Bamboo or reed palm

  • Position: bright but indirect light
  • Soil: good potting compost
  • Rate of growth: slow growing
  • Hardiness: tender (indoors only)
  • Current height: approximately 100cm (including pot)
  • Pot covers: choose a 22cm pot cover to give a good fit over the pot.
    A graceful and attractive palm, with closely growing upright stems and long arching linear leaves that will create a handsome focal point in any room. Still one of the most popular houseplants and it is easy to see why as it is so versatile and easy to look after. Please note that the pot in the photograph is not supplied with the plant (which is sent out in a black plastic pot). They do however make excellent potted plants, and if you wish to pot yours up, we do have a wide range of pots on our website to choose from.
  • Home care: Water regularly through the growing season with soft water, or rainwater but let the surface of the soil dry out slightly before rewatering. Reduce watering through the winter months. These plants need humidity so mist the leaves regularly, or stand on a tray of damp pebbles. Although they like a warm atmosphere don’t place it near a radiator or heat source, and choose a brightly lit spot but not in direct sun.

This decorative palm is rightfully very popular as both an indoor and outside plant, growing well directly in the soil, in outdoor container pots, and inside homes. Native to forests in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, it can now be often seen across Florida and Hawaii, where it is commonly cultivated.

This plant loves shade, lots of water, and can tolerate fairly low temperatures, making it an ideal plant for many environments, including homes, offices, malls, and sheltered areas of gardens. The bamboo palm is an especially good choice for a houseplant, not only because it is very attractive and quite undemanding in terms of care, but also because it rates highly on NASA’s list of air purifying plants. These plants were found to filter harmful toxins from the air, such as formaldehyde, resulting in cleaner and healthier air to breathe in (NASA Clean Air Study- Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement).

Bamboo Palm Overview

Quick Facts

Origin Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras
Scientific Name Chamaedorea seifrizii
Family Arecaceae
Type Evergreen
Common Names Bamboo palm, reed palm
Ideal Temperature 65- 75° F
Toxicity Foliage non-toxic to people or pets, berries are toxic
Light Bright, indirect light or shade
Watering Water thoroughly
Humidity Moderate to high humidity
Pests Mealy bugs, scale, spider mites

Caring for Your Bamboo Palm

Watering

The bamboo palm plant likes to have consistently moist soil, but should never be allowed to sit in wet or soggy soil. You should aim to water your bamboo palm in a way that will keep the soil at a level of moisture that is only just perceptible in order to avoid over watering and causing root rot. Some experts suggest that the top few inches of soil should be allowed to dry out in between waterings to stay on the safe side, as a bamboo palm will tolerate slight underwatering much better than it will tolerate overwatering, so erring on the side of caution when it comes to watering this plant is good advice.

Bamboo palms are sensitive to salt build up in the soil, which is usually the result of watering the plant with softened water. The best thing you can do for your palm is to water it with distilled water, or even better, with rainwater. Rainwater is a great source to use to water your houseplants for so many reasons. First, plants love it. There are minerals present in rainwater that contribute to the healthy growth of plants, so using it to water them with gives them a good nutritional boost. Second, it’s easy to access by simply leaving your watering can outside to fill up when it rains. Third, it’s good for the environment because it isn’t using up valuable resources. And fourth, it’s completely free so could even save you a few dollars on your water bill.

If you have salt deposits in your water, it would be especially helpful to use rainwater to water your bamboo palm and prevent unpleasant effects of salt build up in the soil. Salt build up can cause leaf burn and makes the plant look unhealthy and unsightly. If you do encounter this problem, you can leach the plant’s soil by flushing it with clean water. To do this, pour water onto your plant and allow it to seep out of the drainage holes. Keep flushing the water through until the water runs clear. This should help to remove a good portion of the salt deposits in your soil and allow your bamboo palm to start recovering. Cut off any foliage suffering from leaf burn, and use rainwater to water your plant going forwards.

