Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Blue Mediterranean Fan Palm
Chamaerops humilis var. argentea

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Chamaerops (kam-AY-rops) (Info)
Species: humilis var. argentea

Synonym:Chamaerops humilis var. cerifera

One vendor has this plant for sale.

6 members have or want this plant for trade.


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year
Blooms repeatedly

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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5 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Hibiscusfan On Aug 18, 2013, Hibiscusfan from Villas, NJ wrote:

I have been happy with my Moroccan Silver fan palm. It is thriving without protection, except that is sited favorably on the southeast side of my house. There has been no damage the last two, albeit mild, winters.

Neutral Fires_in_motion On May 21, 2012, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

As a huge fan of glaucous (blue/silver) plants, this is a gorgeous palm, so let me point out that my Neutral rating only pertains to growing it in my particular climate (rainy SE Louisiana). I have to give the exact opposite comment as that of JoeCastleHayne. My green ("regular") C. humilis all do fine here in any weather conditions, but my C. humilis argentea all keep getting spear rot, and have barely grown after a few years. A rainy winter will cause practically every single spear to die and rot away, and they can only be (sometimes) nursed back to recovery with vigilant dousing w/ hydrogen peroxide.
If I lived in more of a true desert climate, I'd probably have at least 5-10 of them in the ground, but for the Southeast U.S., stick with the green form. Mid-size glaucous palms that does fine in this climate are Butia capitata and Butia yatay. And of course Sabal minor var. Louisiana (which forms a good trunk over time, unlike the regular S. minor).

Positive kyredskin On Nov 26, 2010, kyredskin from Grand Rivers, KY wrote:

Reliable with extensive protection in western Kentucky. From what I have seen, it will nearly defoliate at single digit temps if not protected. Fortuntely, as a clumping palm, even if not protected will regrow nicely in spring after established.

Positive JoeCastleHayne On Apr 11, 2010, JoeCastleHayne from Castle Hayne, NC wrote:

I am growing both the regular green, and blue forms of Mediterranean fan palms in NC zone 8a. The blue form has proven to be much more cold hardy for me. Both receive crown protection during wet winter weather. The green form has been defoliated and the spears have pulled each winter, while the blue form has shown no winter damage at all. However, the blue seems to be even more painfully slow growing in comparison.

Neutral CactusJordi On Dec 4, 2009, CactusJordi from El Cajon, CA wrote:

Well, actually the 'cerifera' form (I think that's the same than var. argentea) of Ch. humilis is not an European palm but is originating from a valley in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

Positive ArchAngeL01 On Apr 13, 2009, ArchAngeL01 from Myrtle Beach, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

i got a three gallon for 13$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wow haha very very beutifull blue/white and cold hardy to 8a at least .

Neutral gtr1017 On Mar 5, 2009, gtr1017 from Roanoke, VA wrote:

In my opinion the cold hardiness of this plant is overrated, I would be cautious below zone 8b unless you had a very warm microclimate.

Neutral IslandJim On Feb 6, 2005, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I just received some seeds forthis palm, which I intend to plant today. I was told the color was as good as that of the Bismarckia; your pictures seem to confirm that. Do you know how old those seedlings are?

Positive palmbob On Jun 12, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Basically the same plant as Chamaerops humilis, except bluish-silver leaves. Some varieties are really silvery and incredibly ornamental. Silvery forms seem to be a bit slower growing than normal Chamaerops. Recently (in the year 2006) this form of palm has become much more readily available in southern California and you can get a robust 15 gal palm for only $60 (5 years ago it would be worth $200 or more). I have also seen them now at lots of local 'regular' nurseries. I look forward to someday seeing them used as landscape palms here in So Cal.

One thing I have discovered is growers often get seed of this plant, and they very often turn out to be normal green plants. I had heard the excuse that they are green now, but will blue with age. Not knowing anything at the time, I decided that was reasonable... many palms change a lot as they age. I purchased many seedlings under this 'promise'. But now I know better. Even as small seedlings, the 'cerifera' forms show a distinct blue blush, so don't fall for that. A 1 gal plant should be quite blue, or it's not this form!

This plant seems to be more sensitive to overhead watering than a normal Chamaerops, though even those can rot from being watered overhead. So be careful if you are depending on a lawn sprinkler or other sprinkler system to keep this plant watered (very drought tolerant, so you shouldn't need that). Tap water on the crown of this form of Chamaerops WILL eventually rot the bud (rain seems harmless as far as I can tell). I have learned this by rotting several stalks of one of my favorite palms, over and over (now I know better, I hope). Water from below: drip, or hose, or low emitter.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Camp Verde, Arizona
Bostonia, California
Brentwood, California
Encinitas, California
Escondido, California
Merced, California
Mountain View Acres, California
Oakland, California
Oceanside, California
Rancho Cucamonga, California
Reseda, California
San Clemente, California
Santa Barbara, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Union City, California
Yorba Linda, California
Venice, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Ledbetter, Kentucky
Vacherie, Louisiana
Kansas City, Missouri
Las Vegas, Nevada
Livingston, New Jersey
Villas, New Jersey
Castle Hayne, North Carolina
Emerald Isle, North Carolina
Sunset Beach, North Carolina
Conway, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Sumter, South Carolina
Arlington, Washington
Vancouver, Washington

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