Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Chusan Palm, Windmill Palm
Trachycarpus fortunei

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Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Trachycarpus (trak-ee-KAR-pus) (Info)
Species: fortunei (for-TOO-nee-eye) (Info)

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

30 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Category:
Palms

Height:
over 40 ft. (12 m)

Spacing:
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Foliage:
Grown for foliage
Evergreen
Smooth-Textured

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is suitable for growing indoors

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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There are a total of 95 photos.
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Profile:

42 positives
10 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive levidude69 On Jan 13, 2014, levidude69 from New Kensington, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have experimented with this palm here in zone 6b.
Planted two of them, 5 gallon size (2-3 feet tall O.H.) in May of 2012.
I have wrapped them in small Christmas lights and a moving blanket in the winter and they have come through the winters totally unscathed. The coldest in 2014 has been 7 below zero (one night) in January. I'll plant a larger one this year. I truly think this palm is tougher than we think.
They both grow at least 5-6 new leaves every year and are now developing decent trunks.

Positive AnglerAlex88 On Nov 9, 2013, AnglerAlex88 from Burns Harbor, IN wrote:

Bought a 3-4 year old Trachy in 2005 from a grower In Dallas and had it shipped to my home in the Chicago area. In spring of 06 I planted it on the south facing of my house. It stood about 3 feet tall in the ground and had no trunk. As of 2013 the trunk is roughly 6 ft with a crown reaching to 9+ ft in height.

My Trachy always gets leaf damage in winter due to my light on overwintering methods, but looks excellent by spring. To overwinter I simply place a long 2x4 vertically next to the trunk and bungee cord it at different places on the trunk to keep it steady. I secure a thick towel to the top of the wooden 2x4 to prevent the plastic sheet from tearing. Last, I drape a large piece of plastic over the 2x4 like a tent and place a few bricks at the base. In the future I will only cover the crown. The trunk gets a strand of rope lights. The whole process takes 15-30 mins tops. Overwintering starts when the first night dips below 15 or 20, usually mid-to-late December, and stays on until around March 1. Roughly 60-75 days.

The trick to trachy's is keeping them dry when it's super cold. I remember my first overwintering involved 3 garbage cans and a tarp. We saw -20F that first winter and my trachy saw only 20% leaf burn. Keep the spear especially dry. The only leaf burn I could see was in areas where snow and frost had excessively bonded to the plant during that cold snap. Otherwise snow typically does nothing besides weigh down the leaves (which looks super cool!).

Trim off any severely damaged leaves by April 1 and water this palm as much as you can. I fertilize with a palm feed by Miracle Grow once I'm spring.

I love my trachy, and 60 days inside plastic is worth the awesomeness of having a palm in Chicago!

The pic below is from winter 2011-12

http://postimg.org/image/brwxa4k9z/

Positive Benge On Apr 26, 2013, Benge from Medford, OR wrote:

We use to sell them. We have an acer of land and we have 70 planted not counting the ones in pots. We get between teens and 30 in winter they still grow in winter. We start feeding them in April with a high nitro plant food. Because we are now 80 in end of April and will be in 100 at summer we water ours a lot They all grow 12 to 18 inches a year. They even grow in winter but much slower. We loves all of ours We even have some that are triples. Which are neat too. 5 years ago we experimented with putting a 2 foot tree by one with a 4 foot trunk. We have found in every case the small one now it almost the size of larger one. They compete. We live in southern Oregon , Medford we have windmill palms all over town. Most people though don't know they like water. If you go to Mexico when you see them in desert they are always by the water. Enjoy. Benge. Medford Or

Positive RBKB444 On Nov 26, 2012, RBKB444 from Lansing, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

I love this palm. It is coming up on the third winter in the ground. It really took off this year and grew at least one foot. It produced 10 new fronds this year. I cover it in a plastic greenhouse at the end of November and remove it around the end of March. I mulch the tree well and I have a heat lamp inside the greenhouse that I turn on when the temperature is below 20 degrees. It comes through the winter beautifully. I do the same for a crepe myrtle which prevents winter die back. The palm and the crepe myrtle are just under five feet tall.

Positive Nody On Oct 22, 2012, Nody from Nijmegen
Netherlands wrote:

Last februari we had two straight weeks of below freezing temps with some nights as cold as -20 C.

Our fortunei was only half covered in straw and survived with 90% damage on the leaves. I removed them later in spring. It recovered really well with 6 new leaves and 8 cm height gain last season.

The most cold hardy palm by far.

