Rhapis excelsa, the Chinese palm or bamboo palm is an indoor plant, an easy to maintain apartment palm: it is reliable, non-prickly, tolerant and very elegant with its many narrow and grooved stems.
Scientific N. Rhapis excelsa
Origin Subtropical asia
Flowers greenish / pink
Typepalmier, plante d’intrieur
Height1min50 3m in a garden
Plant and cultivate
Hardiness not very hardy, down to -3C minimum
Solrich and humorous, are
Acidity neutral acid
Humidity normal sec
Useindoor plant, outdoor in very little slippery area
Rhapis excelsa, the Chinese palm or bamboo palm is a small palm subtropical belonging to the family Arecaceae. He is Asian descent, probably from Vietnam, scattered among the dry forests and perhaps from Thailand, however introduced and cultivated for centuries in various Asian countries, one cannot be sure of its exact wild origin. Small, bushy and tolerant, the bamboo palm makes a excellent houseplant. His weak hardiness limits its culture in the ground on the mediterranean border.
Also called Chinese palm, Rhapis excelsa should not be confused with Chinese palm which is a Trachycarpus fortunei.
Description of the bamboo palm
Rhapis excelsa has two characteristics that explain its vernacular name of bamboo palm:
- it produces several leafy stems from a rhizome tracing (quite short), creating a small colony of fine palm.
- its stipe, narrow (1.5 to 3 cm thick), covered with persistent leaf sheaths, is segmented into nodes and internodes.
High from 1.5 m to 2 m indoors, and from 3 to 5 m in outdoor cultivation, the Chinese palm grows in a narrow tuft, but with a slow growth.
His palmate leaves are divided into 2 to 13 segments, more or less wide, serrated at their end. These segments measure a maximum of 7 cm wide by 40 cm long.
The inflorescences are rare indoors, appearing between the leaves. They are 32 to 35 cm long, branched, bearing small greenish tubular flowers. The round fruits are yellow and measure less than a centimeter.
A whole world of bamboo palm among the Japanese
The Japanese have been passionate about this plant over the centuries and have selected nearly a hundred cultivars of bamboo palm trees, often rare.
Dwarf or miniature varieties
Dwarf or miniature (even smaller) varieties of Rhapis excelsa in a range called ‘Lady palms miniatures‘, some measuring only about thirty centimeters in height.
Ex of dwarf palm trees: Rhapis excelsa ‘Koban’, broadleaf, ‘Daruma‘standard sheets,’Thesis‘with curved leaves and faster growth …
Ex of miniatures: ‘Gyokuho‘ and ‘Kodaruma‘, which are real bonsai trees!
The Rhapis excelsa ‘Variegated’ include plants of standard size, dwarfs, or even miniatures, with beautifully variegated leaves of yellow, cream or pale green, depending on the individual. Some are really beautiful, very bright.
How to cultivate the bamboo palm?
Rhapis excelsa is a good houseplant, because it lives in the shade (or with only sun in the evening or in the morning) and shows itself quite not very sensitive to mealybugs.
It accepts a wide range of temperatures, but its cultivation in open ground outside is limited by frost: its foliage is damaged from 3 ° C; down to -6 ° C, its underground rhizome grows back from the stump, but then takes 3 years to rebuild a 150 cm high plant.
The bamboo palm is grown in a potting soil humus mixed with a few handfuls of sand. It will be watered with non-hard water, regularly, but leaving the soil to dry on half between each watering. It grows slowly and a littlefertilizer can be added, low dose and once a month. Winter is a period when watering is spaced out.
From brown spots on foliage are signs of excess water.
Rhapis excelsa love one slightly humid atmosphere. When it suffers from an atmosphere that is too dry, the tips of its leaves burn out. It should not be placed too close to the heater in winter. To remedy this, it can be sprayed regularly (once a day) with fresh water only, otherwise its foliage will be stained with lime deposits.
This palm tree is repotted in spring every 3 years in a larger pot, taking care not to upset its roots too much.
Comment multiplier Rhapis excelsa ?
The bamboo palm multiplies by division of rhizome, in the spring, while taking advantage of a repotting.
Seeds germinate in heat and humidity in peaty soil.
Species and varieties of Rhapis
- Rhapis low, slightly more rustic
- Rhapis multifida, with finer leaflets
- Rhapis subtilis from thailand
- Rhapis laosensis, a slightly smaller species
Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by www.aujardin.info.
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