How To Plant Windmill Palm Tree | Seeds, Cutting & Live Plants

The easiest way to grow a windmill palm is to buy a small plant and place it in a pot twice the size of its root ball. Make sure the soil you use is rich & well-draining. Place the pot in a location that gets ample sun. Water it only when the soil seems dry.

How To Plant & Grow Windmill Palm Trees


Botanically called the Trachycarpus Fortune, Windmill Palms are a famous tree native to China and other parts of Asia. They are cultivated in several parts of the world for their hardiness, attractive appearance, and easy maintenance.


For all those who love to have different varieties of palm in their home and garden, today we are going to discuss how to plant Windmill Palm. We will talk about three ways of adding this visually appealing plant to your home: through seeds, cuttings, and by simply potting store-bought live plants.


To grow windmill palm via seeds, you can sow the seeds 1-2 inches deep in well-draining moist soil. To propagate the cuttings, take an 8-10 long healthy stem cutting with nodes. After dipping it in rooting hormone you can plant it in a pot with a good potting mix and water well.


As for a store-bought plant, choose a pot twice the size of its root ball. Rest the care instructions that you need to follow afterward remain the same for all methods as discussed in later sections below.


Let us discuss the different methods to grow and care for this popular type of fan palm tree.


Windmill Palm Quick Overview

Common Name Hemp Palm, Chusan Palm, Chinese Windmill Palm, and Nepalese Palm
Scientific Name Trachycarpus fortunei
Hardiness zones 8 through 11
Native Area Asia
Spread 6 to 10 feet
Sun Partial Shade
Soil Well-draining soil with a pH between 6 and 7.5
Bloom time and color June and July – Green, Yellow, and Cream Flowers
Water Must be watered every few days
Temperature Can survive down to 10° F
Pests and Diseases Rare attacks
Pruning Not needed – Trim the dead and decayed parts
Fertilizer slow-release fertilizer twice a year


A. How To Grow Windmill Palm Trees From Seed?


Here are the steps you need to follow to grow Windmill Palms from seeds:


  1. Gather the ripe seeds from an existing Windmill Palm tree. Usually, the seeds are ready for harvest in the fall, and they are dry, black, or dark brown.
  2. Soak the seeds in water for a day. It will soften the top coat and amplify the germination.
  3. Fill the pot or a seed tray with well-draining soil containing perlite and sand mix.
  4. Plant the seeds at least 1-2 inches deep into the soil, ensuring a 2-3-inch gap between the two plants.
  5. Water them thoroughly, but do not overwater, as excess moisture can have adverse effects on germination.
  6. Cover the pot or the seed tray with a plastic dome or wrap to establish a humid environment and retain moisture levels.
  7. Place the container or the tray in a spot that receives bright but indirect sunlight.
  8. Keep the soil moist by misting it with water as and when required.
  9. Germination can take a few weeks or months, depending on the humidity and temperature available. After the seedlings show, remove the plastic cover and move the pot to a brighter location.
  10. Once the seedlings grow, transplant them into individual containers or larger pots. Use well-draining soil mix but do not overwater the plants.
  11. Fertilize using a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season – spring and summer.


When To Plant Windmill Palm Seeds?

Ideally, you can plant the Windmill Palm seeds in summer or spring when the weather is warm with moist soil. They prefer a temperature between 70- and 75 degrees Fahrenheit for germination.


After correctly knowing how to grow Windmill Palms from seeds, timing is the next most crucial thing you must learn.

Should You Add Fertilizer To The Soil Before Planting The Seeds?


You do not need to add fertilizer to the soil before planting the seeds if your soil is good and well balanced with nutrients.


But if the soil lacks certain nutrients, you can add fertilizers. Always prefer a slow-release balanced or phosphorous-rich fertilizer. Do not use feeds with high nitrogen as that can result in excessive leaf growth, compromising the moot development.


Mix the fertilizer evenly into the soil before planting the seeds. Read through the instructions on the packaging label for application frequency and quantity to not over-fertilize.


After the seedlings show, you can fertilize regularly with a Palm-specific or a balanced fertilizer. Water the seedlings well before and after feeding.


Do You Water The Windmill Palm Seeds At The Time Of Plantation?

Water The Windmill Palm Seeds At The Time Of Plantation
Yes, water the Windmill Palms while planting them. It helps settle the soil around the seeds and offers them the moisture necessary for germination. You should thoroughly water the soil to ensure it is properly moist. Cover them with soil and water again to settle the soil and give moisture to the seeds.


Once planted, ensure the soil is evenly moist at all times but not waterlogged. Water anytime the topsoil feels dry upon touch, but do not overwater it as it can lead to fungal diseases and root rot.


After seedlings show, water regularly to keep the soil moist. Once the seedlings grow, lower the watering frequency, but water deeply to stimulate robust root development.


Growing & Nurturing the Windmill Palm Seedlings Further

Growing & Nurturing the Windmill Palm Seedlings Further
After knowing how to grow Windmill Palm trees through seeds, pick a permanent spot for the plant. Keep the following care parameters in mind while growing the windmill palm:


A. Sunlight

Windmill Palms prefer part to full sun. While planting the Windmill Palms, you must pick a location that receives good direct sun for at least a few hours daily, preferably in the late afternoon or early morning. Windmills can also tolerate shade, especially during the hottest times of the day in hot weather.