Positive Hordur On Oct 17, 2012, Hordur from Reykjavik
Iceland wrote:

I lived in North Central FL for many years, successfully growing very tropical palms in my back yard, species that should not have thrived there, but did and now are massive palms. Now I am in the Reykjavik area in Iceland and am trying to be the first on record here to grow palms in my yard. I have a couple Trachycarpus species planted (planted in early May). I put my money on the T. fortunei. Its grown a foot in the summer (which was sunny and "warm", 60F+). Now in the second part of October it still looks fantastic, albeit we have had hardly no frost nights. Temps here rarely go below 20F, but occasionally go down into the low teens, at which point I plan on protecting it with X-mas lights and cover. During the coldest (and darkest) time of year temps range typically from 27 to 35F. All pointers from you guys are appreciated. I hope to be the first to report back with a palm surviving year round in Iceland!!

Positive kikapoo On Sep 23, 2012, kikapoo from Lebanon, CT wrote:

I live in a lebanon, connnecticut and I have 4 windmill palms planted in the ground. 2 around my patio in the back yard and 2 on the side of the house. The 2 by the patio are about 12 ft tall and the 2 on the side of the house are about 7 ft tall. I have had them for several years and they thriving more and more every day. In the winter months I haven't given them any protection what so ever. The only time I actually "protect" them is if the temp drops in the low teens and single digets. I love this palm and very happy with them. Being cold for about 5 months of the yr I thought that they would never survive northern colder climates. I have several other palms in my landscape as well including the needle palm, sago palm, a ponytail palm [ which is potted and 6 ft tall and take in the winter ] and a chinese fan palm which the fan palm I bring in when colder then 30 as it did not do well last winter. But the windmill, sago and needle palms have all done excellent thruout the cold winter months. Anyone wanted a palm and lives in colder climates. I do recomend the needle and windmill palm. With the proper care. They will last a lifetime. The only one I do not recomend is the sago palm which is poisonous to animals. But my dog does not even botther any of the plants or trees.

Positive Mike_W On Aug 30, 2012, Mike_W from Sterling, MA wrote:

I have 2 windmills that I purchased last fall. Although I should point out that they are not in the ground....yet. I am waiting for them to develop decent trunks before the true test begins. I must say though, I have been impressed so far. I left them, pots and all, outside on my patio during much of the winter and they did just fine. The coldest low last winter (2011-2012) was only zone 7b level and the ONLY time I brought the windmills in was when the temps dropped below 13'F. Even exposed to temps in the teens, these little windmills didn't have a scratch on them. This summer they have put out about 6 or 7 fronds each up to late August. Hopefully I can provide updates once they have been planted in the ground.

Neutral newgreenguy On May 13, 2012, newgreenguy wrote:

Neutral because this is not my favorite palm for warmer climates, mainly because there are many better choices. Sure, it's cold hardy, but the fronds are not proportional to the eventual height and therefore when it gets tall it loses its grace. Less than 20ft, protected from the sun, well manicured, this palm can look nice. I keep two in pots surrounded by other colorful flora.

I have seen some varieties that seem to have longer fronds and these look much nicer when they get larger. These are very common in Europe where along with the mediterranean fan palm, they do well.

Positive PhillyLover On May 6, 2012, PhillyLover from Philadelphia, PA wrote:

I have two 'Taylor Form' growing in part shade. Planted about 5 years ago from a 1 gallon side, they each have grown to 7' tall.

Petioles are very long in part shade and also possibly because they are somewhat protected from the wind. I build a simple, vented plastic enclosure around them each winter to protect them from any snowload bending the leaves downward. It also keep the crown dry which is a good thing over winter.

Positive lor3123 On Apr 29, 2012, lor3123 from Murphys Estates, SC wrote:

I planted a windmill palm last spring which looked good all summer, but has since experienced dieback with new growth barely making it out of the center before it begins to open. Any advice or idea what is happening; and what, if anything, can be done to save this plant? I've always been able to grow them easily, but this has me baffled.

Positive longjonsilverz On Mar 29, 2012, longjonsilverz from Centreville, MD wrote:

This is one of the few palms that generally do well unprotected here in the Delmarva peninsula. I have about 12 of these growing outside in my yard without any protection after about a year or two. I would recommend trying windmill palms for anyone in this area due to their amazing cold hardiness and the fact that they are pretty easy to find and inexpensive if you know where to look. In order for success however, people should note that most palms available for purchase at nurseries or lowes/home depot, etc. are from plant farms in warmer climates. (usually Florida) Therefore they need to be acclimated first before they develop their ideal cold tolerance for the north. Protecting with burlap or tree-wrap or whatever is a MUST for the first winter or two. Also, its worth mentioning that windmill palms often show a lot of leaf damage in their first winters (or from extreme cold) and they may loose all of it, including the spear. For most palms, this means it is dead, but I can say from experience that this is usually not the case with windmills and they have recovered as late as August for me in some cases. (so don't give up too soon) After acclimation, they do well unprotected in this area. (some other palms that I have had success with here around Delmarva z7 that are worth trying are Needle palm, and Dwarf palmetto.

