Posts Tagged ‘Bamboo palm’

Rhapis excelsa

Common Names: Lady Palm, Little Lady Palm, Bamboo Palm, Broadleaf Lady Palm, Fern Rhapis, Ground Rattan, Miniature Fan Palm, Slender Lady Palm

Synonyms: Chamaerops excelsa
Trachycarpus excelsa
Rhapis flabelliformis

Family: Arecaceae

Rhapis excelsa

Rhapis excelsa

Distribution and habitat: Rhapis excelsa is probably native to southern China and Taiwan. These palms are not found in the wild; all known Rhapis excelsa varieties come from cultivated groups. More than 100 named cultivars are available, most of then with Asian names.

Description: Rhapis excelsa is unlikely to grow indoors more than 1.2m (4 feet) tall. It grows in multi-stemmed clumps with glossy, palmate leaves. The thin stems of Rhapis excelsa can reach 25cm (10 inch) in height and up to 2cm (0.8 inch) thick forming clusters of foliage. These stems are wrapped with mats of brown fiber. As the lower leaves fall off, they leave scars on the stems, creating an attractive bamboo-like appearance. New foliage emerges from a fibrous sheath which remains attached to the base. Fronds grow in a fan pattern and are held erect on 30 to 45cm (12-18 inch) stems, each frond consisting of deeply veined leaflets. Each leaflet is composed of five to eight blunt-tipped, tooth edged segments 22cm (8.5 inch) or so long and up to 5cm (2 inch) wide. This palm is usually dioecious which produces a small inflorescence at the top of the plant with spirally-arranged, fleshy flowers containing three petals fused at the base. Ripe fruit are fleshy and white.

Houseplant care: Its ability to handle low light intensities, low humidity, varying temperatures plus its suitability to container planting, small to moderate size and slow growth rate make Rhapis excelsa ideal indoor plant.

Trim off lower leaves as they age and become discolored.

Light: Grow these plants in bright filtered light. During the winter months, however, provide them with three to four hours of direct sunlight each day.

Temperature: Rhapis excelsa will do well not only in normal room temperatures, but also in cool conditions down to about 8°C (46°F). Under the cooler conditions they simply take a winter rest or grow more slowly.

Water: Water actively growing plants moderately, giving enough at each watering to make the potting mixture moist throughout, but allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the mixture to dry out before watering again. During the rest period, if applicable, water more sparingly, allowing the top 5cm (2 inch) to dry out between waterings.

Fertilising: Apply standard liquid fertiliser about once a month to actively growing Rhapis excelsa.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Do not move these palms into larger pots more often than once in two years. Grow them in pots that look a little too small for them. After reaching the maximum convenient pot size (probably about 30cm (12 inch)), give the plants a top-dressing with fresh potting mixture every spring.

Propagation: Rhapis excelsa produce suckers from the base of the plant and these can be used for propagation in spring. Cut off a basal sucker preferably one with some roots already attached to it and plant it in an 8-13cm (3-5 inch) pot size of the recommended potting mixture for these palms.

Place the pot in a warm position in medium light and water the sucker sparingly. Give it just enough at each watering to make the entire mixture barely moist and allow the top centimeter (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. As soon as new growth becomes apparent, the young palm can be treated as mature.

These palms can also be propagated from seed, but it takes a great deal of time. The propagation through suckers is both quicker and surer, especially for the amateur gardener.

Gardening: Rhapis excelsa can be used for a tropical garden landscape. This palm is adaptable to soil types, although neutral to slightly acid soils with good drainage and organic matter is recommended for best results. Choose a partially shaded spot under trees or a pergola to place the Rhapis excelsa. It can be grown in full sun as long as the soil have good moisture-retentive properties  and the palm receive plenty of water. The leaves, however, will lose their deep green colouring when exposed to full sunlight, becoming yellowish green and on the hotter days will probably burn.

Temperatures as low as -5°C (23°F) are tolerated by Rhapis excelsa as it is quite cold hardy, particularly when grown under shelter. It also grows in climates where it may be exposed to prolonged periods of cold weather. Very hot weather, particularly when the air is very dry, may cause damage which can be prevented by adequate watering, mulching and growing under other plants or pergolas. Occasional hosing of foliage with a fine spray or mist can also help to maintain a higher relative humidity.

When grown outdoors these palm can rich to a maximum height of between 3-4m (10-13 feet), each stem or cane is slender ranging from 1-3cm (0.4-1.2 inch) in diameter.

Problems: Rhapis excelsa has very few pests or diseases to trouble it.

