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Care for a Chinese Fan Palm

The Chinese fan palm (Livistona chinensis) is an upright palm tree that’s native to southern Japan and Taiwan. Usually grown indoors as a houseplant, the Chinese fan has an open growth habit and can reach more than 12 feet in height and width. Due to the Chinese fan palm’s large mature size, the tree is often container-grown and kept in larger rooms. You can also grow a Chinese fan palm tree outdoors if you live in a tropical climate (USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11), where winter temperatures rarely dip below 25 to 30 degrees F.

Water your Chinese fan palm two or three times per week, watering the soil completely and evenly until the water drains freely from the bottom of the container. Remove any excess water from the drainage dish if the palm doesn’t absorb it within two to three hours.

Keep your Chinese fan palm in bright but indirect sunlight. Keep the palm away from direct sunlight and in partial shade when it’s young.

Feed your Chinese fan palm once a month while it’s actively growing with a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer made for palms. When the palm plant becomes semi-dormant and inactive during the winter months, feed it only once every two months. If you’re growing the Chinese fan palm outdoors, feed it with an outdoor palm tree fertilizer according to the directions on the label.

Mist your Chinese fan palm daily with a water spray bottle to keep the humidity levels high. You’ll know when the air around the palm tree is too dry when the leaf tips begin to turn brown.

Treat spider mites infesting your Chinese fan palm tree by misting the leaves with a mixture of liquid dish soap and water. You can use a ratio of about 1 gallon of water to 2 tbsp. of dish soap.


Allow the top 1 inch of soil to dry out between waterings for larger, older Chinese fan palms. For younger palms, keep the soil moist at all times but not soggy, because waterlogged soil can cause root rot.


Watch out for lethal yellowing disease in your outdoor-grown Chinese fan palm tree. Lethal yellowing is a disease that causes the palm fronds to turn yellow and droop, beginning with the lower fronds and spreading upward. Treat lethal yellowing by injecting your Chinese fan palm with oxytetracycline four times each year.

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