Although all palms are beautiful in their unique way, not all of them are created equal. Some won the genetic lottery when it comes to plant evolution. This is the case with the Chamaerops humilis, more commonly known as the European Fan Palm, the most beautiful evergreen we carry at Atlanta Palms. This palm gets its praise not only because of its unique look resembling a sculpture, but also because it is so easy to care for. It is compact, and elegant, giving it the ability to add a tropical flair to your yard, whether it is planted in the ground or in a container.
In fact, it’s so perfect that it was awarded the Royal Horticulturist Award for Garden Merit. This award, which originated in the United Kingdom in 1922, has been to plants that possess general excellence in the following fields: availability, adaptability, ease of growing, pest resistance, and outstanding beauty. Who wouldn't want an award winner in their yard?
What is a European Fan Palm?
As its name states, the European Fan Palm comes from Europe. In fact, it is one of only two palms that are native to Europe and is commonly seen all over Portugal, Spain, some of Italy, and even parts of Northern Africa. It is also commonly called the Mediterranean Dwarf Palm, as it is adapted to survive the very hot, dry summers and moderately cold winters of the Mediterranean.
Characteristics of European Fan Palms
The European Fan Palm is a mid-size palm, making it perfect for smaller spaces like yards or driveways where very tall palms would not fit.
They grow anywhere from eight to fifteen feet tall and six to ten feet wide depending on their environment. Its fronds are fan-like and range from deep green to silver. It starts as a bushy plant, and as it gets taller, a trunk or multiple trunks begin growing out. It is a very slow-growing plant, growing as slowly as 5 inches per year when placed in ideal lighting conditions meaning that you’ll never have to worry about it getting out of hand virtually overnight.
Why do European Fan Palms vary in appearance so much?
The reason these palms are able to range in style so much is that they develop different growths as they mature. However, they can also be easily guided to appear a certain way when raised on a farm. Imagine you buy a bushy three-foot European Fan Palm. As the years go by, you can train it to grow as a single trunk (one single trunk with the fanlike-fronds on the top, the typical look of a palm) or a multi-trunk, (with many trunks coming out of a single base).
To achieve the traditional palm tree look, trim the new trunk growths as they start appearing in the base of the main trunk. If you are impatient and don't want to wait around for more than 10 years for the palm to fully mature, investing in a bigger palm from the start allows you to reach your ideal look much, much sooner. This valuable information and more is available to you when you invest in our landscape design service. Our team of experts will give you all the information you need to make the best decision possible for your yard.
One of the best-kept secrets we have at Atlanta Palms is using single-trunk Europeans instead of Windmills for some designs, especially for properties where a taller Windmill or Sabal Palmetto will eventually have to be taken down because of power lines, or other reasons. The European maintains its maximum fifteen-foot height.
A Hardy Palm That Withstands Winter Weather
Of all the cold hardy palms in our nursery, we have seen the European Fan Palm withstand the toughest conditions. Though it prefers hot weather, it can tolerate temperatures as low as 10°F. Due to its history of thriving in Mediterranean summers, it is drought resistant and wind-tolerant once it has established its roots. It survives and thrives planted in any type of soil, making it perfect for the sometimes difficult soil in the Atlanta area. Although it grows best in full sun, it can also handle partial shade. It is a hassle-free palm, virtually pest-resistant, and as low maintenance as they come!
The Typical Needs of a European Fan Palm
Although the European Fan Palm is low maintenance, it performs best when fertilized with a slow-release fertilizer three times a year. Winterizing this palm is also a good idea, to ensure the leaves maintain a healthy green color throughout the winter. If the temperature dips too low and they are not winterized, you may lose the leaves, but don't worry, come spring, they will grow back again. Although you can do the winterization, fertilization, and other maintenance yourself (if you have a green thumb), you can also leave it to the experts! Ask us about how our Palm Maintenance Program can make sure your palms are always looking their best!
Finally, remember that buying from a reputable palm tree nursery such as Atlanta Palms is the only way to go when investing in any palm tree in Georgia.