Windmill Palm

The Windmill Palm or Trachycarpus fortunei are one of the most popular palm trees in the USA. The Windmill Palm is regarded as cold hardy and is therefore useful in cooler states.

Suitable to grow in containers on patios with a single trunk this ornamental palm tree has a slow growth rate of a little less than 1 1/2 feet a year in good conditions.

It is a slim palm that does not drop debris,so is great for tricky landscaping areas.

Windmill palms are one of the best palm trees for cold climates as far up as Zone 6. So exactly how much cold can Trachycarpus Fortunei, or the ‘Windmill palm’ tree take?

In Switzerland they grow them in the sheltered valleys and as it is originally from Eastern China so it is used to cold winters. It produces its own insulating (hairy) trunk, is salt tolerant and in warmer areas grows well in shade. Best in USDA Zones 6-11.

Windmill Palm Care and Growing Conditions

The Windmill Palm will reach around 10-15 ft. depending on conditions and is also known as the ‘Chusan Palm’. It is not really a tree suited to windy conditions as the foliage tends to be damaged.

A well-drained soil is essential as it does not like wet feet; however, it adapts to most soil types. Windmill palms have a fibrous root system and are suited to growing in pots or containers.

In summary, a well-drained sheltered sunny position with deep soil is best, although they will cope with part shade. Windmill Palms have a trunk covered with a fiber-like covering, a symmetrical head of fan-like foliage and clusters of small, yellow flowers form long, attractive panicles in the spring.

These palms are a useful landscaping plant for around pools and patios as well as in commercial situations.

Summary Information

  • Botanical Name: Trachycarpus fortunei
  • Common Name: The Windmill Palm
  • Family Name: Arecaceae
  • USDA Zone: 6-11
  • Height: 10-20 feet
  • Spread: 8-10 feet
  • Growth Rate: Slow
  • Soil: Adaptable to any well-drained soil
  • Light: full sun to shade.
  • Humidity: Medium
  • Container Growing: Yes
  • Frost Tolerance: yes
  • Drought Tolerant: yes