How to grow and care for Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa) Indoors

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Lady Palm Care, Rhapis excelsa Care

Botanical name: Rhapis excelsa
Family: Arecaceae

Lady Palm Description

Lady palm is a popular small indoor palm which grows in multi-stemmed clumps with glossy, evergreen leaves divided into broad, ribbed segments.

Lady Palm belongs to the group of palms (called fan palms) which produce fronds which are split into numerous segments radiating from a point at the base (fan-like segments like ladies fan), the segments may be entirely or only partly divided.

The Lady Palm's leaf stalks are long, up to 2 ft or more and are generally toothed. The new foliage arises from a fibrous sheath which remains attached to the base.

As the Lady Palm ages, the sheath falls, revealing bamboo-like trunks. Its low light and humidity requirements make it a popular houseplant.

Lady Palm Origin

Lady Palm is native to tropical and sub-tropical India and Asia. It was first culltivated in China.

The Japanese collected Lady Palm for their palaces in the 1600s, then the popularity spread to Europe and later to America and the rest of the world.

Lady Palm Air Purifying

According to the NASA Clean Air Study, Rhapis excelsa was found to remove common VOCs like xylene, toulene, benzene, formaldehyde, trichloethylene and ammonia.

Lady Palm for Sale

Buy beautiful and healthy Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa) from Etsy.

Lady Palm Care, Rhapis excelsa Care

Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa) Care Indoors

Lady Palm Light Requirements

Lady Palm grows best in light shade. Keep your Lady Palm away from direct sunlight as it may scorch the leaves. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to water Lady Palm

Water Lady Palm thoroughly and keep the soil moderately moist at all times during the growing season. Reduce watering for your Lady Palm during the cold season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Water your Lady Palm with chlorine-free water; like all palms Lady Palm, is sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water.

Avoid getting the base of your Lady Palm wet as it can lead to rotting and eventual death of your Lady Palm. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Do not allow your Lady Palm to sit in soggy soil as it may lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of your Lady Palm.


Temperature for Lady Palm

Average warmth with a minimum of 120C is ideal for your Lady Palm. If the temperature is comfortable for you it is suitable for your Lady Palm.

Protect your Lady Palm from cold draughts. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Lady Palm

Average room humidity is ideal for your Lady Palm. However, it benefits from occasional misting of the leaves during the hot weather.

Occasionally clean the leaves of your Lady Palm by splashing water from a hose pipe to get rid of dust. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Lady Palm

Feed Lady Palm with a water-soluble fertilizer monthly during the growing period. Water thoroughly until the solution comes out through the drainage holes.

Withhold feeding your Lady Palm during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to repot Lady Palm

Repot Lady Palm every 3 years when it has overgrown its current pot. Keep it crowded to prevent it from growing too fast.

Use a pot with a drainage hole and free-draining sandy soil to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease.

Apply a slow release fertilizer to the potting soil to promote faster establishment of your Lady Palm. The fertilizer will be adequate for the next 3-4 months.

Take care not to damage the roots of your Lady Palm and don't try to seperate or spread out the roots.

Water your Lady Palm thoroughly and gently press down the soil to get rid of air pockets.

How to prune Lady Palm

Pruning Lady Palm is easy. Cut away the old brown and dry fronds near the soil surface to maintain the palm neat and tidy.

Where Lady Palm seeds are required for propagation, allow the fruits to mature and drop then cut away the spent flower stalk.

Where Lady Palm seeds are not required, cut away the flower stalk immediately it begins to form to prevent the palm from wasting energy on developing the flowers and seeds. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa) Propagation

Lady Palm propagation can be done from seeds, offshoots or by division.

Buy beautiful and healthy Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa) from Etsy.

How to propagate Lady Palm from seeds

Seed germination of Lady Palm may take up to 4-6 months.

Sow the Lady Palm seeds in moist soil and place in a warm place, about 300C.

Keep the soil moist through out the period until germination of Lady Palm seeds takes place.

Lower the temperature slightly after germination and maintain the soil moist until the new Lady Palms are well established.

How to propagate Lady Palm from offshoots

With a sharp sterilized knife or scissors, carefully cut the Lady Palm offshoot from the mother plant. Ensure the offshoot has adequate roots before seperating it from the mother.

Pot the Lady Palm offshoot in its own pot, place in a cool shaded place and maintain the soil moist through out.

Allow the Lady Palm offshoot to be well established before transplanting.

How to propagate Lady Palm from splits

During repotting, divide your Lady Palm into sections and plant the sections in individual pots.

Place in a cool, shaded place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges and the new Lady Palm is well established.

Lady Palm Care, Rhapis excelsa Care

Photo Credit: Bamboo South Coast

Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa) Problems Indoors

Why does my Lady Palm have brown leaf tips?

There are four reasons for brown leaf tips in your Lady Palm. Trim off the brown tips with sterilized scissors.

One reason for brown leaf tips in your Lady Palm is dry air. Raise humidity for your Lady Palm by more frequent misting or set the pot on a wet pebble tray. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

The second reason for brown leaf tips in your Lady Palm is underwatering. Keep the soil moderately moist at all times for your Lady Palm during the growing season.

Reduce watering for your Lady Palm during the cold season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

The third reason for brown leaf tips in your Lady Palm is cold draughts. Protect your Lady Palm from draughts to maintain an average warmth with a minimum of 120C.

The fourth reason for brown leaf tips in your Lady Palm is is damage by touching. Place your Lady Palm from the line of traffic.

Why are the fronds of my Lady Palm yellowing?

Underwatering is the cause of yellowing fronds in your Lady Palm. Keep the soil moderately moist at all times during the growing season and do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Why does my Lady Palm have brown leaf spots?

There are two possible causes of brown leaf spots on your Lady Palm. Remove the affected leaves and discard.

One cause of brown leaf spots on your Lady Palm is overwatering. Keep the soil moderately moist at all times during the growing season but not soggy.

Ensure the pot for your Lady Palm has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil.

The second causes of brown leaf spots on your Lady Palm is sudden decrease of temperature due to cold draughts.

Protect your Lady Palm from draughts to maintain an average warmth with a minimum of 120C.

Why are the leaves of my Lady Palm browning?

The lower leaves of your Lady Palm may turn brown and droop due to age; remove by cutting and not pulling.

If the browning of the leaves of your Lady Palm is general and accompanied by rotting, the reason is root-rot disease due to soggy soil.

Which plant pests attack Lady Palm?

Common plant pests in Lady Palm are Red Spider Mite, Scales and Mealy Bugs.

Regularly check underneath the leaves of your Lady Palm for these pests. Isolate the affected Lady Palm to prevent spread to the other houseplants.

Is Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa) toxic?

Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa) is non-toxic to both humans and pets. It is safe to grow indoors.

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