UPDATE: The winter of 2013/14 was one of the coldest on record for this area and many windmill palms in this area have completely turned brown, and many (including all of mine) are looking dead. Palms will usually stay somewhat green until warmer weather, which is why many appear to "die" around March/April, but this is normal and part of the recovery process, and is possibly more of a sign of life than death. Just clip off any leaves that show 0% green, but keep any that have some green, even if its only a small amount. Sometimes it can take many months to recover, but when they do, it can be a great because they will have an increased immunity to cold and will tolerate a similar winter much better in the future. So don't give up too soon, as mentioned previously, sometimes it takes most of the summer before any sign of a new spear (newest leaf) begins to emerge. As of 5/7/14 only about 10% of the windmill palms in this area are showing recovery already, but that will surely increase as the summer progresses.

Positive LeesWorld On Mar 27, 2012, LeesWorld from Saint Clair, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

I love this palm! Except it's so slow growing! I've had it for three years as a seedling (it must of been less than a year old when I got it) and it's just starting to grow little fan shaped leaves instead of strap leaves. So far it has remained evergreen all though out the winters it endured except for a little leaf burn at the tips. This year I covered it with pine needles about 4in high and covered that with burlap, and it's doing pretty good. It got a good head start this year since this March has been in the mid 70's and 80's!

Positive Apalmtree On Jan 16, 2012, Apalmtree from New York, NY wrote:

This palm is the king of cold tolerant palms. Mine has survived some very cold temperatures and have actually proven more cold tolerant than Sabal Minor and Needle palms (only in my experience).
My oldest one has been in the ground for 3 winters. I protect it every year with some Christmas lights, a frost cloth, and a plastic garbage bin. It hasn't had any cold damage.
My youngest one has been in the ground for 2 winters. I only put a plastic garbage bin over it when it rains or snows. It does not recieve any other protection and survived 5F with only minor damage to the newest frond in the spring.
Great palm that is begining to gain popularity around my area. I think they can survive without protection once established in zone 7 and up and can survive in colder zones with protection.

Positive SuburbanNinja80 On Dec 13, 2011, SuburbanNinja80 from Plainfield, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

May 17,2012
Who said this Palm has No Thorns and Danger is not there? This palm does have them Least the Palm is not like the Another I know of from American Palms like the Mexican and AMerican Contal Palms. I love this Palm type hardly as Fu*k. Has to be in Every Yard in the Midwest. less you live in Zone 5a, then its not going to happen. Midwest Palm of this size need a 4 footer.

Positive bevoreno On Jul 13, 2010, bevoreno from Reno, NV wrote:

I live in Reno, NV and bought a Trachycarpus in Napa on a whim. It was my intention to try and give it a shot in zone 6a with every intention of mulching/protecting when winter came. Everyone said I was out of my mind, and honestly, last winter crept up on me quickly (always happens like that in N. Nevada) and low and behold I didn't get my Windmill protected in time. Planted it 30 feet away from the house with only morning sun exposure, thought she was dead for sure.

Fast-forward to this spring, and sure enough, after -5F BELOW and NO PROTECTION my Winmill lost all fronds and promptly came back to life this spring and is going gangbusters now!! Unbelievable- this little guy has NO business thriving right now, but sure enough, doing outstanding! I'll post pics soon, I'm totally stoked and its probably one of my best plant stories ever!! Sure hope it wasn't a fluke and this will become a yearly joyous return- in the land of no palms! Of course I will do a better job of protection this year, just in case...

Neutral kyredskin On Jun 21, 2010, kyredskin from Grand Rivers, KY wrote:

This is a great tropical plant for zone 7. I have had no problems through several winters with minimal protection (just some mulching). Slow growing for me thus far, even though it is fertilized often. Leaves on mine seem to droop and even brown with temps in the single digits. I've always left the tattered leaves through the spring and summer and the palm puts out many new ones (the spear seemed to even grow a little bit through Jan and Feb).

