Windmill Palm

Names Windmill Palm
Scientific Name Trachycarpus fortunei
Hardy Zones 8a-11
Height 10-20 ft at maturity
Growth Slow growth, copious water increates rate
Light Requirements Full sun to partial shade
Water Requirements Stays alive during periods of drought but does not grow
Cold Hardy Yes
Windmill Palm – Click to Enlarge

This sturdy and easy-going palm tree requires very little maintenance and is extremely hardy. The windmill palm can handle extreme temperatures and thrives in both urban and suburban settings.

The windmill palm has a narrow brown trunk that widens slightly near the crown and is covered with coarse brown fibers. The leaves are fan-shaped, deeply segmented and are held aloft on long, spiked leaf stems. The fronds are bright to dark green with silvery undersides and march around the top of the tree in a balanced pattern.

The windmill palm can reach heights of 20 to 40 feet with a crown 10 to 15 feet wide. It is fast-growing in good soils and prefers some shade. Although it is remarkably drought tolerant, it grows faster and shows better color in uniformly moist but not soggy locations.

The windmill palm can be grown in pots on condominium balconies near busy streets or in sheltered suburban gardens. It doesn’t mind a little salt exposure and is suitable for coastal planting near but not in the sand. Its slender trunk and compact crown make this palm particularly attractive when planted in groups of three or more, with smaller trees clustered around larger ones.