European Fan Palm

Scientific Name: Chamaerops Humilis

Common Name: European Fan Palm, Mediterranean Fan Palm, Dwarf Fan Palm

The European Fan Palm tree (Chamaerops Humilis) is a cold-hardy palm and is the only palm tree that has come from Europe and the Mediterranean, hence the name. These palm trees make perfect houseplants because of that reason. European Fan Palm care is imperative to growing a healthy Fan Palm.

Quick Care Overview

Common NameEuropean Fan Palm, Mediterranean Fan Palm, Dwarf Fan Palm
Scientific NameChamaerops Humilis
OriginEurope, Mediterranean
IdentificationShrub, tree
Height5 to 10 feet tall
SoilAerated, well-draining soil
WaterAllow soil to dry out on the top 2 inches before watering
SunlightBright, indirect light
Toxic to Cats & DogsNo
Toxic to HumansNo
PestsAphids, scale, spider mites

Below we will dive deep into how to care for European Fan Palm.

European Fan Palm Care

European Fan Palm History

Chamaerpops Humilis, otherwise known as the Mediterranean Fan Palm, Dwarf Fan Palm, or European Fan Palm, is an exotic ornamental evergreen that is sure to draw attention. Being the only palm tree to ever originate in Europe, cold-hardy fan palm trees are a popular choice for indoor tropical plants and are easy to grow. Known for its extreme hardiness and adaptability, this slow-growing shrubby palm will flourish in a wide arrange of conditions. 

European Fan Palm Identification

European Fan Palms come in many different cultivars throughout the range of the species with specific cultivars ranging from small and compact to tall and leggy. It appears that no two Fan Palms are alike. Chamaerops Humilis has a tendency to grow in short multiple tree clumps with many sucklings, creating a shrubby bush look. It has fan-shaped, thorny leaves that range from blue-green to silver-green and sit atop of 4 foot long stems. The leaves of a mature European Fan Palm may reach 2 to 3 feet in length and are around 2 feet wide. 

European Fan Palm Growth Facts

Being very slow-growing, the European Fan Palm can take 10-15 years to reach its dwarf maturity size, averaging at 7 feet.

How Big Does a European Fan Palm Get?

The European Fan Palm grows around 5 – 10 feet tall and 1-5 feet wide. It’s a very slow-growing plant and will take around 10-15 years for this Palm to reach that size.

How to Care for European Fan Palm

European Fan Palm Care

European Fan Palm care is important to growing a healthy houseplant palm. Soil and fertilizer will help to give the palm tree a good base of rich nutrients while knowing the proper temperature, humidity, lighting, and watering will keep your plant growing strong.

Best Soil for European Fan Palm

European Fan Palms are hardy, resilient, and easy-going when it comes to soil. They are able to adapt to clay, loam, sand, and various pH levels. Ultimately, the most important thing in regard to soil is proper aeration and drainage. A potting mix rich in organic matter will be sufficient to grow a healthy European fan palm. 

European Fan Palm Fertilizer

In order to have the best European Fan Palm care, they do not require much fertilizer. However, to encourage foliage growth, a monthly liquid fertilizer treatment in the growing season may be beneficial. Granular slow-release fertilizer may also be applied in early spring. Avoid fertilizing in winter when the plant has become dormant. 

European Fan Palm Watering

European Fan Palm care does best in a semi-drought environment as they are hardy plants. However, when becoming established, or after repotting, regular watering weekly is advisable to maintain even soil moisture. Depending on the growing location and heat, it may need to be watered more often. Allow the soil to dry out at least 2 inches on top between waterings, and then deeply water the plant. Ensure that the plant is not being overwatered. 

European Fan Palm Light Requirements

European Fan Palms will do best in bright indirect sunlight, however, they are tolerant of partial shade as well as full sun.

European Fan Palm Temperature & Humidity

Chamaerpops Humilis thrives in warm, sunny locations. While they can withstand extreme heat and cold (as low as 10F), they are happy with warm temperatures and average humidity levels (40-60%). Humidity levels may be increased with a humidifier or by creating a pebble humidifying tray. This plant should be kept away from air vents, heaters, and drafts as an indoor plant, as they are very sensitive to dry air and are not very tolerant of sudden changes in temperature.

Repotting European Fan Palm

As European Fan Palms are slow-growing, they will likely only need to be repotted every 3 years or so. European Fan Palms have very sensitive roots, so be careful not to disturb them during repotting. To repot, simply choose a container that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the previous container to accommodate the root ball. Gently release the root ball from its previous pot by tipping upside down and grasping. Place the root ball into the new container with drainage holes and fill it with new potting soil rich in organic matter. Take care not to bury the trunk, as this may lead to root rot. 

European Fan Palm Maintenance & Pruning

Due to its multi-trunk nature, the European Fan Palm requires little pruning. Simply remove any dead, damaged, or diseased fronds as necessary. 

Caring for European Fan Palm

Propagating European Fan Palm

If you have good European Fan Palm care, you can certainly propagate this Fan Palm. The European Fan Palm is most easily propagated by removing and separating suckers. The rhizomes of fan palms will produce many suckers (vertical growth coming from the roots) due to their multi-trunk nature. To propagate, simply sever a sucker from a parent plant by digging it up and removing it from the main rhizome at the base of the palm. This new sucker will likely already have its own root system which may then be planted in its own pot. 

European Fan Palm Toxicity

This variation of Palm Tree is non-toxic to humans, cats, and dogs. But of course, be careful when handling the plant and don’t let animals eat the houseplant.

Toxicity to Humans

With Chamaerpops Humilis, very young leaf buds may be cooked as a vegetable. Keep in mind, the trunks of this palm when mature will produce spikes that can be irritating to the skin. 

Toxicity to Cats & Dogs

Chamaerpops Humilis is not toxic to pets, but should not be consumed. 

European Fan Palm Problems

European Fan Palm Leaves Turning Yellow

With Chamaerpops Humilis care, it is common for yellows streaks to appear on leaves caused by a shortage of magnesium or potassium. A yellowing palm can be quickly remedied with a spray of micronutrient fertilizer. Magnesium can be incorporated by adding a pinch of Epsom salt to the watering can before watering. Additionally, chlorosis (yellowing of leaves) may be caused by overwatering. 

European Fan Palm Leaves Turning Brown

The European Fan Palm may exhibit some browning of the leaves when the plant is either underwatered, has too dry of air, or has had an accumulation of fluoride and/or chlorine from tap water. To remove brown leaves, trim off old, brown fronds. Outer fronds will wither and turn brown with maturations. Trim from the trunk of plant with shears or a sharp, sanitized blade. 

European Fan Palm Diseases

The most common disease that Chamaerpops Humilis may suffer from is root rot due to improper drainage and overwatering. If your Palm shows signs of disease such as soggy soil, yellowing leaves, and mushy stems, the best course of action is the repot the plant in fresh, well-aerated soil and remove all diseased parts of the plant.

European Fan Palm Pests

The European Palm is a hardy, easy to care for houseplant. They are not prone to any serious pests or diseases. Like any other indoor plant, scale, spider mites, and aphids may become a nuisance. At the first sign of infections, simply isolate the plant and spray with insecticidal soap or neem oil to take care of the bugs.


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