Temperature

Bamboo palms can grow well in a fairly wide range of temperatures and can adapt quite well to temperature change, though for optimum health, they should ideally be in a temperature range of 65°-75° F. They do not tolerate extreme temperatures very well and should be kept away from areas in your home that may experience cold drafts, such as entryways or windows. Also, keep them away from air conditioning units or heaters.

In warmer weather, the palm can be moved outdoors so long as it is brought back inside when temperatures begin to drop. The bamboo palm can be kept outside all year round in areas where winter temperatures do not drop any lower than 55° F.

Light

This plant is a great choice to have in any home or office as it will grow well in a variety of light conditions. Bright, indirect light will help the bamboo plant to grow slightly faster, though it will never be a particularly quick-growing plant, and it does not need a lot of light to thrive. The bamboo palm natively grows in forests where it lives in the shade of larger trees, so it is well accustomed to coping with low light conditions. As such, it will happily live in areas of low light and shade when grown as a houseplant and is particularly well suited to life in an office environment where a lot of natural light isn’t typically common (Better Homes and Gardens).

Bright, direct light is not a good option for this plant as the leaves will scorch, so keep it out of direct sunlight when used as a houseplant or when grown outside. Remember that light levels will affect how much water a plant needs, with plants receiving high levels of light requiring more frequent waterings and plants in shade needing much less water. Always remember to adjust your watering schedule in line with your plant’s light levels, especially if you move it to a new spot and its conditions change.

Humidity

This plant will thrive in both moderate and high humidity, but it prefers high humidity best. If you are able to offer high humidity for the bamboo palm, then this is the best thing to do. Not only will the plant grow better, but high humidity helps to prevent spider mites, which are a particularly common pest of the bamboo palm.

Spider mites are more prevalent in dry air, so try not to allow your palm in areas of your home where the air is likely to dry out. Don’t allow it to sit near heaters or stoves in the wintertime as these dry out the air. If possible, keep the plant in areas of high humidity, such as a bathroom or kitchen, which tend to have more moisture in the air thanks to running showers and washing dishes.

There are ways you can work to increase the humidity in your home, such as with an electric humidifier. You can also increase humidity in more specifically targeted areas, by either misting your plant with a water sprayer or by using a wet pebble tray. To create a pebble tray, you simply need to assemble some pebbles on a tray and set your plant pot on top of it. Pour water onto the pebbles, but be sure that the level of the water doesn’t rise above the top of the pebbles; otherwise, it may get absorbed into the plant’s soil via the drainage holes in the bottom of the plant pot. The water will evaporate from the pebbles and create higher humidity around the plant.

Pruning

The bamboo palm doesn’t typically need to be pruned often and can be allowed to grow at its own pace without it becoming messy or looking unkempt. The only time you will need to prune the plant is if it develops any discolored leaves. This usually happens in older fronds, which can become dull and brown as they age. These can be cut away to keep the plant looking in good health. Use clean and sharp shears and cut the frond off at the base, close to where it emerges from the soil. You can also cut off any discolored leaves which might result from improper care conditions, or pests, though you should aim to resolve the cause of these so that the plant doesn’t become sick.

Propagation

Propagation of bamboo palms is achieved by seed and is best left to professionals as it takes a lot of specific care and time to grow a reasonably sized palm. Bamboo palms that you see for sale will usually have taken between two and five years to reach that size, so they really will need to be a labor of love if you do decide to grow your own palm from seed.

For seed propagation, use seed trays filled with your chosen germination medium and tuck seeds in ensuring they have enough space so that they do not touch each other. The soil will need to be kept moist but not wet and heated from the underneath. Warm temperatures of around 85° F will be required for the seeds to germinate, a process which ordinarily takes between six and nine months.

