Want an office plant that will enliven your building with the spirit of the French Riviera? Then Chamaerops (pronounced ka-MEE-rops) is the perfect fit for you. Chamaerops humilis, to give it its full botanical name, is from the palm family and considered THE most emblematic Mediterranean plant. Its layman’s names – Mediterranean Dwarf Palm, European Fan Palm – will help you visualise its appearance.
The world’s most northernmost naturally occurring palm, Chamaerops is Continental Europe’s only native palm species and hugs its most famous coastal fringes. Gardeners and architects are enthusaists, attracted by the plant’s sculptural qualities and vibrant, dark green leaves. And it is regarded as the best indoor palm for night lighting, perhaps due to its short stature. In its domesticated form Chamaerops typically resembles a bushy crown on a short trunk, its stiff, sword-like leaves forming a thrusting, semi-circular outline. Or a large fan comprised of a series of clusters of smaller, fan-shaped fronds (frond = a large, divided leaf).
Chamaerops is a plant of impressive bearing and pedigree as its “Award of Garden Merit” from the Royal Horticultural Society will testify. And it ranks highly in the “Hardiest Indoor Plants” stakes. So, what’s not to like?
Well… Like any living indoor plant, Chamaerops is subject to the ravages of incorrect location, bad lighting, over/under watering, inadequate pot size, inattention to soil quality & fertiliser supply and unseasonal pruning.
Happy you can handle this? Here some free advice to help you on your way:
Caring for your Chamaerops
Light: Chamaerops is a Part Shade plant but for best results it needs daily exposure to sunlight (east-facing windows are good locations). Too little light and its fronds become more gapped and separate, spoiling the overall density and look of the plant. Conversely, sunlight that is too strong can cook the plant’s roots so keep an eye on this.
Water: During the growth season water your Chamaerops frequently yet moderately. Don’t let its soil become boggy; let the upper layers of soil dry out a bit between waterings without becoming bone-dry. Right now, plants are entering their rest phase so ease back on watering.
Soil & Food: Chamaerops will be happy with any good, fast-draining potting soil but would thank you for adding some extra perlite. The RHS recommends a generous dose of coarse washed sand or riversand grit to improve drainage. Apply a weak liquid fertiliser throughout the growing season or, as considered preferable by RHS, periodically add fresh layers of organic compost to the top of the soil.
Pruning: The lower leaves of all palms are prone to wilting, browning and drooping as food is directed to new growth higher up the plant. By all means, peel off dying or dead leaves but be wary about any larger scale pruning. Pruning during growth season can cause Chamaerops to clump and grow out-of-control. Limit it to when your plant is in rest mode.
Repotting: Though slow-growing, Chamaerops typically need biannual repotting. For a plant with fragile roots this is traumatic so proceed with extra care.
New: The Maintenance-Free Chamaerops
Want to brighten up your workplace with some Chamaerops yet save yourself the usual care issues and costs? Mummie Plants have the answer for you. Chamaerops was an obvious choice for the Mummie Plants treatment: We harvest our palms in their prime and naturally preserve them so they stay in pristine condition without any effort on your part. Light, water, fertiliser, pruning, repotting? They don’t need them. All they require from you is the occasional dusting (and the odd kind word or two does them no harm!). Intrigued? Call us on 01 296 4540 to find out more.