looking up at the crown of a fan palm tree, San Francisco bay area, California
  • Close up image of a palm tree showing fan shaped leaves and yellow hanging fruit.
  • California Fan palm trees at Palm Canyon, Palm Springs, California, United States of America, USA
  • Fan Palm Leaf_Thailand
  • tropical Fan palm frond.
  • CAYE CAULKER BELIZE Wooden house and fan palm tree
  • After sunset; the fan palm trees of Palmwag in Damaraland, Namibia
  • Abstract Tropical Palm Plant Tree Fan
  • California Fan Palm Tree
  • Florida mockingbird chicks in their nest crying to be fed. Nest is nestled in a Florida Chinesese fan palm tree (Livistona chinensis). The Florida
  • Fan Palm Tree Blue Sky Hawaii
  • Full Frame Shot Of Fan Palm Tree Leaf
  • Close-up of fan palm tree leaf palm leaf
  • The Buddhist temple inspired Royal Pavilion at the Royal Flora Expo framed by fan palm tree leaves in Chiang Mai Thailand
  • Livistona chinensis, Chinese Fan Palm, tree palm with fan shaped variously split leaves, terminal crown, cream coloured flowers
  • Fan Palm Tree leaves with green tree frog
  • Detail close-up in landscape format of mature grown fan palm tree with shades of green yellow and red with intersecting lines forming natural backgrou
  • Fan palm tree on the blue sky background
  • Traveler’s tree, also called traveler’s palm (Ravenala madagascariensis), Photographed in Antsirabe, Madagascar
  • Fan Palm Tree (Washingtonia filifera) leaves on a blue sky background, California
  • Close up image of a palm tree showing fan shaped leaves and yellow hanging fruit.
  • Chamaerops humilis – A native Mediterranean palm tree often found as a thick shrub and occasionally grows up to 7 meters.
  • Fan Palm Leaf_Thailand – Flora and Fauna
  • Indian Canyons in California with California Fan Palm Tree in a sunny desert oasis landscape
  • CAYE CAULKER BELIZE Detail of fan palm tree
  • Fan Palm on a mound of flowers
  • Radiating Lines On An African Fan Palm (borassus sambiranensis) Leaf

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Search Results for Fan Palm Tree Stock Photos and Images

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Washingtonia robusta, the Mexican fan palm, is perhaps one of the most commonly planted palm trees around the world, and yet its native home in northern Mexico is limited to a relatively few water canyons scattered here and there in Sonora and Baja California. Rows of it’s dizzyingly tall, slender trunks topped with a relatively small crown of fronds are the icons of southern California’s older neighborhoods – it’s hard to find a photo of Hollywood that doesn’t include at least a few. So how did this relatively scarce palm become so widely grown throughout the world’s warmer climates? The answer is simple – this is a very tolerant, fast growing palm.

A fairly tall group of Washingtonia robusta growing at Kyushu University’s Campus in Fukuoka, Japan.

Washingtonia robusta is a denizen of water canyons in otherwise desert to semidesert regions. It is one of the tallest palms in the world, commonly topping 15 meters, with exceptional specimens growing an additional 10-15 meters higher. Its unbranched gray trunk is generally quite slender, usually not more than 30 centimeters in diameter, but swells considerably at the base. It is ringed by close set leaf scars and in tall trees tends to curve a bit as it ascends in long, lazy arcs.

The glossy fronds are palmate in form, are rich green in color, and have hanging leaflet tips not unlike Livistonia chinensis, though not as pronounced. The fronds are quite large, a bit longer than wide, with mature fronds growing up to 1.5 meters long. They form a large round crown, and tend to remain attached to the trunk even after they die, creating the tell-tale skirt common to this genus. The petioles grow up to a meter long and are host to rows of large orange hook-shaped sawtooth spines.

In spring and early summer long sprays of tiny white flowers are produced on hanging branched flower stalks that grow beyond the limit of the crown, each extending up to 3 meters in length. By the fall thousands of small dark brown fruits are produced on them, making this palm a potential weed in the right climate.

The Mexican fan palm is found in nature in seaside facing water canyons and oases near the coast of Sonora (generally north of Guaymas) as well as Baja California. Its range is by no means continuous, but rather highly scattered, suggesting a remnant distribution from a time when conditions allowed it to be more widespread. Its northern distribution is close to its sister species, Washingtonia filifera, but apparently they never are found growing naturally together.

The crown of the Mexican fan palm is slightly taller than wide. This tree has been trimmed of its dead fronds, hence it is lacking the “skirt” of unpruned trees. The flower stalks however were not trimmed this season, so you can see the bunches of dangling brown fruits ready to fall and germinate in droves or be eaten and dispersed by birds.

In spite of its rather restricted native distribution, this palm is far from rare these days, in fact in many places it is considered a potential pest. In parts of central and southern California it has naturalized itself such that the California Invasive Plant Council considers its impact on native ecosystems a “moderate risk”. Many people who have grown this palm and let it go to seed have found out just how easily it spreads, sometimes forming “lawns” of seedlings. It is not uncommon to see young trees growing literally in the cracks of concrete walls and sidewalks.

In California it especially likes to invade riparian areas where it can form pure stands – not a good thing in a state where natural waterways are rare. In Florida it is ranked a category II invasive, that is, naturalized populations are increasing, but so far have not altered native ecosystems significantly. Still, planting it within 500 feet of native ecosystems is illegal within Miami-Dade County in southern Florida. It is also grown in Hawaii, but to my knowledge is not yet considered a pest species there. Seeds are dispersed by birds eating the fruits.

Volunteer seedlings of Washingtonia robusta are a foregone conclusion when the fruits are not removed before they ripen and fall. These are growing under a parent tree in a parking lot.

While the small fruits of W. filifera traditionally have been used by native people as a food source, I’ve found little reliable evidence that W. robusta has been used in a similar fashion. The fleshy part is very thin, nevertheless it is said to have a sweet flavor like a date. One thing’s certain, you’d have to be pretty hungry to want to eat these small, hard fruits.

This tree has been given a number of common names, some banal, others more colorful. Mexican fan palm and Washington palm are the most common, but I prefer skyduster. After seeing a really tall one you can easily imagine it effortlessly sweeping the clouds of dirt. Another name (more commonly used for W. filifera) is petticoat palm due to the large “skirt” of dead, hanging fronds that both species can accumulate over time.

This tendency to form a skirt in W. robusta is more typical in younger specimens, but once they attain some height they begin to shed old fronds within a couple years of dying. W. filifera by comparison tends to keep its skirt unless cleaned of old fronds (and the petiole bases). These skirts can attain formidable volumes and are host to all kinds of wildlife – birds, snakes, rodents, insects – you name it. This “petticoat” is also a fire hazard.

With Washingtonia robusta seed set can be very nearly 100%, making this palm a potential invasive pest.

For these reasons it is necessary to remove dead fronds in urban settings or if trees are planted near residences. Municipalities spend a lot of money on cleaning and maintaining street specimens, one reason why this tree is becoming less used in urban settings, especially southern California. The reverse is true here in Japan however – each year I see more and more of them being planted along streets, in parks, and next to apartment buildings.