When seedlings appear, you can lower temperatures slightly, and repot the seedlings in individual pots. The seedling pots will need to be small but deep to allow root growth. Keep them in a shaded area, while still providing mild warmth. As the plant becomes more established, you can repot it into a larger pot. The best foliage color will be achieved if the plant is kept in the shade while it develops, though some growers recommend the plant be situated in full sun during summer months to encourage good and strong stem growth.

Bamboo palms can also be propagated via offshoots, which grow on mature parent plants. If your bamboo palm has an offshoot, you will be best to remove it in late spring or early summer when chances of successful propagation will be higher. You should only remove an offshoot that has already formed its own roots, as offshoots without roots have a much lower chance of survival. You can check to see if an offshoot has roots before you separate it from the mother plant by digging away some of the soil around it. If roots haven’t yet formed, you should replace the soil and check on it again at a later date, only cutting the offshoot away when it has roots.

If your offshoot does have roots, use a clean, sharp knife to separate it from the parent plant, being careful not to harm the offshoot itself or the mother plant in the process. Offshoots can be planted up in their own individual pots and kept warm and moist until they are established enough to continue usual bamboo palm care.

Repotting

As a slow-growing plant, bamboo palms will not need to be repotted frequently. Only repot them when their pot is filled with roots, and they have no growing space. Choose a new container just one size bigger than the old pot and use fresh potting soil to give the plant a nutrient boost. Gently pull the plant out of its old pot and remove old soil that is trapped among the roots by gently rubbing the roots between your fingers to help untangle them and release blocks of soil.

Once you have removed as much old soil as possible, place the plant in the new pot surrounded by new soil. Firmly press the soil down on top of the base of the plant to ensure it is secure and prevent it from toppling over, but be careful not to destroy any of the roots, which can be brittle and prone to breakage. Broken roots will hinder the plant’s growth, and recovery can be slow.

Fertilizer

Bamboo palms will benefit from feedings during the spring and summer. Use a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, as this will encourage lush leaf growth. Liquid fertilizer formulated for houseplants is generally considered the best all-round option, as it is easy to dilute and easy to use. Dilute the fertilizer to half of the recommended strength, as bamboo palms are sensitive to fertilizer burn. Feed the plant around once a month during its growing season, and cease feeding completely during winter when the plant becomes almost dormant.

Pests

Bamboo palms are generally quite pest-free, with spider mites being the most common problem, like many house plants. Spider mites are a difficult pest to spot as they are so tiny and typically hide on the underside of leaves. If you notice discolored spots on the leaves, the first thing you should check for is spider mites or other common pests such as whitefly, scale, or aphids.

Spider mites and other pests suck the sap from the plant’s leaves, depriving it of vital nutrients and causing stunted growth. If left long enough, a spider mite infestation can become so severe that the plant cannot recover. If you spot webbing on the leaves or tiny, black, speck-like insects on the undersides of the foliage, then your plant is host to spider mites and needs to be treated as soon as possible.

The first line of attack should simply be to wash the leaves with a sponge and soapy water. Repeat this every day for a week, and you should hopefully have eradicated the infestation. Other pest removal methods you can try on your bamboo palm include spraying the whole of the plant’s stems and foliage with a strong flow of water. The best way to do this is to take the plant outside and hose it down. The force of the water should be strong enough to blast off any of the pests and their eggs, but you will need to repeat this process every few days for a week or two to ensure every last trace of the pests are gone. These actions should be enough to rid your bamboo palm of pests, but in more severe cases, it might be appropriate to use neem oil to treat your plant.

You can purchase neem oil sprays for houseplants, or you can quite inexpensively make your own. You will need pure neem oil, a carrier such as mild dish soap, water, and a spray bottle. The amount of each ingredient will differ depending on the level of your infestation, but generally, a mixture of 5 ml neem oil, 2 ml dish soap, and 1 liter water will work well. Neem oil does not kill insects instantly, so you will need to wait at least a week to see if your spray has eliminated all pests or if it needs a further application. You can also make a more diluted version of the spray and use it as a preventative method against pests on your houseplants.

