Although many species of palms grow to staggering heights, the Washingtonia is truly a giant among palm trees. This bushy beauty can reach an awe-inspiring 100 feet. Most Washingtonia palms used in commercial and residential landscaping never attain that height.
The Washingtonia is a fast grower. Its sturdy trunk is wider at the base and gently narrows toward the crown. The bright green fronds are broad, fan-shaped and held in an upright posture on spiked orange leaf stalks. Dead fronds tend to linger on the tree, creating the distinctive thatched “hula skirt” look familiar from television and movies. While dead fronds can create a nuisance in California and other areas, the humidity and frequent breezes of the Miami climate often encourage the fronds to detach without outside effort.
Washingtonia thrives in somewhat fertile well-drained soils but this palm will grow in just about any soil medium, even sand. To inhibit excessive growth, plant the Washingtonia in partial shade. As with many palms, the Washingtonia will survive drought and some neglect but looks better and grows more quickly with regular care.
Full-sized trees are appropriate for street planting without power lines or for accenting the architecture of large hotels or residences.