First introduced to Europe in 1873 by Albert Wagner after discovering them growing in Japanese gardens. The Japanese preferred them to Trachycarpus fortunei because of their architectural form and perfection, even though they are considered a cultivar of Trachycarpus fortunei. They are not known in the wild , although large numbers have also been found in South Korea, a much inferior cultivar to the Japanese and subsequent European cultivar which is much stronger and resistant to wind and cold. These Korean cultivars have been finding their way into UK cultivation via dutch importers.
Today you can find mature palms in the UK although most were planted within the last 50 years as it was somewhat overlooked by British gardeners. Leonardslee gardens have some very old examples, this garden was planted in 1887.
Hardy in most parts of the UK, it is an easy and trouble free plant, and can be used to form the architectural structure of any tropical garden.
Best planted in the ground in a well drained spot , they are not fussy although will not appreciate poor drainage. Dig them into the ground with a mix of garden soil and organic matter , and make sure they are watered regularly during the first year. A common mistake is to not water them , they will need regular watering until the roots go down into the ground.
Unlike Trachycarpus fortunei , it has somewhat better potential as a pot palm as the leaves remain nicer for longer , although ultimately it will befall the same problem as Trachycarpus fortunei in that without periodic repotting the plant loses some of its vigour.
They are much better suited to windy locations ,the old Leonardslee specimens are almost 10 metres high and look perfect despite exposure, although a full blown coastal exposure may still be too much to cope with , the leaves can tear if subjected to too much exposure.
For pot plantings or full blown coastal exposure Chamaerops variations would be better choices.
Once planted , 2 or 3 dressings a year with a good Slow Release palm fertiliser is all thats needed to keep them healthy.