Toxicity

This plant is listed as non-toxic to animals by the ASPCA; however, while the stems and foliage of the plant do not present any harm to people or pets, the bamboo palm can sometimes grow berries that are highly poisonous. If you notice your palm producing berries, it’s a good idea to remove them immediately before they find themselves in the hands or paws of children or pets.

Bamboo Palm

Chamaedorea seifrizii

  • Other common name is Reed Palm
  • One of the best indoor palms and houseplants
  • Can be grown outdoors in partial shade
  • Features a bamboo-like clustering trunk pattern
  • A low-water use, easy care plant that is often seen in malls, offices, homes and courtyards

The Bamboo Palm is loved by many for their outstanding ability to clean the air in a home when used as an indoor houseplant. They are a beautiful addition to a low light area in your room or office, with an attractive appearance that is sure to be a conversation starter. Of course, it is not just for indoor use. Chamaedorea seifrizii (botanical name) is native to Mexico and Central America. At Moon Valley Nurseries, we like to plant them outdoors as an attractive privacy hedge, where their bamboo-like canes grow to form dense clusters of dark green fronds that can block unwanted views in style! Plant a few in an Asian/Zen themed garden, and you can have a peaceful backyard retreat!

Bamboo Palms or Reed Palms are the perfect tropical indoor plant because they can thrive in low light conditions, whereas others prefer bright, indirect light. Bamboo palm care is a breeze too, in fact, once established, they have little to moderate watering needs and require little maintenance to thrive. Since they do prefer low-light conditions indoors, they grow best outdoors in a spot with partial shade exposure. We recommend applying fertilizer for a green and healthy looking palm. Be sure to pick up Palm Juice for growing at any of our nurseries.

Moon Valley Nursery takes pride in offering custom-grown Bamboo Palms that look better and are much healthier than any other nursery in Texas or California. We are the growers so that we can assure their quality, so visit any of our nurseries and see the difference for yourself!

Let’s talk about Chamaedorea Seifrizii the indoor bamboo palm tree!

The spring and summer rains can be a very welcomed event for the palms and bamboo gardens of the south Florida area.

It seems off and on all of Florida goes under water restrictions…

Besides rains helping any drought conditions, every year it helps push out new dark green growth on one of my favorite indoor palms and considered one of the best indoor houseplants that clean air.

It’s the Chamaedorea seifrizii commonly known as the “bamboo palm indoor plant” or “reed palm”.

There is nothing like rainwater to water your bamboo plants with.

It sort of works like a natural fertilizer for indoor plants! Generally, it’s clean and just seems to have that little extra that makes “happy plants”

Palms grown indoors can experience attacks from mealybugs and problems with spider mite infestations.

Seifrizii as most palm species such as the Kentia palm (Howea), Lady Palm – Rhapis, parlor palm, areca palm, “Majestic” – Majesty Palm and more… are grown from seed, which isn’t a fast process.

The seed sprouts from this native of Mexico in about 9 months and the young seedlings are planted into small containers and grown in the shade.

As the plants get larger they are then stepped to a larger size pot, require more potting mixture and placed out into the full sun.

Once the plants reach a salable size, which could take 2-5 years they are moved under shade to begin the acclimation process.

Here the plants will spend the next 3 – 6 months putting on new growth where they’ll get their robe of dark green leaves of acclimated fronds.

Bamboo Palm Care – What To Do When You Bring Your Palm Home?

Most growers use a granular, slow-release fertilizer in growing their palms.

Seifrizii is sensitive to excess fertilizer salts (aka soluble salts). Remove the time-release fertilizer from the top of the pot and leach the soil thoroughly with lukewarm water.

Allow the plant to completely drain.

The bamboo palm plant likes to stay evenly moist, remember that’s moist, NOT wet.

Potting soil which stays wet creates conditions perfect for root rot. When the soil has dried down about one third or halfway down from the top you should water the complete top of the soil.

