Simply Trees

California Fan Palm

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Once a monthFull sunDeer resistant
  • Iconic Silhouette: The California Fan Palm provides an instant dash of the West Coast vibe with its recognizable and statuesque silhouette. Its tall, slender trunk and fan-shaped leaves create a dramatic visual that can serve as a focal point in any landscape design.
  • Drought Tolerance: Once established, Washingtonia filifera is incredibly drought-tolerant, making it an ideal choice for water-wise gardens or xeriscapes. It's perfect for homeowners looking to achieve a lush, tropical look without the high water requirement.
  • Low Maintenance: This palm is known for its hardiness and low maintenance needs, requiring minimal care once settled in. It's a fantastic selection for busy homeowners who want a stunning garden without the extensive upkeep.

More Details

The California Fan Palm, scientifically known as Washingtonia filifera, is a majestic and iconic palm native to the southwestern United States. Known for its large, fan-shaped leaves and tall, sturdy trunk, this palm tree is a symbol of desert oases and a popular choice for creating tropical and Mediterranean landscapes. The California Fan Palm is particularly valued for its robust nature, fast growth rate, and ability to thrive in both hot, dry climates and more temperate regions. Its striking silhouette and distinctive crown of fronds make it a dramatic focal point in any garden, urban park, or streetscape.

Growth rate: Fast growth rate; can reach heights of 40-60 feet with a crown width of 10-15 feet.

Please note: Images on our website depict plants and trees at full maturity to showcase their expected grown characteristics. These images are illustrative examples only and do not represent the size of plants or trees upon delivery.

Pruning: The California Fan Palm typically does not require pruning, as it naturally sheds older leaves. However, you can remove any dead or damaged fronds to maintain its tidy appearance.

Fertilization: Feed the California Fan Palm with a slow-release palm fertilizer in spring and summer, following the package instructions. This will provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.

Winter Protection: In regions where winter temperatures drop below freezing, it is important to protect the California Fan Palm. Wrap the trunk with burlap or frost cloth and cover the crown with a layer of mulch to insulate the tree from cold temperatures.

Choose a location with well-draining soil and full sun exposure. Dig a hole as deep and twice as wide as the root ball. Place the palm in the hole, backfill with soil, and water thoroughly. Ensure the palm is planted at the same depth it was in the container. Water regularly, especially during dry spells, to establish a healthy root system.

The California Fan Palm thrives in full sun, so make sure it receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. As for watering, establish a regular watering schedule, especially during hot and dry periods. Water deeply and thoroughly, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

We process and ship your order as quickly as possible, typically within 1-3 business days. You will receive a shipping confirmation with tracking information once your item(s) ship.

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!

In cases of extreme cold or hot weather, we may temporarily delay shipping to ensure the well-being of your plants. Our primary focus is on delivering healthy and thriving plants to you. Rest assured, we'll make every effort to notify you of any delays promptly.

Please allow additional ship times during inclement weather and sale periods. We do not process or ship orders on the weekend or U.S. Holidays. Simply Trees is not responsible for delays due to carriers, local disruptions, or weather.

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At Simply Trees, we're committed to your satisfaction. If your plants arrive considerably damaged or sustained damage beyond the point of recovery, please contact us within five days at with clear photos for assistance. Our 30-day guarantee covers issues after planting, subject to our terms and conditions. We can't cover plants in the wrong climate or with inadequate care, but we're here to help in other situations. For a detailed understanding of our 30-day guarantee and how we ensure a fair process, click here to learn more.


Zones 8-11

The California Fan Palm is well-suited for USDA Zones 8-11, thriving in warm, dry climates typical of the southwestern United States. It is remarkably heat-tolerant and can also adapt to colder temperatures found in the higher zones. This palm prefers well-drained soil and is suitable for a range of landscapes, from desert gardens to tropical settings.

Frequently Asked Questions

California Fan Palms are known for their impressive size and stature. They are one of the largest native palm species in North America. The size of mature California Fan Palms can vary depending on growing conditions and environmental factors, but here are some general guidelines:

Height: California Fan Palms can reach heights of 50 to 75 feet or more in their native habitat. In ideal growing conditions, with plenty of sunlight, water, and space, some individuals may even exceed these heights. However, in less favorable conditions or when planted in landscapes with limited space, they may remain smaller.

