Easy Windmill Plant: Your Garden Gem

Growing Windmill Plant 

If you want a tropical plant that gives a nice breezy feel to your garden in warm months and can survive cold winters, consider the windmill plant. Also known as Trachycarpus fortunei, this palm tree does well in cooler climates like Washington state. It’s an evergreen plant that comes from China, India, Japan, and Myanmar.

People have been growing it for a long time, especially in China and Japan, so it’s hard to say exactly where it comes from. This has a unique shape like a windmill, with a thick trunk covered in brown fibers and long, closely packed fronds. It stays green all year and blooms with beautiful yellow flowers in the spring. It can handle salty conditions and can be planted in pots, so you can enjoy it in different places. It grows slowly, less than a foot per year, and can reach a height of 10-40 feet, but it’s usually kept shorter at around 10-20 feet.

Unleashing the Beauty: Windmill Plant Guide



  • Windmill Plant gets its name from its big, round leaves that look like a windmill because they are connected by a thin stem in the middle.
  • The leaves, which are 55 to 75 inches long, spread out from stems that are about 24 to 39 inches long. The leaf bases make a rough covering on the trunk, and the trunk is covered in thick brown fibers that resemble hair.
  • Besides the tropical leaves, in the spring, Chinese palms also produce big bunches of sweet-smelling flowers that are about 2 to 3 inches long.
  • Windmill palm trees can reach heights between 10 and 40 feet. Most people keep them smaller, around 10-20 feet tall and 6-10 feet wide. These palms grow slowly, adding less than a foot each year.
  • Windmill Plants are dioecious, meaning male and female flowers grow on different trees. The female flowers are green, and the male flowers are yellow. Sometimes, male windmill palms can produce a few hermaphroditic (male and female) flowers that are larger and yellow like the male flowers. All the flowers grow close to the tree trunks.

Windmill Plant Growing Conditions

Windmill palm trees don’t mind the type of soil they are planted in. They enjoy shade and can handle frigid temperatures, even as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Here are the main things to keep in mind when taking care of a tree:

Sun and shade

Windmill palm trees like more shade than sunlight. Plant them in a spot with partial shade, where they get two to four hours of direct sunlight each day.


Windmill palm trees can handle different kinds of soil, but they like to grow in soil that is porous, moist, fertile, and drains well. They can grow in various soil types and pH levels as long as there is good drainage. The soil mustn’t stay too wet because windmill palms don’t like that. Since the leaves are a bit delicate, it’s better to plant them in a place that is somewhat protected from strong winds to prevent the leaves from getting damaged.


Growing conditions of windmill plant


When you first plant windmill palms, they need a lot of water to grow strong roots. Water them every two to three days for the first three months, and after that, water once a week, except during the summer. If it’s hot or dry, you might need to water twice a week. Keep the soil consistently damp, but not too wet. To know when to water, press your index finger 2-3 inches into the soil around the tree. If it feels dry, it’s time to water.


Trees grow well in rich soil. Use a slow-release fertilizer made for palm trees once or twice during the growing season. Apply it first in spring before new growth starts, then again in summer or fall.


Windmill palm trees don’t need much pruning, except for removing any branches that are dead, sick, or harmed. Just trim those branches as soon as you see them.

Temperature and Humidity

Windmill palms are tough tropical plants that can handle the cold. They can survive temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit and do well in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8a-11. If you give them protection from cold and wind, they can even endure a few days of temperatures a few degrees colder than usual.

Windmill Plant Seed Propagating

Each palm tree is unique, and how they are grown and their chances of success outside their usual area can vary. To make new windmill palms, you need both a male and a female plant to create good seeds. It’s not easy to tell the gender just by looking, but when they start to bloom, it becomes clearer. Male palms have big yellow flower clusters that don’t turn into fruit, while females have smaller greenish blooms that will become fruit.

To grow windmill palms successfully, you’ll need healthy and ripe seeds. Ripe seeds come from drupes that are very dark blue-black and shaped a bit like a kidney bean. These drupes appear on female plants around winter. To get to the seeds, you’ll need to clean off the pulp.

Many gardeners recommend the soaking method. Put the seeds in a bowl of warm water and let them soak for a few days. After that, wash off any pulp. Now you should have clean, fresh seeds ready to grow new windmill palms. For the soil, use a mix of 50 percent peat and 50 percent perlite. Make sure to dampen the soil before planting the seeds.

Once you have your seeds and damp soil, it’s time to plant. Fresh seeds grow faster and more consistently than ones that have been saved. Plant each seed about ½ inch (1 cm.) deep and lightly cover it with the soil. Put a clear plastic bag over the pot or container. This creates a little greenhouse to keep in moisture and warmth.

Put the container in a dark part of your home that’s at least 65 degrees F (18 C). The seeds should start growing in a month or two. If too much water builds up inside the bag, take it off for an hour each day to stop fungus from growing. Once the young plants start to appear, take off the bag completely.

How to Propagate a Windmill Palm Tree from Cuttings

Growing windmill plant from cuttings can be quicker to get plants with their usual features, but it’s not as guaranteed as using seeds. If you want to give it a try, look for new growth at the base of your palm, especially if the trunk was damaged before. It’s not exactly like “pups” or “offshoots” from some palms, but they might have enough new cells to become a plant. Use a clean, sharp knife to separate the growth from the parent.

Plant the cutting in the same peat and perlite mix mentioned earlier. Keep the soil somewhat moist and the cutting in bright but not direct sunlight. With some luck, the cutting might grow roots and become a new windmill palm.

Growing Indoors

These palms are great for keeping indoors as houseplants because they grow slowly, can handle different types of soil, and are okay with low humidity. If you want them to do well inside, make sure they get enough sunlight, regular watering, and some fertilizer.

If you choose to take them outside in warmer weather, do it slowly. This helps avoid sunburn because indoor palms might get stressed if they’re suddenly in direct sunlight.


How fast does a windmill palm tree grow?

Answer: Windmill palm trees have a slow growth rate, typically gaining less than a foot in height each year. The growth rate can vary based on factors such as climate, soil conditions, and care practices. It’s common for windmill palms to reach a height of 10-20 feet, but they can eventually grow up to 40 feet in the right conditions. Patience is key when cultivating windmill palm trees, as their slow growth contributes to their long-term resilience.


How deep should I plant a windmill palm tree?

Answer: When planting a windmill palm tree, it’s recommended to plant it at a depth similar to its original container or slightly deeper. The hole should be wide enough to accommodate the root ball comfortably. Ensure that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Proper planting depth is crucial for the tree’s stability and healthy growth.

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