Make sure the drainage holes in the pot are not blocked to allow excess water that can accumulate in the bottom of the planter to drain.

These plants do not like soggy soil or to sit in water.

New plants can have a thick canopy… you should expect to lose of some of the interior foliage as the plant begins its acclimation to your indoor setting.

If you are overwatering, you’ll usually notice the leaf tips begin to turn yellow and fall off from the stems as well as the new growth coming out very pale. The plant may also experience stem rot.

On the other side if you’re under watering the Seifrizii leaves may exhibit brown edges and turn brown as well as the new growth.

As with most palms the biggest problem with pest is spider mites.

Regularly cleaning the plant’s leaves with a soapy water solution will help reduce their attack.

Once your plant has become acclimated to its new interior home it can be enjoyed for a long time.

Just remember to not over water your Chamaedorea and provide as much bright indirect light as you can.

Discover more palms and indoor plants (30+) for your home.

What Is The Best Lighting Conditions indoors?

Most Bamboo reed palms are nurtured and shade-acclimated for interior use and should do well in most locations.

Any lighted area (natural or artificial) should be adequate.

As with many indoor palms watch out for spider mites, they love the dry conditions in homes and offices.

Take care and avoid both direct sunlight and low light areas such as dark corners.

The palm’s natural look and symmetry can be maintained by turning the container 1/4 turn every week to allow light to penetrate the foliage canopy of your bamboo palm trees.

Habit: cespitose, erect to leaning, forming fairly dense and tight clumps of 40 or more stems to 3 x 1-2 m. Stems: 1-2 cm in diam., green, shining, white-spotted, ageing with a thin glaucous covering, conspicuously ringed, internodes 5-20 cm long. Leaves: 4-5 in the crown, erect-spreading, pinnate; sheath to 30 cm long, obliquely open apically, tubular, gray-green, densely and very minutely white-spotted, longitudinally striate-nerved, drying brownish, persistent; petiole to 10 cm long, flat and very lightly grooved near base and green or gray-green above, rounded and pale below; rachis 3G-45 cm long, sharply angled and green above, rounded and with very faint light green band extending onto sheath; pinnae 5-18 on each side of rachis, median ones largest, these to 20-35 x 0.8-3 cm, basal ones smaller, these 14-20 x 0.5-1.8 cm, subapical ones 10-15 x 1-1.5 cm, apical pair 8-15 x 2.5-3 or to 9 cm wide, generally the more numerous the pinnae the narrower they are, lanceolate or long-lanceolate or linear, straight, only slightly falcate, short-acuminate or the upper merely acute, contracted basally, regularly arranged, opposite or alternate, horizontal or drooping or ascending off rachis, ± stiff or not, flat or very slightly v-shaped, concolorous, terminal ones 2-3 nerved or occasionally very broad and then to 9-nerved, remainder 1-nerved with conspicuous primary nerve and numerous closely spaced and fine and ± inconspicuous secondaries on each side of midrib, midrib prominent below, keeled, yellow. Inflorescences: infrafoliar, bursting through base ofold sheaths, erect, short, stiff. Staminate with peduncle 3.5-5.5 cm long, ascending and erect, yellow-green in flower; bracts 5, brown, papery, tubular, spreading apically, longitudinally striated, slightly bifid apically, lowest the shortest, upper ones largest, fourth exceeding peduncle and often concealing rudimentary 5th; rachis 2-4.5 cm long, erect, yellow-green in flower; rachillae 5-12, these 7.5-15 cm long, 2.3 mm in diam., stiff, erect, mostly simple or lower ones rarely once or twice forked. Pistillate up to 7 per stem in flower and fruit at once; peduncle 3.5-8.8 cm long, stiff and erect, green in flower, orange in fruit; bracts 5, similar to those of staminate; rachis 1-3 cm long, green in flower, orange in fruit; rachillae 4-6, these to 10 cm long, 3 mm in diam., stiff, erect, green in flower, becoming swollen and orange in fruit. Flowers: Staminate in fairly dense spirals, 3 x 3 mm, subglobose yellow, aromatic, ± sunken; calyx 1-1.5 x 3 mm, deeply lobed, green, sepals free nearly to base and there very briefly connate, sharply rounded to triangular apically; petals 3 x 3 mm, broadly ovate, valvate, free nearly to base and there briefly connate, spreading slightly apically but incurved, ± thickened, acute; stamens 2 mm high, tightly fixed around pistillode, filaments 11.5 mm long, connate basally, abruptly-narrowed from a broad base, pale, anthers I mm long, brownish, dorsifixed at middle; pistillode 3 mm high, broadly columnar, just slightly shorter than petals, broadly 3-lobed apically, tip visible at anthesis, light yellow. Pistillate in moderate spirals, 2-2.5 x 2.5-3 mm, depressedglobose, yellow, slightly sunken; calyx 1-2 x 3-3.5 mm, lobed, green with clear membranous margins, sepals imbricate in basal 1/2-2/3, broadly rounded apically; petals 2.5 x 2.5-3 mm, ovate, imbricate nearly to apex, cup-shaped, erect and ± acute apically, ± thick, drying brown; staminodes 6, minute and scalelike, bilobed; pistil 2 x 2-2.5 mm, subglobose, green, stigma lobes sessile, erect or slightly recurved, blunt. Fruits: 8 mm in diam., globose, black, epicarp thin, finely reticulate, mesocarp thin, yellow, pulpy with few slender fibers adherent to thin endocarp; seeds 6 mm in diam., globose. (Hodel, D.R. 1992)/Palmweb.

