How to grow and care for Bamboo Palm Indoors

Bamboo palm

Botanical name: Chamaoderea erumpens
Family: Arecaceae
Sufamily: Arecoideae

Bamboo palm is an easy houseplant to grow and a perfect stand alone plant. It is also known to fight air pollution. Its yellowish bamboo-like canes and beautiful deep-green broad leaflets make it stand out as a focal point plant. This palm has a high tolerance to shade. Bambo Palm is native to the forests of Central and Northeastern Mexico as an understory plant. It belongs to a group of palms called cane palms which produce tall reed-like stems which look like bamboo-like canes when mature. It can grow to a height of 6-10 ft under good conditions. Bamboo Palm grows slowly and may take a few years to reach the average height of 6ft. Once grown and mature apart from being attractive, they also produce flowers followed by bright-orange fruits. These fruits contain oxalic acid which can irritate skin; wear gloves when handling and are also toxic to humans and pets. According to a study carried out by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Chamaedorea erumpens was found to get rid of common VOCs like xylene, toulene, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloethylene from indoor air.

Bamboo Palm is closely related to Chamaedorea seifrizii which bears deep-green narrower leaflets.

How to Grow Bamboo Palm

Light

Bamboo Palm prefers partial shade, close to an east- or west-facing window. Too much light will cause the palm to develop a yellowish color. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Water

Keep the soil moderately moist at all times for Bamboo Palm during the growing season. Reduce watering in the cold season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Use chlorine-free water for watering; like all palms Bamboo Palm is sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water. Avoid getting the base of the palm wet to prevent rotting. Do not allow the palm to sit in soggy soil as it may lead to root-rot and eventual death of the palm. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Average warmth with a minimum of 120C is ideal for Bamboo Palm. If the temperature is comfortable for you it is suitable for the Bamboo Palm. Protect the palm from cold draughts. Find out more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Bamboo Palm has no need for high humidity. However, it benefits from occasional misting of the leaves during hot weather. Occasionally clean the mature leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust.

Feeding

Feed Bamboo Palm with a nitrogen-rich water-soluble fertilizer monthly during the growing period. Water thoroughly until the solution comes out through the drainage holes. Withhold feeding in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Find out more on feeding houseplants.

Repotting

Repot Bamboo Palm at the beginning of the growing season only when the palm has become root-bound;Bamboo Palms does not like root disturbance. Use a pot 1-2 sizes larger that has a drainage hole(s). The soil should be free-draining and rich in organic matter.

Pruning

Pruning Bamboo Plam is easy. Cut away the old brown and dry fronds near the soil surface to maintain your plant neat and tidy. Where the seeds are required for propagation, allow the fruits to mature and drop then cut away the spent flower stalk. Where the seeds are not required, cut away the flower stalk immediately to prevent the plant from wasting energy on developing the flowers and seeds. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Bamboo Palm

Bamboo Palm can be propagated from seeds, offshoots or by division.

Propagating Bamboo Palm from seeds
Bamboo Palm seed germination is difficult and may take up to 4-6 months. Sow the seeds in moist soil and place in a warm place, about 300C. Keep the soil moist through out the period until germination takes place. Lower the temperature slightly after germination and maintain the soil moist until the plant is well established.

Propagating Bamboo Palm from offshoots
Carefully cut the offshoot from the mother Bamboo Palm. Ensure the offshoot has adequate roots before seperating it from the mother. Pot the offshoot in its own pot, place in a cool shaded place and maintain the soil moist through out. Allow the offshoot to be well established before transplanting.

Propagating Bamboo Palm by division
During repotting, divide Bamboo Palm into sections and pot up the sections in individual pots. Place in a cool shaded place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges. Allow the plant to be well established before transplanting.

Common Problems in Growing Bamboo Palm

  • Leaves with brown tips
  • Reasons for brown leaf tips in Bamboo Palm are dry air, underwatering, cold draughts and damage by touching. Trim off the brown tips with sterilized scissors. Correct the faults by raising the humidity, watering correctly, protecting the plant from draughts and placing Bamboo Palm away from traffic respectively.

  • Yellowing of leaves
  • Underwatering Bamboo Palm is the reason for yellowing leaves. Keep the soil moderately moist at all times during the growing season. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

  • Leaves with brown spots
  • Overwatering or sudden decrease of temperature are the causes of brown leaf spots in Bamboo Palm. Remove the affected parts and improve the growing conditions by correct watering and maintain the right temperature by protecting Bamboo Palm from cold draughts.

  • Brown leaves
  • The lower leaves in Bamboo Palm may turn brown and droop due to age; remove by cutting and not pulling. If browning is general and accompanied by rotting the reason is root-rot disease due to waterlogging.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Bamboo Palm are Red Spider Mites, Scales and Mealy Bugs. Regularly check underneath the leaves for these pests. Isolate the plant to prevent spread to other houseplants.

Toxicity

The foliage of Bamboo Palm is non-toxic to both humans and pets. The fruits (berries) are highly poisonous to both humans and pets. It is important to prevent flowering by removing the flower stalks when they begin to form. The fruits contain oxalic acid which can irritate sensitive skin; always wear gloves when handling.

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