Chinese fan palm (Livistona chinensis) is a subtropical palm tree, native to southern Japan, Taiwan, and southeastern China. It is an ornamental tree and can be grown indoors and outdoors. Chinese fan palm can grow up to 50 feet (15 meters) tall.
Livistona chinensis is a slow-growing palm, it will take a decade to grow a distinct palm-like trunk. Chinese fan palm is also known as fountain palm, due to the shape of its foliage. Leaves of fountain palms arch up and droop down, like water jets in a fountain.
Chinese fan palm is an invasive species in Hawaii, Bermuda, Florida wetlands, and some Caribbean islands.
Chinese fan palm looks magical indoors and outdoors. If you want to grow fountain palm in your home or garden, we will provide information on how to grow and care for them right.
Chinese fan palms are easy to care for. They do not demand much, but growing any plant successfully requires some knowledge of how much light and water it needs and what soil it prefers to grow in.
Chinese fan palms are surprisingly cold-hardy. They thrive outdoors in USDA Hardiness zones 9-11, although winters of zone 9 might hurt the foliage of the fountain palm. Ideal temperature range for fountain palm is 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 26 degrees Celsius).
Fountain palms thrive in humid environments. This is essential to know when growing Chinese fan palms indoors in cold climates. An easy way to provide humidity is to mist this palm, it thoroughly enjoys it.
It’s a great plant to grow in a bathroom, provided there is enough light for it to grow. Find a location in your home, where there are not any cold drafts.
It’s probably not a surprise for you, that this palm requires a lot of sunlight because most palms do. Fountain palm thrives in full sun, but can tolerate partial shade. When growing this palm in really hot climates (temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit), it is a good idea to provide a little shade for younger plants.
Soil & Fertilizer
Chinese fan palm prefers loamy soil with a lot of nutrients. pH level of the soil should be slightly acidic to neutral. Outdoors the palm can grow in various types of soil if the soil is well-draining.
When growing this plant indoors, use a container with drainage holes. Buy or make your own palm potting mix. Palms like sandy loam, about 60 % sand, 30 % small rocks and 10 % clay.
Fountain palm is a slow-growing palm, to ensure growth feed it palm fertilizer three times during the growing season.
Chinese fan palms do not like waterlogged soil, so do not overwater it. On the other hand, the soil should always be moist. When the soil starts to dry up, it is a good time to water it. During winter months, Chinese fan palm does not grow as much so it will need less water.
There are two simple ways to propagate Chinese fan palm:
Propagating by Cuttings
Propagating by cuttings is the preferred method since it is a lot faster than growing from seeds. However, you will need a relatively small, yet established Chinese fan palm to do this. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Remove the plant from the container
- Clean the roots from the soil carefully
- Find an offset growing near the base of the plant
- Use a sharp tool to cut it
- Place the offset in palm potting mix
- Press down on the soil, fortifying the structure of the soil, it should not be loose.
- Water deeply
- Place the cutting in warm location with a lot of indirect light
- In low-humidity environments, use a plastic bag to contain the moisture
- When roots develop, you can remove the plastic bag
Propagating by Seeds
As mentioned before, this will take some time. Buy seeds or collect the seeds from a established fountain palm. Place the seeds on top of a potting mix and cover it with a small layer of potting mix. Provide it with moisture and warmth. Now all you have to do is wait, it might take 2 months or more to germinate.
Pests & Diseases
Chinese fan palm is easy to grow, since there aren’t any known diseases to affect it. There are some pests you need to look out for, like spider mites and scale insects. Spider mites should not be a problem in high-humidity environments, since they thrive in arid conditions.
To remove both of these pests, use neem oil or insecticidal soap.
Chinese fan palm is a terrific choice for a beginner gardener. It is exotic, easy to care for, and can be grown indoors and outdoors. Follow our guide to increase your chances of successfully growing a beautiful fountain palm.