The only major pests are scale and mealybug.
Treatment: Scale can be easily controlled by physical removal, wash off with high pressure jet of water or scrape off with cotton wool buds or by chemical control with appropriate insecticide.
Mealybug can be removed physically but it usually requires chemical control. For total control use a suitable insecticide and apply it as a soil drench as mealybug often invades the roots of a plant.

Root rots can be avoided through proper cultural practices such as choosing healthy plants in the first place and watering only when necessary. Provide good drainage so that water does not build up and stay around the roots of the palms.

But if, despite great care, root rot symptoms do develop, such as wilting, excessive browning of leaf tips and loss of vigour, can be caused by root fungus.
Treatment: Firstly remove the plant from the soil it is in, wash roots bare of soil, inspect roots for fungus problems, remove black roots or reddish brown roots and replant into a raised bed of well drained soils. In the case of potted plants do the same but plant into a clean well drained potting mix and, finally, drench the soil with a systemic fungicide.

Brown or black fungal spot is usually caused by poor cultural practices.
Treatment: To prevent the disease, buy only good quality plants and do not crowd plants too much so as to allow unimpeded air flow to reduce conditions ideal for the fungus. If leaf spot does occur remove and burn the affected leaves. Thin out plants or space potted plants to improve ventilation and finally spray all affected plants with a preventative fungicide.

Brown leaftips are often caused by an excessive accumulation of fertiliser salts in the potting mix.
Treatment: Thorough leaching will overcome this problem. Soak the palm roots in water for a couple of hours to leach out accumulated salts, toxins and to carry oxygen to the roots. Refer to Fertilising section to prevent further fertilising excess.

Recommended varieties:
Rhapis excelsa Zuikonishiki has yellow markings on each of the segments and is rarely any taller than 60cm (24 inch).

Rhapis excelsa Koban is a popular cultivar with dark-green leaves.

Rhapis excelsa Gyokuhu is a dwarf variety. It slowly adds only a 5cm (2 inch) of height per year and produces numerous offshoots. This variety may only grow 1.2m (4 feet) of height after 30 or 40 years of age in outdoor plantation. Nicknamed the “bush baby”, this variety is excellent for collectors of dwarf specimens, bonsai gardens, or areas requiring small, very special ornamental palms. 

Rhapis excelsa Kodaruma is the smallest variety of Rhapis excelsa. This slow grower puts lots of energy into producing pups, so it grows out more than up. Small leaves on miniature canes personifies the word dwarf. This is another variety excellent for collectors of dwarf specimens, bonsai gardens, or areas requiring small, very special ornamental palms. 

Notes: May be confused with Serenoa repens or Licuala grandis, but both these palmate leaved species have spines on the petiole, unlike Rhapis excelsa which is unarmed.

Uses: Its low light and humidity requirements, dust, and drought tolerant make Rhapis excelsa a common feature in malls and offices.

This dwarf palm is commonly used as screen, border, mass planting, specimen plant, container or above-ground planter, naturalizing or accent plant.

They lend a rich tropical look to the landscape. Lady palms can be effective accents in a shrub border or near an entryway. Plant on 0.9 to 1.2m (3- 4 feet) centers to create a mass effect. Locate them in a low-growing ground cover such as Ophiopogon japonicus (Mondo Grass) or Liriope muscari (lily Turf) for a dramatic effect. This palm looks wonderful when it is lighted from below or silhouetted at night.

This exotic palm is one of the best plants for improving air quality indoors. It has one of the top removal rates of toxins such as formaldehyde and ammonia.


Foliage – green
Shape – bushy
Height: 1.2m (4 feet)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 7°C max 16°C (45-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 8b-11

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Chamaedorea seifrizii

Common Names: Bamboo palm, Reed Palm, Clustered Parlor Palm, Cane Palm

Family: Arecaceae

Synonymous: Chamaedorea donnell-smithii
Chamaedorea erumpens
Meiota campechana

Chamaedorea seifrizii

Chamaedorea seifrizii

Distribution and habitat: Chamaedorea seifrizii is native to Mexico and Central America where it thrives as an understory palm in rainforests and it is often spreading by means of underground runners, forming clonal colonies.
Chamaedorea seifrizii is an useful indoor palm because its adaptability to the environment, exotic look and anti-pollutant abilities. It is very common in malls, offices, homes and courtyards.

