Silver mediterranean fan palm

Chamaerops Species, Blue Mediterranean Fan Palm




Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:




8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown – Tell us


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

Unknown – Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:

Unknown – Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Camp Verde, Arizona

Bostonia, California

Brentwood, California

Encinitas, California

Escondido, California

Merced, California

Mountain View Acres, California

Oakland, California

Oceanside, California

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Reseda, California

San Clemente, California

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Rosa, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Union City, California

Yorba Linda, California

Venice, Florida

Augusta, Georgia

Wichita, Kansas

Ledbetter, Kentucky

Vacherie, Louisiana

Kansas City, Missouri

Las Vegas, Nevada

Livingston, New Jersey

Villas, New Jersey

Castle Hayne, North Carolina

Emerald Isle, North Carolina

Sunset Beach, North Carolina

Redmond, Oregon

Conway, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Bastrop, Texas

Arlington, Washington

Arlington Heights, Washington

Oso, Washington

Smokey Point, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

show all

European Fan Palm

Chamaerops humilis

The diminutive European fan palm is silver-green, slow-growing and one of the most easy-care, cold hardy palms for South Florida.

The “Mediterranean Fan Palm,” as it’s often called, is a multi-trunk palm yet it stays very compact and won’t outgrow a small area.

It makes a stylish accent for any home, especially those with a Spanish or Mediterranean flair.

The color of this palm is usually green with a silvery cast, though no two European fans are exactly alike in color or shape.

Because of the sharp teeth or “spines” lining each stem, the European fan is best placed a safe distance from heavy foot traffic.

Plant specs

European fan palms are very slow-growing to a maximum height of about 8 to 10 feet.

They can thrive in full sun to full shade, with fronds growing a bit larger in shadier areas.

Cold hardy to Zone 8, this palm needs no protection whatsoever from whatever Mother Nature doles out in winter.

Another plus – high drought tolerance once the palm is established. It’s also a moderately salt-tolerant plant so it can handle coastal locations subject to salt spray.

Plant care

Extremely low-maintenance is this palm’s trademark, with no soil amendments needed when planting and very little pruning necessary to remove dead fronds.

Avoid placing this palm in a moist area…it likes to dry out between waterings, and heavy rainfall should drain quickly from the European fan’s location in the landscape.

Fertilize once a season in spring, summer and fall with palm fertilizer.

Plant spacing

Plant 3 to 4 feet away from the house, and about the same distance from one another if you’re planting more than one.

These are wonderful container palms because they grow so slowly and like to go dry between waterings.

Unless you’re really young or very patient, you may want to purchase your palm in a larger-size pot for an important role in your landscape, since its growth rate is very slow.

Landscape uses for the European fan palm

(keeping it a distance from activity due to spines on the stems)

  • pool cage planter
  • entryway plant
  • small focal point palm for a garden bed with other drought-tolerant plants
  • in pairs flanking the entrance to a driveway
  • corner accent plant
  • container plant for patio, pool or courtyard

A.K.A. (also known as): Mediterranean Fan Palm


COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Pair with other slow-growing, drought-tolerant plants such as crown of thorns, coontie palm, ice plant, and dwarf bougainvillea.

Other palms you might like: Cardboard Palm (a cycad), Silver Saw Palmetto

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European Fan Palm

Looking for a cold-hardy palm? Maybe something multi-trunked and compact? Well look no further than European fan palm, Chamaerops humilis.

Its palmate leaves can add a tropical look to your landscape in a variety of ways, perhaps for poolside ambiance or as a landscape accent piece. European fan palm, sometimes called Mediterranean fan palm, also works well when grown in containers or clustered in the landscape.


European fan palm is a slow-growing, clumping palm that grows 8 to 15 feet tall and spreads 6 to 10 feet wide. This is the only palm native to Europe and it is hardier than most palms. Plus, it’s on the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ plant list.

The fine-textured fronds make this palm stand out from other plants in the landscape. Leaf color ranges from lovely light green to stunning silver. The fronds are held on curved, short trunks. Small clusters of yellow flowers form in the spring and are followed by inconspicuous fruits. Young or mature, this palm makes a stunning sculptural element in a garden or in a patio container.

