The Chinese fan palm, or fountain palm (Livistona chinensis), is a hardy, slow-growing tree that derives its nickname from the fountain-like way its leaves droop down from the crown. Though native only to China and Japan, these specimens have become common across the world because of their adaptability and toughness. The Chinese fan palm is among the tougher species of palm trees. Unlike many other palms, the Chinese fan palm can tolerate cold and drought making it a good outdoor palm for those who don’t live in the tropical heat most palms require. At its peak, the Chinese fan palm can reach 30 to 40 feet tall, but in cultivation it is kept much smaller and many gardeners grow them inside as potted houseplants.
The leaves of the Chinese fan palm grow in circular, segmented fans, and develop spines when they’re young that they lose as they mature. These wide and attractive leaves can range from a deep green to a more bluish green, and they produce small yellow flowers and black fruits when they bloom in the growing season. The Chinese fan palm is a good palm for beginners because of its hardiness.
Stems: Solitary, erect, gray or brown, to 12 m in height and 25 cm in diameter. Old leaves persist on the stem, leaving closely spaced rings of leaf scars when they fall away. Eventually the rings wear away to leave a relatively smooth (corky toward the base) stem. Leaves: Costapalmate, with a prominent hastula, induplicate, dull olive green, up to 2 m across, and divided to about two-thirds its length into stiff segments with drooping, bifid tips. The petioles are armed with robust marginal teeth toward the base (sometimes lacking these teeth). Flowers and fruit: The inflorescences are 1-1.5 m long and branched to five orders. Flowers have both male and female structures, pale yellow. The fruit is ovoid, about 2 cm across, and greenish to grayish blue when mature.
1. The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
2. Put the seeds on the soil.
3. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
4. Water the seeds.
5. Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade.
6. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.