Positive Jackie5_0 On May 2, 2010, Jackie5_0 from Summerville, SC wrote:

I have had 2 of these for about a year and just got another one. The first 2 we got on sale for $40 pc w/ 3-4' trunks (we hadent seen any close to this size for less then $130) I was pretty novice with plants and wasnt sure how they would do being they were so cheap. Less then a year later they had already grown almost another foot. We had the coldest winter since I lived here, and we even got 6' of snow (the most in 20 years) and they still look great. I had thrown tarps over them for that night. 2 or 3 leafs of each were damaged, but they would have needed to be cut off anyway in the spring to keep it looking good. Most of the palms around here got a lot of damage from the snow, so I was supprised how good these did.
I find them pretty attractive looking, they hairy trucks arnt my fav, but out of all the palms that are hardy here I think they are some of the best. When we planted one on each side of our driveway all the neighbors told us how good they looked.
1 of them flowered and Im going to try and germinate some of the seeds from it, we'll see how that goes.

Positive purplesun On Apr 27, 2010, purplesun from Krapets
Bulgaria (Zone 8a) wrote:

Nice grower. Lost the better part of its leaves after + 3 degrees F, but is regrowing. Light bubble wrap protection during an exceptionally long winter. Sofia, Bulgaria, 2300 feet above AMSL. Z 6b?

Positive eatmyplants On Apr 21, 2010, eatmyplants from Comanche county, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

We have several of these growing in my area and they have never been killed by freezing temps. Our 2009-2010 winter temps got down to at least 10 degrees F. I uploaded a picture of this palm and a Washingtonia planted in the same area (both were planted probably 10 years ago) and you can see that the windmill palm survived unblemished and the Washingtonia (in the background) was completely killed back. The dead leaves of the Washingtonia have since been trimmed back and may put out new leaves, but it's questionable at this time. The Trachycarpus fortunei is your best choice for a palm in the central or north Texas areas. There are even more hardier palms (sabals and others), but this one is the best all-around palm. It is very attractive planted in groups or clumps with multiple trunks.

Positive Californiamike On Apr 6, 2010, Californiamike from Staten Island, NY wrote:

Have had my Windmill Palm for 2 years now in Staten Island, NY, and it has survived and thrived. It is about 3 to 4 feet tall. I built a homemade greenhouse, with clear hard plastic walls and a clear unbrella top and put hay around the base. I covered in November and uncovered it in April of 2010. It looks as great as the day I planted it. The greenhouse has withstood, several blizzards, winds up to 70 MPH from the last noreaster. My neighbors can not believe I have a palm in NYC and it is outdoors.

Positive mdtropical On Mar 11, 2010, mdtropical from Potomac, MD wrote:

I bought a windmill palm exactly one year ago from a nursery. It was fairly large and had about a foot of trunk already. Just survived it's first winter here without any protection! No damage at all, even put up a couple new shoots. Keep in mind at one point it was buried under 3 feet of snow. Zone 7a/b

Neutral HK22 On Feb 26, 2010, HK22 from Sydney
Australia wrote:

Not a very attractive looking palm, but for the freezing cold, this is a great plant. It grows easy in the Sydney region (Australia), but is not very common here (maybe because of the humid, hot summer).

Positive hardyinokc On Feb 19, 2010, hardyinokc from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

Planted an 18" seedling in 2004 (this was the "Taylor form"). Protected it the first 3 years with straw the first 3 years. Have lost the spear leaf twice, but it recovered well with sprayings of copper-based fungicide in mid-winter & early spring. Have used minimal mulching the past two winters. Does seem to appreciate having the spear leaf/growing point protected by a bedsheet during really cold, moist weather. this palm now reaches about 6' in height (with about 2-3' of this being trunk). Leaves have stayed a lovely green (although they do tend to get a more bluish-tint during extreme cold, i.e. temps below 20 degrees F).

Positive bigtfrank On Jan 15, 2010, bigtfrank from Dickinson, ND wrote:

So far my windmill palm is doing good here in Southwest North Dakota. I live in zone 4a, but this winter we have already been down to zone 3b temperatures. We have had actual low temperatures down to -32 degrees fahrenheit with windchills down to around -50. Many daytime high temperatures have also been below zero, with almost no days above freezing until last week. Also, we have about 25 inches of snow on the ground. This palm tree was purchased from Georgia and planted in May of 2009. It is 7 years old and 6.5 feet tall. This palm tree took it's first snowfall on June 9, 2009 with 3 inches of freak snow and a high temperature of 33 degrees after being in the ground for only 2 weeks. Over the summer, this palm tree also handled two severe thunderstorms with winds over 60 miles per hour which did cause some frond tearing and during the fall it sat unprotected down to 12 degrees with only minor tip leaf burn. To protect my palm tree from the harsh, windy winters, I have wrapped this palm tree with fiberglass insulation around the trunk, I tied the fronds into almost a pole and wrapped the trunk and fronds with 2 sets of 100 watt mini Christmas lights putting out 300 watts worth of heat, I then put a Burlap bag over the fronds to prevent icing, a layer of bubble wrap over that, and finally a layer of 6 mil painters plastic wrapped around all of that and taped with all weather tape. In the ground, 60 watts of heat tape under 2 layers of rubber mulch with a layer of plastic between the two layers of mulch prevents too much water from seeping in and freezing the roots. Also the top of the tree is heated by 2 sets of 100 1.5 watt mini Christmas lights providing 300 watts of heat and light underneath all the layers. We are currently in a small heat wave with a high temperature of 35 degrees above zero, on January 14, 2010 , so I checked the fronds and they are still soft and green with no spear damage. I have not watered this palm tree since October to prevent icing up the roots and rotting them out. I hope the very cold temperatures prevent the need for watering. I plan to fully unwrap the palm tree in late March or early April.

