The hardiest and most wanted palm tree across North America, the Windmill Palm Tree has been and will be the trusted palm to endure the cold winter nights. The Windmill Palm Tree originates from the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, which are known for its freezing temperatures.
In order for the Windmill palm Tree to resist the freeze, it grows a thick fibrous husk around its trunk. This fibrous husk keeps the heart of the Windmill Palm Tree from freezing.
With proper watering and fertilizing, the Windmill Palm Tree slowly matures to a height of 15 to 20 feet and can spread its frond to 3 to 5 feet.
One of my favorite palms. The windmill palm is readily used now in northern states. Seen in many hotels and resorts the Windmill Palm culd add that touch of the tropics to any garden. It is considered the hardiest and most wanted palm tree across North America. The Windmill Palm Tree Trachycarpus fortunei has not shown any sign of weakness here. The Chinese Windmill Palm is slow growing, especially when compared to the California Fan Palm that can be seen in the background. The Trachycarpus fortunei trunks are hairy and slender. The fronds are very close to being thorn free. This is a big plus if you work around many palms. Most palms make you pay in blood at one time or another. Trachycarpus fortunei is solitary. I have not seen a Windmill Palm put out pups. This makes maintenance much easier. Trachycarpus fortunei will grow a foot or less per year. At the beginning the seems like a detraction, but after a few years of trying to dispose load after load of fronds this can be a big plus in a hurry.
Windmill Palms are considered a more expensive palm because it is very slow growing. You may be able to see a foot of growth in a few years, which is really slow.
A Windmill palm of heights of 5-6 feet could take up to 15 years to grow.Taller windmill palms could be as old as 30 years.
The benefits of the Windmill Palm Tree are endless, whether its to add personality or the sense of the tropics. Some of the qualities that make the Windmill Palm Tree a favorite are:
- The Windmill Palm Tree’s ability to withstand the cold.
- The Windmill Palm Tree’s interesting fibrous husk.
- The Windmill Palm Tree’s vibrant green crown.
- The Windmill Palm Tree’s ability to withstand times of drought.
- The Windmill Palm Tree’s ability to adapt to its new environment
- The Windmill Palm Tree’s ability to withstand common diseases
- The Windmill Palm Tree’s ability to withstand the cold.
- The Windmill Palm Tree’s ability to continue growing upwards.
Botanical name: Trachycarpus fortunei
Common Names: Windmill Palm, Chusan Palm, Chinese Windmill Palm
Origin: Southeastern China, Taiwan and the Chusan Islands
Growth rate: The growth rate of the Windmill Palm Tree is slow, usually 6 inches a year.
Mature Height: The Windmill Palm Tree usually grows to a height between 15 to 20 feet.
Leaf Type: The Windmill Palm Tree has Pinnate Leaves. (Fan Leaves)
Maintenance: The Windmill Palm Tree is very easy to maintain.
Palm Tree can be potted: Yes, the Windmill Palm Tree can be potted
Trachycarpus fortunei (Chusan Palm, Windmill Palm or Chinese Windmill Palm; syn. Chamaerops fortunei Hook., T. wagnerianus Becc.) is a palm native to central China (Hubei southwards), south to northern Burma.
It grows to 15 m tall on a single stem up to 20-35 cm diameter. The trunk is very rough with the persistent leaf bases clasping the stem as layers of coarse fibrous material. It is a fan palm (Arecaceae subfamily Coryphoideae, tribe Livistoneae, subtribe Rhapidinae), with the leaves with the long petiole bare except for two rows of small spines, terminating in a rounded fan of numerous leaflets; each leaf is 140-190 cm long, with the petiole 60-100 cm long, and the leaflets up to 90 cm long. it is a somewhat variable plant, especially as regards its general appearance and some specimens are to be seen with leaf segments having straight and others having drooping tips. The flowers are yellow (male) and greenish (female), about 2-4 mm across, borne in large branched panicles up to 1 m long in spring; it is dioecious, with male and female flowers produced on separate trees. The fruit is a yellow to blue-black, reniform (kidney-shaped) drupe 10–12 mm long, ripening in mid autumn. Occasionally it occurs that a male plant of T. fortunei besides the usual spadices produces also a few other spadices which carry really hermaphroditic flowers. The hermaphroditic and completely fertile flowers are almost exactly like the male flowers, but are a little larger and with the carpels well evolute, the latter about as long as the filaments, furnished with a ring of silvery hairs all round.
Although not the northernmost naturally occurring palm in the world (Chamaerops humilis grows further north in the Mediterranean region, and Rhapidophyllum and some Sabal species further north on the Atlantic coast of North America), it is one of the hardiest, as it grows at much higher altitudes, up to 2,400 m in the mountains of southern China. This brings it into a climate not only with cold winters, but also cool, moist summers; while Rhapidophyllum may possibly tolerate slightly lower temperatures in winter, it needs much greater summer heat to grow successfully.
