Caring for Washingtonia — everything you need to know about the petticoat palm

Known as fan palms, Washingtonia filifera are imposing plants with large, green, fan-shaped fronds. The term fan palm is often used for other genera as well, so it is always important to know what the botanical name of the genus is. Generally speaking, Washingtonia palms are robust, vigorous and relatively fast-growing. At its home location, the palm species can reach a height of 20 to 30 meters and is hardy. In our regions, the palm is best left outdoors from May to September and is overwintered indoors .

Worth knowing Location Care Watering Fertilizing Repotting Overwintering Species Pests & Diseases FAQ

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Interesting facts about the fan palm

Botanical name: Washingtonia filifera, Washingtonia robusta
Other names: fan palm, petticoat palm, Washington palm, desert palm, priest palm
Use: houseplant, indoor greenery, conservatory, container plant
Origin: southeastern USA, northwestern Mexico Flowers
: rare, star-shaped, yellowish flowers that grow in summer on long panicles.
Special features: forms an upright trunk, grows quickly, becomes very sprawling with age and needs space. The fanned leaf fronds form a decorative picture. A bright place is important for the exotic green plants, as they come from sunny regions. Can stand in the garden in summer. Conditionally hardy.

In which location does the Washingtonia feel most comfortable?

A bright and warm location is important for the petticoat palm. The green plant also feels good at high temperatures, but the blazing midday sun on the south-facing window should be avoided. In summer, staying in the garden or on the balcony is ideal. Younger plants in particular should preferably be sheltered indoors over the winter. Partially the kinds as hardyreferred to as palm trees. Nevertheless, sheltered wintering indoors is recommended in our latitudes. Short phases down to -8 °C are tolerated. Long periods of permafrost are detrimental to evergreen species. A rest period from October to March at temperatures between 8 and 14 °C is beneficial. A bright, cool stairwell or an unheated conservatory is well suited. A dark place in winter is not recommended.

Our gardening tip: Make sure you gradually get used to the outdoor conditions. The UV radiation outdoors can lead to unsightly burns if you switch too quickly. A bright, sunny place on the balcony or terrace that is protected from rain is ideal in summer.

How do I properly care for my Washingtonia?

Petticoat palms are robust and easy to care for in bright locations. Need-based watering and regular fertilization are important during the main growth phase from April to August. You can rinse off small specimens once a year in the shower with lukewarm water. If the palm trees are too big and unwieldy for this, wiping the leaves with a damp cloth will help. This will remove the dust and encourage good development. Proper care also includes removing the old, dried leaves.

How do I water my Washingtonia correctly?

Washington palms require consistent soil moisture and need regular watering. The tropical plants grow especially in summer and evaporate a lot of moisture through their fronds. You can dip smaller plants once a week. Here you place the houseplant in a bucket filled with water and immerse the palm tree until no more air bubbles rise. The advantage of the immersion method is that the substrate and the root ball are completely soaked. Excess water will be removed from the coaster or planter as waterlogging will not be tolerated. Larger copies will be posted weeklypoured, checked after 15 minutes and poured off excess water. If the palm is cooler in winter, the interval between watering increases to 10 to 14 days.

Our care tip: The watering depends on the temperature and radiation. In hot phases, watering every 1 to 2 days may be necessary. When staying outdoors, it is important that water drainage is guaranteed. The palm trees do not tolerate waterlogging.

How do I fertilize my Washingtonia?

Washington palms need regular fertilizer for good development and growth. A special green plant fertilizer that contains important growth and vital substances is ideal for fertilization. Fertilize the plant weekly from March to October and every 8 weeks during winter. Fertilizing with fertilizer sticks is easy to handle. This convenient long-term fertilization is particularly useful for small plants. The palm trees are thus supplied with all the necessary nutrients, minerals and trace elements for 3 months.

How do I repot my Washingtonia?

As with other palms, the Washingtonia needs to be repotted every 2 to 3 years. Because of the taproot, use a tall pot. In this way, the roots can develop optimally and the plants continue to grow quickly. The best time to transplant your Washingtonia palm is in spring. Use a special green plant and palm soil for repotting. The composition of this substrate is tailored to the needs of palm trees. It is peat -reduced, loose and has a pH of 5.3. The special soil has excellent water holding power and a high nutrient storage capacity. This makes maintenance easier and the depot fertilizer included provides the palm trees with all the nutrients they need for the first 6 weeks after repotting.

How does the fan palm overwinter?

Bright and frost-free wintering at temperatures of 5 to 8 °C is ideal. During warm hibernation, the fronds dry out too much and unsightly brown spots appear on the large fans. It is important that the plants also get enough light in the winter quarters. Plant lamps can help in dark places. You should also pay attention to the humidity. Spraying with low-lime water or setting up an indoor fountain or a bowl with water is beneficial. If you want to overwinter the plant outdoors, it is important that the heart of the palm is protected from moisture. Tie the fronds together and wrapFleece around the leaves and the root base.

How do the species of Washingtonia differ?

Washingtonia filifera — California Washington palm

  • Palms of this genus that grow in nature grow up to 15 meters in height.
  • The thick trunk is covered by the dried leaves. These leaves stick to the trunk, which is why the plant has been given the name priest or petticoat palm.

The old leaves are regularly removed from the houseplant.

Washingtonia robusta — Mexican Washington Palm

    • Washingtonia robusta only has the light threads on the leaves when it is young.
    • The trunk is significantly taller and slimmer than Washingtonia filifera.
    • It grows stronger than the California Washington palm, can grow up to 30 meters in the wild.
    • Washingtonia robusta is less tolerant of cold than the California species.

This species is widespread in the Mediterranean region as an ornamental plant.

What diseases and pests are there?

The popular palm trees are robust and, with good care and in the best location, are rarely attacked by diseases and pests. The following pests can occur:

spider mites

The affected leaves have silvery dots on the upper side and webs are visible on the underside of the leaves. The infestation often occurs in winter when the indoor air is warm and dry. It is usually sufficient to rinse off the plants and treat them with plant strengtheners. These bio-active agents contain natural plant extracts that contribute to the vitalization of the plant. You can prevent an infestation by increasing the humidity. A nearby indoor fountain or regular spraying will help.

FAQ — Frequently asked questions about the petticoat palm

What can be the reason for brown leaf tips?

Brown leaf tips are often a sign of too much water. In addition, leaf damage can occur due to dry air in winter. Regular spraying with a spray bottle containing low-calcium water will help prevent brown leaf tips.

How to overwinter petticoat palms outdoors?

In climatically favorable locations (wine-growing climate), a perennial outdoor culture can take place with careful overwintering. It is important that the roots remain slightly moist even in winter, but that there is never standing water. It is also necessary to protect the leaves from the strong winter sun. You should protect the fronds with special winter fleece. If it is sunny and the palm evaporates, but the ground is frozen, so-called winter drought damage can occur. Therefore, optimal soil moisture is also important in winter. Small specimens are best overwintered in a cool and bright stairwell.

How are the palm trees cultivated?

A common method of palm propagation is sowing. Seed germination takes a long time and sufficient warmth and moisture are required before a seedling becomes visible. The propagation is tedious, mostly the members of the Arecaeae family are cultivated in special companies and young plants are sent to green plant companies for further cultivation.

What can be the reason for yellow leaves?

In addition to a lack of fertilizer and a location that is too dark in winter, cold temperatures can also lead to lightening of the leaves. Check site conditions.

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