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Mexican Fan Palm

Washingtonia robusta

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Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta) at Tagawa Gardens

Mexican Fan Palm

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta) at Tagawa Gardens

Mexican Fan Palm

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta) at Tagawa Gardens

Mexican Fan Palm fruit

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  80 feet

Spread:  10 feet

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  8

Other Names:  Washington Palm, Cotton Palm, Skyduster


A towering palm that makes quite a focal point on the landscape; large fan like leaves emerge from a narrow trunk ; spent leaves form a skirt around the trunk, and are a habitat for birds; largely cultivated as an ornamental palm; drought tolerant

Ornamental Features

Mexican Fan Palm has attractive grayish green evergreen foliage on a tree with the bulk of the canopy held atop a towering trunk or stem. The palmate leaves are highly ornamental and remain grayish green throughout the winter. The rough tan bark is extremely showy and adds significant winter interest.

Landscape Attributes

Mexican Fan Palm is an evergreen tropical plant with a strong central leader and a towering form, with a high canopy of foliage concentrated at the top of the plant. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This tropical plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should not require much pruning, except when necessary, such as to remove dieback. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Mexican Fan Palm is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Vertical Accent
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Mexican Fan Palm will grow to be about 80 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 10 feet. It has a high canopy of foliage that sits well above the ground, and should not be planted underneath power lines. As it matures, the lower branches of this tree can be strategically removed to create a high enough canopy to support unobstructed human traffic underneath. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 80 years or more.

This tropical plant should only be grown in full sunlight. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under average home landscape conditions. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for xeriscaping or the moisture-conserving landscape. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is not originally from North America.

Mexican Fan Palm is a fine choice for the yard, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its height, it is often used as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden. Be aware that in our climate, this plant may be too tender to survive the winter if left outdoors in a container. Contact our experts for more information on how to protect it over the winter months.

This plant is not reliably hardy in our region, and certain restrictions may apply; contact the store for more information.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Accent  Articulation  Container 
Foliage Color  Bark  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features

This Plant Library is for informational purposes only. We may or may not carry the items listed. During many times of the year, we may carry many more plants in our store than are listed in the Plant Library. Please contact us directly at 303-690-4722 or visit our store for current availability and for assistance.