Chamaerops humilis in habitat

Source: tato grasso

Chamaerops humilis in habitat

Chamaerops humilis or European Fan Palm is one of the only two native European palms, with Phoenix theophrasti which grows only in Crete and Turkey.

If the leaves are destroyed by frost, the plant sprouts again next Spring and if the whole plant is destroyed by frost, sucklings will sprout next spring all around the dead mother-plant.

So this is a very resistant palm which can also be grown in coastal regions.


Chamaerops humilis is a shrubby, group forming palm tree. The stipes grow slowly and often close to each other. It may grow up to 2-5 m high with a trunk diameter of 20-25 cm.

The leaves are on a long petiole and fan-shaped, with 10-20 leaflets. The leaves measure 1-1.5 m long, the leaflets 50-80 cm long. The petiole carries a large number of sharp spines.

The flowers are in dense, short inflorescences at the top of the stem. The plant is usually dioecious, sometimes monoecious.

Unripe fruits are bright green and dull yellow to brown at maturity.


Common names:

Dwarf fan palm, European fan palm, Mediterranean fan palm, Palm cabbage


Phoenix humilis


Chamaerops: from the Greek chamai (low) and rhops (shrub)
Humilis: from the Latin humilis (low, small)


Mediterranean: Southern Europe and North Africa


Poor, dry, sandy or rocky soils on mountain slopes up to 1,000 meters.


USDA zone 8-11, -12 °C

Chamaerops humilis fruit

Source: Olaf Tausch

Chamaerops humilis fruit



Well drained




Keep substrate moist when young. Mature plants are drought resistent.


Fertilize every 2 weeks with universal liquid fertilizer


Sowing, suckers

Sowing instructions:

  • sow the seeds 2 days in tepid water, change the water once or twice a day
  • sow in light soil
  • sow several seeds in 1 pot to gain place
  • keep at 20-25 °C
  • a few weeks to 3 months