Chamaerops humilis ‘Vulcano’ is a very attractive form of the well known Mediterranean Fan Palm with very compact habit and much stiffer leaves than it’s cousin. The tough palmate leaves are held on sturdy stems often twisting creating an effect which to me looks much like the Pericón fans poised in classic flamenco dance. Why the name ‘Vulcano’ you may ask. Well I first discovered this palm growing in a beautiful nursery on the island of Sicily many years ago. The owner, a wonderfully charismatic Sicilian was cagey at first telling me it was his discovery and wanted to keep the source of this very desirable palm secret as the only way to propagate reliably is from seed harvested from mature mother plants which at the time were only found in the wild. I presumed that as we were on the slopes of Mount Etna, an active vulcano, that their location must have been somewhere nearby. Subsequently I have been made aware of an Ionian island named ‘Vulcano’ and that it is here the first of these palms were discovered. Whatever the true story of these charming palms is Chamaerops humilis ‘Vulcano’ is undoubtably a special plant sharing the same hardiness as the species, just as adaptable to cooler climes and arguably more beautiful and especially useful if space is limited.
Best planted in a sunny position in fertile free draining soil where it will tolerate moderately windy spots and coastal conditions with little fuss. Heavy frosts aren’t a problem either but I’d recommend some protection from extreme cold particularly snow and ice which can damage the lovely leaves. Probably not suitable for cold inland gardens but able to cope, in our experience with temperatures down to minus 7 degrees C. Chamaerops humilis ‘Vulcano’ is also a very good palm for container cultivation happy for many years growing this way just remember to feed and water regularly during the growing period.