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Common Name:

Mexican Fan Palm

Scientific Name:

Washingtonia robusta

Family Name:

Palmae (Arecaceae)

Description:

Mexican Fan Palms are the tallest and fastest growing of the widely planted palms in Texas, but are unfortunately not as cold hardy as most of the other palm species planted in Texas. While frequently listed as cold hardy in USDA zone 8, damage is common and occasional cold winters may wipe them out. Washingtonia filifera is a shorter , stockier, more cold hardy version of W. robusta, but is unfortunately much slower growing, harder to obtain, and is more expensive. Worth planting with a knowledge of its limitations. Attractive as a tropical accent, possible street tree, high light interiorscapes, or in theme gardens.

Plant Habit or Use:

Medium tree, large tree, tropical, interiorscape

Exposure:

sun, partial sun

Flower Color:

Small white flowers on pendent inflorescences, not particularly ornamental

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer

Fruit Characteristics:

Small blue-black to brown-black berry-like fruit

Height:

50 ft to 60 ft over time, 100 ft possible but seldom acheived as they tend to become living lightening rods

Width:

10 ft to 15 ft crown, 1 ft+ diameter trunk

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Low Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Medium Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

USDA Hardiness Zones:

9, 10, 11

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Quite adaptable aside from cold limitations, moderately salt tolerant. Wicked thorns on leaf stalks are a major maintenance liability.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.