Trachycarpus Palm

Hardy, evergreen palm with strong stems bearing large, rounded fan-shaped leaves. The only true palm that is hardy enough to be grown outdoors in the UK.

Family: Arecaceae
Botanical Name: Trachycarpus
Common Names: Stone gate palm, Chinese windmill palm, Chusan palm

Foliage: Evergreen, large rounded, palmately divided, fan-shaped leaves.

Blossom: Custers of small flowers, followed by rounded yellow fruits on mature female plants.

Soil: Well-drained soil (clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun or partial shade. Best in a south, west or east facing aspect, in a sheltered location.

Habit: Bushy.

Type: Shrub or tree.

Origin: China and Himalaya

Hardiness: Reasonably hardy in the UK, down to about -15°C.

Planting and Growing Palms

Plant out in late April-May. Thrives in well-drained, fertile loam, in full sun or partial shade.

Drought resistant once established.

Ideal as a exotic specimen tree in a sheltered area. Can also be pot grown as a conservatory or greenhouse plant.

Taking Care of Palms

Protect from strong north and east winds, and hard winter frosts. Young trees can be easily damaged by severe winters so should be protected by bracken or fleece covers.

Pruning Palms

Cut off lower leaves close to the trunk as they die back.

Pests and Diseases

Generally trouble free when grown outside.

Propagating Trachycarpus

Pot up basal suckers in spring and root in frame or greenhouse. Alternatively, sow seeds in a frame in spring. Pot on seedlings. Protect and plant out in fourth year.


Trachycarpus fortunei (Chusan palm) is a slow-growing evergreen palm with an impressive head of divided fan-shaped leaves. Mature plants may produce large clusters of creamy yellow flowers in early summer. Not fully hardy. Height to 33ft (10m), spread to 10ft (3m) in warm sheltered conditions. Cultivar wagnerianus is a useful dwarf form with more compact fronds. Height 10ft (3m) or more.

Trachycarpus princeps one of the hardiest of the genus with a slight blue leaf colouration. Can be difficult to grow but worth the effort.