European Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis)

Other Names: Mediterranean Fan Palm

A small, clumping palm with stiff leaves and spiny leaf stems

Native habitat: Rocky, coastal areas of the western Mediterranean. The only palm native to the European mainland.

Size: Five feet is common in the Southeast; reaches 20 feet in California. Growth rate is slow.

Cold hardiness: Reliable in Zone 8; fairly reliable in a very sheltered site in Zone 7, but best with some winter protection below about 15 degrees.

Culture: Plant in full sun to light shade. Needs well-drained soil and thrives on limestone. Once this palm is established it is extremely drought-tolerant and really only needs water during severe droughts.

Landscape use: A beautiful specimen palm and a common feature of Mediterranean gardens. They are especially attractive in courtyard gardens.