Washington palm - care, wintering

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Washingtonia robusta - Mexican Washington palm

The upright leaf fans are characterized by many individual leaves. Characteristic are the accordion-like folded narrow leaves, from the leaf ends hanging down fine fibers.
Planted, the palms can grow up to 25m, in the pot it usually stays at 2-4m height, if the pot is not too large. These fan palms are usually fast growing for palms and are very hardy.


The Washington palm loves a breezy place in the sun or partial shade. The placid, hot midday sun in summer is not very well tolerated, it can quickly cause unsightly brown spots on the leaves. In summer it prefers a damp, in winter a rather dry soil. In nature, they grow best in the vicinity of constant water, where the soil does not dry out and the humidity is high.
This palm species is ideal as a houseplant for cool rooms and conservatories. Especially in winter, it prefers a cool location, because it does not tolerate the heating air well. Otherwise, the Washingtonia is very robust and well suited for palm novices. But even houseplants love to spend the summer outside. For the plants slowly get used to the new lighting conditions. Have you spent the winter cool and a bit darker, they should first be placed for about 2 weeks in a partially shaded place before they get a sun place.
Older Washington palm trees can also be planted, they tolerate lower temperatures in the garden in a sheltered place than in the pot. In winter they should be thickly covered with brushwood or foliage at the bottom.


In the summer the Washingtonia likes a constant soil moisture, whereby it does not tolerate waterlogging. Therefore, on hot days a daily watering may be necessary.
The soil should be deeply loose and nutritious. Normal potting soil is enough for them, if you add this a little non-clumping sand. Older specimens are grateful for small gifts of clay in the soil.
Not planted, the Washington palm should be repotted every 3-4 years, not more often. As with roses, tall pots are also recommended for palm trees, as these plants form tap roots that require sufficient space.


The Washingtonie can tolerate frosts down to -10 degrees Celsius, so it can stay out for a long time. Then overwinter cool and airy. Gladly in the conservatory, because in the warm apartment she quarrels with the heating air.
During the winter months, the palm tree, like many other plants, also holds its resting phase and would like to be disturbed little. A constant back and forth should therefore be avoided. The floor should be allowed to dry in between, only a few waterings are needed during the resting phase. It is not fertilized at this time.


The leaf tips commonly turn brown on palms, including the Washington palm, which does not mean the soil is too dry, lacking nutrients, or ill. It is a natural phenomenon of this genus, against which you can not do much. You can slightly alleviate the symptoms, if you wash the leaves regularly with clear, lukewarm water.
The Washington palm is quite vulnerable to mealybugs and spider mites.

Wool or lice

Mealybugs are a subfamily of scale insects. They are also called Lubricants. Are recognizable
small brown nodules that indicate an infestation of. They sit on the underside of the leaves and can be removed with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol. If there are too many or hidden in the leaf folds, one can treat the plant several times with a product based on rapeseed oil or mineral oil.
Indoor plants are best sprayed while they are outside. Treated in the darker seasons, poor levels of light can cause damage to the plant.
It is also possible to use a spirit soap solution to try mechanically against the uninvited guests. For this purpose, 1 l of water is added to a strong splash of dishwashing detergent or an EL methylated spirits and the plant is dabbed with a brush or washcloth. While this is more labor intensive than using a chemical agent, it is much cheaper and gentler on the palm.

spider mites

These pests are recognizable by delicate white-silvery webs. They often settle as a result of too dry air. They do not like moisture, so spray the palm trees regularly.
Also, in order to combat them, the Washingtonia can be treated several times with a rapeseed oil or mineral oil-based and also applies here: squirt best houseplants while they are still outside.

fungal infection

This can happen especially in winter, when the wintering quarters are very cool and the air is stuffy. However, fungi are rare in the Washington palm.
By a sufficiently good supply of fresh air and sparing watering one can usually prevent fungal attack easily.

Video Board: Overwintering Washingtonia palms.

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