The Windmill Palm (Trachycarpus Fortunei) Care Guide

The Windmill Palm, otherwise known as the Trachycarpus Fortunei or Chinese Windmill Palm, Chusan Palm, Hemp Palm, Nepalese Fan Palm, Windmill Palm, Chamaerops fortunei, is a rather well known palm plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this palm will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, this is exactly what we’ll cover in this Windmill Palm Care Guide. So let’s dive in.

In order to take proper care of your Windmill Palm you’ll need to keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Water: The Windmill Palm prefers constant watering each week and more during the hot season.
  • Light: Keep your Trachycarpus Fortunei in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Windmill Palm in soil with well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, chalk, and loam.

And that’s practically it! If you keep these three factors in check, your Windmill Palm will likely have all it needs for it to survive and even thrive.

Trachycarpus fortunei plant

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Windmill Palm belongs to the Arecaceae family, the genus Trachycarpus and the species Fortunei, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Trachycarpus Fortunei (tray-kee-o-KAR-pos for-TEW-ne-i).

As with other Trachycarpus’s, the Windmill Palm is an evergreen plant, which means it will be present year round in your garden.

Growing Region

The Windmill PalmCentral and eastern China..

As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Windmill Palm is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Trachycarpus Fortunei will be most used to the heat zones in the 8 – 12 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a and the ideal climate zone is between 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Windmill Palm is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.


But, how big does the Windmill Palm actually get? What should you expect in terms of size? Let’s dive right in…

The Trachycarpus Fortunei can grow up to 8′ – 10′ (240cm – 3m) in 8′ – 10′ (240cm – 3m) and 4′ – 6′ (120cm – 180cm) in 4′ – 6′ (120cm – 180cm). 

These dimensions make the Windmill Palm a relatively large palm compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 72″ (180cm) free so the Windmill Palm can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Windmill Palm is a fairly simple plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Trachycarpus Fortunei prefers constant watering each week and more during the hot season.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively low needs in terms of water. 

Trachycarpus fortunei leaf


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Windmill Palm in soil with well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, and moist properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

But, if you want a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to watering your Windmill Palm then you should consider the famous ‘finger’ test. To perform this test, you just need to put your finger in your plant’s soil and determine if it’s moist or not. If it is, then don’t water; if it isn’t, then please do. In any case, this test will allow you to know if your Windmill Palm needs or does not need water, every time.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Windmill Palm prefers to have soil with good drainage, and moist properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, chalk, and loam.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Windmill Palm requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this palm will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Trachycarpus Fortunei in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being an evergreen plant, the Windmill Palm will be present year round in your garden.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), the fall, and during the winter.


You can expect your Windmill Palm to flower around the spring and in the summer months from April to June (spring), and from July to September (summer).

The Windmill Palm produces some beautiful yellow, or gold/yellow and green flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Windmill Palm have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a compound (pinnately, bipinnately, palmately) arrangement in its leaves.

Trachycarpus fortunei care

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Windmill Palm is well known for its tolerance to drought conditions, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Trachycarpus Fortunei will be fine.


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Windmill Palm? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Trachycarpus Fortunei owners agree that this palm will look great in most rustic, mediterranean and tropical gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of mediterranean garden styles. 

In particular, the Windmill Palm’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, and in patio and containers, others use it for landscaping in a houseplant, coastal exposure, rock garden, container, poolside, or a specimen.

Companion Plants

Windmill Palm’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Strelitzia, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Canna will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


Even though we covered a lot of care information for your Windmill Palm, remember the basics: sunlight, soil and water, as these should be enough to grow a healthy plant at home.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

Recent Posts