Desert Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera)


Desert Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera)

Features

A beautiful palm native to southwestern North America. This tree is often referred to as the “California Fan Palm”. Bold, fan-shaped foliage adds a tropical touch to the landscape. Fan palms provide wonderful height and texture and do very well in urban settings, whether planted individually or as a grove in a larger landscape.

Uses

Suitable for urban settings and lawns. Because it is a narrow tree, grouped plantings are very striking in large, open areas. A popular street tree in frost-free climates.

Plant Feed

Slow release fertilizer designed for palms.

Watering

Water 2 - 3 times per week until established.

Soil

Organic-rich, well-drained soil.

Basic Care Summary

Remove dead leaves to keep plant tidy and eliminate old, dry foliage as potential fuel in areas prone to wild fires. Drought tolerant, but grows best when given water during dry spells.

Planting Instructions

Plant in spring or early fall to give plants the best start.



Choose a location that will allow roots to spread and branches to grow freely. Space plants far enough from building foundations, walls, and decks so that the growing foliage won't crowd the structure. Consider whether tall trees or shrubs will block windows or interfere with the roof or power lines.



To prepare the planting area dig a hole as deep as the root ball and three times as wide. After removing the soil, mix it with some compost or peat moss. This enriches the soil and loosens the existing dirt so that new roots can spread easily.



To remove the plant from the container, gently brace the base of the plant, tip it sideways and tap the outside of the pot to loosen. Rotate the container and continue to tap, loosening the soil until the plant pulls smoothly from the pot. The container can also be removed by carefully cutting it down the side.



Set the plant in the hole. If the root ball is wrapped in burlap fabric this must now be removed along with any string or wire securing the burlap. If roots are tightly packed gently rake them apart with your fingers.



Return the soil to the planting area packing it firmly around the root ball. Fill the hole until the soil line is just at the base of the plant, where the roots begin to flare out from the main stem.



Water the plant well then add a 2” (5cm) layer of mulch, such as shredded bark, around the planting area. Keep the mulch at least 4” (10cm) away from the trunk of the plant as this can keep the bark too moist and cause it to decay.

Watering Instructions

Depending on rainfall, new plants need to be watered weekly through the first growing season. A slow, one-hour trickle of water should do the job. During hot spells thoroughly soaking the ground up to 8” (20 cm) every few days is better than watering a little bit daily. Deep watering encourages roots to grow further into the ground resulting in a sturdier plant with more drought tolerance.



To check for soil moisture use your finger or a hand trowel to dig a small hole and examine the soil. If the first 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, it is time to water.



Monitor new plants through the first two years to make sure they are getting the moisture they need. After that they should be sturdy enough to survive on their own.

Fertilizing Instructions

Established trees should be fertilized every 2-3 years. Feed in early spring when plants start growing.



Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Determine which application method is best for the situation and select a product designed for trees and shrubs, or go with a nutritionally balanced, general-purpose formula such as 10-10-10.



Always follow the fertilizer package directions for application rates and scheduling. Over-fertilizing plants or applying at the wrong time during the growing season can result in plant injury.

Pruning Instructions

Pruning may be needed to remove dead branches, encourage bushier growth, promote more flowers, or maintain a specific size or shape.

Plant Details

Available Colors: White
Bloom Time: Summer
Height Range: 50-70' (15.2-21.3m)
Space Range: 8-15' (2.4-4.6m)
Lowest Temperature: 40° to 50°F (4° to 10°C)
Plant Light: Full Sun
Companion Plants: Heliconia, Bird of Paradise, Oleander
USDA Zone: 11-12

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Desert Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera)