Windmill palm, or Trachycarpus, is one of the palm trees that best resist the cold – perfect for our temperate climates!
Key facts to remember
Name – Trachycarpus fortunei
Formerly – Chamaerops excelsa
Family – Arecaceae
Type – tree, palm
Height – 30 to 35 feet in the ground, 6 to 9 feet in pots (10 to 12m and 2 to 3m)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – rich enough
Foliage – evergreen
Flowering – May to June
Clearly adapted to growing outdoors, both in pots and in the ground, you’ll find this one appealing for its beautiful foliage and ease of care.
Planting windmill palm
Planting directly in the ground:
- Find for it a very sunny spot.
- Follow our planting advice.
This palm, like most others, loves having very well-draining soil. Make sure to increase drainage by adding sand, clay pebbles, or other similar amendments to your garden soil.
Growing in pots
- Anticipate having to water regularly in summer so that the soil mix never gets completely dry.
- Give the plant good light, but if you’re in warmer regions, it’s best to avoid scorching locations.
Caring for windmill palm
Luckily, most specimens purchased in garden centers won’t need any pruning at all.
- After that, eliminate dead, dried out and yellow branches whenever you notice them.
Types of windmill palm
- Nepalese fan palm
- Chinese windmill palm
- Chusa palm (from an island in China where it’s native to)
- hemp palm (because of the strands on leaves)
Trachycarpus wagnerianus, the “Waggie”
A dwarf sub-variety of Trachycarpus fortunei is T. wagnerianus. It’s shorter and slower-growing than the original species. When comparing T. fortunei versus T. wagnerianus, the latter has stiffer leaves that are smaller in size, making it a better choice in windy locations and in smaller gardens.
Good to know about the windmill palm
The hardiest of all palm trees succeeds in resisting winters very well, even temperatures dropping to the 5 to 14 °F range (-15 to -10°C). It has even been reported to survive -5°F (-22°C)! Native to China, this palm tree grows gigantic leaves that reach to nearly 6 feet long (1.5 meters).
- Growth is relatively slow at the beginning, but then it tends to speed up as years go by.
The advantage of this palm tree is that, overall, it grows rather fast.
Mulching in summer will help it retain the moisture it needs.