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How to Plant a Mexican Fan Palm Tree

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017
Mexican fan palms are the giants of the palm family.
palm tree image by david harding from Fotolia.com

It’s easy to distinguish a Mexican fan palm tree (Washintonia robusta) from other palms: It is the giant of the palm world, growing up to 100 feet in height. Despite its origins in northern Mexico, this is a somewhat cold hardy plant that grows rapidly. It is also drought-tolerant and doesn’t care what type of soil you give it. What it does need is a lot of sunshine and a lot of room to grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 to 11. Plant your Mexican fan palm in spring.

Find a suitable planting site for your Mexican fan palm. Remember that the plant will get very tall, so look for overhead obstructions such as power lines. The site should also get full sun and have well-drained soil.

Dig a hole twice the width and the same depth as the pot in which the palm is being grown. Use the gardening fork to rake the sides and the bottom of the hole to make it easier for the roots to penetrate the soil.

Place the palm in the middle of the hole and pour some soil over the roots. Work it into the roots with your fingers. Fill the hole halfway with soil and then fill the hole with water. When the water drains, fill the hole the rest of the way with soil and use your feet to tamp the soil around the base of the plant.

Water the palm until the water puddles.

Lay down a 3-inch layer of mulch around the circumference of the plant, keeping it 3 inches away from the trunk.

Water the palm enough to keep the soil moist, not soggy, until it is established, which will take up to three months.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Gardening fork

About the Author


Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.