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The hardy Chinese hemp palm (Trachycarpus fortunei) is also a popular plant in our garden. Read our guide to find out how fast a hemp palm grows and how you can influence growth.

In a nutshell

  • average trunk growth between five and 15 centimeters per year
  • up to ten new palm fronds a year
  • specimens planted in the garden grow up to 30 centimeters a year
  • stronger in full sun in the garden and humus rich soil
  • water plentifully and supply nutrients regularly

Hemp palm grows slowly

In its homeland, the hemp palm reaches heights of growth of between 12 and 15 meters, which it also achieves quite quickly: growth increases of up to 30 centimeters per year are not uncommon under optimal conditions. Now, in German gardens - especially if the palm is not planted out but cultivated in a tub - only rarely are there, so that growth in this country is much slower.

  • average growth per year: five to 15 centimeters
  • up to ten new fronds per year
  • optimal conditions in regions with mild winters
  • here with planted specimens up to 30 centimeters trunk growth is possible per year

Tip: Hemp palms grow particularly quickly in regions with a climate similar to the Mediterranean climate. This applies above all to the German wine-growing regions along the Moselle and Rhine as well as to the North Sea coast.

Palm growth in winter

During the winter months, the palm does not stop its growth completely, but only slows it down. If the winter is mild and sunny, it can continue to grow during this time. If, on the other hand, it is cold and there is a lack of sunlight, the energy required for this is not sufficient for further growth. In regions with mild winters, hemp palms grow faster simply because the winters are shorter and milder - and the plants have more time.

affect growth rate

Since the growth rate of hemp palms depends on factors such as light, nutrient and water supply, you can influence it to a certain extent.

plant out

So that your hemp palm grows faster, you should plant them out - provided, of course, that you live in a region with the right climate. Hemp palms grown in pots grow much slower than specimens planted in the garden due to the limited space for the root ball and the need for regular supply of water and nutrients. The latter can “draw from plenty” and spread their roots to their heart’s content. This ensures stronger root and thus stronger stem growth.

Even palm trees that have been kept in pots for decades can still be retrained. It is important that the plants receive a lot of light at their new location and that the soil is as humus-rich and loose as possible. In addition, mild winters are an advantage, even if this species is very cold-tolerant and can easily withstand temperatures as low as minus ten degrees Celsius.

Tip: It only becomes dangerous in the case of deep permanent and, above all, ground frost, as the fronds can freeze away. You should therefore protect the hemp palm in the event of imminent frost, for example by packing up the crown and trunk.


In addition to freedom, light is also an important factor in how quickly a hemp palm tree grows. Hemp palms need a lot of sun in both summer and winter, at least four hours a day. The exotic plants grow much faster in full sun than in semi-shade. So if you are wondering about the slow growth rate of your specimen, this could be due to the lack of light. Place potted palms in the sun or transplant outgrown palms to a more suitable location.

Tip: But be careful: The optimal garden location is not only sunny, but also windless. The wind must not be too strong at the new location, otherwise the fronds could be torn off or buckled.

The right care

Furthermore, the growth rate is also influenced by the right care of the hemp palm:

Trachycarpus fortunei, Chinese Hemp Palm
  • Transplant tub palms into a larger pot every two to three years
  • Water vigorously in summer, less often in winter
  • Don't let the root ball dry out
  • Avoid waterlogging
  • Use rich, well-drained soil
  • fertilize with compost or palm fertilizer
  • Feed tub specimens every two weeks between March and October

If the hemp palm grows too slowly, this is often due to a lack of water and / or nutrients. Pay attention to the tips of the palm fronds: are they kinked or even brown in colour? Then the plant is too dry and has to be watered more often. The increased watering, in turn, first stimulates root and then trunk growth.

Tip: In winter, make sure that rainwater does not get into the heart of the palm: too much moisture at this point causes the heart to rot, so that no new fronds are formed and the palm tree dies.

frequently asked Questions

When are hemp palms actually fully grown?

Hemp palms are considered mature when their trunk has reached a circumference of between 70 and 110 centimeters. You can recognize older specimens by the fact that their trunk is "bare" in the lower area. That means the fibrous, brown layer has come loose. When such palm trees stop increasing in height, they have reached their maximum. Until then, however, several decades of growth will pass.

How big can the leaf crown of a hemp palm tree get?

Older hemp palms have a stately crown of 50 and more fronds, and new palm fronds are formed every year if the specimen in question is not yet fully grown.

Why does the hemp palm planted in spring not grow?

It is normal that recently planted hemp palms do not grow or grow only a little. They put their energy into root growth. Do not try to increase their growth rate with additional fertilizing. In this case, it can even be harmful, since there is a lack of roots that absorb the nutrients. The only thing that helps is patience: by the next year of vegetation, your palm tree should also have rooted itself and then start growing above ground.

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