Trunk Diameter: The trunk of a mature California Fan Palm can have a diameter of 1 to 2 feet or more. The trunk is typically slender and smooth, with a grayish-brown color. The base of the trunk may be wider than the upper portion, giving it a distinctive shape.

Canopy Spread: The canopy of a mature California Fan Palm can span 15 to 25 feet or more. The canopy consists of large, fan-shaped fronds that radiate from the top of the trunk.

Fronds: The fronds themselves can grow quite large, with individual fronds reaching lengths of 3 to 6 feet. Each frond is divided into numerous narrow segments that give it a delicate, feathery appearance.

Growth Rate: The growth rate of California Fan Palms varies depending on factors such as climate, soil quality, and care. They are relatively slow-growing palm trees, especially during their early years. Growth may be less than a foot per year during the first few years.

It's important to consider the palm's mature size when planting California Fan Palms in your landscape. Ensure that you have enough space to accommodate their height and canopy spread. Additionally, these palms can make striking focal points in large landscapes, parks, or as standalone specimens in the right location. Their impressive size and iconic appearance make them a favorite choice for landscaping in arid and desert regions.

The best place to plant a California Fan Palm is in a location that mimics its natural habitat and provides the optimal growing conditions for this palm species. Here are some considerations for choosing the best planting site for a California Fan Palm:

Climate: California Fan Palms are native to hot, arid desert regions of the southwestern United States and Baja California, Mexico. They thrive in climates with long, hot summers and mild winters. Therefore, the best place to plant them is in regions with a similar climate, such as USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11.

Sunlight: These palms require full sun to grow well. Choose a location that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Avoid planting them in areas with excessive shade, as it can inhibit their growth and lead to leggy or weak fronds.

Soil: California Fan Palms prefer well-draining soil. Sandy or loamy soils with good drainage are ideal. Ensure that the soil has adequate drainage to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.

Water: While California Fan Palms are drought-tolerant once established, they still require regular watering during their establishment phase, which can last for the first year or longer after planting. Choose a location where you can provide consistent moisture during this period.

Space: These palm trees can grow quite large over time, with mature heights of 50 to 75 feet (15 to 23 meters) or more. Make sure you plant them where they have ample space to reach their full size without crowding other plants or structures.

Protection from Cold: In regions where occasional frosts or cold temperatures occur, consider planting California Fan Palms in locations where they can receive some protection from the cold. Frost cloth or microclimate considerations may be necessary to shield young palms during cold snaps.

Landscape Design: California Fan Palms are visually striking and can serve as focal points or centerpieces in the landscape. Consider their mature size and overall appearance when designing your landscape to make the most of their presence.

Avoid Wet Areas: Do not plant California Fan Palms in areas prone to standing water or poor drainage. They are not suited for waterlogged conditions.

Wind Tolerance: These palms have some tolerance to strong winds, but planting them in locations with protection from strong, desiccating winds can help them thrive.

Overall, the best place to plant a California Fan Palm is in a sunny, well-draining location with suitable soil and ample space to accommodate their eventual size. Providing the right growing conditions will help ensure the palm's health and vitality as it matures.

California Fan Palms are relatively slow-growing palm trees, especially when compared to some other palm species. Their growth rate can vary depending on several factors, including climate, soil quality, and care. Here are some general guidelines on the growth rate of California Fan Palms:

First Few Years: During the first few years of their life, California Fan Palms tend to grow relatively slowly. It's common for young palms to produce a few fronds each year and gradually increase in height. Growth during this stage may be less than a foot per year.

Established Palms: As California Fan Palms mature and become established, their growth rate typically accelerates. Established palms may grow at a rate of 1 to 2 feet or more in height per year under optimal conditions. However, this growth rate can vary widely based on local climate and care.

Factors Affecting Growth: Several factors can influence the growth rate of California Fan Palms, including the amount of sunlight they receive, soil quality and fertility, water availability, and temperature. Palms that receive ample sunlight, well-draining soil, and consistent care are more likely to grow faster.

Cultural Practices: Proper care practices, such as regular watering, fertilization, and mulching, can promote healthier and faster growth in California Fan Palms. However, avoid over-fertilization, as it can lead to nutrient imbalances and potential issues.

Pruning: Pruning practices can also affect the growth rate. Removing healthy fronds unnecessarily can slow down growth, as fronds are essential for photosynthesis and the overall health of the palm.