Frond removal must be done carefully to protect the health of the tree. It is common practice to over prune them, leaving just a few fronds in the crown. While this rarely kills the tree, it can become a problem if done on a regular basis, since the tree may not be able to photosynthesize enough to provide adequate nutrition to the crown and adjoining trunk. Trees that are pruned this way again and again can lose vigor and the upper trunk can become spindly such that the crown dies or breaks off in a high wind. Therefore, it is necessary to leave at least 50% of the green fronds intact. The petiole bases can either be removed or left on, but ultimately they too will fall, creating a mess around the tree and are a potential hazard during high winds.

This species is perhaps most remarkable for its potential height, sometimes exceeding 30 meters (over 100 feet), making it one of the world’s tallest palm species. Since it isn’t a very massive palm, ultra-tall trees have an elegant, graceful appearance, accentuated by their slightly curved, thin trunks. It is said that Florida trees are short since lightening strikes tend to take out trees that get too tall – natural lightning rods. Therefore, places like southern California where lightning isn’t as common, are best for this species to attain its highest potential (literally).

The growth rate of the Mexican fan palm is one of the fastest amongst the commonly grown species of palm. In climates with sufficiently warm summers (say daily highs consistently above 25 C) established trees can grow astonishingly fast. Under the best conditions they may grow up to 1.2 meters (4 feet) per year, but are more likely to put on half that height under normal garden conditions. In cooler climates where this species can still be grown, anticipate much more modest growth.

The trunk of the Mexican fan palm is ringed with close set leaf scars.

Germinating W. robusta from seed is straightforward, especially if fresh seed is used. No special treatment is needed – simply plant the them in any reasonable compost that’s evenly moist, keep them in warm conditions, and within a couple weeks germination will begin. From seed you can grow a large tree in just a decade’s time, so this is one palm you may consider growing from seed rather than buying as a larger specimen, particularly if you want to have a grove of them. They do transplant well as adults, but transporting and planting costs can make that expensive.

The Mexican fan palm is fairly cold hardy, especially in drier climates. Common estimates rate this palm to at least -6.5 C (20 F) with frond damage occurring several degrees higher, depending on relative humidity and soil moisture (the drier, the more cold resistant). In general W. robusta is more suited to moister climates while W. filifera is a true desert species that is more resistant to cold snaps provided conditions are dry (continuously wet cold conditions can be the death of it however). It is thought that the artificial hybrid of the two, known as Washingtonia “filibusta”, should grow fairly well in cooler climates with wet winters, combining the moisture resistance of W. robusta and the cold hardiness of W. filifera. Areas such as coastal Oregon and Washington states might be good places to try this hybrid, but don’t expect too much cold resistance.

Washingtonia robusta is a popular tree for public spaces in Japan these days. These trees are growing in a mall parking lot in Fukuoka, Japan.

In terms of the USDA cold hardiness zone system, I would rate W. robusta a solid zone 9 plant, more marginal in zone 8b, and risky in zone 8a, at least in the eastern USA. You can extend this range if you protect in winter, but given the size of these trees and their growth rate, protective measures will become a difficult task in short order. In the Pacific northwest, the wetter regions of zone 9 are probably out for this species. In more humid climates expect damage to the fronds when temperatures go below -4 C (~25 F). It is said that in low humidity the fronds are hardy down to -5 C (23 F). Regardless, as long as the crown remains alive, trees will quickly recover over summer especially if temperatures are high. This palm is also very heat tolerant, taking well over 40 C in stride.

In general W. robusta is very easy in the right climate, in fact it grows too well in many cases. It can grow in almost any soil type as long as it isn’t actually soggy – clay, loam, or sand – and is tolerant of a wide range in pH as well, optimally not too acidic, but able to grow in extremely alkaline soils. It has a high tolerance for salt, and so is a good choice for planting near coastlines. It also is very wind resistant, even tall specimens. Fertilizer can be given if trees are planted in poor, sandy soils, but be careful not to overdo it or you will have a giant on your hands quickly. Older trees are usually resistant to disease, however young trunkless plants are susceptible to rots, in particular fusarium wilt, caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum (which can effect adults as well).

The petioles of Washingtonia robusta are armed with rows of formidable hooked spines, making pruning a more difficult job.

With many positive attributes, what negatives are there to mention about this palm? As said earlier, it is a potential invasive pest. This isn’t its worst feature however. Oddly enough, the speed at which this palm reaches lofty heights is its ultimate doom as a common lawn specimen. While some people like the skirt or petticoat of dead fronds, most folks don’t. When a tree is fairly short it is easy enough to remove old fronds with a simple extendable ladder. However, once a tree gets taller than say around 7 meters (~25 feet), a professional tree pruner is needed to remove old fronds – something that needs to be done on at least a yearly basis. This of course is expensive, and if you have more than one tree it can become prohibitively so. That is why most residential trees retain their skirt until it falls off naturally – a process that may take many years.

Another negative are the super-sharp, hooked spines on the petioles. During pruning great care must be taken so as not to be hurt when cutting fronds off, or from falling fronds. Protective gloves are a must. Moreover, in high winds it is common for old fronds to dislodge and fall from great heights – not something you want to fall onto you. Also, just after flowering it is recommended the flower stalks are removed to prevent the myriad seeds from dispersing into the landscape. This too is costly to do, but luckily has to be done only once a year. Neglecting to remove flower stalks most certainly will result in volunteers showing up near the parent tree. If the conditions are right large “lawns” of seedlings can result, and will require removal before they begin to get big (something they do very quickly).

A dream palm or dreaded weed? Which one you’ll have to decide for yourself. Regardless, the Mexican fan palm is guaranteed a place in private and public spaces for years to come.

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 8b-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.

Mexican Fan Palm Tree Info

Scientific name: Washingtonia robusta

Common names: The Mexican Fan Palm is also known as Washington Palm and Skyduster.

Family: Arecaceae

Origin: It is native to desert regions of Mexico.

Appearance: 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.

Flowers/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.

Growth Rate: Moderate to Fast. Washingtonia robusta is a fast growing palm that can get up to 50 – 60 ft tall and 5-10ft wide, but usually is not taller than 40ft.

Outdoor/Indoor Use: Both.

Cold Tolerance: Mexican Fan Palm is cold hardy and can tolerate cold down to 15F but temperature lower than 23F might damage leaves. It is great for growing in USDA Zones 8b (15 to 20 F) to 11 (above 40 F).

Light Req: Full sun to Partial shade. The Mexican Fan Palm needs growth best in full sun, but will tolerate some shade while young.

Water Req: Moderate. It can also tolerate drought, but grows much faster when receiving plenty of water. It likes moist well drained soil.

Maintenance: Easy. 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.

Propagation: 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.

Washingtonia Palm

Washingtonia robusta

The fast-growing, extremely hardy Washingtonia Palm can provide big tropical landscape appeal in a hurry.

They’re a favorite with builders who want to give a finished look to a newly constructed home, and with homeowners who want more instant gratification.

And for people who want only the most cold-tolerant of plants, the washingtonia is your palm.

These are the some of the most cold hardy of all South Florida palms…growing even north of Florida in Zone 8.

Unfortunately, Mexican fan palms, as they’re also called – though big, fat and gorgeous while young – tend to lose their good looks (don’t we all) with age.

The thick trunk of the youthful palm thins, and a “petticoat” of dried fronds under the green ones on top is not everyone’s idea of palm beauty.

Plant specs

Washingtonias grow fast – yet the rate can vary from palm to palm. No two grow at the same pace, so pairs of these palms are not a good choice for symmetrical landscape design.

They can grow to 100 feet tall – but many don’t make it, since lightning often strikes anything towering over the rest of the landscape.

Very cold hardy, “washies” will grow anywhere in Florida (and north even into southern Texas through southern parts of South Carolina).

These palms are moderately salt-tolerant and moderately drought-tolerant once established. They do best with regular waterings, allowed to dry out in between.

Plant care

Left in a natural state, browned fronds of a washingtonia palm will form a very long “hula skirt” of thatch. Most people, however, prefer a cleaner look and trim off old fronds fairly often. Once the palm is too tall to reach, leave the old fronds on or hire someone to trim.

“Boots” (old leaf bases) are a bright and attractive red-brown while the palm is young. As they age, you can remove them by hand or leave them on (they’ll fall off on their own eventually) to form a spiky decoration above the smooth trunk.

Washingtonias are happier in a less humid climate than ours, so pick a sunny, well-drained place where the palm will get good breezes. Soil amendments aren’t really necessary.

Watering on a regular basis with time to dry out between waterings will keep the palm looking its best.

Fertilize in spring, summer and fall with a good palm fertilizer containing micronutrients.

Beware of the sharp teeth on the palm’s leaf stems.

Plant spacing

Plant at least 6 to 8 feet away from the house to give the big fronds room to spread out. If planting in a row, place them at least 6 feet apart.

For using along a drive, come out at least 5 or 6 feet so the young palm’s wide crown isn’t in the way.

This palm is too fast and too big to make a good container plant.

Landscape uses for washingtonia palm

  • lining the property border
  • in groups as architectural accents for a tall house
  • anchor or backdrop for groupings of smaller palms and shrubs
  • in a row along a fence, walk or driveway

A.K.A. (also known as): Mexican Fan Palm, Washington Palm


COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Copper plant, gold mound, arboricola, clusia guttifera, selloum philodendron, Panama rose, and jatropha.

Other palms you might like: Chinese Fan Palm, Ribbon Fan Palm

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All Types of Palm Trees

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Here’s a list of the many types of palm trees used in landscapes.

Now you can plan where to put them on display to create your tropical oasis!

There are so many too choose from.

Over 2000 and closer to 3000 to be exact.

The most popular for containers and landscaping are included here.

I use their common names to make it easier for you.

Even narrowing it down like this makes for a very long list with lots of categories.

I’ve tried to group them in such a way it should be easy for you to find the kind of palm you are looking for. Plus there’s a brief description for guidance. Go to part of the page you are interested in:

  • Palms for containers
  • Fan Leaf
  • Feather leaf
  • Produces edible fruit

or other complete pages for a list of:

  • Best indoor palms
  • Cold hardy palms

I’ve also listed the trees by the size of a mature tree. Just in case size matters.

  • Small 10-12 feet tall max and for ground cover
  • Medium 15-50 feet tall and for privacy screening
  • Large 40 feet plus

Click the link to each tree that is of interest:

It will provide you with pictures, potential size, growing conditions–like hardiness zone, minimum temperatures, lighting, and much more including their scientific names.

Types of Palm Trees for Containers

Some of the smaller types of palm trees would be totally suited for container gardening.

For colder climates have them outside in the summer and bring them indoors in the winter.

You’ll be able to enjoy your little slice of paradise year round!

Fishtail Special, fluttery leaves, single or clumping varieties

Dwarf Palmetto Gorgeous large green fan display

Pygmy Date delicate looking feathers, stays small

Bottle Totally unique shape, easy keeper

King Sago One of a kind leaf presentation, containers, or landscapes

Areca or butterfly Clumping, traditional look, fills out pot nicely

Lady palms great for med to low light, different leaf pattern

Triangle Beautiful when small in a container, center piece tree in yard

Christmas Slows growth in container, great poolside or driveways

Banana Small varieties, fast growing, fruit producing, delicious

Ruffled Fan Palm is a great choice for indoors-grows slow with beautiful leaves.

Chinese Fan Palm will adapt to just about anywhere with enough light, easy to grow, has beautiful fan leaf display

Majesty Palms have green feather leaves, sold as house plant, various sizes and growing conditions

Thatch Palms both the Florida and key varieties, nice fan leaves, either light or deep green, medium size, nice flower and fruit display

Old Man Palm circular fan leaves, slow growing enough to be in a container for years, unique bearded trunk, centerpiece

Joey or Diamond Palm gorgeous large diamond shaped leaves, rare and tropical, needs lots of moisture

Lipstick Palm great for containers in ponds or waterfalls, colorful, clumping feather leaves

Red Feather Palm also called the flamethrower palm, new leaves and fruit are red, great in container for indoors or out, part shade, easy

Kentia palm most popular indoor palm, great for containers, shade, slow growing green feather leaf display

Bamboo palms three feather leaf varieties,easy to grow in containers, shade loving for the patio

Spindle palm does get large but can be kept in a container when young, easy to grow and move indoors when necessary, unique trunk

Latan Palms Large beautiful segmented fan leaves,3 varieties distinguished by color, slow growing, easy to care for

Parlor palms easy to grow, stays small, feather leaf, shade to heavy shade, easy to grow

Windmill palm and Miniature chusan green deeply segmented fan leaves, very cold hardy, ease of growth, considered medium size.

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Palm Tree Types with Fan Leaves

Are you looking for a variety that really adds some curb appeal with their unique shaped leaves? More scientifically these leaves are described as being “palmate” shape.

With all the tremendous variety in shapes and sizes- you are sure to find something to suit your tastes and space!

