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Adding an indoor palm tree to your plant collection is a surefire way to bring in some flair, edge, and a tropical element to your space. Looking for a particularly low-maintenance one? Then the bamboo palm will be your new best friend.
Named for the way its stems resemble bamboo, the bamboo palm is a great choice for beginning plant parents, not only because it’s easy to care for, but its large size and sprawling, spiky foliage make it a visual stunner. It will happily add some depth to your garden outside or some fun to your houseplant jungle inside.
- Botancial name: Chamaedorea seifrizii
- Common name: Bamboo Palm
- Origin: Central and Northeastern Mexico
- Plant Type: Evergreen perennial houseplant or tree
- Mature size: 1-10 feet wide and 3 to 20 feet tall
- Sun exposure: Part sun, shade
- Soil type: Well-draining potting mix
- Soil pH: 6
- Toxicity: non-toxic, but can produce toxic berries
Bamboo Palm Plant Care
If your bamboo palm is in an outdoor garden or yard, it can tolerate a range of soil conditions, though it prefers rich, well-draining, and slightly acidic soil. If you’re potting your plant and displaying it inside, your palm will appreciate well-draining soil or potting mix. Make sure your planter has a drainage hole to help avoid water saturation at the roots.
For watering, this plant appreciates consistently moist soil when it’s in its growing season, the spring and summer. You can cut back watering a little bit during the off-season, but avoid letting your bamboo palm completely dry out.
For “feeding” or fertilization needs, you’ll want to use a palm tree fertilizer every few months during its growing season. For outdoor palms, sprinkle the fertilizer evenly in the soil under the rim of the leaves and the outer edge of the tree. Never fertilize right at the trunk of your bamboo palm.
For indoor palms, follow the instructions on your fertilizer for mixing with water. Applying too much fertilizer can cause leaf burn.
Best Growing Conditions for a Bamboo Palm
One of the most appealing factors of the bamboo palm is its ability to grow in shady conditions. This light preference makes it versatile for your garden and offers up a variety of spaces in your home that it could thrive in, as opposed to your string of pearls that needs to sit in your brightest window. Your bamboo palm will be happiest in bright, indirect sunlight, but be careful not to expose it to too much sunlight, or the leaves will scorch.
While it is a relatively low maintenance plant, you’ll still want to make sure that it’s protected from strong winds outside or that it’s not too near a radiator indoors, as that could possibly dry it out.
Bamboo Palm Varieties
The Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) is the most popular variety of bamboo palm. It’s known as the "Parlor" Palm because of its indoor growing ease. The Cat Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum) is another fun variety that grows as wide as it does tall (6-8 feet), so it appears a little more bush-like.
The Dwarf bamboo palm (Chamaedorea radicalis) is smaller than its cousin the Bamboo Palm, growing 3-5 feet wide and 4-6 feet tall, but it can also withstand cooler temperatures, making it a tad more versatile. The Hardy Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea microspadix) can withstand even cooler temperatures (23 degrees Fahrenheit) and heavy shade, rightfully earning its name.
How to Propagate Your Bamboo Palm
Palms are not easily propagated by cuttings, so this isn’t a plant you can cut off and begin anew. Bamboo palm propagation only happens by planting seed.
Repotting Your Bamboo Palm
Bamboo palms don’t love to be disturbed, so only repot when it’s obviously getting too big for its current container, typically every 2-3 years. Then, size up a container and carefully transplant it into its new home.
Common Growing Problems
Bamboo palms aren’t known for attracting any particular type of pest or bug, although plant parents know to always be on the lookout for spider mites or mealy bugs. If you see signs of either of these, wash the leaves as soon as possible.
If your bamboo palm leaves are turning brown, it could be a sign of sun scorch—which could occur if you recently moved your plant to a brighter window—but it’s more likely typical aging. If they are older leaves that are turning brown, simply prune them away by cutting off the frond close to the soil’s surface.
What Is a Frond?
A frond is a large, divided leaf, such as that in a palm tree.
Toxicity of Bamboo Palm
According to the ASPCA, bamboo palm is non-toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. However, female bamboo palm can produce berries that are highly poisonous, so handle any palm-produced fruit with gloves.
With just a few basic care tips in mind, your Bamboo palm will thrive for years to come in your home or garden while adding a stunning visual element to your space.