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The California fan palm is a bold and imposing tree. It can develop a massive trunk and grow to 35-50 ft. and taller. Pale green fan-shaped leaves grow 3-6 ft. across, are deeply cut and have many thread-like filaments growing from the tips and margins of leaflets. Clusters of tiny creamy-white flowers occur on 8-10 ft. long inflorescences in spring; numerous black berries ripen in late summer and sometimes germinate in gardens.

This southwestern native comes from the low deserts of Southern California and Arizona, as well as the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California. It grows with a uniform habit that makes is suited for use in plazas, as a street tree and occasionally as a yard tree. It is valued as a focal element and as a signature plant in southwestern style gardens. Normal maintenance includes cutting off dead fronds once a year.

Water Needs

The California fan palm is well adapted to hot climate locations in the Inland Empire where it thrives in sun and with normal winter rainfall and low amounts of summer water. Periodic deep watering during summer will sustain robust character. It should be noted there are several winter months marked by an asterisk (*) when rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water depending upon exposure conditions and size.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Palm, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright
Growth Rate: Slow
Height: 35 ft. - 50 ft.
Width: 10 ft. - 15 ft.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Pale green
Flower Color: Cream
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Sand, Clay, Alkaline soil
Exposure Adaptations: Wind, Heat, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Specimen, Slopes, Parks and open space, Mass planting, Foundations, Foliage accent plant, Civic spaces, Background plant


Prune fronds anytime as needed or desired. Prune flower stalks in spring / summer if desired to prevent seed formation and drop (D).



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