Have a look at these types of palm trees:

Thatch palms either Florida or Key varieties ,great for yard or containers, drought and salt tolerant, deep green or light green leaves, medium size

Windmill and miniature chusan Gorgeous, easy to grow, extremely cold hardy, medium size, can do containers

Latan palms 3 different varieties distinguished by color, beautiful stiff leaves, slow growing, easy to care for

Old man palm unique display for centerpiece or containers. Easy keeper

Travelers Palm Center piece tree- large,eye catching, fast growing

Bismarck Exquisite leaves in silver blue or bright green

Sabal Palmetto Many varieties, cold hardy, grow almost anywhere

Dwarf Palmetto Blue or green pointed leaves, cold hardy, grows well in shade

Ruffled Fan Palm Beautiful large green fans on a small tree

Broad-leaf Lady Deeply divided leaves-great for containers in lower light conditions like indoors

Needle Palm Dark green leaves, shade and moisture loving, cold tolerant

Blue Needle Beautiful silver blue very pointed fan leaves, drought and cold tolerant

California Fan Palm Super looking, large, drought, salt and cold tolerant

Mediterranean Fan Medium size, drought,salt and cold tolerant, beautiful clumping variety, slow grower

Chinese fan palm great outdoors or in containers, popular and easy to grow

Mexican Fan grows fast and tall, drought, salt and cold tolerant

Saw Palmetto cold, drought and salt tolerant, deeply divide circular leaves in a couple different colors, health benefits made from the fruits

Joey or Diamond Palm elongated diamond shaped corrugated leaves in emerald or blue, 20 ft tall and wide, needs lots of moisture

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Types of Palm Trees with Feather Leaves

There are many types of palm trees with feather leaves to choose from. They are scientifically referred to as “pinnate” shaped.

They all have a uniqueness about them that makes each one special.

This gives you a great chance to display the many different characteristics these tropical delights offer.

Consider planting one of these varieties to bring a warm weather feeling to your backyard paradise.

Royal Very tall, long lived, non-intrusive roots

Foxtail Large bushy feather shaped leaves, great for lining driveways

Areca or butterfly Great clumping palms, pretty in containers or plant as privacy screen

Christmas Palm Beautiful leaf presentation,ripe red fruits, a dwarf royal

Parlor palm elegant looking, single trunk, stays small, slow growing, needs shade to heavy shade, very popular indoors

Date Palms A few varieties, both multi and single trunk, Leaves ranging from green, to solver to almost blue color.

Pindo Fruit producer deluxe and a lovely looking tree

Triangle Center piece tree, gorgeous, fountain leaf display

Lipstick Palm clumping variety, beautiful colors, great addition to ponds and water features

Pygmy Date Small size, fine feather leaf, great for containers

Queen Palm Large fine feather leaves with beautiful presentation. Popular in landscapes

Mule palm hybrid garden cross of the queen and Pindo varieties

Spindle Palm feather leaves, unique trunk, gets large but can be started and kept in a container for awhile, easy to grow

Red Feather, Flame Thrower or Red leaf Palm new leaves and fruit are red, easy keeper, part shade and great for indoors

Oil Plantation tree used for edible oil, and bio-diesel production
Coconut Favorites on beach, great fruit, long lived
Canary Island Very pretty, used in city landscapes
King Sago Unique leaf presentation
Bottle Palm Slow grower, distinctive shape, great for containers
Fishtail Great as a stand alone tree or in clumps–for yard or containers, the only group with bi-pinnate shaped leaves

Majesty Palm variety of sizes and growing conditions. Dwarf variety great for containers.

Kentia palm slow growing, prefers shade, easy for in containers indoors or out

Bamboo palm great for shaded areas or indoors, three varieties that are all easy to grow

King Palms three different variations, beautiful leaf, flower and fruit displays

Chilean wine palm is a massive slow growing tree that’s easy to keep and gorgeous to look at.

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Edible Fruit Producing Types of Palm Trees

Interested in one of the types of palm trees for their fruit production? You can choose from these varieties. Your choice could depend on if they are for your landscape or for commercial use.

For your yard why not get that tropical feel and some fresh fruit for your efforts.

Coconut Most popular beach palm, healthy fruit, long lived

Pindo Super producer-jelly and wine, great looking tree

Banana Fast growing, delicious fruit, great in containers

Canary Island Superb landscape tree, gorgeous, not a great producer

Oil Mainly used in plantations and orchards, bountiful fruit production

Date Many varieties, great fruit producer, drought and salt tolerant.

Saw Palmetto fruits made into health supplement for prostate, nice deeply divided fan leaf, cold, salt, and drought tolerant, slow growing

Pygmy Date small tree, fine feather leaves, great for containers, produces small edible dates.

Chilean wine palm huge feather leaf tree, produces small fruits sold at farmers markets and that taste like coconut.

I hope the lists of all the different types of palm trees has helped you to decide just which one will be perfect for your unique space.

At the very least gave you some landscape or container ideas and assisted in narrowing down the many choices.

Red feather, also known as the flame thrower palm tree showing new leaf color.

Follow the arrow for more ideas on creating your own paradise with palms.

Book now available in print so you can take it out to your garden or many e-book versions for your favorite reading device.

NOTE : About Buying Palms

If you are looking to buy palm trees of any kind then I would highly recommend purchasing through the Real Palm Tree Store.

They are a huge nursery based in Florida with connections to many quality growers.

Whether you are ordering from inside the United States, Canada or another part of the world– ordering one tree for your landscape or many for a commercial project– I’m confident you won’t be disappointed.

Their customer service is second to none; all products are high quality and backed by a money back 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Make sure to visit real palm trees, ask questions and read the reviews before buying anywhere else.

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You may find these other articles useful:

Palm Tree Identification: explains what characteristics to look for when trying to determine what species.

Palm Tree Fertilizer teaches how to read the bag, what kind to look for, how much to apply and where.

Think about starting a tree from seed? Learn some tips for success here.

Planting gives you best practices to get your next tropical specimen off to a great start.

Growing explains the plant hardiness zones, soil pH and lighting types, as well as other commonly used garden terminology.

What do you think?

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Palm Tree Passion is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Palm Tree Passion (

Palm Tree Passion>Types of Palm Trees

Fan Palm Houseplant: How To Grow Fan Palm Trees Indoors

Not everyone has the right growing conditions in which to enjoy a taste of the tropics in their garden. However, this doesn’t stop gardeners from enjoying the relaxed, yet elegant feel of tropical plants. Fan palm trees are among the most popular of indoor tropical plants and require bright light conditions and ample space to thrive. Keep reading for tips on growing fan palms.

Types of Fan Palms

Chinese fan palms (Livistona chinensis) are very popular in the Florida landscape but also make an excellent indoor plant for a sunny room. This neat palm is slow growing and has a single, upright trunk and large leaves that can reach up to 6 feet in length.

The European fan palm (Chamaerops humilis) is an attractive, multi stemmed palm for indoor use. Fronds are fan-shaped and sit atop a 4-foot stem. Leaves are grayish-green in color and about 2 feet across at maturity.

Choosing Your Fan Palm Houseplant

The healthier your plant is when you bring it home, the likelier it is to thrive when given the correct attention. Don’t choose plants with extremely dry soil, browning leaves or apparent damage.

Fan palms should have rich green foliage and an upright, healthy habit. Starting with a healthy plant will make it much easier to care for your new potted fan palm.

How to Grow Fan Palm Plants

Potting soil used for palm plants should be well draining and any container used for the plant should have ample drainage holes in the bottom. Soil should be moist at all times during the growing season, although it is essential to avoid over-saturation, which can lead to root rot.

