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Mexican Fan Palm

Washingtonia robusta

Mexican Fan Palm


Stately and distinctive, the Mexican Fan Palm is one of the most widely grown palms in subtropical climates. The massive gray trunk is barrel shaped and ringed with old leaf scars, and my reach over 3 ft in diameter. The leaves are stiff and their cottony threads fall off with age. The petioles (leaf stems) of mature palms have curved thorns along the leaf margins. Leaves should be removed or a “petticoat” will form from the crown to the ground. The blossoms are white and yellow and produce an oblong or round red-black fruit about a 0.5 inch in diameter.

Additional Characteristics

  • A great cold hardy palm
  • Petioles (leafstems) are brown and distinctly thorny
  • Crown is dense and compact
  • Trunk is slender and can get 100 ft tall
  • Wide range of soils and climates
  • Can grow in extremely alkaline soils of 9.2 and higher
  • Responds well to fertilizer
  • Considered disease and pest free
  • Prefers full sun, but grows well in part sun to shade
  • Is drought tolerant, but benefits from regular watering
  • Can withstand frosts and freezes to 15 degrees with only minor foliage damage
  • Also known to survive as low as –11 degrees
  • Withstands extreme heat (127 degrees)


  • Plant in pool areas for residential areas
  • Use in natural and formal settings in large open areas
  • Commercially plant in street, avenue and parkland environments approximately 30 feet apart


  • Typically planted in 5, 7, 10, 15, 30, 45, 65, or 95 gal containers
  • B&B trees are specified in height (6’ – 8’ ht, etc)
  • Container trees can be double the price of B&B trees
  • Plant container trees in late summer, if price allows
  • Plant B&B trees if they were dug and cured in the winter months

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