Windmill Palm Facts

The Windmill palm is one of the cold hardiest palm trees in cultivation, capable of withstanding severe freezes with no damage. This cold hardy palm will even withstand snow coverage! Hot tropical climates below zone 10b, are not to this species liking. 


Windmill Palm Characteristics

Scientific Name: Trachycarpus fortunei

Common Names: Windmill palm, Chinese Windmill palm

Origin: China

USDA Hardiness Zone: 7b-10b ( Thought to be hardy to approx 5°F )
As with most palms, covering and insulating palms during extreme cold temperatures will give the palm the best chance to survive when they are out of their preferred zone. Some success in parts of zone 6 if covered during extreme weather. Keeping the bud area of the palm from freezing water is key. This happens many times when snow melts and followed by freezing temps.

Growth Rate: Moderate (Slow in hot climates)

Height: 25' on average. Some specimens have reached 40', but it is very rare.

Salt Tolerance: Low to Moderate

Drought Tolerance: Moderate

Soil Preferences: Widely adaptable

Light Requirements: Moderate to high (partial shade to full sun)

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate

Propagation: Seed, germinating in two months

Human Hazards: None (The teeth on the petioles are very small)

Pest Problems: None reported

Disease Problems: Moderately susceptible to lethal yellowing
(USDA Hardiness Zones 10-11 only), phytophthora bud rot (rare)
Windmill Palms can grow in Zone 11 but is not to this palms liking.

Leaf Size: About 3' feet wide and 1.5' - 2.5' feet long (Full grown)

Foliage Color: Dark green

Trunk: Slender, covered with dark brown fibers

Petiole: 2-3.2' feet long, toothed on the margins



Transplanting Windmill Palms

Successful tree planting does not happen by chance, it requires thought, planning and attention to detail. Success does occur more frequently than failure. But failure and less-than-desired results are the results of many tree-planting ventures every year, resulting in the loss of time, effort and money.

Windmill palms can be transplanted at any time of the year, however they will establish themselves faster and with fewer problems if they are transplanted in the spring and summer. Windmill palms that have been established from spring or summer planting can resist the cold temperatures better, this is mostly important in the borderline areas. 


Preparing the soil

Windmill palms are widely adaptable, and can be transplanted in most soils, however clay and hard rocky soil should be removed and replaced with a soil amendment. Dig the hole out at least 1'-2' foot larger than the root ball, and back fill with a good potting soil mix.


Windmill Palm Placement

Plant the palm to the top of the root zone. It is very important that palm trees are not planted too deep. Add or remove soil until the palm tree is at the correct height, then add water as you back fill the soil. The water will ensure that no air pockets are trapped in the soil and will establish a good union between the newly planted palm and the existing soil.


Watering Windmill Palms

Watering is very important to the survival and health of the newly transplanted palm. Keep the soil damp, but do not over water. 
Over watering can encourage root diseases. After the palm has been watered in good from being transplanted, all that is needed is to keep the soil damp. Since the top layer of earth will dry up first, it is very easy to scratch the surface and check the dampness of the soil. If the surface is damp no water is needed.


Mulching Windmill Palms

Mulching around the palm after it has been planted has the following known advantages. 

1. It will keep moisture in the soil longer (Less watering) 

2. It will help your palm stand out with a decorative look. 

3. Breaks down fertilizer when placed under the mulch.

4. It will reduce weeds from growing while it enriches the soil. 

Cypress Mulch and Pine Straw are popular types of mulch. 

Be sure to replace the mulch as it decomposes.



Fertilizing Windmill Palms

Fertilizer is essential for fast growth and maintaining healthy palm trees. This is not hard to accomplish with a fertilizer program Use a slow release fertilizer that has a 3-1-3 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium and apply every 3-4 months. Keeping your palms with a thriving tropical look!