Washingtonia Robusta Care

A Hardy Type Palm that is a Fast Grower

Washingtonia Robusta-washingtonia-robusta-care
Washingtonia Robusta

The Washingtonian Robusta or Mexcian Fan Palm is an amazing plant that can reach heights of up to 100 ft, These palms are widely used and can be seen gracing the landscapes of many newly built homes especially office buildings. What makes this palm so great is it is a hardy plant and a fast grower. The resort where I once was employed installed many of these palms in some of their garden areas.

Several of these palms were also installed on the resort’s golf course to give that tropical look that was so inviting. The Washingtonia Robusta can work wonders sprucing up that drab area. The downside to these palms is though self-cleaning the dead leaves take a while before they are detached from the tree. Once the leaves turn brown and died they move from an upstanding position to a downward position remaining attached to the tree for a long time which can really take away from the palm’s beauty. The leaves may have to be removed manually especially by a certified landscape company that has both the training and the equipment to perform this job.

I have worked on several garden projects where the younger Washingtonia Robusta’s Fronds (leaves) had to be removed with the help of a pool saw. When it came to the taller trees ladders were brought in to trim the brown or dead leaves. Then there were the skyscrapers which were too tall for the ladders so what we did was to use a lift going up in a bucket to get to these leaves.

This palm overall is a great plant to have just remember what we discussed a little earlier. For more on the growth and care of the Washingtonia Palm stick around as we go more in-depth about this tropical giant.

Things you must know

Planting Location

When installing Washingtonia Robusta install in an area that will give this giant plenty of room to grow. Ensure there are no overhead power lines or other obstructions close to the planting area.

Soil Type

The soil type should be well-drained soil, incorporating organic matter will help to condition the soil.

Water Methods

Keep your Washingtonia Robusta well watered because it is so crucial after the transplanting procedures. It is best to form a catch basin around the base of the palm to hold the water. The catch basin will also direct water into the root zone. Once your palm shows signs that it has established by new leaves that begin to emerge you can cut back on the amount of water you are giving your palm.

Fertilizing Methods

Fertilize your Washintonia Robusta once each month with a granular or liquid feed fertilizer that has been formulated for palms. Before applying fertilizers read and follow the manufacturer’s label because the label is the law.

Garden insect pest of the Washingtonia Robusta

Keep an eye out for these insect pests that will seek to make a meal out of your palm.

  • Mealybugs
  • Spider Mites
  • Aphids
  • Scales


Mealybugs are soft-bodied insects with a white cottony waxy fuzzy coating, these insects will suck the plant’s juice, they secrete a sugary substance known as honeydew. This honeydew will attract ants and also cause black molds to form and cover the fronds (leaves) of your palm making it look very sickly.

Control these insect pests by using insecticidal soap spray or if the palm height makes it impossible or very hard to get to these insects then the use of systemic insecticides drench in the soil and taken up by the palms roots will offer some help. Remember to follow the instruction before using chemicals.

Spiders Mites

Spider mites are tiny insects that are hard to see with the naked eye. The signs to look for our spider webs on your plant. The leaves may also take on a greyish dirty appearance. Treat this insect pest as you would do with the mealybugs.


Aphids are pear-shaped insects that feed on the tender or new growth of plants. These insects can do damage the seem as with the spider mites and aphids. Treat these insect pests the way as with the mealybugs and spider mites.


Scales are armor-looking insects that will cause the same damage as the other insects mention earlier. Scales are insect pests that remain fixed on garden palms as well as garden plants the use of insecticidal soap spray will bring these insect pests under control.

Diseases of the Washingtonia Robusta

As far as disease is concerned I have not come across any issues which may be a problem with the Washingtonia Robusta. But it has been reported that root rot can be a problem with these palms so monitor the amount of water you are giving your palm.

Ideas on where to install the Washingtonia Robusta

1. Looks great planted alongside tall buildings.

2. Can be installed in wide-open garden areas.

3. Is attractive when planted along long beach walking pathways.

4. `A great idea is to install them along a garden walkway

5. Can be used as a backdrop in a large garden bed.

6. These palms can be installed in the parking lots of shopping malls.

Additional information

1. Plant the Washingtonia Robusta at least 8 feet from your house.

2. The Washingtonia Robusta is a cold-tolerant palm.

3. Six inches away from the trunk but in a circular pattern place a 3-inch layer of mulch. This mulch will help to keep weeds down, hold moisture for your palm, keep the soil temperature cool, add nutrients as it decomposes besides giving a more eye-catching beautiful appearance.

The final word

The Washingtonia Robusta can bring that flavor-enhancing your garden and landscape areas with its tropical beauty. As said before I have seen them in so many garden and landscape designs. This palm is a hardy plant that is a fast grower, why not take your garden design to the next level by including these palms in your garden project.


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About the author

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Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.