Growing fan palms isn’t difficult as long as you provide a room temperature of 55-60 F. (13-16 C.). Keep indoor palm plants away from heating or cooling vents or ceiling fans that may cause temperature fluctuations.

Unlike many other types of palms, fan palms do best with at least four hours of direct sunlight daily. A south or west-facing window is best.

Fan Palm Care Tips

Allow the plant soil to dry out a little more in the winter than in the summer. A daily mist of water helps to keep humidity levels high. If frond tips become brown, the humidity is too low.

A light fertilizer application from late winter through early fall helps fan palm plants remain vital.

Spider mites like dusty foliage, so it is critical that fronds are wiped clean on a regular basis. If mites become a problem, use a soapy water mixture to control infestation.

Blue Fan Palms for the desert landscape- unique trees for both public and private parks and gardens

Blue palms seem particularly adapted to desert situations as the dusting of white powder that gives the leaves their blue coloration has some protective effects by reducing transpiration in hot dry weather. In addition, the blue color can be a wonderful contrast with surrounding landscape plants of different colors, making these palms striking and ornamental specimen trees and often sought after by landscapers, both professional and amateur. This article addresses only fan palms (palmate leaves) but there are a few feather (aka pinnate-leaved palms) that also have some blue color and are excellent desert plants as well. Those may be discussed in another article.

Brahea armata (Mexican Blue Fan Palm)- this is probably the quintessential desert palm as it is attractive, highly available and perfectly suited to desert climates. There are many other species of Brahea, including another blue one (Brahea decumbens) that also perform excellently in desert situations, but they can be discussed in a different article. Brahea decumbens is a wonderful palm, but nearly impossible to attain for the average grower, and way too slow to be considered a significant landscape palm. Brahea armatas are considered moderate growers in terms of growing speed, but this term is relative to the growth of other palms, not other trees. So one must be prepared for what may seem like exceptionally slow growing trees when cultivating palms. This species grows pretty well in just about any soil type, from sandy loam to heavy clay. If grown in the latter, however, overwatering could be a problem, so once this palm is established it is best to water it occasionally when hot (1-2x a week), and rarely, if at all during cooler months. Once planted, this species is particularly unhappy about being moved, so careful consideration should be paid to eventual size, width and location. Moving large Braheas usually ends up in one owning a dead palm. This species is one of the more cold harder palms in cultivation, tolerating temps into the mid teens with few problems. It is, however, very difficult to grow this palm in a humid tropical climate (such as in the southeast US or northeast Australia). Though an excellent xeriscape palm, these also can grow happily in more ‘tropical ‘ desert landscapes and can make an incredibly striking statement when their pale blue leaves are surrounded by more lush green foliage. Brahea armatas eventually grow up to about 35’ in about 25-30 years. They have uniquely long, arching pale yellow flowers that extend far beyond the leaf crown in the fall. it is a not always a self-cleaning palm, meaning it can develop a ‘petticoat’ of dead leaves that hang down around the otherwise bare trunk. Most growers remove these dead leaves periodically to not only improve the look of the palm, but also to keep the palm from being infested with rats, pigeons, squirrels or owls that like to live in these petticoats. Care must be taken when pruning this species as it has sharp, hooked yellow teeth along the petioles (the stem-like structure that supports the palmate part of the leaf). Brahea armata is a commonly available species, and most garden outlet centers sell this palm. Larger ones are readily availalbe, at least in the southern US, at nurseries specializing in landscape palms. It is not one of the cheapest palms, but not one the most expensive, either.

pair of palms flowering in southern California

another pair of palms flowering and with fruit, fall, southern California

pruning a younger palm

exceptional palm growing in desert climate, southern California

mature palm with a petticoat

Bismarckia nobilis (Bismarck Palm)- this Madagascan native is similarly blue to Brahea armata, but a much more massive and elegant fan palm. There are two forms of Bismarckia- blue and green. These two varieties are so different in terms of climate tolerance that they should almost be treated as different species. The green form is NOT a great palm for deserts, particularly if there is any danger of frost. However even the blue form is not quite as cold hardy a palm as Brahea armata is, particularly when young, so its use is a bit more limited to the warmer desert areas of the world. Unlike Brahea armata, this palm is excellently suited for humid tropical climates and in fact grows better in those than in the dry desert situations. Still, it does exceedling well as a desert palm so is included in this discussion. Bismarckias are a bit pickier in terms of soil type and resent being planted in very heavy clays, though most will tolerate them as long as they are not watered too heavily in cold weather. Like Braheas, this palm is highly intolerant of being moved once established so be sure to plant it where it will stay forever. Still, it is a relatively easy and carefree palm and one of the most impressive palms one can grow in a desert climate. Bismarckias are self cleaning palms to some degree, but most growers trim the dead hanging leaves as they are unsightly, even if they do fall off in a year or two. At least these have no sharp teeth along the petioles. Though once rare palms, Bismarckias are becoming so popular that even most garden outlet centers now carry them routinely at quite reasonable prices. Be sure, however, that you are getting a Blue Bismarckia. Even if getting a small seedling, these can usually be distinguished from the green ones by their immature leaf color (deep purple or maroon, as opposed to dull green).

female palm in seed (this species is diocecious- palms are either male or female) in southern California

exceptionally blue palm growing in a tropical climate (Thailand)

a trunking palm in an inland landscape, southern California

this is an exceptionally pale blue-leaved plant in another desert landscape setting

Some of the larger palms in southern California

Chamaerops humilis var. argentea (aka cerifera) (Blue Mediterranean Fan Palm)- this is another ideal palm for desert climates- even the colder ones, as it is hardy perhaps below 10F. Like the more common green form, which is one of the most commonly used landscape palms throughout the world, it is a suckering palm, meaning it has many stems, not just a single trunk. This form of Chamaerops is much more slow growing than the regular form, which many consider slow growing to begin with. However it is an extremely ornamental plant, and probably one of the bluest palms there are. Chamaerops will grow in just about any soil type there is, from sand to clay, though this plant actually appears to prefer the latter for some reason. What this particular form does not tolerate is overhead watering. Tap water on the crown of the blue Chamaerops will often lead to bud or crown rot (the growing center of the palm, where all the leaves come out) and death of that trunk (good thing it’s a suckering palm). So watering this plant is best done by soakers, low emitters or drip systems. For some reason rain water does not appear to be as much of an issue. However, similar to Brahea armata, this form of Chamaerops is less suited to warm, humid climates than its green counterpart and cold, wet winters of the southeast will ofte result in crown rot. This palm will grow to maybe 20′ tall (and nearly as wide) in 30 years or more, but it hasn’t been around in cultivation long enough to know for sure. It is certainly a much slower grower than its more common green cousin.

