The Q&A Archives: Mexican Fan Palm

Question: We purchased two mexican fan palms when in Houston. Can I plant them in large pots (what size do you recommend) and keep them in the house in the Kansas winter and move them outside in full sun in the summer? How often do I water, how/when do I fertilize? Thanks!

Answer: Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta): The enormous, wide-spreading, glossy, bright green foliage of this palm is magnificent to behold. Though the Mexican fan's usually planted outside, if raised indoors-with bright sunlight, warm temperatures, and lots of space-it can be quite breathtaking.

Palm tree roots are fibrous and grow deep. You'll want a deep pot to accommodate them; unpot your palms to see just how large the root mass is, then choose a container that's a few inches deeper and wider than the root mass. Plan to pot your palms up to slightly larger containers every 3-4 years. Water as often as necessary to keep the soil moist but not soggy wet. Allow the top inch or two of soil to dry out between waterings. Since plants in containers restrict root growth, and make them susceptible to root burn from over-fertilization, the safest route is to fertilize with a half-strength dilution of liquid fertilizer (such as Miracle-Gro or Peter's) every 2-3 weeks during the growing season.

Best wishes with your palms!

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