The Q&A Archives: Help for Windmill Palm

Question: I have a windmill palm in the garden. I live in SW London, UK. The tree seems unusual for the region - It came with the house? The leaves are wilting, going brown around the edges and it needs some TLC but I don't know how. It's mature looking about 5m tall. Any advice on how to care for it?

Answer: The windmill palm, Trachycarpus fortunei, prefers full sun or light shade. Strong winds will damage the foliage, so a sheltered site is best. On mature specimens the lower leaves droop, so that's probably what you are seeing, and it's no cause for worry. The brown edges may indicate either too much or too little water, or possibly windburn.

I suggest you give it some of that TLC this spring. Beginning in the spring, fertilize the palm. You can spread a layer of compost underneath, then fertilize every two weeks or so with a dilute liquid fertilizer. I like to use a fish emulsion/seaweed extract. Water the plant whenever nature doesn't provide, so the soil stays moist, in spring through fall. In the fall, cut back on watering.

Hope this helps.

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