Elegant Fan Palm

Licuala peltata var. ‘sumawongii’

Synonyms: Licuala elegans.

The Elegant Fan Palm (Licuala peltata var. ‘sumawongii’) is a fantastic palm species native to Malaysia and Thailand. Highly desirable species as a feature plant, especially in shaded areas. This species is surprisingly cold hardy for such a tropical plant, and usually handles Brisbane’s winter without issue. This species is said to grow up to 5m, but is very slow to do so. Expect around 3m in 15-20 years.

In tropical climates with consistent high humidity, Licuala elegens can handle quite a bit of direct sun. In Brisbane however, we recommend planting this species in filtered sun only, or just a few hours of morning sun. Intense summer sun in liable to burn the leaves.

Like other Licuala species, the Elegant Fan Palm does not tolerate wind very well. Plant in a protected space or among other plants to prevent wind damage. This species can tolerate single-digit temperatures for short periods over winter, but not frost.

Suffers few pest and disease issues. Will attract mealybugs during certain times of the year, and is also somewhat susceptible to scale. Is prone to oedema and root rot if kept too soggy, especially during winter.

NOTE: Licuala elegans as a species name is disputed. The correct name for this plant is Licuala peltata var. ‘sumawongii’. However, Licuala elegans remains the familiar name for this plant in the hobby.


  • Shade Tree
  • Feature Tree
  • Tropical Gardens
  • Balinese Gardens


Remove spent fronds as required. Requires virtually no other maintenance. Does best in rich, well-drained soil. Use quality fertilizer such as Troforte or Organic Link regularly to produce strong, healthy growth.


  • Broad, undivided, circular fan leaves

  • Spiny petioles
  • Canopy-forming

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    Height: 3-5m
    Width: 2-3m


    Part sun to Shade


    Moderate watering. Can survive drought periods once established.

    Growth Rate

    Very Slow.
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