How to Plant a Windmill Palm in a Container

Overview

Windmill palms grow well in containers with their low-light requirements and slow growth. You may find a windmill palm in the nursery under its scientific name, Trachycarpus forunei or other common names like Chinese windmill palm or Chusan palm. They can grow as high as 40 feet when planted in the ground, but normally stay between 7 and 10 feet in containers. The trunk is covered in a loose mat of course brown/gray fiber and the symmetrical crown is between 6 to 10 feet wide. These palms are often used around patios, pools and entrances to stores and malls.

Step 1

Choose a location for your palm that has partial sun and partial shade. The container can be place permanently outside in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness zones 8 through 11. Indoors, 6 hours of bright indirect light will be fine. The tree should be transplanted where the container will remain as it will be very heavy and difficult to move after planting.

Step 2

Mix one part good quality potting soil, one part peat moss and one part compost to make the soil for the tree. This will create a well draining, rich soil for the palm. Fill a third of the container with the soil.

Step 3

Carefully remove the palm from the container you purchased it in and knock off some of the soil around its roots. Set the tree in the center of the container and adjust the height so the tree will sit at the same level it was in the previous container. If it was purchased with bare roots, the soil line should still be noticeable on the trunk just above the root ball.

Step 4

Fill halfway up the roots and water to settle the soil. Then continue to fill with soil to above the root ball. Hand tamp down firmly and water thoroughly

Step 5

Water every other day for two weeks to help the roots get established. Water when the soil is dry from an inch to 2 inches deep, thereafter.

Step 6

Apply a fertilizer made especially for palm trees. Follow manufacturer's directions on amount to apply and how often depending on whether you are using slow-release spikes, granules or water-soluble fertilizer.

Things You'll Need

  • Large container with drain holes
  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Palm tree fertilizer

References

  • Sun Palm Trees: Windmill Palms--Cold Hardy Palm Trees
  • Fine Gardening magazine: Trachycarpus fortunei
  • Florida Cooperative Extension Service: Trachycarpus fortunei Windmill Palm

Who Can Help

  • U.S. National Arboretum: USDA Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: planting windmill palms, palms in containers, planting Trachycarpus forunei

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.