Mexican fan palms are very tall palm trees native to northern Mexico. They are attractive trees with wide, fanning, dark green leaves. They are especially good in landscapes or along roadways where they are free to grow to their full height. Keep reading to learn more about Mexican palm care and how to grow a Mexican fan palm tree.
Mexican Fan Palm Info
The Mexican fan palm (Washingtonia robusta) is native to the deserts of northern Mexico, though it can be grown through much of the American South and Southwest. The trees are hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11 and Sunset zones 8 through 24. They tend to grow to a height of 80 to 100 feet (24-30 m.). Their leaves are dark green and fan shaped, reaching between 3 and 5 feet (0.9-1.5 m.) wide.
The trunk is reddish brown, but with time its color fades into gray. The trunk is thin and tapered, and on a mature tree it will go from a diameter of about 2 feet (60 cm.) at the base to 8 inches (20 cm.) at the top. Because of their large size, Mexican fan palm trees aren’t really suited to gardens or small backyards. They also run the risk of breaking and uprooting in hurricane prone areas.
Mexican Palm Care
Growing Mexican fan palms is relatively easy, as long as you’re planting in the right conditions. Although Mexican fan palm trees are native to the desert, they grow naturally in pockets of underground water and are only somewhat drought tolerant.
They like full sun to partial shade and well-draining sand to loam type soil. They can tolerate both slightly alkaline and slightly acidic soil.
They grow at a rate of at least 3 feet (0.9 m.) per year. Once they reach about 30 feet in height, they often begin to naturally drop their dead leaves, meaning it’s not necessary to prune away old growth.