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Fortunes Palm Trachycarpus fortunei

Phonetic Spelling
trak-ee-KAR-pus for-TOO-nee-eye
Description

A palm tree in the Arecaceae family, this award-winning specimen brings a tropical flair to any landscape.  The windmill palm is native to subtropical and temperate mountain forests of China.  In the wild, it can reach heights ranging from 20' to 40' and sometimes taller.  In other locations, it typically tops out around 10' tall. 

It makes a great specimen plant or is effective in small groups. Use it to frame an entryway or garden path.  It has a solitary trunk that appears shaggy and hairy with leftover dried petioles from shed leaves.  Fibers from the leaves are often used in weaving.  The leaves spiraling out in all directions from the top of the plant resemble a windmill, hence the common name.  It can be grown in large containers and overwintered indoors in colder climates. In a protected location it is hardy to zone 7. 

Although it can be grown in full sun, a location that provides some shade and protection from strong or cold winds can be beneficial.  When no protection from strong wind is provided, the leaves tend to tear.  

This palm is moderately salt tolerant.

The genus name Trachycarpus derives from Greek and roughly translates to "rough fruit".

Propagation can be accomplished from seed, however both male and female plants are necessary for seed production.  

Seasonal Interest:

Foliage: Evergreen Bloom: Summer, June-July Bark: Winter 

Wildlife Value: This plant is seldom damaged by deer.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious insect or diseases problems.  There is some susceptible to scale and palm aphids.  Some issues of root rot may appear as well as yellowing disease and leaf spots.  For a palm, it has excellent winter hardiness but it may suffer in the cooler locations.

Quick ID

  • Petioles sharply toothed
  • Leaves palmately divided, 15-10 segments
  • Leaf segments single-fold
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Souto Sun Garden Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Part Sun-Part Shade Gardens
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#drought tolerant#specimen#salt tolerant#broadleaf evergreen#palm#winter interest#playground#year-round interest#showy fruits#cpp#wind tolerant#deer resistant#children's garden#cycad#fantz#clay soils tolerant#winter garden#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical feel#cold intolerant#container plants
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#drought tolerant#specimen#salt tolerant#broadleaf evergreen#palm#winter interest#playground#year-round interest#showy fruits#cpp#wind tolerant#deer resistant#children's garden#cycad#fantz#clay soils tolerant#winter garden#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical feel#cold intolerant#container plants
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Trachycarpus
    Species:
    fortunei
    Family:
    Arecaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    In China, this plant is often used in the making of rope, brooms, mat, and cloth.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and eastern China.
    Play Value:
    Easy to Grow
    Textural
    Dimensions:
    Height: 8 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Blue
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Drupe
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Dark blue to almost black fleshy fruits appear in the form of drupes. Each contain 1 seed.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers appear on drooping panicles that can grow to 2' long. The female flowers are followed by dark blue drupes.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are fan-shaped to circular, palmately dissected, each having 15-19 segments which are linear, single-fold, and slightly drooping. They can grow up to 3' long. The undersides have a glaucous color, covered with a grayish waxy coating.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    The bark is fibrous. The trunk is covered with black hair-like fibers that originate from the old leaf sheaths. The trunk will typically measure under 12" in diameter.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Stems are clustered. The basal portion is covered with fibrous leaf bases; petioles to 3 ft, sharply dentate.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Recreational Play Area
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Shade Tree
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Salt
    Problems:
    Messy