Since it is a suckering palm, new suckers are produced all the time necessitating constant pruning in order to keep this plant from forming a massive, spiny thicket. Trimming this palm requires extreme caution at is one of the sharpest and most fiercly armed palm trees. Reaching in to the center of the palm to trim those leaves can be a dangerous challenge, so it is best to keep on top of this one and prune often. Chamaerops are one of the easier palms to move even as large plants, and larger plants can safely be moved with a back hoe with little risk of loss of the palm. Ths does not necessarily hold true with the blue form of this species, however, and as more massive plants have finally begun to exist in cultivation, we are finding these can be nearly as hard to move successfully as are Brahea armatas…. so plant these where you want them to stay forever! Be sure when you purchase a ‘cerifera’ Chamaerops it is already showing blue leaves. Seeds from blue palms often produce normal green plants, so it is not recommended to invest a lot in ‘cerifera’ seeds. Until recently this was considered an extremely rare form, but now, due to its popularity, it is becoming much more available, and 1-5 gal pots are readily available in some nurseries, even those not specializing in palms, for a reasonable cost. It may be that the seedlings seen in nurseries now are primarily divisions from larger plants, not seed grown individuals.

Though still a seedling, there are precious few larger palms than this currently in southern California

here is another nice seedling growing in southern California

Serenoa repens ‘blue’ (Blue Saw Palmetto)- Serenoa repens is a Florida native that is normally a bright green to pale green palm, but many populations along the eastern coast are notably ‘bluer’. This color variation is much sought after as it is unusual and much more ornamental than the normal green form. In its native Florida, this palm is a moderate grower, though slow compared to many other palms in that subtropical climate. However, in a dry, desert climate this is a much slower growing palm, still, easily the slowest of all the blue palms discussed in this article. It is so slow, in fact, that realistically it is not a good choice for landscaping unless one has extreme patience or really likes to plan ahead. But since it is readily available through mail order, one can sometimes obtain relatively large ones (5 gal) to get a head start. Once it starts to form a trunk its growth rate increases markedly. The problem with buying one sight unseen is there is no way to ensure getting a truly blue form. Seed from blue plants often produces green plants, and since the blue color is only apparent as the palm matures, young plants cannot, for certain, be categorized as blue or normal green. This is a low growing (6′ is pretty much as tall as it gets in desert climates), suckering palm, well known for its ‘saw-like’ petioles (hence the name) which can be hazardous to climb through or prune. However, when compared to Chamaerops, this is a relatively tame palm from a danger standpoint. It is also an extremely cold tolerant palm, able to tolerate temps below the teens. Though it seems to prefer sandy soils, it is a very adaptable palm and easily the most salt tolerant of all the blue fan palms, seemingly unaffected by very high levels of salt in nearby ponds.

This is a younger blue Serenoa repens growing in Florida, where it is a much faster growing palm than in a desert climate

Though also in Florida, this paler, bluer version of Serenoa repens grows well in desert climates as well

Nannorrhops ritchiana (Mazuri Palm)- this is a native of the Middle East and is one of the few palms that can survive the brutal environmental conditions that exist there. With all climatic conditions considered, this is a candidate for the world’s hardiest palm. It tolerates extreme frosts down into the low teens, if not lower, but it is also extremely drought, wind and heat tolerant. In some parts of its native range, in areas like Iran and Iraq, it is the only plant of any size that can survive. This is a suckering palm also, and mature trees actually become true branching palms- one of the few branching palms in existence. This palm comes in several shades of green to blue-green, with true pale blue plants being fairly rare. Unfortunatelly it can be difficult to tell at the seedling stage how blue this plant will get, so when seeking a blue Nannorrhops, be sure to get them from a reputable nursery. As it matures it will develop an interesting yellow-orange fuzz around the upper trunks, the consistency of sheep wool. The petioles are barely armed, so trimming this species is not a risky adventure. This is the only blue monocarpic palm- after a stem flowers, it dies and has to be removed. This flowering does not affect the rest of the plant, fortunately. Young seedlings are a bit touchy and prone to rot, so it is best to start out with a large 1 gal-5 gal (or larger) if planting directly outdoors. Soil type is somewhat important with this species as it does not often do well in heavy clays, much preferring very sandy or well draining soils. It is, however, a moderately salt tolerant palm and will grow well if planted somewhat near inland seas or lakes with some salinity. It eventually grows to about 15′ tall in 20 years or more.

a well trimmed palm in southern California

this individual, growing in southern California, is an example of one of the bluest forms of this species

this is the same palm years later, showing on stem flowering

close up showing the heavy wool typically seen in older palms

Hyphaene coriacea (Doum Palm)- this is an African species, one of several Hyphaene, all which have bluish-green leaves (some more than others). But this is by far the most commonly grown in cultivation and most readily available. It is a native to very dry, desert areas with almost no appreciable rainfal most of the year. It gets most of its water from very deep roots. Like Nannorrhops, most Hyphaene are true branching palms, though this species branches right at or above ground level, so it just looks like a suckering palm. Some Hyphaene are the most impressive branching palms of all the branching palms, sometimes branching dichotomously 20x or more. This is the least hardy of the blue fan palms to be discussed in this article, only barely tolerating temperatures below 27F for a short time. Freezes below that will usualy defoliate the palm, but it does have an amazing ability to grow back from the ‘dead’ after such an occurence, as long as the freeze was not too extreme. Hyphaene are far better adapted to tropical climates where it never gets cold, and are relatively fast growers in such climates. However they still are excellent dry desert palms and are one of the most unusual and ornamental of the bluish fan palms and there are a number of mature palms growing in deserts as landscape palms throughout the world. Most seedlings begin to branch, or split, at about 5-7 years when they are large 5 gal to 15 gal sized palms (3’+) and eventually grow into 2-5 strongly arching trunks each topped with a head of very large, costapalmate leaves. Costapalmate leaves are very curved palmate leaves with a midrib down the middle (as apposed to strictly palmate leaves which are fairly flat). These are still considered fan palms, but a costapalmate leaf is sort of a mixture of palmate leaf with pinnate leaf. See the photo below of the Sabal uresana leaf (also a costapalmate species). The petioles of this species are particularly ornamental, with large, jet-black hooked teeth and bright orange-yellows fading to pale blue-green. This palm prefers a very well draining soil and may rot or suffer in heavy clays.

