Lady Palm: Indoor Plant Care & Growing Guide
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How to Grow the Lady Palm Indoors
The Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa) is a small species of palm that grows in dense clusters of slender green stems. On the stems are light green fan-shaped leaves, each with 5-8 narrow lance-shaped segments. Because this palm is extremely tolerant of low light conditions, it often grows as a houseplant indoors.
It's best to plant in the spring at the beginning of the growing season, although houseplants can generally start year-round. This palm has a very slow growth rate, gaining less than a foot in height each year.
|Botanical Name||Rhapis excelsa|
|Common Names||Lady palm, bamboo palm, miniature fan palm|
|Mature Size||6-15 ft. tall and wide (outdoors), up to 6 ft. tall, 4 ft. wide (indoors)|
|Sun Exposure||Partial, shade|
|Soil Type||Loamy, well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, neutral|
|Hardiness Zones||9-11 (USDA)|
Lady Palm Care
Like houseplants, the palms easily fit into a corner of a room near a light-colored window. Taking care of them is not too complicated, although it will be necessary to establish a regular routine of watering and feeding. Plan to water and feed more during the warmer months of the year and leave some during the colder months. Otherwise, the palm of your hand should improve in indoor temperatures that you feel comfortable with.
These palms don't need a lot of pruning. Avoid removing even the slightly golden leaves (a very common sight on female palms, often due to lack of water or light) as the plant can still use the nutrients in these leaves. However, if the entire foliage is discolored or dead, you can prune it. These plants generally do not have a serious pest or disease problems. However, beware of dandruff and mites, which can affect many indoor plants. Signs of infestation include wilted or yellowed leaves, a slime or cobweb on the leaves, and small light or dark spots on the plant. Treat the palm of your hand with an appropriate insecticide as soon as possible.
A location exposed to direct sunlight is not ideal for these palm trees. Unfiltered sunlight can cause leaf burns. Outdoors, palm trees grow in dappled light form and can even stand in a slightly shady spot. The inner palms of the hands should be placed to receive bright indirect light near a window.
Clay soil with excellent drainage works best for palm trees. Specially designed soil for palm trees works well in containers. Also suitable for soils with African violets.
Palm trees have an average water requirement and are somewhat drought tolerant once established. In spring and summer, when most of the active palm growth takes place, water when the soil surface is dry. Reduce watering in the fall and winter when the first 5 inches of the soil appear dry.
Temperature and humidity
In addition to the compact size and light requirements, another factor that makes female palms ideal for indoor growing is that they grow at typical room temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. During the colder months, make sure your palm stays above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, as anything colder can damage the plant. Protect your plant from cold drafts and hot air (like air from a radiator) that can dry it out.
This palm prefers a humidity of 50% or more. Brown leaf tips can be a sign that humidity is too low for the plant. To increase humidity, you can regularly spray the palm of your hand with water from a spray bottle. Or place the pot in a pebble container filled with water and make sure the pot is not directly in the water, as this can lead to root rot.
Female palms only need fertilization during the growing season. From April to September, feed your palm a semi-diluted liquid houseplant fertilizer every month.
Potting and Repotting
The lady's palm doesn't bother to rush a bit on her plate. First, choose a pot that is slightly larger than the size of the root. Make sure there are large drainage holes.
Plan to store your palm in a slightly larger container every two years in the spring. To do this, carefully remove the roots from the container to disturb them as little as possible and keep the roots intact. Next, place the palm of your hand in the new container and fill it with fresh potting soil. Compress the soil and water it well.
Variety Lady Palm
There are several types of palm trees, including:
- Rhapis excelsa ‘Koban’: This variety has notably wide leaf segments and tends to spread outward.
- Rhapis excelsa ‘Daruma’: This variety features narrow leaves and an upright growth habit.
- Rhapis excelsa ‘Tenzan’: The leaves on this fast-growing variety have a bit of a curl.
- Rhapis excelsa ‘Kodaruma’: This is a miniature variety with an especially slow growth rate.
- Rhapis excelsa ‘Zuikonishiki’: This variety sports green-and-white striped leaves.
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