CHINESE FAN PALM
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In my opinion, immature specimens of this fan palm are as attractive as the mature plants. Evidently, others share this view. It is becoming common to see young Chinese fan palms used in masses as ground cover in both outdoor landscapes and interiorscapes – especially in shopping malls. A dwarf variety, Livistona chinensis subglobosa, is available and is used just for that purpose. This is not to say that mature specimens are unattractive, just the opposite. The large bright green fan-shaped leaves are deeply divided into about 75 segments that droop downward to give a gracefully fountain-like aspect inspiring its common name Chinese fountain palm. These leaves may grow up to 5 ft (1.5 m) in diameter and form a dense canopy on a solitary brown trunk that bleaches to gray on older specimens.
Trunks grow to about 18 in (46 cm) in diameter and are wider at the base. This palm is occasionally seen in Florida, slowly growing to a height of 30 ft (9 m). This Livistona can grow to 50 feet in its native habitat but is more commonly seen at heights of from 15 to 25 ft (4.6-7.6 m). Flowers are borne on 6 ft (1.8 m) inflorescences hidden within the crown and are followed by oval or round seeds that turn dark blue to blue-gray when ripe
“Note from Joel”
You will hear many say this often, “this is one of my favorite palms.’ I have some unusual reasons for my pleasure in the Chinese Fan Palm. I love the rings around the trunk as this tree ages and the old frond boots are removed. I also love the bright red, black, and purple colors of the seeds. You have to be careful to remove the seed pods before the seeds start releasing, or some of the seeds might propagate. You do not want this to happen.
Common Names: Chinese fan palm, Chinese fountain palm. Family: Arecacea (palm Family)
Chinese fan palm is not particular about soil. Fertilize twice a year in spring and summer with a good quality slow release fertilizer that contains micro-nutrients.
Light: Likes direct sun and bright situations. Young plants look better when grown in part shade.
Moisture: This palm forms a long tap root and can survive extended periods of drought. Provide adequate moisture for more rapid growth.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 – 11. This palm may be hardier than Zone 8 where I have grown several for more than 20 years. Sheltered under live oak trees, these specimens routinely survive temperatures in the mid-twenties with no ill effect. They have survived temperatures as low as 15 degrees which burnt the leaves but they recovered and all are still flourishing! They also seem resistant to the fungus diseases that attacked other “semi-hardy” palms after sustaining cold damage.
Propagation: By seed. If kept warm, they will germinate in about 2 months time.