Mature Height: California Fan Palms can ultimately reach heights of 50 to 75 feet or more in their native habitat. Achieving this mature height can take several decades, if not longer.

It's important to be patient when growing California Fan Palms, as they are not fast-growing palms. Additionally, their growth rate can be influenced by the specific growing conditions in your area. Providing proper care and creating a suitable environment for the palm can help ensure steady and healthy growth over time.

California Fan Palms are well adapted to hot and arid desert climates and are known for their tolerance of high temperatures. They thrive in areas with extremely hot summers. Here are some temperature-related considerations for California Fan Palms:

High Temperatures: California Fan Palms are highly tolerant of high temperatures. They can endure and thrive in temperatures well above 100°F (37.8°C) during the summer months. In desert regions where they are native, such as the Coachella Valley and the Mojave Desert, temperatures regularly reach these levels.

Heat Tolerance: These palm trees have evolved to withstand intense heat and are well adapted to desert conditions. Their fronds provide some shade for the trunk, helping to protect it from sunburn.

Low Temperatures: While California Fan Palms are heat-tolerant, they are less tolerant of freezing temperatures. They can survive brief periods of cold weather, but prolonged or severe freezes can damage or kill them. It's important to note that they are not as cold-hardy as some other palm species.

Protection from Frost: In areas where temperatures occasionally dip below freezing, it's a good idea to provide protection to young or newly planted California Fan Palms during cold snaps. Covering the palm with blankets or using frost cloth can help prevent frost damage.

Climate Zones: California Fan Palms are typically best suited for USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11. In these zones, the palm can thrive, provided that it receives adequate heat and sunlight.

Winter Dormancy: In cooler winter months, California Fan Palms may experience a period of dormancy or slower growth, especially if temperatures drop significantly. However, they usually resume active growth in the spring and summer when temperatures rise.

It's essential to consider the local climate conditions in your area when planting and caring for California Fan Palms. While they are heat-tolerant, they may not be suitable for regions with extremely cold winters or where prolonged freezes are common. In such areas, you may need to take extra precautions to protect the palms during cold spells to ensure their health and survival.

Yes, the California Fan Palm does produce fruit. The fruit of the California Fan Palm is small, round, and fleshy, and it is typically dark purple to black when mature. These fruits are known as "dates" or "California fan palm dates."

Here are some key points about the fruit of the California Fan Palm:

Fruit Appearance: The fruits are typically small, measuring about 0.5 to 1 inch in diameter. They have a dark purple to black color when fully ripe.

Fruit Structure: Each fruit contains a single seed (similar to a date palm), surrounded by a fleshy, sweet pulp.

Edible: The fruit is edible, although it is generally not as large or as sweet as the dates produced by true date palms (Phoenix dactylifera). California fan palm dates are more often consumed by wildlife than by humans.

Wildlife Food Source: These dates are an important food source for various wildlife species, including birds and mammals, in their native habitat. Animals such as desert bighorn sheep, various birds, and rodents feed on the fruits.

Seed Dispersal: Wildlife plays a significant role in dispersing the seeds of California Fan Palms. Animals eat the fruit and then disperse the seeds in their droppings, aiding in the palm's natural propagation.

Harvesting: While the fruits are not typically harvested for human consumption on a large scale, some people do collect and eat them. However, they are generally smaller and less sweet than the dates produced by date palms.

It's important to note that while California Fan Palms produce fruit, they are primarily valued for their ornamental and iconic appearance in landscapes rather than for their fruit production. The fruit is a valuable food resource for wildlife and contributes to the overall ecological role of these palm trees in their native desert habitats.

Yes, California Fan Palms do produce flowers. The flowers of the California Fan Palm are small and inconspicuous compared to the palm's distinctive fan-shaped fronds. Here are some details about the flowering of California Fan Palms:

Inflorescence: The flowers of California Fan Palms are arranged in dense clusters known as inflorescences. These inflorescences are typically located within the crown of the palm, emerging from among the fronds.

Flower Appearance: The individual flowers are small and typically greenish or yellowish in color. They are not particularly showy or fragrant.

Flowering Season: California Fan Palms typically bloom in the spring, usually from March to June, depending on local climate conditions and the specific palm's age and health.

