Livistona chinensis, the Chinese fan palm, is commonly seen on both the east and west coasts of the United States. It does not sucker or grow as quickly as most other Livistonas.
You can plant several together if you want a clump.
In fact, some commercial plantings employ the young plants, en mass, as a very attractive ground cover. The dwarf form, Livistona chinensis subglobosa is most appropriate for this use.
The large, bright green palm fronds of the Chinese fan palm divide into as many as 75 segments and weep dramatically at the tips.
It is this graceful habit of growth which gave rise to the tree's common name: Chinese Fountain palm.
The genus, which consists of approximately 28 trees, was named after Patrick Murray, the Baron of Livingston. Livistona chinensis is native to Japan and Taiwan. Most of the other species originate in Australia.
The trunk, which will swell to 18 inches in diameter and 25 feet in height, is brown when the tree is young. It gradually bleaches to gray over the plant's life span.
Upper trunk of L. chinensis.
Fountain palms are not picky about soil but like to be fed in spring and summer with a fertilizer containing micronutrients.
This tap-rooted palm can withstand drought but will grow more slowly because of it.
The yellowish cast on the leaves of some individuals is a normal feature of this plant and does not indicate a nutrient deficiency.
There are several specimens in USDA zone 8 where they have been growing for at least 20 years. These trees have survived 15 degree F. temps with only leaf damage from which they recovered.
Mature trees enjoy full sun but juveniles prefer shade and look great planted under tall oaks. They can also be kept in containers and make good indoor palms as they are tolerant of low light conditions and slow growing.
Plants can flower and form dense clusters of blue fruit at an early age. Each fruit contains a single seed which can be planted to start new trees.
Keep the seed flats warm and expect germination in 2-4 months.
Here, a pair of Chinese Fans (on your right) has been planted beside a pair of Sabal palms (on your left).
You can see how nicely the curved fronds of the Sabal contrast with and compliment the weeping foliage of the Fountain palm.
This is a tree that will add movement and grace to any landscape garden design as its leaf tips dance on each passing breeze.
This is what your Fountain palms will look like if you plant a pair of them.
And here is a group of Chinese Fan palms planted to look like a single clump in a Sanford, Florida landscape.
The Stately California Fan Palm: Best Washingtonia for Arid Climates
The Mexican Fan Palm is the Best Washingtonia for Rainy Climates
Growing Palms in the Temperate Zone
Cold Hardy Palm Trees
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