in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

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Washingtonia filifera: California Fan Palm

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Form: Palm tree.
Leaf retention: Evergreen.
Growth rate: Slow.
Mature Size: 60' high and 12' wide.
Flowers: Branching, white and yellow flower clusters project out and often downward from the leaf crown.
Bloom: Mid to late spring.
Fruit: Oblong or round, red-black, edible dates, each about 1/2" in diameter. They contain a single seed, approximately 1/4" in diameter.
Leaves: Gray-green, fan-shaped, each 3-6 ft across. They spread out to form a loose and open crown. Dead leaves remain on trunk, hanging down to form a petticoat.
Stems: The leaf stems of mature palms have curved thorns along the margins. The leaf stems of young palms are largely without thorns.
Roots: An extensive, fleshy and strong root system penetrating deeply in search of water.
Wildlife: Provides a habitat for birds, mammals and even a bat species. Dinapate beetles are a possible pest.
Toxic / Danger: Thorns on older palm leaf stems that are out of reach until pruned.
Origin: Arizona, Nevada, California, Baja California.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8b-11.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun.
Water once established: Once every month or two. Too much water results in root rot.
Soil: Well-drained, pH 6.1-7.8 (slightly acidic to slightly alkaline).
Prune: Remove dead leaf fronds (petticoat) from around trunk. They can be used as habitat by rats while on tree.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed.
Uses: Accent tree. Fruit and ground seed are edible.

Similar to Mexican Fan Palm, Washingtonia robusta, which has a slimmer trunk, grows to 100' high, and is considered invasive in California.

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Washingtonia filifera: California Fan Palm - flowers

Washingtonia filifera: California Fan Palm