Trachycarpus fortunei growing in a garden border

How to grow and care for Trachycarpus fortunei

All you need to know about growing and caring for the chusan palm, Trachycarpus fortunei

Trachycarpus fortunei (Chusan palm, windmill palm or Nepalese fan palm) is an evergreen palm tree with fan-shaped, dark green leaves. Mature plants may bear clusters of yellow flowers in summer, with female trees developing blue-black fruits.

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A reasonably hardy palm with an exotic look, Trachycarpus fortunei is ideal for using in jungle planting schemes and urban gardens, including courtyard and roof-top gardens. It can also be planted in a pot.

How to grow Trachycarpus fortunei

Grow Trachycarpus fortunei in moist but well-drained, fertile soil in full sun to dappled shade. Choose a sheltered spot out of prevailing winds, which can damage the leaves. Trachycarpus fortunei is frost hardy but may need winter protection in prolonged periods of cold weather – simply wrap the plant with hessian or horticultural fleece and mulch around the base with straw. Potted plants can be moved indoors.

Trachycarpus fortunei needs very little care, beyond removing the lower leaves as they turn brown. It’s drought tolerant when established and is rarely affected by pests or diseases. It holds the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit.


Where to grow Trachycarpus fortunei

Trachycarpus fortunei growing among tropical plants

Trachycarpus fortunei does well in tropical/jungle planting schemes and urban gardens. It’s very tolerant of pollution and can therefore be grown in city centres. However its leaves can be scorched by sun and torn by wind so choose a partially shaded location with shelter from prevailing winds. Trachycarpus fortunei can grow to an eventual height of 15m so give it plenty of room to grow.


How to plant Trachycarpus fortunei

Plant Trachycarpus fortuneias you would any other plant, ensuring it sits at the same level it was in the pot you bought it in. Dig a square hole and enrich it with home-made garden compost. Place the rootball in the hole and when you’re happy with its position, backfill with soil and firm around the rootball with your foot. Water well.


Trachycarpus fortunei care

Trachycarpus fortunei needs very little care once established. Water in dry periods and cut back the lower fronds as they turn brown.

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Growing Trachycarpus fortunei: pests and diseases

Trachycarpus fortunei suffers no pests and diseases.


Advice on buying Trachycarpus fortunei

  • Think carefully about where you will grow it before you buy – it does best in partial shade and needs shelter from wind, and can grow to 20m tall after 20 years
  • You may find Trachycarpus fortunei at the garden centre but you’ll have more options online and at specialist nurseries 

Where to buy Trachycarpus fortunei