Mexican Fan Palm Info – Learn About Growing Mexican Fan Palms

Mexican Fan Palms In The Desert
(Image credit: Nicholas Motto)

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 (24-30.5 m.). Their leaves are dark green and fan-shaped, reaching between 3 and 5 feet (1-1.5 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 (61 cm.) at the base to 8 inches (20 cm.) at the top. Due to 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 (1 m.) per year. Once they reach about 30 feet (9 m.) in height, they often begin to naturally drop their dead leaves, meaning it’s not necessary to prune away old growth.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.