How to Shape a European Fan Palm

European fan palms earn their name from their large fans of leaves. This hardy palm survives much colder temperatures than other palm varieties, making it a suitable choice in areas that get as cold as minus 23.3 degrees Celsius. Fan palms produce multiple stems at the base, creating small clusters of trunks. The fans grow atop each trunk. These trees are suitable for pot culture as well. Though they reach up to 15 feet tall, they are slow-growing. Pruning also allows you to control the shape and spread of the fan palm tree.

Inspect the base of the palm every two to three months for suckers. Suckers resemble small branches or stems growing from the base of the tree.

Cut the suckers off the fan palm with a sharp, clean knife. Cut as flush to the main trunk as possible. Remove all the suckers for a single-trunk palm or leave one or two in place if you prefer to shape the palm into a multi-trunk specimen.

Prune the fronds when they are more than half brown to maintain the health and shape of the foliage. Removing fronds prematurely may damage or kill the palm. Cut the frond within 1 inch of the base, but do not cut into the bud at the top of the trunk.


Fan palms usually shed their leaves on their own, so removal is only rarely necessary. Sterilise knives and pruning equipment in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water to prevent spreading disease during shaping and trimming.


Do not remove trunks that are the same size or larger than the main trunk of the fan palm, as this can kill the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
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About the Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.