Neutral escambiaguy On Dec 1, 2009, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I must say this is probably my least favorite palm, they always look a little rough in hotter climates unless given shade. The trunks look a little odd, usually being more slender at the bottom than the top, it looks upside down. Old specimens look like an old weathered telephone pole with a few fronds at the top. If you're in a warm enough climate, Sabal palmetto or Washingtonia filifera looks much better in my opinion.

Neutral csn On Jul 22, 2009, csn from Vancouver, WA wrote:

I have two palms, three years old, in large planter boxes on my back patio. We had our harshest winter in years and both of them were pretty trashed. One of them has come back beautifully with many new branches. The other started to put up two new branches but they stopped growing and nothing has grown for almost two months. I wondered if it got enough water so I started watering it more. No difference. Is it getting too much water? They both get sun from about 9 am to 6 pm. We've had a hotter than normal July for SW Washington state.

Positive CARPE_DIEM On Mar 29, 2009, CARPE_DIEM from Chicago, IL wrote:

A good palm for containers in Chicago. Can overwinter in a passively heated spare room in the attic (temps in low 40's/high 30's F, but always above freezing) with absolutely no damage. Can be placed outside earlier in the spring, and brought inside later in the autumn.

Neutral ArchAngeL01 On Mar 15, 2009, ArchAngeL01 from Myrtle Beach, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

i use too live in zone 6 and they allways rotted:( i tried it many many times but if you want it too survive you shood buy a large mature 1 so its less likely too die:) but in zone 8b looks best in shade

Neutral gtr1017 On Mar 9, 2009, gtr1017 from Roanoke, VA wrote:

A few suggestions for better results in colder areas. Location of planting is extremely important, you want to keep these out of the wind, particularly the wind from the north. You want these in the sunniest location possible, it would be even better to have strong morning sun as the plant will warm up quicker after a cold night, reducing the duration of exposure to cold. It is important to check the center frond / fronds after extreme cold, pull on them if they pull out easily those fronds are dead, if you do not remove them, this will effect the rest of the plant, possibly kill it. I keep mine well watered in the summer, and they put out plenty of new growth.

Positive Palm_lover85 On Jul 5, 2008, Palm_lover85 from Easton, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I love this plant! I have been growing Windmill Palm now here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland for almost 5 years now and each year it is getting bigger and grows moderate speed. Each winter the fronds freezes and die back but in spring it shoot up new fresh fronds for the year. All I do is water water water and they love it! Best palm for colder climates!

Positive sasha10 On Feb 25, 2008, sasha10 from Valsolda
Italy (Zone 9b) wrote:

I absolutely love this palm. I had nothing, but success with it. Knowone grows this plant outside in Varna, Bulgaria, so I decided to try and all my Chusan palms are thriving. All the seeds I planted in the ground have germinated and are growing well.

Positive BrooklynJon On Jul 23, 2007, BrooklynJon from Brooklyn, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

My little Windmill Palm survived the coldest night of the last winter (Brooklyn, NY) without protection (my umbrella greenhouse had blown away). After a night of 12 degree F temps and high winds, it looked pretty much dead, but then recently started sending up new leaves.

Addendum:
It made it through its second Brooklyn winter (T min around 13 degrees) with less damage. I protected it with a few inches of mulch and a burlap wrap, adding an umbrella greenhouse and a couple of handwarmers on the four or five coldest nights of the year. As of mid March, it's had no leaf damage, and has some new fronds coming up. Not much of a trunk yet, but I'm hoping for some good growth this summer.

Positive imcuban2 On May 7, 2007, imcuban2 from Chicago, IL wrote:

I live in the City of Chicago and I have many palms in the ground. These guys grow fast at night and stall on hot days. This year was my first time having flowers from both my largest Trachys about 9 ft tall.

