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Windmill Palm - Trachycarpus fortunei
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Written by Real Palm Trees   


Gardeners will agree, the Windmill Palm is great for the Northern United States and for its durable nature to overcome most disease and insects. The Windmill Palm is also a great indoor palm tree and even greater for a Conservatory. A conservatory is technically a room made of windows also know as a Greenhouse. The Windmill Palm has similar characteristics as the Mediterranean Fan palm. They both are acclimated for cold weather and both have a fibrous trunk which keeps the cold at bay. If your outside USDA zone includes the Windmill Palm, I would definitely include this species in your landscape design. The Windmill Palm is also great for the pool area, patio, or even a Zen garden oasis. Below I have listed a few "Do It Yourself" tips for planting a palm tree in your next interior design project.

DIY - Landscape Design

Windmill Palms, like the Bismarck Palm are sought after for their elegant appeal and their diverse applications for landscape design. Windmill Palm's are tough as scale. The Windmill Palm's are very tolerant of wind and salt; they don't necessarily need protection from winds or shoreline conditions such as salt. But, protecting any plants in any harsh weather condition is important, and the windmill mill is no exception. An outdoor landscaping design concept would be to place the Windmill Palm in the center of a focal point and plant other palm-like plants around it to add extra appeal. Also, apply mulch to the surrounding areas of the focal point. There are many different types of mulch you can use. Try picking out a mulch which adds a splash of contrast to your home or landscape to which you have planted you palm tree. The Windmill Palm provides beautiful landscape to pool and Jacuzzi areas.

DIY - Indoor Design

The Windmill Palm looks great in any area which it is placed as long as common sense has been used. For example, you would not want to place the Windmill Palm slanted over the sidewalk to your home, which would be an eye sore and become very difficult to enter into your home. The windmill can be placed in a terracotta planter or large clay pot for extra appeal inside the home. The growth rate fluctuates, from small to large. Small Windmill Palms up to any average of 8 foot, tend to grow very fast in the right conditions. Large Windmill Palm's typically over 8 foot, start to grow slowly. So, be cognizant of the growth rate of the Windmill Palm, before long (say a 3- 4 years) the palm might grow out of the planter and need to be either planted in a bigger planter or transplanted outside, to a foyer area, or open area. With that being said, the Windmill Palm, has successfully been used in large open areas indoors.

Please, feel free to comment on this article. Any new design ideas, comments, or appreciation is welcomed.

Windmill Palm Overview:

Windmill Palm Tree Naming Conventions:

Palm Name: Windmill Palm - (winD-miL) (palm)
Common Name(s): Chusan palm, Chinese Windmill Palm, Windmill Palm
Botanical Name: Trachycarpus fortunei - (tray-kee-KAR-pus) (FOR-too-nee-eye)
Synonym(s): Chamaerops excelsa hort., Chamaerops fortunei hook

Windmill Palm Tree Plant Classification:

Linnaean Taxonomy SystemLinnaean Taxonomy System:

Superdomain: Neomura Palm Tree Information Theoretical Group
Domain: Eukaryota - (Eu-kary-ote) Palm Tree Information 4 Organisms - Animals, plants, fungi, and protists
Kingdom: Plantae (Plants) Palm Tree Information 3 Groups - Streptophyta (Green Plants), Rhodophyta (Red Algae ), and Glaucophyta (Green Microscopic Algae)
Subkingdom: Streptophyta (also known as Streptophytes, Metaphytes, or Viridiplantae) Palm Tree Information Green Plants
Super Division: Embryophyta (also known as Embryophytes) Palm Tree Information Land Plants
Division: Tracheophyta (also known as Tracheophytes or Tracheobionta) Palm Tree Information Vascular plants - higher plant life
Division: Spermatophyta (also known as Spermatophytes or Phanerogams) Palm Tree Information Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta (also commonly known as Angiosperms) Palm Tree Information Flowering plants
Plant Class: Monocotyledons or Monocots (also known as Monocotyledoneae or Monocotyledones) Palm Tree Information One embryonic seed leaf
Palm Family: Arecaceae - (ar-ek-AY-see-ay)
Palm Genus: Trachycarpus - (tray-kee-KARP-us)
Palm Species: T. fortunei - (for-TOON-ee-eye)

