Chinese Fan Palm Guide

Last Updated January 4, 2021 By Bella Zinti

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The Chinese fan palm (Livistona Chinensis), known as fountain palm, is a native palm plant to Eastern Asia. The plant got its name from how the large leaves grow in circular, making it look like a fan.

The adaptability and toughness of this fan-shaped plant allow it to grow almost anywhere in the world. This species of a subtropical palm tree has reportedly naturalized in many countries, including the United States, in states like Florida and Hawaii. Unlike the other palm plants, the Chinese fan palm (fountain palm) can adapt to cold and drought climate zones. This adaptability makes this palm a great outdoor tree for people who don't live in a tropical heat condition that is typically a palm requirement. And because of its adaptability and toughness to cold-hardy tolerance, this is the perfect choice for beginner gardeners.

The Chinese fan plant's attractive fan leaves can arrange in various shades of green. When grown young, it can be very bushy and lush. But a more mature plant will have a trunk that supports overhead foliage. This fan palm can live up to 40 years and more, and it can reach 30 to 40 feet tall. But in cultivation, it is much smaller, especially when it is grown inside as a potted houseplant.

The striking palm Chinese fan plant (Livistona Chinensis) is a statement piece for any home and in any space. Aside from its large, dramatic leaves that resemble paper fans, this plant can purify the air. When growing indoors or outdoors, this palm tree is also non-toxic and pet friendly.

Botanical Name

Common Name


Mature Size

Sun Requirement

Planting Zones


Livistona chinensis

Chinese fan palm, fountain palm

Palm tree

30 to 40 feet tall; 12-foot spread

Full sun to part shade

9 to 10 (USDA)

Non-toxic and pet friendly

Botanical Name: Livistona chinensis

Common Name: Chinese fan palm, fountain palm

Type: Palm tree

Mature Size: 30 to 40 feet tall; 12-foot spread

Sun Requirement: Full sun to part shade

Planting Zones: 9 to 10 (USDA)

Toxicity: Non-toxic and pet friendly

How To Grow Chinese Fan Palm

A Chinese fan palm can grow in just about any soil that receives a fair amount of moisture. When growing in a pot, this plant thrives in any well-drained potting mix.

Fertilization is the biggest task to remember when growing Chinese fan palms. These plants require fertilization regularly, especially in the growing season. Any nutrient deficiency will cause discoloration of plant leaves.

This Chinese fan palm tree enjoys plenty of suns and as well as moisture. Do not overwater the plant. This palm can tolerate any condition and is tough, making this plant a great palm to grow for beginners.


The Chinese fan palm doesn't have any insect, serious pest, or prone to disease. Do look out for common pests, such as spider mites.

This fan palm can suffer from nutrients deficiency, with potassium being the most common. A common sign of deficiency is discoloration in leaves.

Light Requirement

This palm does the best with plenty of full suns, but it can tolerate part shade. When grown indoors, it thrives in a lot of bright indirect light and out of direct sunlight, especially when it's young.

Soil Requirement

When this palm is grown outdoor, it can grow in almost any medium moisture soil. It prefers clay, loam, and sand. When grown indoors, the plant thrives in well-drained and rich potting soil.

Water Chinese Fan Palms

The Chinese fan palm needs to be regular watering when grown in-ground and can tolerate a fair drought environment. You can scale back on water during a slow-growing season or colder season. When growing indoors, this palm tree watering needs about two or three waterings per week—providing that the root isn't soaked in water and allows the soil to dry in between waterings.

Temperature and humidity

The Chinese fan palm can tolerate cold-hardy temperatures as cold as 20 degrees Fahrenheit and is frost resistant. This plant can live in both humidity and dry air conditions.

Fertilizing Requirement

Chinese fan palm is a slow-growth palm plant. But when it's fertilized regularly, it would grow fairly quickly and prevent the plant from developing nutritional deficiency, especially when it is grown outdoors. When grown indoors, the Chinese fan palm should be fed once per month. The best fertilizer for Chinese fan palm is an 8 12 fertilizer.


Chinese fan palm is a very low maintenance plant when it comes to pruning. Occasionally, check the bottom of the crown, and remove any dead leaves.

Potting and repotting

Like most palm trees, a Chinese fan palm doesn't need repotting often when growing in a container. Because they have a slow growth rate in nature and grow in a container, they won't need to repot unless the soil is depleted or outgrown. If you have to repot, make sure not to damage the root during the process and replant it in a well-drained large pot-sized container.

These palm plants are best fitted for a large room with a high ceiling because they are big and can grow fairly tall.

Propagating Chinese Fan Palm

The Chinese pan palm can propagate by seed. But the seeds can have a long germinate time, so it may be easier to buy a plant from a garden store or nursery.

The easier and faster propagation method to propagate a Chinese fan palm is from cuttings. Cut the shoots and repot them in a rich organic matter soil. Allow the plants to develop roots and keep the cutting away from direct sun.

Landscape Uses

A young Chinese fan palm has a wide-spreading crown, dense, and low growth habit, making it an excellent privacy screening option. The plant becomes an upright palm with a singular thick trunk when it matures, making it the perfect tree for the landscape. When grown outdoors for privacy or full look, space a 7 gallon (or larger) pot size palm plant at about 4 feet apart.

The Chinese fan palms are often grown as indoor plants, and they will be a statement piece in any space. The palm must be grown in a spacious room with tall ceilings receiving plenty of bright indirect sunlight. These plants are best grown in a medium or large contai ner. And because the plant has short spines on the leaf's interior, avoid placing them in high traffic areas where people have to brush against it to get by.

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About the author

Bella has a Bachelors degree in interior design, is a master gardener. She designs nourishing outdoor & indoor spaces guided by the practice of Feng Shui.