Positive tropicsofohio On Apr 5, 2007, tropicsofohio from Hilliard, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

this palm is super hardy. my young trachy survived -3F un-established(but protected) in hilliard ohio(zone 6b). it defoliated but bud did not pull out.I used a tomato cage and grasses to keep it warm.On the realy cold nights, i put it in a thin blanket . Care free. THIS PLANT IS ONE TO BE TRIED!
update...

i am comming to terms with the loss of my palm. i guss i spoke to soon, next year, i will try this palm again, but as an older tree, and i will use christmas lights and a cover(on the really cold nights)( below 7 F)
this is not the end. anyone got any other suggestions for winter protection?

Positive nick89 On Apr 13, 2006, nick89 from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Although known for its cold hardiness, Chusan Palms also perform well in Florida. Looks best in shade here, as sepcimens grown in full sun look somewhat emaciated. The inflorescences, yellow on male palms and white on female ones, appear in April in North Florida. Grows fast and tolerates some drought when established. Very popular as both a street tree and a specimen. Personally, I think it has a more "oriental" rather than tropical look to it.

Positive joegee On Jan 22, 2006, joegee from Bucyrus, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

4/22/7 Update:

The mulch around this palm froze into a solid block. Poor thing never stood a chance. I have heard straw mulch is OK for these, but not from my own experience. If it redevelops a spear it will get moved into a pot and brought in the house for the winter. If it doesn't, a t. takil is my next victim.

4/29/7 Update:

The spear pulled free today. RIP one t. fortunei. Great palm tree: poor choice of variety, poor location. I removed my zip code report. I did not purchase a specific variety of t. fortunei when I purchased mine three years ago, so I cannot say which one I killed off, but it came from north Texas.

5/29/7 Update:

The spear has regrown. Wow this is one tough, determined little palm. I am going to do it the favor of potting it and turning it into an indoor/outdoor palm. I don't have the heart to put this thing through another winter outside. :)

I'll replace it with a Sabal Minor "McCurtain."

Positive growin On Nov 19, 2005, growin from Vancouver, BC (Zone 8b) wrote:

Cool growing palm, looks best with ample water and organic loose soil. The best looking palms in town are actually facing north, west and east. It seems the lower light and being planted amongst other shrubs, the palm tends to grow larger and more luxuriant leaves. I harvest seed in March. Young palms should have growing spear protected. Xmas lights on trunk reduces frost damage and look nice.

Positive BayAreaTropics On Oct 8, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

The mistake with this palm, visually, is to plant just one. It is truly stunning in groups, or even groves. An Oakland garden has about a dozen with a path to walk through. What a difference from the one standing alone you usually see.

Neutral sylvainyang On Aug 12, 2005, sylvainyang from Edmond, OK wrote:

This palm reminds me of my home town, Canton in Southern China near Hong Kong. The whole park of Windmill Palm made Li-Wan Lake Park tropical. Probably, other palms grow in that town, as well. The town just keeps planting other less hardy palms. Local people there use its leaves to make fans before the AC became popular.

Now I moved to Oklahoma. It surprises me that this kind of Palm is so popular in both Europe and America, not its native land. Well, I bought one because I like its hairy single trunk. The strong wind of Oklahoma just tears the leaves to a fuzzy look. They grow so fast, it still looks decent, because the newer leaves keeps coming up. I switched to Wagner Palm for stiffer leaves. I still like Windmill Palm.

Positive justinmc On Mar 13, 2005, justinmc from Wichita, KS wrote:

Success here in Wichita Kansas of all places. Planted two 15 gallon and two 1 gallon windmill palms last spring. Had several weeks of single digit nights and never above freezing during the day this winter. I had the two larger ones loosely wrapped in plastic, and the small ones left open to the elements.

Took the plastic off today, and the centers are still green and unharmed. The larger leafs are fairly "fried" though. Same with the small ones. But, they did make it which makes me happy! They will look great with the musa basjoos already established in the yard. Will try to get out a picture of the tree so all can see what the winter damage looked like.

Positive DrZ On Jan 6, 2005, DrZ from Woodbury, CT wrote:

DrZ Here...this palm has survived (with protection) in my garden Zone 6a southern exposure for several years. Imagine...a palm in Connecticut! My neighbors still gawk in awe when they see it!

Neutral philomel On Sep 23, 2004, philomel from Castelnau RB Pyrenes
France (Zone 8a) wrote:

It is grown a lot here in SW France
I'd describe its flowers as rich cream rather than bright yellow.
It looks fine here in street plantings, but I took them out of my garden as I found them rather incongruous against the other shrubs and trees. Just a personal thing - I like these trees in a sympathetic setting.

