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How to Grow and Care For Mediterranean Fan Palm

european fan palm outdoors in a garden

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If you are looking for a hardy palm, look no further than the Mediterranean fan plan. This tropical plant can withstand temperatures as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit and is perfect for giving your landscaping an island feel. It works well in raised planters or courtyards and in the spring you will be rewarded with clusters of yellow or orange flowers. It can even add drama as an indoor tree for that unused corner in your living room.

  • Botanical Name: Chamaerops humilis 
  • Common Name: Mediterranean fan palm or European fan palm
  • Plant Type: Evergreen palm
  • Mature Size: 10 to 15 feet tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full, partial light
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 6.1 and 7.8
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic

Mediterranean Fan Palm Care

This palm is a fan favorite for green or black thumbs because it is pretty easy to care for. It is hardy so temperature changes won't kill it and as long as you have well-draining soil, this plant usually thrives in most type of sun. They are pretty drought-resistant, but you should plan to water it weekly or whenever the soil is dry, at least until it establishes its root system if you have planted it directly in the ground.

It is slow growing so it won't outgrow its container quickly, which is great if you hate to replant.

While the Mediterranean fan palm is hardy, you will want to treat re-potted plants with care and ensure they have time to adapt to their new surroundings.

Best Growing Conditions for Mediterranean Fan Palm 

This palm grows under many conditions, but if you are planting it directly into the ground you should live in zones 8 - 11. It thrives in full to partial sun and it will tolerate those cold spells (as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit). In the spring though fall you should fertilize with a slow-release palm fertilizer.

If you're facing periods of extreme heat, you should water the plant more frequently, but it will tolerate infrequent waterings during typical seasons. If you are planting the palm directly into the ground, space each one out at least four feet.

To prone, simply remove any dead or damaged fronds. Some landscapers like to force the palm to grow with a single trunk by removing any suckers that pop out from the base of the trunk.

Mediterranean Fan Palm Varieties 

A species of palm (and one of the only native to Europe), there are a few varieties of Mediterranean Fan Palm plant. One type is the Atlas mountain plant, which is known for its silvery-green leaves and thrives in the very dry climates.

Another varieties of the Mediterranean Fan Palm plant or the European Palm is the Vulcano palm which is more compact that the Mediterranean and is perfect for indoor container growing.

How to Propagate Your Mediterranean Fan Palm 

There are two ways to propagate a fan palm plant. You can either grow a new plant from seeds or suckers. If you are growing from seed, ensure you sow as soon as the seeds are ripe. It can take up to four months for a seed to germinate and oftentimes they are germinated in a greenhouse before they are relocated to a larger container or in the ground.

From a sucker, you can carefully remove a sucker from your parent plant (try to get at least 10 inches of plant) and plant directly in the ground or in a container. Ensure you only water enough to keep the soil damp as over watering will rot out the new roots.

Common Growing Problems 

Though these palms are incredibly easy to care for, they are subject to a few pests and problems if you're not careful. Common pests such as mites and scale are definitely something to look out for when growing your palm. Additionally, while these plants are incredibly tolerant to drought, overwatering a newly repotted or repositioned plan can easily drown the root system and rot it out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Mediterranean fan palms easy to care for? 

One of the benefits of this incredibly majestical palm plant is that it is pretty easy to keep them alive. If you live in zones 8-11 you can plant them outside, but colder climates can grow them in containers and move them outside as the temperatures rise.

How fast does the Mediterranean fan palm grow?

This European palm is a very slow growing evergreen. It rarely grows more than six inches per year and typically grows only as tall as 15 feet at its highest.

Can Mediterranean fan palm grow indoors?

While this palm is most often seen outside in container gardens or as privacy landscaping, it is also very easy to care for indoors. Because the Mediterranean Fan Palm is very tough, it can survive for many years in a pot inside as long as it gets medium sunlight and the soil is kept moist (but not overwatered).

Article Sources
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  1. Gardener's World. "Chamaerops Humilis."