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Bamboo palm

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  • Indoor Plants
Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Gilles Murray)

Onglets

Botany

Origin and description

Bamboo palm is a palm that grows in the shade of large trees in Central American rainforests. It is slow growing and stays small when grown as a houseplant. Its leaves, composed of 5 to 15 pairs of lance-shaped leaflets, can be up to 40 cm long, on bamboo-like stems. Flowers may appear in the leaf axils after several years if growing conditions are right.

Species, cultivars and related plants

Chamaedorea elegans is a small species that rarely exceeds 1.2 metres when grown as a houseplant, even after several years. Chamaedorea elegans 'Bella' (also mistakenly called Neanthe bella) is bushier than the species. This cultivar is a very popular houseplant and is also used in terrariums. It has mimosa-like flowers.

Common name

Bamboo palm

Latin name (genus)

Chamaedorea seifrizii (syn. Chamaedorea erumpens)

French common name

Botanical family

  • Arecaceae
Horticulture

Growing conditions

While this plant tolerates lower lighting, it prefers bright, indirect sunlight, especially in winter, for instance near a west- or east-facing window. It is not very fussy about temperatures, but does best between 18 and 24ºC. In winter, if possible, gradually lower the temperature to 15-16ºC, without ever allowing it to drop below 13ºC. Avoid sudden temperature changes. Bamboo palm tolerates drier air than other palms, but it is best to keep the humidity high. Keep it away from heat sources in winter.

Easy to grow?

Bamboo palm is a fairly tolerant plant. It is one of the best indoor palms. It is fairly easy to grow if given plenty of light and adequate watering. Its flowers are insignificant.

Watering and fertilizer

During the growing period, water generously to keep the soil moist, without ever allowing the pot to stand in water. This plant's roots will eventually rot in waterlogged soil. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. In winter, reduce the frequency and allow the soil to dry out to a depth of one half. This palm should not be fertilized very often: only two or three times a year during the growing period with balanced indoor plant food or all-purpose fertilizer like 20-20-20, at half strength.

Pruning and maintenance

It is a good idea to shower the foliage occasionally with room-temperature water to clean and dust the plant. Remove any faded, drying leaves and remove flowers as they appear to strengthen the plant.

Repotting

Bamboo palm likes rich, well-drained soil. Use a blend of potting soil, peat moss and perlite or a commercial tropical plant mix. It should be repotted once the roots form a compact mass. Do not pack the soil too tightly around the fragile roots.

Pests and diseases
Physiological disorders

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