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How to Grow Dwarf Fan Palm — Chamaerops

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Chamaerops–commonly called dwarf fan palm or Mediterranean fan palm–is a bushy palm with bluish or grayish-green leaves. It has multiple stiff, spiny stems that emerge from a fiber-covered base. At the top of each stem is a dark green, fan-shaped frond. Each frond is divided into many sword-shaped sections.

Chamaerops is one of the hardiest palms. It can withstand temperatures as low as 32°F (0°C).

Chamaerops is a genus of one species. It is commonly grown as a houseplant, but in warm-winter regions, it can be grown as a specimen outdoors.

Chamaerops is native to rock and sandy slopes and scrub in the western Mediterranean.

Get to know Chamaerops

  • Plant type: Palm
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 12 to 14.
  • Hardiness: Hardy to 32°F (0°C)
  • Height and width: 6 to 10 feet (2-3m) tall and 3 to 6 feet (1-2m) wide
  • Foliage: Broad, bamboolike leaves
  • Flowers: Arching flowering stems bear silvery green flower spikelets that resemble flattened clusters of oats
  • Bloom time: Spring to summer
  • Uses: Houseplant, container plant, hedge plant where hardy
  • Common name: Dwarf fan palm, Mediterranean fan palm
  • Botanical name: Chamaerops
  • Family name: Arecaceae
  • Origin: Western Mediterranean region
Chamaerops humilis, Mediterranean fan palm
Chamaerops humilis, Mediterranean fan palm

Where to plant Chamaerops

  • Grow Chamaerops in full sun where the weather is not hot; grow in partial shade in hot summer regions.
  • Plant Chamaerops in well-drained, moderately fertile soil. Chamaerops will tolerate poor soil.

When to plant Chamaerops

  • Set Chamaerops outdoors in spring or summer.

Planting and spacing Chamaerops

  • Space Chamaerops 3 to 6 feet (1-2m) apart.

How to water and feed Chamaerops

  • Water: Give Chamaerops regular water. Water sparingly in winter.
  • Feeding: Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly.

Chamaerops care

  • Repot Chamaerops when it becomes pot bound.
  • Pot on or top dress Chamaerops in spring.

Growing Chamaerops as a houseplant

  • Chamaerops grows best in direct light, but it can adapt to lower light once it becomes accustomed to growing indoors.
  • Chamaerops needs a warm temperature, and medium to high humidity.
  • Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy.
  • Apply fertilizer in spring and summer.

Chamaerops pests and diseases

  • Spider mites, mealybugs, scale insects, and thrips can attack Chamaerops.
  • Butt rot and false smut can occur.

Chamaerops propagation

  • Chamaerops can be divided when it becomes pot boung.
  • Sow seed at not less asnt 72°F (22°C) in spring.
  • Separate suckers in late spring.

Chamaerops varieties to grow

  • Chamaerops humilis. Grows in bushy clumps to 20 feet tall and sometimes as wide; green to bluish-green leaves.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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