Thursday, September 11, 2014

How to grow a Chinese fan palm

Livistona chinensis
This lovely and graceful Chinese fan palm has been perfectly cared for by my friend, Bob, who was born with a green thumb. Even if you don't think you are born with one, you can learn to cultivate one. This fan palm is many years old and lives on a shaded sun porch for the summer and in a bright, but not too sunny, dining room window the rest of the year. 

Finding a shady outdoor spot in warmer months for your houseplants can be very beneficial to them as it replicates their natural environment quite closely. Most plants available for sale today will adapt quite well to normal indoor conditions if you are not able to do that. Some have more specific needs such as higher humidity or good air circulation and it's best to find that out before purchasing one. 

The Chinese fan palm is botanically known as Livistona chinensis and not surprisingly, a native of South China. It is a slow grower but can eventually grow taller than average ceiling height and almost as wide. They are considered fairly easy to grow and are usually sold in larger pots so they can sometimes can go as long as a few weeks between waterings.

Palms do seem to bring a touch of Paradise with them, wherever they are grown. Owning a palm can be a great choice to enhance your personal environment. Here is the way to keep it healthy for a long time:

Care Instructions:
  • Bright indirect light or some filtered sun is best. Direct morning sun is fine for them but full afternoon sun is probably too much.
  • Water a fan palm in a 10"(25 cm) diameter container when it is dry about 1" below the soil surface.  It will use about 1-2 quarts (about 1-2 liters) of water when necessary.  If it is in lower light use the lesser amount unless the plant has dried out more than it should.  A plant in a 14" (35 cm) diameter container will use up to 1 gallon (almost 4 liters) when ready.
  • Some may find soil moisture meters for indoor plants helpful. They are easy to find at garden centers or online.
  • A daily misting can be helpful especially if the humidity level is quite low in the room where it lives.
  • Dust occasionally and clean them with a gentle showering once in a while.  
  • Fertilize regularly
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