The European Fan Palm is great plant that can check all of the boxes if you are looking for a somewhat small, single or clustered, sun or semi-shaded, cold-tolerant, drought-tolerant, tropical-looking plant. This palm can be installed in just about any zone in Florida and, once established, is very resilient. Also referred to as the Mediterranean Fan Palm (or Dwarf Palm), Chamaerops humilis is the only native palm of Europe.
Though it naturally grows as a cluster palm with multiple trunks, the European Fan Palm can easily be maintained as a single palm if that is the look that you need. As a slow- growing palm that stays small, about 8 to 10 feet, it can be used in confined areas where most other palms simply will not fit. Allowing the multiple trunks to grow around it will give full look that almost appears bush-like. And trimming to a single stalk will give a more traditional palm look, in miniature.
This palm offers a range of color along the green spectrum and can even be somewhat silvery in appearance. The color is determined by the variety selected and by environmental factors such as sun/shade availability, which can also affect leaf size. Though this is a good choice for small areas, be aware of the tooth-like fronds that can, and will, bite when brushed against. Make sure that your European Fan Palm is planted away from foot and paw traffic areas. This plant requires patience because it is a slow grower, but a mature European Fan Palm is well worth the wait, especially in locations where it seems that nothing else fits.