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European Fan Palm Tree

European fan palm tree in the wild

The European Fan Palm Tree, scientific name Chamaerops humilis, has become very popular in recent years, mostly due to the cold hardiness that makes it perfect for landscape in USDA zones 7b-11.  It’s a nice-looking palm tree that can give an exotic focal point to any garden with its evergreen fan-shaped leaves. Since it grows only to about 10ft tall, it is often used in small yards.

European Fan Palm Tree Info

Scientific name: Chamaerops humilis

Common names: The European Fan Palm is also known as Mediterranean Fan Palm, Dwarf Fan Palm, and Palmito.

Family: Arecaceae

Origin: It is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe.


Appearance: Chamaerops humilis grows in multiple trunk clumps. Growing from the base sucklings, give this palm a shrubby look. Trunks are covered in old leaf bases and brown fibers can reach 9 inches in diameter. It can take 10-15 years for it to achieve 7ft.

It has triangular, palmate, or fan-shaped, leaves that range from blue-green to silvery gray in color. Leaves grow outward then upward. They grow up to 25 inches long and 25 inches wide, supported by 4ft stems. Stems are covered with sharp thorns, so you need to be careful when pruning them.

Flowers/Fruits: During the late spring months the European Fan Palm produces small yellow flowers. The flowers are monoecious, individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant. Flowers are followed by green fruits that turn brown when ripe. Fruits are round 0.5 inches in diameter, develop in fall, and are not edible.

Growth Rate: Slow. The European Fan Palm is a slow-growing palm that rarely grows higher than 5 – 10 ft tall and 1-5 ft wide.

Cold Tolerance: It is wind resistant and is very cold hardy. It will tolerate cold temperatures down to 5F. It is great for USDA Zones 7b (5 to 10 F) to 11 (above 40 F).

Light Req: Full sun to partial shade. The European Fan Palm grows best in full sun.

Water Req: Moderate. It grows best in moist but well-drained soil.

Maintenance: Easy. To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during the growing season.

Propagation: Propagated by seeds.

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