Windmill Palm Tree General Description:

The Windmill Palm is sometimes referred as the Chinese Windmill Palm and is also known as the Chusan palm. The reason for the Chinese name is given to the region where the Windmill Palm is believed to have been brought from. The Windmill Palm can be found at the foothills of the Himalyan Mountains. As such, the Windmill Palm is a cold hardy palm, which has adapted and acclimated to extreme cold temperatures through-out the year and is one of the cold hardiest of palms. Windmill Palm is very tolerant of the sun on well-drained soils and given the right environment. The Windmill Palm along with other plants should be watered regularly. The Windmill Palm looks great as a stand-alone palm tree or encompassed by smaller palms. The Windmill Palm is an exceptional palm tree for colder climates.

Windmill Palm Tree Habitat:

Palm Continent of Origin: Asia
Palm Country of Origin: China
Indoor/ Outdoor: Both
Palm North America Outdoor Hardiness: USDA Zone 7a: 5 F (-15 C) to USDA Zone 11: above 40 F (4.5 C)
Palm Europe/ UK Outdoor Hardiness: Europe Zone 7: -18C (0F) to Europe Zone 10: above -1C (30F) to 5C (40F)
Palm Cold Toleration: Approximately 0-10, F

Windmill Palm Tree Physical Appearance:

Palm Height: 20-40 ft
Palm Spread: 6 - 10 ft
Palm Trunk: The Windmill Palm Tree grows a brown fibrous trunk to weather out the cold. The fibers are coarse and rough giving the Windmill Palm a distinguishing feature.
Palm Foliage: Variance of greenish colors; deep green when fully nourished
Palm Foliage Growth Direction: Grows upward more so than outward
Palm Flowering: Bright Yellow
Palm Fruits: Brown
Palm Fruits Edible: The Windmill Palm fruit is not edible
Palm Leaf Type: Palmate

Windmill Palm Tree Growth Attributes:

Palm Speed of growth: Moderate overall; Fast when young and slow as it gets older
Palm Radial Spacing: 4-7 ft
Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Drought Toleration: Moderate
Salt Toleration: Moderate
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer

Windmill Palm Tree Caring and Maintenance:

Palm Caring: Easy, in the right environment
Soil: Use good drainage soil.
Soil Types: Acidic and Alkaline or either one
Water: Drench the palm tree with water twice a week
Fertilizer: Use 100% organic or organic based fertilizers for best results
Potting and Planting: The Windmill Palm can be potted and planted in landscapes and in interior surroundings; it requires little soil when potted, but enough soil to cover it's roots and upwards to the start of it's trunk.

Windmill Palm Tree Environmental Impact:

Windmill Palms are found scattered all over the northern regions of the continents due to their ability to ward off cold and freezing temperatures. Windmill Palms have paved the way for those who live in a cold climate to enjoy a tropical landscape. The Windmill Palm tree has few diseases or insect problems, but look for scaling. The Windmill Palm does not face any near future extinction.

Windmill Palm Tree Seed, Cultivation, and Propagation:

Palm Seed Size: The average size is less than 1 inch
Palm Seed Attributes: The seed is brown and has two round hemispheres on each side
Palm Seed Harvesting: Seeds are obtained from within the fruits. The fruits grow plentiful on the stalk.
Palm Seed Propagation: The Windmill Palm seeds typically germinate in less than 2 months. Seeds have a better chance of germinating if the process is done by human intervention.
Palm Seed Shelf Life: If properly treated and preserved, the Windmill Palm seed does have a long shelf life.
Palm Seed and Growing: The Windmill Palm can be grown indoors, in the right conditions. It can thrive when placed outside and watered regularly.

Windmill Palm Tree Nurture and Nature:

Nurture vs. Nature: Typically the Windmill palms thrive when kept under normal natural outdoor conditions, rather than nurturing in a changing foreign environment.
Palm Transplanting: Transplanting causes little shock if transplanted under the right conditions. The Windmill Palm is more shocked if transplanted from field grown to pot and lesser of a shock if transplanted from pot to outdoor transplant hole, given the right conditions. Although, these cases seem to be true, the windmill overall does very well when transplanted. Also, applying RPT transplanting fertilizer with Mycohorrizal Fungi will better the chance of survival and increase the opportunity of thriving.

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