Description: Chamaedorea seifrizii is a relatively small graceful palm with densely clumping, bamboo-like stems and feathery fronds. Canes can be up to 1cm (0.4 inch) in diameter. The delicate-looking, lacy leaves 60-90cm (24-35 inch) long with leaflets up to 38cm (15 inch) long at the top of slender, cane-like stems that cluster together. Leaf colour is a deep bluish green.
The flowers are produced in inflorescences; Chamaedorea seifrizii are dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants. The fruit is an orange or red drupe 0.5–2cm (0.2-0.8 inch) diameter.

Houseplant care: Chamaedorea seifrizii is a thin clumping palmtree, spreading by offsets and stolons, growing very slowly up to about 1.5-3m (5-10 feet) in height and spreading about 75cm to 1.2m (2.5-5 feet) – container grown palms.
As the old fronds die, these should be trimmed off and the leaf bases or sheath allowed to dry out. After the sheaths are dried, they should be removed for good plant hygiene and to unveil the attractive light green bamboo-like stem.

Light: Chamaedorea seifrizii palms like bright filtered light. If kept at a distance from a window for extensive periods in winter, they begin to grow spindly.

Temperature: Though Chamaedorea seifrizii can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, they do best in normally warm rooms 18-24°C (64-75°F). It tolerates winter minimum temperature of about 13°C (55°F).
Even though Chamaedorea seifrizii will tolerate dry air, it may cause frond tips to turn brawn. Increase humidity by standing the pots on trays of damp pebbles and mist spray the foliage regularly.

Watering: Water Chamaedorea seifrizii plentifully as often as necessary to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist during the active growth period, even permitting water to remain in the saucer. During the rest period water moderatelly just enough to make the potting mixture barely moist, allowing the top two-thirds of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings.

Feeding: Chamaedorea seifrizii palms will benefit from a couple of application of recommended liquid fertiliser at half strength during the growing season to encourage strong, lush growth.

Potting and repotting: Use a soil based potting mixture with addition of half as much extra peat moss or leaf mould. An 18cm (7 inch) pot is likely to be the biggest needed. Repot Chamaedorea seifrizii only when its roots have completely filled the pot and then move it into a pot just one size larger, working the potting mixture carefully around the brittle roots. It is essential to pack the mixture down firmly, but without damaging the palm. Root breakage will slow down development and a palm with damaged roots may take several weeks to fully recover.

Gardening: Chamaedorea seifrizii palms are very easy to grow and maintain within their hardiness zone. Palms grown outdoors have a thicker canopy than indoor specimens. These palms grow at an average rate and can get up to 2.4 to 3.6m (8-12 feet) tall and 1.8 to 2.4m (6-8feet) wide.

Locations: Chamaedorea seifrizii is requiring a partly shaded to shade position. This palm prefers shade but can be adapted to partial shade.

Soil: Chamaedorea seifrizii palms grow best in moist, humus rich, well-drained soils. They need mildly acidic to mildly alkaline soil for healthy growth.
Late spring to early summer is the best time to plant an outdoor palm. Prepare the area several months before planting; remove the roots of perennial weeds and mix in bulky organic materials such as well-decomposed manure or garden compost. The day before planting, water the potting mixture in the container. Also water the planting area; allow the surface soil to dry slightly before planting.
Where the soil is well drained, plant the palm in flat soil. Dig out the hole and form and firm a slight mound, so that its surface is fractionally bellow the surrounding. Draw the soil around the root ball and firm it.
Where the area is predominantly clay and badly drained, mound the soil to form a raised area. Dig out the hole and plant in the same way as for a flat area.
After planting thoroughly water the soil.
These palms are shallow-rooted and a yearly mulch in late spring, after the soil around was cleared from weeds and watered, helps to feed the palms and keeps the soil cool and moist during the hot weather. Spread a 7.5cm (3 inch) thick layer of well decomposed garden compost over the soil.

Irrigation: Chamaedorea seifrizii is require good drainage and the soil should be allowed to dry slightly between watering. The roots of these palms spread widely and laterally and therefore it is essential to thoroughly soak a wide area. This is best undertaken during evenings or early mornings when the chance of water immediately evaporating is low.

Feeding: Chamaedorea seifrizii palms are sensitive to soluble salts, but they will benefit from a couple of application of recommended liquid fertiliser at half strength during the growing season to encourage strong, lush growth.

