Palm of the Month
European Fan Palm
The Chamaerops humilis is no ordinary palm! Not at all! Your Wise Gardener! grew European Fan Palm quite successfully in Zone 7 (Southern New Jersey!) when he lived in that region! Yes, it IS possible! Chamaerops, being a slow growing and an inherently small palm (in Greek, literally meaning a "ground-bush!)
If you, palm lover, wants a palm in your landscape, but do not live in the tropics or even sub-tropics, European Fan Palm is YOUR palm! It is a very handsome palm that's growth is widespread throughout Europe (even in Southern Germany & Switzerland!) and is indeed, Europe's most widely grown species!
It is variable in growth habit, and plants are either single-trunked, or have a plethora of multiple trunks. The petioles are spined, and sharp! Chamaerops humilis is best suited to temperate regions, i.e. Southern Australia, the Mediterranean Region, South Africa, mid to southern South America, and along both coasts of North America: to Long Island on the Eastern Seaboard, and to mid British Columbia, on the North American West Coast! Versatility is its hallmark! It adds a believable "tropical note" where ONLY a palm will do, and no other palm can serve!
The European Fan Palm makes an excellent tub or container palm for the patio all the way north to USDA Zone 6, where it can be removed where extremely cold weather is forecast. It is NOT unusual to see a European Fan Palm covered, and quite comfortable, in the snow...It is indeed, a unique and somewhat incongruous sight for tourists, say to the Alps, or even extreme Southern Sweden!
This long-lived & slow-growing palm is our Palm of the Month winner, this September, because it is a palm that doesn't know the meaning of "too cold for palms, in the traditional sense!" and it is beautiful in the bargain! Your Wise Gardener! is jealous of gardeners that can successfully raise this particular species of palm, as his European Fan Palm just doesn't look too healthy here in South Florida's balmy Zone 10, but he enjoys seeing them, when he travels to substantially cooler climes! It is a reassurance that a palm can be very successfully cultivated in a colder climate, and it makes that particular climate seem just a bit less "foreboding" in winter's icy chill! Bravo! European Fan Palm!
Paul, "The Wise Gardener!"