Thursday, July 15, 2010

Windmill Palm

Photo by Dr. Tim McDowell, East TN State University Botanist of an 8 year old windmill palm (now deceased)
Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus fortunei) is not reliably hardy in the Southern Appalachian region (zones 6-7), even when planted in an outdoor protected area. An alternative is to grow in a container for ease of moving it indoors before the cold weather in late autumn arrives. Windmill palm is hardy to +15° F.

If planted in a protected garden spot, dig a hole wide twice as wide and no deeper than it came in the nursery pot. Palms, particularly those which you are trying out, are best planted in very late May. Frequent watering is crucial for a newly-planted palm. The well-drained porous soil should not be allow to completely dry out. Windmill palm should be fed bi-monthly during the warm months with a water-soluble fertilizer applications.

Windmill palm may eventually grow from 10 - 20 feet in height. Its medium green palmate leaves are circular, increasing in diameter to approximately 3 feet after 20-30 years. The trunk is covered with dense, light brown, hair-like fibers, easily damaged, and made vulnerable to insects and fungus.

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