Chamaerops Humilis

European Fan Palm

The European fan palm is a tough and undemanding species, which makes it fairly easy to grow indoors. The fronds spread in a circle to approximately 300º and grow in an upward fashion, giving them a fan appearance.

Because the Chamaerops Humilis is native to Europe (the only one) it grows well in temperate countries without a tropical climate, outdoors and indoors.

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Picture of European palm

Displaying: Once the European fan matures it sits well as a centerpiece within a large room or conservatory. Because it grows with a wide spread be prepared to have enough space, unless you plan to move it outdoors.

Young plants at a manageable size, just need a spot to sit that gets enough sunlight close to windows.

Slow growing: This palm is a slow grower and takes over 10 years to reach 8ft in height, so do not worry about enough indoor space (as mentioned above) if you have just bought a 1ft - 3ft tree.

Trunk, stems and fronds: The trunk grows thick especially at the base area and is a furry brown fibrous type which shows frond stubs once they begin shedding (losing older leaves at the bottom section allows for new growth which is normal).

The stems grow from the trunk at an upward angle and display the stiff fan style fronds.


Origin: Southern Europe.
Names: European fan, Mediterranean dwarf palm, and Dwarf fan palm (common). Chamaerops humilis (botanical/scientific).
Max Growth (approx): 4ft tall and 3ft spread, small tree (much more outdoors).
Poisonous for pets: Not known.

Palm growing well with many fronds

Plant Care

Temperature: Average room temperatures are fine. This a cold hardy palm and will not have a problem in temperatures as low as 40ºF (4ºC).
Light: Bright light is preferred. Some sunlight and shade during the day is ideal, but not too much direct sun.
Watering: During spring and summer water frequently keeping the soil moist. After this period allow the top soil to become slightly dry before watering again. The pot must allow water to drain well and the soil.
Soil: A fast draining potting soil mix will suffice, using a peat and sand mix or peat and perlite.
Fertilizer: Feed approximately once each month with a diluted liquid fertilizer during spring and summer.
Re-Potting: Palms generally don't like to be disturbed, so avoid re-potting often. Once every 3 years will do the trick.
Humidity: Normal room humidity is fine. If the room during winter has the central heating switched on high, mist the leaves. The leaves can also be misted during the summer. Cool air, but not cold drafts is good for the palm.
Propagation: Propagated from seeds, the European fan palm needs temperatures of 80ºF (27ºC) which makes them difficult for the average grower to propagate. These palms also produce suckers (shoots growing) which can be detached and propagated.
Potential problems: See the palm category page for the section about potential problems »
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