Planting and Care

North Florida gardeners can rejoice at the hardiness of these palms which grow in zones 8 to 11. Established European fan palms can survive temperatures to 10 degrees or even lower; the foliage may be damaged, but the trunk survives and re-leafs. As an added bonus these plants are highly drought tolerant once established. They are however not salt tolerant. Another benefit of European fan palm is that it seems to be resistant to lethal yellowing disease which is a problem for many palm species.

European fan palm grows in partial sun and partial shade. While it may grow slower in the shade, the fronds will grow slightly larger than when it is grown with more sunlight. When choosing a planting location keep in mind that sharp teeth line the stem of each frond, so you may want to choose an area where pets and people won’t come into contact them.

European fan palms are usually multi-trunked, but plants can be grown as a single-trunked specimen by removing suckers from the base of the main trunk.

UF/IFAS Publications

  • European Fan Palm
  • Palms for North Florida

Also on Gardening Solutions

  • More on palms

Chamaerops humilis – Dwarf fan Palm

Grown well, these exhibit a rare verdancy, luxuriance and exoticness. The key is to feed and water enough to get them to grow reasonably fast (left to their own devices, they grow slowly) and, more importantly, remove all leaves that are less than perfect. Anything brown, yellow or spotty must be eliminated. Using a pair of secateurs can be an uncomfortable pastime as the thorns on the leaf stalks are vicious. Either keep your sleeves rolled down or buy some of our heavy duty gauntlets. ‘Humilis’ means low growing in botanical Latin so they don’t – normally – get much taller than about 6ft but their geographical distribution around their native Mediterranean basin has allowed them to form many different forms over the eons of time. One thing they all have in common is the fact that – unlike any other palm – they sucker, so a single plant appears to be lots of plants. A great pile of palmy leaves. The variables are as follows : the height to which they grow (trunk-less to trunks 20ft tall), the colour of the leaves (very green to quite glaucous) and the fine-ness of the leaf (soft, delicate and flexible to quite stiff and course). I’ve seen them growing on bare mountain sides in Andalusia with no trunk and never rising more than a few feet from the ground to populations in northern Majorca that form tall trunks with lots of lovely soft green foliage waving around in the warm breeze. The taxonomists tell us they’re the same plant but it’s hard to believe.

We buy our plants from various nurseries in Tuscany and always get the plants that owe more to the luxuriant Majorcan ones than the crappy little Andalusian ones. Obviously. They’re so tough that they’ll grow in sun or shade. As with most plants the effect of shade is to draw the plant out (it’s looking for light) so the leaf stalks extend making the plant look open and elegant. They’re both good – just different. This can even be grown indoors. I once saw one in a dark living room in Sussex that was so drawn out, it took me a while before I recognized what it was. A much loved old friend that had done tours of duty in New York, Copenhagen and London before being moved down here.

Having spent the last few million years evolving in arid climates around the Med, they like our damp and mild climate very much in many ways but they do get fungal spots on the old leaves because they’ve never had to evolve a mechanism of their own to deal with such a damp eventuality. First cut off as many spotty leaves and burn them and if the spots are really bad, use a fungicide on the leaves to stop the fungus spreading. Very simple. Forewarned is forearmed and all that.

Propagated from seed.

Some notes about spotty leaves : some plants (this is one) are susceptible to getting black spots on their leaves. This is the growth of fungal organisms that land on the leaf and grow. They do no harm to the plant but they look unsightly. This spottiness only seems to afflict a small number of plants that have spent the last few million years evolving in a dry climate where airborne fungal spores are rare and therefore the plants have never had a reason to develop a way to combat the situation. The technique to combat these spots is a combination of fungicide (any will do – particularly anything recommended for roses) used when the spots appear and merely removing (and burning preferably) affected leaves. Leaf removal removes the source of infection, fungicide kills the spores (but doesn’t make the spots go away).

Features Hardiness rating

Hardy in the Home Counties if sensibly sited (avoiding severe frost pockets, for example). Many Amber Labelled Plants are from cuttings from well-established plants that have survived many harsh winters in the South-East.

This is only meant as a guide. Please remember we’re always on hand to give advice about plants and their frost hardiness.

Please remember that these coloured labels are only a rough guide.

General Point about Plant Hardiness: The commonly held belief that it’s better to ‘plant small’ is perfectly true with herbaceous plants, but not necessarily true with woody plants. They need some ‘wood’ on them to survive severe cold – so plants of marginal hardiness in very cold areas should really be planted LARGER, rather than smaller, wherever possible.

