Q:

How do you care for a Mexican fan palm?

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Quick Answer

The Mexican fan palm, also known as Washington palm, is an exceptionally hardy tree that requires little to no regular care. This palm requires full sun and grows best in regularly watered soil that remains moist, while draining excess water. The tree has a high tolerance for drought conditions; although, growth slows during such times. It is appropriate to prune as desired, with fertilizer applied to poor soil twice annually.

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Full Answer

Gardeners can choose to water the Mexican fan palm daily, but care should be taken not to overwater the plant. Overwatering and poor drainage causes root rot and potentially kills the tree. Gardeners who choose to augment the soil with fertilizer should use a slow-release fertilizer applied during the growing season in spring and again in mid-summer. Additional fertilizer can be added if the tree appears to have a nutritional deficiency.

Palm trees don't require regular pruning, but gardeners can remove dead or damaged leaves, which are identified by the frond's discoloration. However, Mexican fan palms, like all palms, naturally shed dead and damaged material, so manual removal is unnecessary and should only be undertaken by someone experienced in pruning palm trees. Pruning can easily damage the tree, which lacks the ability for self-repair seen in other species.

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