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Livistona chinensis is a very attractive palm with a single trunk and a dense weeping canopy. The Chinese Fan Palm will do well in both bright sun and bight shade. It's adaptability makes it suitable for both a specimen landscape plant, and a handsoome interior display.
As a landscape plant, the Chinese Fan Palm is virtually carefree. It is adaptable to a wide variety of soils, and forms a deep tap root to draw moisture, making it capable of surviving long periods of draught.
The dense canopy is made up of 30 to 50 leaves. Each leaf is has a petole that is 3 to 4 feet long. The leaf blade is costapalmate type and can be up to a 6 foot in diameter. The leaves are divided, and have about 75 long tapering, ribbon like segments which sway gracefully beneath the leaves. The petioles are armed with sharp spines on the lower half.
The trunk does not develop a crownshaft. It is generally straight, and 18 inches in diameter - a little wider at the base. Younger trees have an earthy brown color, changing to a bleached gray on much older plants. Under ideal growing conditions the trunk can reach heights of up to 50 feet. In cultivation the maximum height is more likely to be 25 to 30 foot range. The spread of the conopy is 15 to 20 feet.
This is a tropical palm, but can withstand temperatures a few degrees below freezing. It has been reported that it survives as far north as zone 8 if planted in a well protected area. Growth rate is fairly slow, and responds well to 2 or 3 feedings a year with a good slow release fertilizer that contains micro-nutrients.
Immature plants are very attractive because of their dense canopy and weeping appearance. Because of this attractiveness, and their slow growth habit, it is not uncommon to see a mass planting used as a high ground cover. As the years pass, and they become taller, they can be thinned by cutting them off at the ground.
Chinese Fan Palms do very well as an interior plant where a lager green display is desired. Their slow growth, and low maintence requirements make them extremely desirable for both home and commercial use. They will thrive for many years in a bright light situation.