Coastal, Conservatories, Exotics, Exposed, House Plants, Mediterranean, Palms, Pots, Shade, Soil – Clay, Soil – Dry/Well drained, Space & Light

Chamaerops Humilis – a perfect hardy palm for UK gardens

Chamaerops Humilis palm is very useful in garden design with its strikingly distinctive form

Evergreen Chamaerops Humilis is a hardy, flexible palm tree that won’t grow as tall as most palms. Being UK hardy and because of its neat size, the Chamaerops Humilis palm is very useful in garden design with its strikingly distinctive form, beautiful large fan-shaped leaves and an attractive dense growing habit. Chamaerops Humilis palms are excellent additions to UK Mediterranean or tropical themed gardens.

Mediterranean Effect in UK gardens: Chamaerops humilis var. humilis with Cordylines to the rear & Tetrapanax in front.

There are two varieties of Chamaerops Humilis, the main difference between them being the colour of the foliage. Chamaerops humilis var. humilis is a green-leaved palm and is in fact the only palm tree that is native to Europe, originating from the European Med and Iberian Peninsula.

Chamaerops humilis var. argentea (also known as Chamaerops humilis Cerifera) originates from the Atlas Mountains and has dramatic steely blue foliage. Chamaerops humilis argentea is more commonly known as the Blue Mediterranean fan palm.

Chamaerops humilis var. argentea (also Chamaerops humilis Cerifera) AKA Blue Mediterranean fan palm.

The Chamaerops Humilis palm has a clumping habit. It can either be grown as a multi-trunk or you can keep them as a single trunk format.

Once it settles in, the Chamaerops Humilis palm is drought tolerant. These palms are also tolerant of partial shade, although they will be even more slow-growing under these conditions.

It will come as no surprise that the Chamaerops Humilis palm is a recipient of RHS Garden of Merit.

See also UK hardy tropical plants….
More UK hardy palm trees….

Mediterranean Fan Palm

Mediterranean Fan Palm

When it comes to a tropical themed backyard or even a Mediterranean theme, a must have for every homeowner from Southern California to the Arizona deserts is the Chamaerops humilis, also known as the Mediterranean Fan Palm.

This striking medium sized palm is the only palm native to Europe and it is prized for its unique multi-trunk vertical growth, fan-shaped fronds, and aesthetically pleasing growth pattern that looks fantastic around pools and as centerpieces to any landscape. The reason why the Mediterranean Fan Palm can serve as a centerpiece is due to its growth pattern. The trunks of the Chamaerops humilis palm clump together, giving the palm a full thick look. Because they can be grown to display a full look, many homeowners have planted these palms in a cluster to create a barrier wall. Mediterranean Fan Palms also can fill in empty spots between large trees or in containers as well.

The fronds on this palm jet out and are a few feet across displaying a blueish-green color that gives it a stark contrast compared to its darker trunks.

One of the best aspects of this palm is its durability. It requires minimal water once planted and over time it can become drought tolerant once established. The Mediterranean Fan Palm can tolerate both cold and heat and it can survive periods of freezing weather with little or no damage. And finally, the palm requires minimal maintenance and cleanup. No need to be spending those weekend days pruning this palm! This makes these palms a perfect addition to any landscape type, near pools, walkways, patios or as a focal point in your yard, the Mediterranean Fan Palm is sure to impress.

If you’re looking to take this palm to the next level, install night-time lighting effects, especially when spotlighted, illuminate the multi-trunk structure well, while the fronds cast unique shadow patterns on nearby walls.

Mediterranean Fan Palm Trees – Cold Hardy Palms

Mediterranean (European) Fan Palms (Chamaerops humilis) have beauty, ruggedness, versatility, cold hardiness and drought resistance. Cold hardy Mediterranean Fan Palm trees are also fairly fast growing when supplied adequate moisture and fertilizer.

