Multiple clumps curving as they rise with a fan-shaped leaf, in colors ranging from sage green to bluish green, give this palm an edgy, modern look. Chamaerops is a genus of dwarf fan palms that have ‘teeth’ on the long petioles or stems ending in the spikey fan-shaped leaves. It’s a small and elegant accent palm that is used by many gardeners and landscapers, it does especially well in drier areas and looks good in modern to Mediterranean-inspired landscapes.
The European fan palm is a drought and wind resistant palm that is native to the Mediterranean region. It is cold hearty and has been known to withstand temperatures as low as 6 degrees Fahrenheit. It is very slow growing which makes it ideal for planters or as an accent within a garden. The flowers although not significant will typically bloom from April to May. This palm has many material benefits as well. Once the fronds become mature, it has been used as a material for baskets, brooms, weaving mats and other similar items. The small fruit measuring to 1-1/2″ and yellow to brown in color, is not edible, but has been used as an astringent in traditional medicine.
More commonly the European fan palm is a desirable choice to be utilized in a landscape for many residential and commercial gardens. Since this palm rarely exceeds 10 feet high, it is an ideal choice in areas where space is limited. It grows well in both sun and shade environments, as well as coastal areas where salt spray is prevalent. However, this palm will not thrive in wet areas, and prefers a dry to moist soil environment. Overall, the European fan palm is an elegant palm, low in maintenance, and adds to the Mediterranean look and feel that many homeowners and gardeners desire in their landscape.
This column is a joint effort by all at In The Garden, Sanibel’s local garden center located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel Island, Florida.