Note: there are several other species of Hyphaene and some are growing well in southern California (Hyphaene thebaica, dichotoma and petersiana). The growing conditions and above comments pretty much pertain to these palms as well, with a few exceptions. Hyphaene petersiana, a much rarer palm in cultivation, seems to be a relatively resistant brancher and most of these end up being solitary palms. However, on the good side, this last species seems to be more startlingly blue than any of the other species and my guess is it will quickly catch up in popularity with Hyphaene coriacea as THE Hyphaene to grow in desert regions.

excellent specimen growing in a tropical climate (Thailand)

older California palm in a crowded palm garden

larger palms showing more blue than most

Sabal uresana (Savannah Palmetto)- this is one of many species of Sabal, all American natives, and most are excellently adapted to desert life. However this is the only species that makes bluish leaves (some are more blue than others). This is one of the taller blue palms, growing up to 35′, but taking many decades, to get there. Seedlings can be amazingly slow growing, taking 10-20 years sometimes just to form a trunk (Sabals grow faster in tropical climates, but very slow in desert ones, particularly this species). But it is during the advanced seedling stage when this palm looks the most ornamental. Trunking, tall palms can be a bit tattered looking and the leaves don’t seem to retain as much blue as in the seedlings. This palm needs to be trimmed regularly or they will develop a large, messy petticoat. The woven trunk of retained leaf bases is one of the more ornamental trunks (see photo below). Though Sabals have no teeth along their petioles, the edges can still be razor sharp, so caution when holding on to these when pruning. This is another one of those palms that is not easy to move once established. It is a fairly cold hardy species, tolerating frosts down to the mid 20s, or perhaps a bit lower.

one of the bluest individuals I have seen- a large seedling in Thailand

mature palm in southern California showing a bit more green in the leaf color than when it was a seedling

close of up the leaf showing the costapalmate shape

Trunk of Sabal uresana close up

Are there other blue fan palms that can grow in the desert areas? Sure, but they are either to rare/slow to discuss here (eg. Brahea decumbens)

Brahea decumbens in southern California- very old and well known specimen in the Huntington Gardens- probably 30 years old or more

or just too cold sensitive to survive in only the very best protected desert climates.

This is Livistona loryphylla, a blue-green fan palm that is very rare in cultivation and one of the most cold sensitive of the Australian Livistonas

Livistona victoriae is a pretty decent blue-green fam palm that closely resembles Brahea armata, only it takes 10x longer to attain any size and is very cold sensitive

Medemia argun, a close relative of Hyphaenes and Bismarckias is a very touchy and difficult palm to grow, but excellently adapted to a desert cliamte and sandy soil. However, it is relatively cold sensitive so needs to be grown in a mostly frost free climate.

There are other blue fan palms in cultivation -Latanias are very grey to almost blue and look a like Bismarckias, and Mauritiellas are fantastically blue palms. However, for the most part, these palms are stricly tropical and do not do very well in our deserts here in California (some Latanias will survive here, but struggle mightly often).

Author’s front yard (relatively new yard) showing 3 of his blue palm seedlings: Brahea armata on left, Chamaerops humilis ‘cerifera’ in the middle, and a Bismarckia on the right

The Palm Trees of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula

Some of the world’s most beautiful palm trees can be found growing wild on Mexico’s gorgeous Yucatan Peninsula. Reaching anywhere from just a few feet, to more than one hundred feet tall, the palm tree is though to be one of the world’s most versatile trees and boasts origins that date all the way back to prehistoric times.

With more than 1,500 varieties in existence, palms provide us with food, oil that is used in soap, cosmetics and margarine, shelter, decorative mats and Vitamin B,to name only a few of the many things that palm trees can provide. Some of the more common types of palm tree found around the Mexican Caribbean include the Chit Palm, the Coconut Palm, the Queen Palm and the Royal Palm.

The Chit Palm tree, also known as the Thatch Palm, can be found throughout the forests of the entire Caribbean region and is characterized by the width of their leaves – known as fronds – which make an excellent building material for thatch-roofed huts or lean-tos. The attractive, dark green glossy fronds have drooping leaf tips and the trees are generally at least several feet tall at maturity.

The Coconut Palm is rare among its peers in that it actually makes up its very own genus, with more than 80 known named varieties resulting from many years of cultivation. The Coconut Palm has its origins in southeast Asia and today they are one of the best-known varieties of palm tree in the entire world. An international symbol of the tropics, mature trees can reach upwards of 100 feet. They have a characteristic slender trunk that is ringed with the signs of growth and often leans slightly to one side or the other. It bears large coconuts that turn yellow or green during the early stages of ripening, then become dry and brown when fully ripe.

Royal Palms can reach up to 80 feet in height and boast massive fronds that span upwards of 15 feet in length, but has a small fruit that is typically less than one inch in diameter. Look for a beautiful light gray trunk and bright glossy crown shaft to properly identify this beauty, which is often used as decoration to line the streets and shopping plazas of the Mexican Caribbean’s most stunning destinations.

Also popular for decorative and landscaping purposes, the Queen Palm has flowing, glossy green fronds and regularly reaches heights upwards of 60 feet. Graceful and full of whimsy,Queen Palms can appear to be dancing in the breeze and they bear a tiny yellow fruit several times throughout the year.

Palm trees are one of the plants most commonly seen in Baja California second to cactus. Palm trees are found in Baja’s desert like climates where there is water and many times will signify a natural oasis. Palms have flowers and most have the characteristic leaves known as fronds. Palms (Palmas in Spanish) as they are commonly referred to are a part of the botanical family Arecaceae and include mostly trees with some shrubs that make up around 2600 different species of palms. The palms with their fronds create a wonderful relaxing clicking sound with light to medium breezes tickling the palm fronds then as the wind increases, into a wonderful swishing sound. Palms are not just wonderful plants to look at or to listen to but palms have many valuable uses as well.

Many species have edible seeds such as the date palms while some palms like the coconut actually produce more of a fruit. The coconut and the date are really drupes (hard shelled, fleshy interior containing a seed or pit) and not a nut and in the case of the coconut, which has not only the fleshy meat to eat but the water or coconut milk as well. This makes the coco palm an important source for food and water (milk) in a desert climate. It has been said without these trees in many desert climates around the world, people could not have survived.

Palms most commonly seen in Baja are the Mexican Fan Palm (indigenous to Baja) which can grow upwards of 30 meters, making it one of the tallest palm trees, the Coconut (cocotera palm brought by Jesuit Missionaries) and Date palms (also brought to Baja years ago). There are many more palms that grow in Baja, mostly for decorative purposes such as varieties of Royal, Pigmy Date, Queen, Triangle and Traveler palms to name just a few.

Palms generally grow in the tropics but can survive in areas of desert if there is water available underground such as the case in many arroyos (dry river beds with underground water) of Baja. The fact that Baja is one of the few places in the world where the tropics meet the desert, Baja has proven ideal for many varieties of palms to thrive and create large oases in some areas of Baja. San Ignacio and Muelge are a couple of small towns well known for their very large palm groves as well as the small rivers that feed them making for the classic desert oasis.

Palms in Baja not only make for decorative plants but have historically provided food from the coconut and date palms as well as lumber, roofing materials and palm rope used for construction from the Mexican Fan palm. Commonly seen Palapas were historically made with nothing but a machete as the wood beams, rafters and posts were of palm trunks for the structure and the weaving of Mexican fan palm fronds for roof thatching as well as the fronds are split and twisted to make the rope to tie it all together. These Palapa roofs are incredibly flexible and therefore durable, making them one of the best roofing materials for withstanding hurricanes. One interesting fact about harvesting the palm fronds is that it is said to be important that they are harvested on a full moon. The reason for this, is that it is believed that there are no insects in the fronds at that time. The insects of greatest concern are “polilla” which are a type of wood worm that eat the palm wood and fronds and if in the fronds that are used for a roof, a continual dust will be created as a byproduct of these insects eating the materials. These Palapa roofs were historically one of the cheapest roofs available, but with the luxury homes, hotels, restaurants and bars creating larger and larger palapas, there has become a shortage of palms, raising the price of these once inexpensive building materials.