Mediterranean (European) Fan Palm Trees (Chamaerops humilis) Overview

Mediterranean Fan palm trees’ leaves are arranged in a symmetrical crown that can reach 8 to 10 feet wide. Mediterranean Fan palm trees have:

  • Triangular, fan shaped leaves
  • Leaves ranging in color from blue-green to gray-green to grey-yellow.
  • Multiple trunks surrounding the main trunk in more mature plants

Cold Hardy Mediterranean Fan Palms Description

The Mediterranean fan palm trees form clumps than can grow up to 15′ in height. The triangular, fan-shaped leaves grow to about 20-24″ long by 24″ wide. They are deeply divided into multiple segments that are themselves split at the tip and they are supported on 3-4′ stems. Cold hardy California Fan palm trees are an extremely variable plant both in color (the leaves range from blue-green to gray-green to yellow-green) and in shape. Some plants form suckers more freely than others to become very shrubby plants that may reach 15′ in width. Other individuals can be seen that are almost dwarf growing just 5′ tall by 4′ wide. These days it is popular to remove all but a few of the suckers and to prune the leaves to form a cluster of clear-trunked “mini” palms.

This small, multi-stemmed, hardy Mediterranean Fan palm is the only one native to Europe, and is hardier than most palms. The curved, clumping, short trunks and gray-green, fan-shaped leaves, borne thickly in a bushy head, make a stunning sculptural element in a garden or patio containers. The finetextured fronds make the palm stand out from other plants in the landscape. Leaf color on individual plants ranges from light green through silver. Although growth rate is slow, it is well worth the wait since even small plants will stand out nicely in almost any landscape.

Mediterranean (European) Fan Palm General Information

Scientific name: Chamaerops humilis
Pronunciation: ku-MEE-rops HEW-mil-liss
Common name(s): European Fan Palm
Family: Palmae
Plant type: tree; shrub
USDA hardiness zones: 8B through 11
Planting month for zone 8: year round
Planting month for zone 9: year round
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: year round
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: specimen; container or above-ground planter; near a deck or patio; foundation; border; mass planting; accent; suitable for growing indoors
Availability: generally available in many areas within its hardiness range

European Fan Palms Description

Height: 8 to 15 feet
Spread: 6 to 10 feet
Plant habit: upright; irregular outline or silhouette
Plant density: moderate
Growth rate: slow
Texture: fine

European Fan Palm Foliage

Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: lobed
Leaf shape: star-shaped
Leaf venation: palmate
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: more than 36 inches
Leaf color: silver/gray; blue or blue-green
Fall color: no fall color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Mediterranean Fan Palm Tree Flower

Flower color: yellow
Flower characteristic: spring flowering

Mediterranean Fan Fruit

Fruit shape: round
Fruit length: less than .5 inch
Fruit cover: dry or hard
Fruit color: brown
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: showy; typically multi-trunked or clumping stems; can be trained to grow with a short, single trunk
Current year stem/twig color: not applicable
Current year stem/twig thickness: not applicable


Light requirement: plant grows in part shade/part sun
Soil tolerances: alkaline; clay; sand; acidic; loam
Drought tolerance: high
Soil salt tolerances: poor
Plant spacing: 36 to 60 inches


Roots: usually not a problem
Winter interest: no special winter interest
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Mediterranean Fan Palms Usage

Cold hardy Mediterranean Fan Palm trees are as versatile as beautiful. With the leaves trimmed up to clear the trunk it makes a beautiful specimen plant – a natural sculpture to grace your patio or entryway. Unpruned, Chamaerops humilis assume an attractive shrubby form. Use them as a screens or plant several side by side to form barriers. Planted in groupings they will accent that hard-to-garden, bare corner of your yard. Mediterranean Fan Palm trees are excellent in containers and urns.

Pests and Diseases

Mediterranean (European) Fan Palm Pests and Diseases

No diseases are of major concern.

Mediterranean Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis)

This slow grower is one of the most cold-hardy of all palms. The distinctive fan-shaped fronds are composed of stiff, blue-green to gray-green leaflets. These eventually form a compact head at the end of each curved stem. In Arizona, the bushy, multi-trunked type is the most commonly used form of this highly variable species. The suckering habit eventually results in pleasing stem groupings and much landscape interest. This small palm makes a striking accent plant against architectural features. It is one of the best species for containers as well as for massing at the base of taller growing palms.

Climate Zone: 4, 5

Foliage: Evergreen

Height: 5′-15′

Light Exposure: Part shade to full sun

Spread: 5′-20′

Water Use: Low, medium or high

Growth Rate: Slow

Trunk Width: clumping

Cultural Requirements: Mediterranean Fan Palm survives much neglect but grows best in rich soil with ample water. Some pruning may be necessary to limit the number of stems and to remove old fronds.

Problems: None recorded in Arizona.

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