Positive m20361 On Sep 22, 2004, m20361 from Fayetteville, NC wrote:


About the best arborescent (trunking) palm for the mid-South. It grows quickly, and looks best in light shade, esp. when young (sun causes the foliage to have a more yellow cast). It also does best with some wind protection to prevent damage to the foliage. In the SE, it does best in a heavier (though decently well-drained) soil.

Positive Kylecawaza On Aug 23, 2004, Kylecawaza from Corte Madera, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Although they are not too attractive, if you want a tropical looking palm, this is it for cold climates. They grow all the way up in Gothenburg, Sweden, as well as Juneau, Alaska in very protected microclimates. It would be worth a try in Anchorage, but set your hopes on failure.

Positive aviator8188 On Jul 13, 2004, aviator8188 from Murphysboro, IL (Zone 7a) wrote:

Have had success with cold hardy palms here in zone 6b/7a. I decided to try a Trachy this year, so I planted a 6 gallon sized one on April 16 of this year (2005). It has now been in the ground for 1-1/2 months and has added 2 new fronds w/ a third one on it's way! In my opinion, this palm is a relatively fast grower compared to other cold hardy palms such as Sabal minor and Rhapidophyllum hystrix. However, it grows faster in cooler temperatures (a la 50's, 60's, and 70's). It can take heat, but may not grow as quickly. Grow's fine in clay-like soils and prefers "wet feet." I've learned that it's best to plant in sheltered area's where it's not as vulnerable to windy conditions, as wind seems to damage the fronds. T. fortunei can also tolerate dry conditions as well--similiar to many palms. I would say T. fortunei is considerably hardy to 0F, so it's definitely worth try in zone 7a!

UPDATE:

Reporting today on July 10th, 2006. My Trachy survived it's first winter (unprotected), and yes, I live in Southern Illinois only 90 miles southeast of St. Louis! All of the outer fronds sustained 90% leaf burn with a low of 6F this winter (which is barely a zone 7b winter). However, the spear lived, and four brand new beautiful fronds have grown since it recovered during the spring!

Here into July, it's flourishing! The Trachy has lived up to it's reputation. It's hardy well into zone 7, even in its first winter! Granted, I planted it early in the year last spring to give it plenty of time in the ground, it still proved itself to be extremely cold hardy---especially for a palm as beautiful as the fortunei!

All of my Rhapidophyllum hystrix's and Sabal minor's are flourishing as well! They've all put on significant new growth! As a matter of fact, this is their 3rd summer in the ground unprotected!

Zach

Positive Rikki01 On May 5, 2004, Rikki01 from colchester
wrote:

Sir, as I live in the U.K., I thought it would be impossible to grow palms in my garden, but have bought a small chusan from the local garden centre. It was only 1ft. tall, but I put it in the ground anyway. The garden centre told me if it survives it's first winter, it should be ok. Here we are 5 years later, and it is now 9ft. tall with a spread of six ft. My tree is only fed in early spring with a common tree/bush feed.

Positive mungoj On Feb 15, 2004, mungoj from Murfreesboro, TN wrote:

I live in zone 6b; Murfreesboro, TN. I had one of these plants a few years ago and it lived four years until we had an unusually cold spell and killed the plant. I planted another last spring and so far its holding its own with onlyminor foilage burn this winter. Four more weeks until spring lets hope for warmer weather.

Positive LBM On Aug 4, 2003, LBM wrote:

We were informed that the Trachycarpus Fortunei was grown outside in the botanical garden of Copenhagen, Denmark. The oldest palm grown outside in the garden (never to be taken inside the greenhouse in wintertime), is about 20 years old and has resisted temperatures as low as -20 deg. celcius and is now about 4 m tall. We bought a small one to grow in our garden and are looking forward to seeing if it'll survive its first cold and snowy danish winter outside.

Positive timplatts On Jul 19, 2003, timplatts from vancouver, BC (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is a great palm for the Pacific NorthWest. We live in Zone 8 in Vancouver, BC and have 3 growing in our garden. They don't mind our winter rains and have survived several cold winters and some snowfalls. Our tallest is now about 12 feet high, starting from about 3 ft high six years ago. We do nothing to protect them in the winter, but water them regularly in our dry summer months. There are many planted along English Bay beach in downtown Vancouver and they flower and produce seed regularly.

Positive palmbob On Jul 8, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Also commonly referred to as the Windmill Palm, since its stiff, perfectly symmetrical leaves often vibrate in the breeze, looking a bit like they're spinning. This is one of the most commonly planted palms in all over California, on up to Washington, and even some growing in Vancouver, Canada.

