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Blue Mediterranean Fan Palm

Chamaerops humilis var. argentea is listed here separately as it is such a beautiful and somewhat unique form of this plant and rapidly becoming one of the more popular palms in California. Though many gray, waxy and somewhat glaucous forms of Chamaerops humilis exist in cultivation all over California, this form seems so strikingly blue and they grow a lot slow and ultimately are smaller, that it is getting a separate entry here. However, if grown under extreme conditions of drought, heat and high winds, a lot of the blue coloration gets wiped from the leaves and the resulting plants look disappointingly ordinary- these now greener plants still grow agonizingly slow unlike their naturally green counterparts, though. Note that seeds from this variety often grow into ordinarily green plants. True var. argenteas are strikingly blue from small seedling stages.

Chamaerops humilis var. cerifera

Habit: clustering with a crown of 20-30 fan leaves
Height: 8' estimate
Trunk: multiple; 5"-6"; covered with thick layer of tan fibers and retained, un-split leaf bases
Crownshaft: none
Spread: 3'-6'+
Leaf Description: palmate; deeply divided (4/5 or more of leaf blade length); stiff; pale blue-grey to pale turquoise-greenish grey;
Petiole/Leaf bases: 18" long; pale greenish to light yellow-green; heavily armed with 1/2" long, reddish-brown, marginal spines that project perpendicular to petioles; un-split leaf bases
Reproduction: monoecious
Inflorescence: 1' long; from within leaves
Fruit:
Horticultural Characteristics
Minimum Temp: 15F
Drought Tolerance: good once established (can take several years, though)
Dry Heat Tolerance: very good
Cool Tolerance: very good
Wind Tolerance: good, but may loose blue coloration
Salt Tolerance: unknown
Growth Rate: slow
Soil Preference: adaptable
Light Requirement: full sun


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  • Category Palms
  • Genus Chamaerops
  • Species humilis subsp. cerifera
  • Families Arecaceae
  • Habit Multiple stemmed palm
  • Climatic Zones Mountain-Sub Alpine USDA 8 a
  • Leaves Palmate leaf
  • Flower Raceme
  • Geographical Area of Origin Middle-north africa
  • Flowering and Fruiting Period September / August / July
  • Form Palm
  • Colore Fiori Giallo
  • Colore Foglie Azzurro   Grigio
  • Colore Frutti Viola
  • Favorite soil Neutral / Calcareous / Limestone / Light sandy / Middle-Dough / Medium soil
  • Water needs Medium / Low / little water
  • Light Exposure Full light / Full sun / Medium shade / Half shade
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