Chamaerops humilis or European Fan Palm is a slow growing, clump forming dioecious palm species native to the Mediterranean region of Europe and North Africa. The trunks will reach about 5 feet (1.52 m) tall and in some arborescent forms will reach 20 feet (6 m). The palmate leaves will expand up to 3 feet (0.9 m) across. The petioles are armed with vicious spines that point towards the leaf blade. Clumps can be several feet (meters) wide. They are an attractive palm for containers, due to their slow growth habits. It is one of the cold hardiest palms and will grow in the landscape in USDA zones 9-11.
Blooming: At 8 years old from seed our palms have never bloomed.
Culture: Chamaerops humilis needs full sun to partial shade or very high interior lighting, with a well drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of equal parts loam and sand. Palms are well watered and allowed to dry before watering again. We fertilize them monthly with a balanced fertilizer. When we first started these palms and were learning to grow them, we fertilized on a weekly basis. The use of fertilizer seemed to help overcome the slow growth habit somewhat, but it is really not necessary to over fertilize. The palms should be repotted every couple of years when they are very young. As their size increases and they reach a desired height, repotting is done only about every 3-5 years. These are excellent container palms because of their size. During the winter months, water is restricted somewhat and fertilizer in not needed during this period.
Propagation: Chamaerops humilis is propagated from seed and from the removal of suckers. Fresh seed germinate in 30-60 days after sowing.
Chamaerops humilis was featured as Plant of the Week May 3-10, 2007.
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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.