It forms a wonderfully 'hairy' fibrous trunk that is idea for planting bromeliads and tillandsias on (until the palms gets very tall). Once over about 20', the fibre starts to fall off exposing a trunk of only 4-6" in diameter. It is one of the faster growing palms in Southern California, though most would still consider it a slow growing plant.

As the name, Chinese Windmill Palm suggests, this is a native of China. It has been in cultivation as long if not longer than any other palm in the world. The more newly discovered palm, Trachycarpus takil, is a dead ringer for this one, only it is from India. There is a lot of debate about whether the two are really different species. T fortunei is a very variable tree from small and lithe, to monstrous.. and sometimes grows with a twisted hastula, the hallmark identifying morphological factor that sets T takil apart from this one... oops.. so far is appears most 'large' takils are really this species (or some hybrid thereof brought on by many generations of growing this palm throughout the world).

On the negative side, this palm is often planted along highway medians and malls and given little, if any, water. Without proper water and fertilization this palm can look horrible, and often does, giving it the common nickname amongst California palm growers: Trashycarpus.

Neutral Baa On Oct 25, 2001, Baa wrote:

Evergreen palm thought to originate from sub-tropical Asia. Potential height is 70+ft and a spread of 8ft.

Has large fans of dark green leaves separated into linear, pointed leaflets the whole fan can reach over 2.5ft long. When mature they may bear yellow flowers in pendant panicles upto 2ft or more.

Flowers June-August.

Likes a well drained, fertile soil in a sheltered position. Likes to be in full sun but will cope with partial shade too.

Surprisingly hardy to a minimum temperature of 23F and is often seen growing in Britain especially on the coastlines.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (3 reports)
Grenoble,
Decatur, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Queen Creek, Arizona
Lonoke, Arkansas
Malvern, Arkansas
Antioch, California
Canoga Park, California
Corona, California
Fallbrook, California
Granite Bay, California
Hayward, California
Hesperia, California
Lake Elsinore, California
Martinez, California
Merced, California
Rancho Cucamonga, California
Reseda, California
San Leandro, California
San Mateo, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Union City, California
Clifton, Colorado
Stamford, Connecticut
Woodbury, Connecticut
Bethany Beach, Delaware
Milford, Delaware
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Washington, District Of Columbia
Auburndale, Florida
Eustis, Florida
Hampton, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Lake Worth, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Trenton, Florida
Atlanta, Georgia (2 reports)
Luthersville, Georgia
Macon, Georgia
Newnan, Georgia
Palmetto, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Plainfield, Indiana
Portage, Indiana
Wichita, Kansas
Tiline, Kentucky
Coushatta, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Schriever, Louisiana
Vacherie, Louisiana
Bishopville, Maryland
Centreville, Maryland
Cockeysville, Maryland
Easton, Maryland
Fallston, Maryland
Potomac, Maryland
Silver Spring, Maryland
Stevensville, Maryland
Sterling, Massachusetts
Gladwin, Michigan
Lansing, Michigan
Saint Clair, Michigan
Sterling Heights, Michigan
Columbus, Mississippi
Natchez, Mississippi
Saint Peters, Missouri
Las Vegas, Nevada
Reno, Nevada
Sparks, Nevada (2 reports)
Mont Vernon, New Hampshire
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
Brooklyn, New York (4 reports)
South Richmond Hill, New York
Staten Island, New York (2 reports)
Durham, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina (2 reports)
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Rolesville, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Perrysburg, Ohio
Ada, Oklahoma
Jay, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (3 reports)
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Cottage Grove, Oregon
Medford, Oregon
Portland, Oregon (2 reports)
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
Coatesville, Pennsylvania
Greencastle, Pennsylvania
New Kensington, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Beaufort, South Carolina (2 reports)
Bluffton, South Carolina
Camden, South Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Florence, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Lexington, South Carolina (2 reports)
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina (2 reports)
Sumter, South Carolina
Birchwood, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Brownwood, Texas
De Leon, Texas
Rowlett, Texas
Amherst, Virginia
Arlington, Virginia
Chantilly, Virginia
Fort Lee, Virginia
Goode, Virginia
Lynchburg, Virginia
Mechanicsville, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Roanoke, Virginia
Sterling, Virginia
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Artondale, Washington
Bonney Lake, Washington
Bremerton, Washington
Des Moines, Washington
Felida, Washington
Kent, Washington
Kirkland, Washington
Lea Hill, Washington
Olympia, Washington
Quilcene, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Tacoma, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Vashon, Washington
White Center, Washington



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