Alphabetical Plant Listing

Washingtonia filifera (California Fan Palm)

California Fan Palm, Arizona Fan Palm, American Cotton Palm, Desert Fan Palm, Petticoat Palm, Brahea filamentosa, Brahea filifera, Neowashingtonia filamentosa, Pritchardia filamentosa, Pritchardia filifera, Washingtonia filamentosa, Washingtonia filifera var. robusta


Washingtonia filifera (California Fan Palm) is a medium to large evergreen palm with a tree-like growth habit. It has a sturdy columnar trunk crowned by beautifully shaped, fan-like, waxy gray-green blades, up to 3-6 ft. long (90-180 cm). Erect at first, they spread and arch from stout, spiny petioles. Unlike other palms, the dead leaves fold down against the trunk rather than dropping off. This palm tree is sometimes called "Petticoat Palm" in reference to the shaggy mass of dead leaves hanging against the trunk and forming a dense skirt. In summer, creamy-white, tubular flowers are produced in huge sprays, up to 15 ft. long (5 m). They are followed by great quantities of black, pea-sized fruits. Easy to grow and exotic-looking, Washingtonia filifera is quite cold-hardy and can survive short periods at 23ºF (-5ºC). It is the only palm native to the Western United States and the country's largest native palm. The genus honors the first president of the United States. A palm of great ornamental value and an extraordinary accent plant.

  • Winner of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society
  • Grows with an upright habit up to 40-60 ft. tall (12-18 m) and 10-20 ft. wide (3-6 m).
  • Easily grown in well-drained soils in full sun. Drought tolerant.
  • No serious disease or pest issues. Keep an eye out for red spider mites and scale insects.
  • Needs no regular pruning, but dead leaves may be removed by cutting close to the leaf base leaving stubs to create a neat pattern.
  • Propagate by seed sown at not less than 75°F (24ºC). It reproduces easily by seed, which are germinating in about thirty days.
  • Native to the southwestern U. S. and Baja California.

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Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 11
Heat Zones 8 – 12
Climate Zones 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Palms - Cycads
Plant Family Palms - Cycads
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 40' – 60' (12m – 18m)
Spread 10' – 20' (3m – 6m)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Garden Uses Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden

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Ekaterina SU, Isabel Sala Casteras (Shutterstock)

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 8 – 11
Heat Zones 8 – 12
Climate Zones 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, H1, H2
Plant Type Palms - Cycads
Plant Family Palms - Cycads
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 40' – 60' (12m – 18m)
Spread 10' – 20' (3m – 6m)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Acid, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, California, Southwest, Nevada, Arizona
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Garden Uses Beds and Borders
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden

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