In addition palm wood and fronds are used for making products such as bridges, furniture, carpets, mats, hammocks, fans, flooring, baskets, clothing, jewelry and much more. Palm trees also provide additional foods products in addition to the obvious coconuts and dates such as the coconut milk products, palm oils, palm hearts, and medicinal tea from the roots, for example.

So when traveling and living in Baja remember that these beautiful trees are not just great to look at and rest under but they do provide a great deal of necessary products for life in Baja. Oh and just as a reminder be sure not to sit or sleep directly under palm trees as not only the coconuts can be dangerous but the dried stiff fronds as well when they fall from the top of a palm tree well over 10 meters tall. In several areas of the tropics, legend has it that the bottom of coconut has three indentions, that legend say is the eyes of the coconut and that with these eyes the coconut can see you and will not hit you upon landing…like I said, it is a legend but not one that I would trust. Whether or not many actually people die from being hit by a falling coconut is of great debate but there have been many hurt by them.

Mexico City City Guide

Happy New Year! I’m back in Seattle after a whirlwind vacation who’s locations included San Diego, Los Angeles, and finally, Mexico City. One of my best friend’s and I spent a week touristing around the city, and while I definitely don’t feel like an expert, I wanted to put together my guide on tips for touristing, accommodations, food, and more! I’m making this a two part series – where the next post will discuss fashion. Keep reading for my Mexico City city guide.


La Condesa- Mexico City’s ‘Soho’
We stayed in La Condesa, a chic and bohemian neighborhood full of adorable bakeries, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. It definitely felt safe walking around and you get a feel for some Mexican architecture through the brightly colored buildings. We stayed with family, but it’s easy to find a chic Airbnb or stay at one of their boutique hotels.

Polanco- Mexico City’s ‘Beverly Hills’
Polanco is where you’ll find Gucci, who is next to Hermes, who is next to Louis Vuitton (you get where I’m going with this). It’s a beautiful area with some high end restaurants and shops. However, it is much more industrial looking, so really you could have picked up the area and dropped it into LA and it would have blended right in. Totally safe, but in my opinion lacks the charm of La Condesa. There are a wide variety of hotels- Hyatt, the W, etc or you could once again try the Airbnb route.


For silver: Mexico is known for having great quality silver at reasonable prices. Head over to the Mercado Insurgentes de Artesanias y Plateria for some unique and reasonable prices. Just don’t forget to negotiate! It’s located in Zona Rosa near the Angel of Independence.

For gold: The area of Zócalo in the downtown is where you’ll find shop after shop of gold jewelry. It’s a little overwhelming, but you will find some good quality gold at reasonable prices. I’m not super into the gold scene, but they had a lot of Tiffany’s, BVLGARI and Cartier replicas. So if you’re looking for something really unique you may have to really scope it out.

Luxury Shopping: If you’re coming from the US, the exchange rate is amazing right now. You can save 15-20% on luxury goods. Head over to Avenida Presidente Masaryk in Polanco for all your high end needs. While you’re there, stop for Starbucks. The one on that street is three levels and adorable for a wifi and coffee break.

General shopping: I was looking forward to checking out Massimo Dutti, Bershka, and Pull & Bear (Part of the Zara fam) which we don’t have in the US. Antara, also in Polanco is just a must-visit mall. They have all your basic brands but let’s just say for the Christmas season they had fake snow falling, and lights everywhere! It’s worth a visit just to walk around even if you don’t want to buy anything.


Teotihuacan & Xochimilco

Before heading to CDMX, we booked two tours through ‘Amigo Tours’ to visit the Teotihuacan Pyramids and the water town of Xochimilco. These two sites are must visits and I would highly recommend a tour since they’re outside of the city and hard to get to. That being said, we both agreed that we probably wouldn’t use that tour company again. The tours were around $50 per person which wasn’t too bad. However, we were brought to pre-determined lunch locations where we had to pay separately without being warned.


Everyone always talks about how big CDMX is, but it doesn’t quite set in until you’re landing and realizing there’s no way that you can actually get to all the sites by just using a taxi or uber.

We took a ‘hop on, hop off’ bus that I 100% recommend. The company is called ‘Turibus‘ and they have double decker buses that take you all over the city while explaining the history. There are four routes- Basilica, Center, Polanco, and South. Tickets are 140 pesos or about $7 US for the entire day. If you book two days, you get a 10 peso discount. We used this two days and it was a great way to see the city. You could even spend 4 days – one for each route if you wanted to get off at more stops.

Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe

La Catedral Metropolitana



I’m compiling a few of our favorite spots that are worth visiting. Disclaimer: there are tons of great places to eat in the city and we didn’t get to a lot of them due to constantly being on the go. (We had a lot of snacks that we would pick up at the bakery in the morning to hold us over since a lot of tourist areas have questionable food- we had some pretty awful tacos in the Zócalo area) But if you happen to be in these neighborhoods- check these out!

  • Matisse (breakfast & baked goods)
  • Tortas al Fuego (tacos)
  • Nonna’s (Italian)
  • Sonora Grill (High end Mexican)

Street food:

I loved the cut up mangos and coconut stands all over the city. There are also cards with fresh juice. While we loved it, it can be risky since the cleanliness factor is questionable. There are also a lot of carts with tacos, I would avoid that since you don’t know how the meat is handled. If you want some awesome tacos, but are afraid of street food, just keep an eye out for the hole in the wall joints that look like a lot of locals are at.


Getting around the city: NEVER just hop in a taxi, we are not in New York City. Taxis use a meter and if you’re a tourist they might take you the long way around and charge you more.

  • Taxis de sitio: these are taxis you can call and they will tell you a flat rate for getting from point A to point B. These are a lot better option than just a normal taxi.
  • Uber: if you have your data on, this would be the BEST option. You can check out your driver, see the route he is taking, and track your status to your destination. These tend to be cheaper than a normal taxi as well.
  • Private drivers: you could also contract a private driver through a company but this can be more logistically complicated if you’re walking around and don’t have a set agenda.

Money exchange: In the main tourist areas, there are “Casas de Cambio” (Money Exchange). Their rate is much better than the airport’s. I would recommend changing around 50$ before you head into the city (even if it’s at the airport) since you do NOT want to be stuck without pesos. Many places don’t take US dollars or credit cards.

Medication: Even if you just stick to nice restaurants, you never know how your body will react. Take Advil and anti-diheria pills with you just in case!

Safety: Like any big city in the world, be aware of pick pockets and muggers (is that a word?!) Take some precautions- don’t be opening paper maps in public (there are downloadable map apps that use no data that are discreet), don’t be carrying your big camera around your neck, and be aware of when you open and close your bag. Just be aware of your surroundings because you don’t know what could happen!

I know this was pretty long but I wanted to be very detailed! In my next post I’ll be discussing the specifics of my touristing and the must-visit sites!

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