European Fan Palm Guide: How to Grow & Care for “Chamaerops Humilis”

Read our guide to European Fan Palm Tree for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for “Chamaerops humilis”
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The European fan palm is easy to grow indoors and thrives in bright light and dry air. It is a class of miniature trees that usually will top out at four feet when cultivated indoors. This makes the plant a popular choice for homes and commercial locations alike.

Be careful though, as the tree matures it will start to sprout dangerously sharp spikes all over the trunk. The fronds have attractive textures that are very fine. The fronds grow in a round shape that has a dozen or more leaflets each. The color ranges from deep green hues to silvery green tones.

The Chamaerops humilis is an attractive plan that has risen in popularity in recent years. It adds a touch of nature to both homes and offices alike. The roots of the Chamaerops humilis are very fragile, so once it has reached an ideal size, you can simply dress the soil to keep it healthy.

This will ensure that it gets the nutrients it needs without triggering additional growth. The plant is easy to care for and does well in most climates. If you are looking for a plant to add to your space that will add an attractive splash of natural color, the European plan tree is an excellent choice.

Chamaerops humilis is a slow-growing plant, but also one that is very attractive once it has matured. Many property owners add the Chamaerops humilis as a sculptural accent due to its stunning aesthetics once it reaches maturity. The European palm also has a rather long life span which makes is a great choice for permanent homes and ancestral homes.

European Fan Palm
European Fan Palm

About the European Fan Palm Tree

  • The Chamaerops humilis is also known as the Mediterranean fan palm and the European fan palm.
  • The European fan palm love dry mountain air and cool climates.
  • When grown indoors, the plant will grow to be about four feet tall.
  • Chamaerops humilis plants can live for several decades when well cared for.
  • Mature European fan palm trees have spikes on the trunk.
  • The European palm tree comes from Southwestern Europe, specifically the Mediterranean region.
  • Older European fan palm fronds will start to split as the tree grows older.

European Fan Palm Tree Features: An Overview

  • The botanical name of the European fan palm is Chamaerops humilis.
  • The Mediterranean Fan Palm is native to Europe and the only palm that originated there.
  • The leaflets of the tree can be as large as 24 inches each.
  • Most European fan palm fronds are blue-green or silvery green in color.
  • Chamaerops humilis plants are pretty fragile once they root and should not be repotted often.
  • When mature, palms cultivated indoors will reach about four feet in height.
  • The ideal soil pH for this palm ranges between 6.1 and 7.8.
  • The European palm produces yellow flowers on occasion.
  • The European fan palm and all palm trees are very sensitive to fluoride and Chlorine.
  • Unlike other palms, this variation can tolerate occasional freezing temperatures.
Chamaerops humilis
Chamaerops humilis

Growing The European Fan Palm Tree

Growing the European plan tree is much easier than you may think. Unlike other types of palm that require special climates and temperatures, this species is much easier to please.

It needs a generous amount of direct sunlight each day, a minimum of four hours to be exact. Placing the tree in a well-lit room with a window that faces the sun will be sufficient. It is a good idea to turn the pot once a week to make sure that all sides of the tree get an ample amount of vitamin D.

Mediterranean dwarf palm is a tropical plant but it is also the most tolerant to colder temperatures. If you live in an ice-cold location but want a touch of spring all year long, then the European palm plant is made just for you. Once mature, the fan-shaped leaves will have a blue-green hue with 15 to 20 bladed segments.

European Fan Palm, From Amazon

Watering The European Fan Palm Tree

The European palm tree is a tropical plant but it thrives in dry air. It is a good idea to ensure the soil remains properly moisten during the growing season in the spring and summer. During cooler months allow the first two inches of soil to get dry before watering again.

You can simply insert your finger to the second knuckle to check for dryness. The base of the palm is sensitive to overwatering so aim for the soil as opposed to the base. Too much water on the base can trigger root rot which will eventually kill the tree.

When watering the Chamaerops humilis plant it is important to only used filtered or distilled water. Palm trees including the European fan palm are highly sensitive to chemicals in the water. Tap water often contains fluoride and chlorine which can build up over time when used to water the plant. A high concentration of these chemicals can cause the plant to die.

Use a large pot that has several drainage holes to prevent soggy soil. Using a quality potting soil that is well-draining will also prevent root rot. This plant can tolerate dry air much better than other palm trees.

Relative humidity of around 40% will suffice. In the winter months, if the air is overly dry, you can place a cool-mist room humidifier in the room to help with humidity levels. The idea temperature for the European Palm tree is around 70 degrees in the daytime and 50 degrees in the evenings.

Propagating The European Fan Palm Tree

Similar to other trees on the palm family, the Chamaerops humilis need to be propagated from seeds. Early spring is the best time to plant the seeds and should be planted loosely in rich soil.

A seeding mat can be used to help maintain proper temperatures during the seeding process. The ideal temperature is between 75 degrees and 80 degrees for new seedlings. The pot or mat used for seeding should always be kept slightly moist.

Chamaerops humilis leaves
Chamaerops humilis leaves

It takes a few weeks for European palm tree seeds to germinate. This is true for most palm tree plants and other seeded trees. Once the seeds are germinated and start to sprout, they will produce suckers in abundance that can be used for several new plants. Simply plant each sucker in a fresh pot of its own soil and allow it to root.

Fertilize the new European palm trees and mature trees once per season with diluted palm fertilizer. You should avoid feeding these trees in the winter since they will be dormant. They are slow-growing so keep that in mind when potting and planting. They will need new pots once every two to three years at most. The ideal mix for new plants and mature plants alike is one part sharp sand and two parts peat moss potting mix.


If you love places like Spain, France, Portugal, and Italy but can’t afford to travel, one way to bring a bit of the world home is with a European palm tree. This attractive plant grows to be about four feet tall when raised indoors which makes it perfect for homes or even offices of all sizes. The European palm tree is much easier to care for than some of its cousins, without losing any of the aesthetic appeals of traditional palm plants.

European fan palms love to be housed in containers both indoors and outdoors. For people who live in areas that grow very cold in the winter, but are warm in the summer, this palm is a great choice. It doesn’t mind being moved and it loves direct sunlight. Let it thrive and stretch its fronds outdoors during the growing season and bring it inside when the weather turns chilly. This attractive plant makes a beautiful accent that looks great in gardens or indoors.

The best conditions for the European palm are cool nights and bright sunny days, but they also thrive in both extremes. Once they are mature, they are also resistant to drought and wind. Bright sun is their favorite, but if you can only offer partial shade, they will still grow well.

They will need to be planted or potted in an area that gets several hours of direct sunlight each day. The plants are not toxic to pets, but like any houseplant, they should not be consumed. It is important to keep an eye on their trunks as they mature because they produce spikes which can be painful to the touch. The European fan palm is pretty resistant to most pests but should be checked for common houseplant irritants such as spider mites, scale, and mealybugs on a regular basis.


Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at or follow on twitter

1 Comment

  1. suzanne cavan Reply

    Hi, I think what I have is a european fan palm. It has not been pruned in about 6 years or more. I tried trimming it from the ground up, but could barely see to the middle of the plant. I believe there are about 5 or 6 trunks in the middle of a big mess of older fronds. I also found bright yellow seeds and dark brown older seeds. How do I help it?
    Thank you, Suzanne

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