Trachycarpus fortunei has been cultivated in China and Japan for thousands of years, grown for its coarse but very strong leaf sheath fibre, used for making ropes, sacks, and other coarse cloth where great strength is important. The extent of this cultivation means that the exact natural range of the species is uncertain.
This palm was brought from Japan (Dejima) to Europe by the German physician Philipp Franz von Siebold in 1830. The common name refers to Chusan Island (now Zhoushan Island), where Robert Fortune first saw cultivated specimens of the species that was later named after him. It was first described by Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius in 1850 in his Histroia Naturalis Palmarum but under the false name of Chamaerops excelsa.
Its tolerance of cool summers makes it highly valued by palm enthusiasts as the palm that can be cultivated the furthest north in the world, being grown successfully in such cool and damp but relatively winter-mild locales as Scotland and the panhandle of Alaska. It is commonly grown in gardens in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, the Pacific Northwestern United States, and coastal regions of the Canadian province of British Columbia, as well as extreme south locations, such as Tasmania. It does not however grow well in hot climates. The greatest reported cold tolerance is −27.5 °C (−17.5 °F), survived by four specimens planted in Plovdiv, Bulgaria during a severe cold spell on 6 January 1993 and placing it hardy to USDA Zone 7; more commonly lower tolerance limits of −15 °C to −20 °C (5 °F to −4 ºF) are cited for mature plants. Young plants are less hardy, and can be damaged by only −8 °C (17.6 °F).
The plant formerly sometimes treated as a separate species T. wagnerianus is a small-leafed variant of this species selected in cultivation in China and Japan.
The names Chamaerops excelsus and T. excelsus have occasionally been misapplied to T. fortunei; this is correctly a synonym of Rhapis excelsa, with the confusion arising due to a misunderstanding of Japanese vernacular names.
The cold hardy Windmill Palm is sometimes referred as the Chinese Windmill Palm and is also known as the Chusan palm. The Windmill Palm can be found at the foothills of the Himalyan Mountains. As such, the Windmill Palm is a cold hardy palm, which has adapted and acclimated to extreme cold temperatures through-out the year and is one of the cold hardiest of palms. Windmill Palm is very tolerant of the sun and tolerant of partial shade. Enjoys well-drained soils and can grow is virtually any environment given the right care and maintenance. Over time the Windmill Palm will become virtually maintenance free. Chinese Windmill Palms are a common landscape sight throughout most of Europe, the United States, and Canada. The Windmill Palm along with other plants should be watered regularly. The Windmill Palm looks great as a stand-alone palm tree or encompassed by smaller palms. The Windmill Palm is an exceptional palm tree for colder climates. Gardeners will agree, the Windmill Palm is great for the Northern United States and for its durable nature to overcome most disease and insects. The Windmill Palm is also a great indoor palm tree and even greater for a Conservatory. The Windmill Palm has similar characteristics as the Mediterranean Fan palm. They both are acclimated for cold weather and both have a fibrous trunk which keeps the cold at bay. The Windmill Palm is also great for the pool area, patio, or even a Zen garden oasis.
This palm tree will make a great addition to any home office or landscape. It will give a sense of the tropics with little cost. Its time to go green and buy real palm trees. Palm trees are also great for indoors because they act as a natural humidifier and detoxifier by removing Carbon Monoxide and replacing the air with fresh Oxygen. Real Palm Trees make a home feel like home by giving you the feel of nature inside or out. Buy this palm tree and have a piece of unspoiled nature.
Landscaping with the cold hardy Windmill Palm Tree is quite simple. All you need is the area and your imagination to create an oasis in your yard. Ideally, the Windmill Palm Tree stands out by itself, but if ground shrubs are needed, keep in mind they would have to be shaded ground shrubs. Also, the Windmill Palm Tree has a radial spacing of 5 to 10 feet. The radial spacing is needed because the Windmill Palm Tree’s fronds dart horizontally so any other tree or plant, placed close together, will prevent the Windmill Palm Tree from developing upright.
A great bonus to the Windmill Palm Tree is its ability to withstand times of drought, and this gives you more choices with planting different types of plants or flowers.
The Windmill Palm Tree makes for a great potted tree. As long as you place it near a window or replace a regular bulb with a grow light, the Windmill Palm Tree will thrive. Picking out a pot for the Windmill palm tree is a great learning opportunity or activity for a family or couples. You can purchase a normal pot and use your creative abilities to paint the pot to coordinate with the room or environment. So go ahead, let your imagination run wild!