Pollination: The flowers of California Fan Palms are primarily pollinated by wind and do not rely on insects or birds for pollination.

Fruit Production: Following successful pollination, California Fan Palms produce small, round, and fleshy fruits. These fruits are typically black when mature and are an important food source for local wildlife, including birds and mammals.

While the flowers of California Fan Palms may not be as eye-catching as those of some other palm species, the palm's overall appearance, including its iconic fronds and tall trunk, makes it a striking and recognizable feature of arid and desert landscapes. The fruit production of California Fan Palms also contributes to their ecological significance by providing food for various wildlife species.

California Fan Palms are native to arid and semi-arid regions, so they are well adapted to drought conditions. However, they do require some water to thrive, especially during their establishment phase and in periods of extreme drought. Here are some guidelines on how much water California Fan Palms typically need:

Establishment Phase (First Year): Newly planted California Fan Palms need regular watering during their first year to establish a strong root system. Provide enough water to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water deeply and thoroughly around the root zone. Typically, this may involve watering every 1-2 weeks during the growing season.

Mature Palms: Once California Fan Palms are established (usually after the first year), they become more drought-tolerant. Mature palms generally require less frequent watering. Depending on local climate conditions and soil quality, established California Fan Palms may need supplemental irrigation every 2-4 weeks during the growing season. However, this can vary widely based on factors like temperature, rainfall, and soil moisture retention.

Watering Depth: When you water, make sure to water deeply to encourage deep root growth. Apply water slowly to allow it to penetrate deeply into the root zone. Shallow, frequent watering can lead to shallow root development and make the palm more susceptible to drought stress.

Adjust for Local Conditions: Adjust your watering schedule based on local climate conditions and weather patterns. In extremely hot and dry climates, palms may need more frequent watering. Conversely, in cooler or more humid areas, they may require less.

Rainfall: Take into account the amount of rainfall your area receives. In periods of regular rainfall, you may not need to water as frequently, but in dry spells, it's essential to supplement with irrigation.

Mulching: Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the palm can help retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, and reduce water evaporation. Mulching also helps prevent weed competition around the palm.

Avoid Overwatering: Overwatering can be harmful to California Fan Palms, leading to root rot and other issues. Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out between watering, and always ensure that the soil has good drainage to prevent waterlogged conditions.

Monitor Soil Moisture: Regularly check the moisture level in the soil by inserting your finger or a moisture meter a few inches into the soil. Water when the soil feels dry at that depth.

Remember that specific watering needs can vary based on factors like local climate, soil type, and the age of the palm. It's essential to strike a balance between providing enough water to keep the palm healthy and avoiding overwatering, which can be detrimental. Adjust your watering practices based on the specific conditions in your garden and monitor the palm's health and appearance as a guide for your watering routine.

Trimming the brown tips or fronds from your California Fan Palm is generally not recommended unless the fronds are completely dead or pose a safety hazard. Here are some guidelines for dealing with brown fronds on your palm tree:

Assess the Fronds: Before you decide to trim any fronds, carefully inspect them to determine their condition. If the fronds are mostly green with only a small portion of browning at the tips, it's best to leave them alone. These fronds are still contributing to the overall health and vigor of the palm.

Prune Only Dead or Dying Fronds: If a frond is entirely brown and dead or is hanging at an angle that poses a safety risk (e.g., over a walkway or near structures), then it can be pruned. Use clean, sharp pruning shears or loppers to make the cut near the base of the frond. Avoid leaving a stub, as this can create a potential entry point for pests or diseases.

Avoid Over-Pruning: California Fan Palms naturally retain some brown fronds as they age, and these fronds help protect the trunk from sunburn and provide some insulation during temperature fluctuations. Over-pruning by removing too many green fronds can stress the palm and may lead to reduced vigor.

Pruning Timing: If you do decide to prune, it's best to do so during the late winter or early spring before new growth begins. This allows the palm to conserve energy during the cooler months.

Proper Disposal: Dispose of the pruned fronds properly to prevent the spread of pests or diseases. You can either use them as mulch or add them to your green waste collection if available in your area.

Maintenance and Care: Ensure that your palm receives adequate and consistent watering, as well as appropriate fertilization to maintain its health and vitality. Healthy palms are better equipped to resist stress and maintain their fronds.