If grown indoors, keep the Windmill Palms near a south-facing window or under grow lights that ensure full-spectrum light.


B. Temperature

Windmill Palms are hardy. They can tolerate a range of temperatures. However, they enjoy the humid and warm climate. The best temperature for these Palms is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 45 and 60 degrees at night.


Windmill Palms can endure temperatures as low as 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit during winter but will need protection during cold winters, such as covering the tree with a tarp or blanket or wrapping the trunk with burlap.


On the contrary, Windmill Palms can survive temperatures up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the hotter weather. However, they demand frequent watering and some shade during the hottest times of the day to avoid heat stress and dehydration.


C. What kind of soil does Windmill Palms need?


Windmill Palms are hardy and can tolerate a variety of soil types. However, they thrive in well-draining soil with rich organic matter. Ideally, the soil must be acidic between 6.0 and 7.5 pH. Generally, Windmill Palms prefer clayey, sandy, or loamy soil with good drainage.


They do not like continually wet or waterlogged soil. So, if you grow the plant in heavy clay soil, add some compost or soil to it for better drainage. The soil must be nutrient-rich. Also, adding regular fertilizer, especially during the growing season, can benefit the plant.


D. How much space do you need to plant a Windmill Palm?

The amount of space Windmill Palms require depends on the tree’s size after maturity. So, learning how to plant a windmill palm tree is one thing and providing them the area to flourish is another.


Remember that Windmill Palm can grow up to 40 feet tall with 10-15 feet spread. But it usually takes several decades for Windmill Palms to reach their full size.


While planting, you must consider its eventual size and offer the tree adequate space to develop. While you can grow the young Palm in a small hole in the ground or a container, it will eventually be transplanted into a larger area as it grows.


Hence, you require at least six feet of space between the tree and the nearby structure for planting the Windmill Palm in the ground. It gives Palm adequate room to spread out sans any obstruction or damage.

Related: How far apart to plant palm trees?


How Long Does It Take A Windmill Palm To Grow From Seed?

Palm trees have different growth rates. Windmill Palms are ideally slow-growing trees. They usually take several years to grow from seed and reach maturity.


Generally speaking, Windmill Palms take approximately three to five years to grow the seed to the size where you can transplant them into the ground or larger pots. But it can take them a decade or longer to get to their full mature height of 20-40 feet and form the characteristic crown of fronds and trunk.


B. How To Grow Windmill Palm From Cuttings?

Let’s learn how to plant Windmill Palms through cuttings.


  1. Pick a mature, healthy Windmill Palm tree and choose a stem that is around 8-10 inches long and has multiple leaves.
  2. Make a clean cut slightly below the leaf node using clean, sharp pruning shears or scissors. The cutting must have at least one node, which is the point where the leaves show.
  3. Remove the lower leaves from the cutting, leaving a few leaves on the top.
  4. Dip the cutting’s cut end in the rooting hormone powder to stimulate root growth.
  5. Fill the pot with well-draining soil and mix perlite and sand blend into it.
  6. Water the soil, leaving it moist but not waterlogged.
  7. Make a hole into the soil using a pencil or any similar tool and insert the cutting in this hole, burying it up to its first node.
  8. Cover the pot with a clear plastic wrap or a bag to establish a humid environment for keeping the cutting moist.
  9. Place this pot in a bright location, away from direct sunlight, and keep the soil moist by watering lightly, as required.
  10. After a few weeks, inspect for root growth by carefully tugging on the cutting. If it resists, the roots have formed.
  11. Now remove the plastic cover.
  12. After the cutting has rooted and started growing, you can transplant them to a bigger pot or move them to the ground.


Please note the Windmill Palms are slow-growing trees. Hence, cuttings may take several years to grow to their full size.


C. How To Plant A Windmill Palm In A Pot – A Store Bought Live Plant?


Planting the Windmill Palm in the pot is an excellent way to add a tropical touch to your home. Here are the steps you must follow to grow a store-brought Windmill Palm in a container:


  1. Select a container about two to three times bigger than the Windmill Palm’s root ball. The pot must have draining holes to avoid waterlogging.
  2. Add a well-draining potting mix comprising a blend of sand, perlite, and peat moss.
  3. Remove the Windmill Palm from the store-bought container by tipping it upside down and gently sliding the plant out.
  4. Loosen any matted or tangled roots with the fingers. While doing so, be careful to not damage the roots.
  5. Now place the Windmill Palm in the pot’s center, ensuring it is upright and straight.
  6. Fill the pot with potting mix, tamping it down gently to ensure you leave no air pockets.
  7. Thoroughly water the soil, eliminating the excess water to drain from the pot’s bottom.
  8. Place the soil in a bright spot away from direct sunlight and drafts.
  9. Water regularly, keeping the soil moist and not soggy. Windmill Palms thrive in slightly moist soil. So, do not let the soil dry out.
  10. Fertilize using a balanced fertilizer once every month during the growing season – spring or summer.


Following these steps will allow your windmill palm plant to thrive and grow well.