Propagation: Propagation of Chamaedorea seifrizii is not practicable in the home.
Chamaedorea seifrizii is usually propagated by seed which takes 6-9 months or more to germinate and require high temperatures up to 32°C (90°F). Later, high humidity is needed to prevent the seedling shriveling and to ensure rapid growth. Sow seed in standard germination medium in seed-trays ensuring that individual seeds do not touch. Place the seed-tray in propagation frame with bottom heat and keep the soil moist. After germination, reduce the temperature slightly and after about 9 months, repot the seedling to small but deep, individual pots. Until established, keep them in light shade and gentle warmth. Production of Chamaedorea seifrizii palms often includes several months in full sun to encourage basal shoot production and good stem diameter, but these species develop their best color in shade. As the plants get larger they are then stepped to a larger size pot. These palms will reach a salable size in 2-5 years.
Propagation of Chamaedorea seifrizii by removing the suckers or offshoots from the parent plant is also common. This is best to be done in late spring or early summer. Use a spade or trowel to draw soil from around the base of an offset. Use a sharp knife to remove the offset from the parent; sometimes an offset has roots and these have a better chance of survival than offsets that do not. Before the offset is entirely removed, partially sever the offset’s base and if the offset has no roots, repack the soil around it. Later, when roots have formed, this offset can be removed. Transfer the rooted offsets to individual pots and keep them watered and lightly shaded until they are well established.

Problems: Chamaedorea seifrizii are usually easy to maintain disease free.

As with most palms the biggest problem with pest is mites. These very small, spider-like, eight-legged insects, cluster on the underside of the leaves, sucking sap and causing yellowing and mottling.
Treatment: Regularly cleaning the palm’s foliage with a soapy solution will help reduce mites attacks. Also can be used an acaricide.

Scale insects are another pest to watch out for when growing Chamaedorea seifrizii. Infested plants become weakened or stunted and begin to die. Scales can be found feeding on leaves, petioles, or stems. They are usually distinct from the plant material on which they are feeding. Their shape (round to oval), size (pinpoint to 2 mm long), and color (light to dark brown) are quite variable and many scales are hard to distinguish from the plant material on which they are feeding.
Treatment: Wipe off the young scale insects with a cotton bud dipped in methylated spirits. Oil-based sprays can be also used. It is much difficult to eradicate the adult insects which are protected by a scale-like shield. Apply repeatedly sprays at two-three weeks intervals with a systemic insecticide.

White cottony masses on stems are caused by mealybugs. They cluster under leaves and around the junctions of stems and leaves, sucking sap and causing weakness in the palm. Dry potting mixture intensify the problem.
Treatment: Eradicate small infestations on indoor palms by wiping them with methylated spirits. Alternatively can be used a systemic insecticide.

Excessively wet potting mixture encourage leaf spot disease caused by a bacteria and producing dark brown spots on the leaves.
Treatment: Cut off infested leaves and spray with an adequate fungicide.

Dry potting mixture may cause yellowing the leaves, especially during the summer.
Treatment: Thoroughly moisten the potting mixture.

Dry air may cause dull colour in leaves and tips become brown and dry.
Treatment: Regularly mist spray the palms, especially during the hot weather. Check that the potting mixture is moist but not waterlogged.

Excessive watering and/or poor soil drainage can induce root and stem diseases such as Pythium, Phytophthora, or Rhizoctonia. Symptoms are very severe: roots blackening or mushiness followed by yellowing, wilting and loss of the palm.
Treatment: The palm affected by these fungus will be lost. These diseases can be prevented by using pathogen-free potting medium and pots. The potting mixture moisture should be maintained as low as possible to reduce pathogen growth.

Toxicity: All parts of Chamaedorea seifrizii palm are poisonous if ingested.

Uses and display: Chamaedorea seifrizii is a useful plant for landscaping in the garden, for containers on a shaded patio or indoors in filtered light. Small palms can be used in table top arrangements to create exciting display. Tall sized palms are ideal companion for houseplants in a floor display. Also a tall palm can be used as a specimen display and if it is used a spotlight to illuminate the palm, it will create interesting wall shadows. In warm climates it may be used in protected areas outside as a screen, hedge or accent to the landscape.

According to NASA, it removes formaldahyde and is also said to act as a natural humidifier.


Foliage – green
Shape – bushy
Height container palms – 1.5-3m (5-10 feet)
Spread container palms – 75cm-1.2m (2.5-5 feet)
Height in ground palms – 2.4-3.6m (8-12 feet)
Spread in ground palms – 1.8 to 2.4m (6-8feet)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 24°C (55-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 24°C (64-75°F)
Humidity – low

Hardiness zone: 10a-11

Chamaedorea seifrizii Chamaedorea seifrizii - fruits Chamaedorea seifrizii

Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Palms, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , , , , , , ,

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