Remember that California Fan Palms are adapted to arid and semi-arid environments, and they naturally retain some older, brown fronds as a survival strategy. Removing too many green fronds can weaken the palm and potentially lead to long-term health issues. Therefore, it's essential to strike a balance between aesthetic considerations and the palm's well-being when deciding whether to trim fronds. If you're unsure about whether to prune or have concerns about your palm's health, consider seeking advice from a local horticulturist or arborist who is familiar with palm tree care in your region.

California Fan Palms can turn brown or exhibit brown fronds for several reasons. Browning of fronds in these palm trees can be a natural part of their growth cycle, but it can also be a sign of various stressors or problems. Here are some common reasons why California Fan Palms may develop brown fronds:

Normal Aging: One of the most common reasons for brown fronds on California Fan Palms is natural aging. Like all palm trees, older fronds eventually turn yellow, then brown, and die off. This is a normal process, and palm trees continuously produce new fronds at the top of the canopy to replace the older ones.

Drought Stress: California Fan Palms require consistent moisture, especially during hot and dry periods. If they do not receive enough water, their fronds may turn brown and dry out. Ensure that your palms are receiving an adequate and regular water supply, especially during the summer months.

Overwatering: While drought stress can lead to browning, overwatering can also cause problems. Palms can develop root rot if the soil remains excessively wet for extended periods. Make sure the soil has good drainage, and avoid letting the palm sit in standing water.

Nutrient Deficiencies: Nutrient deficiencies, particularly a lack of essential micronutrients like magnesium or potassium, can lead to browning of fronds. Have a soil test performed to identify any nutrient deficiencies, and fertilize the palm accordingly with a balanced palm fertilizer or one formulated for palm trees.

Pest or Disease Issues: Insects or diseases, such as palm weevils, scale insects, or fungal infections, can cause damage to the palm tree and result in browning fronds. Regularly inspect your palm for signs of pests or disease, and treat as necessary.

Improper Pruning: Incorrect or excessive pruning can damage the palm and lead to brown fronds. Prune only dead or dying fronds and avoid removing healthy green fronds. Ensure that pruning tools are clean and sharp to minimize stress on the palm.

Environmental Stress: Extreme environmental factors, such as strong winds, cold temperatures, or excessive heat, can stress the palm and lead to browning. Provide protection or shelter during severe weather conditions.

Transplant Shock: If the palm was recently transplanted, it may experience transplant shock, resulting in browning of fronds. Proper care and time will help it recover.

It's important to identify the specific cause of the browning in your California Fan Palms to take appropriate action. Regular maintenance, including proper watering, fertilization, and pest control, can help keep your palm trees healthy and reduce the risk of frond browning. If you're unsure about the cause of the issue, consider consulting with a Simply Trees horticulturist for a professional assessment and guidance.

California Fan Palms are native to and primarily found in the southwestern United States, particularly in the desert regions of California, Arizona, and parts of Baja California in Mexico. They are well adapted to the hot, arid climates of these areas and are often associated with oases, desert canyons, and other locations where water is available. Here are some specific details about where California Fan Palms grow:

California: California Fan Palms are most commonly associated with the southern and southeastern parts of California. They can be found in desert regions such as the Coachella Valley, the Colorado Desert, and the Mojave Desert. Some notable locations include Joshua Tree National Park, Palm Springs, and the Coachella Valley Preserve.

Arizona: California Fan Palms also grow in Arizona, primarily in the Sonoran Desert region. You can find them in places like the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, and the Gila River Valley.

Baja California, Mexico: In Mexico, California Fan Palms can be found in the northern part of the Baja California Peninsula.

These palm trees are typically found in areas with a reliable source of groundwater, as they require access to water to thrive. In their natural habitat, they often grow near natural springs, creeks, or other sources of moisture in otherwise arid landscapes.

California Fan Palms are known for their iconic appearance, with their tall, slender trunks and large, fan-shaped fronds. They are a unique and iconic feature of the desert landscapes in the regions where they are native, and they are also commonly cultivated as ornamental plants in other arid and semi-arid regions around the world.

Our Process

We have perfected packaging and shipping plants & trees! That is why we DO NOT use any third-party fulfillment like most other online retailers. Your trees go straight from our farm to your door, safely packaged by our team of seasoned professionals. Our process ensures your plants leave our facility and arrive to your door in the best condition possible!