Burret (1938) described and named C. seifrizii from material that William Seifriz collected near the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza in the state of Yucatan in Mexico. Mayans cultivated it around their villages and temples as ornament and possibly for religious purposes. The Mayan names xiat and chiat mean near the edge of water, in apparent allusion to the habitat. I have observed C. seifrizii in Peten, Guatemala and at several localities in Belize. In each place, it occurred in low, seasonally swampy or boggy situations. In fact, local people state that it is mainly confined to baja tierra or low land. However, these low wet areas are only damp during the rainy season. At other times of the year they can be exceedingly dry, a situation that we found in northern Belize in May, 1991. In some instances, adjacent vegetation was actually wilting although the palms did not seem to be suffering. Along with C. graminifolia, C. seifrizii is certainly one of the most drought tolerant of chamaedoreas. Although C. seifrizii was not named until 1938, Millspaugh (1898) and Standley (1930) encountered it at earlier dates but listed it under other names. As interpreted here, C. seifrizii displays a tremendous amount of foliar variation in the wild although the flowers are essentially the same in the various types and forms. Burret’s C. seifrizii is typified by stiffish leaves with narrow, linear, and upright pinnae. Moore’s C. erumpens has softer leaves with broader pinnae. Moore (1951) described and named C. erumpens from plants cultivated at Fairchild Tropical Garden in Miami, Florida. These plants had apparently been brought in from Belize or grown from seeds that William Schipp sent and by 1950 had become quite popular in southern florida and were used extensively as an indoor decorative as well as in the exterior landscape. Moore noted two leafforms in C. erumpens. That with the pinnae regularly arranged was selected as the type. The other, with the terminal ones united and much broader, was designated as a horticultural variety honoring Dr. David Fairchild. Both types were growing together at Fairchild Tropical Garden and Moore presumed that they had come from the same lot of seeds. Moore stated that he found no differences other than in the foliage. Since both staminate and pistillate plants bore the same type of foliage and came from wild stock, the designation ofa horticultural variety was probably more than a clonal selection; it did breed true from seeds. Moore (1951) continued in his discussion and stated that C. erumpens was similar in floral morphology to its close relative C. seifrizii, and that the differences were mainly in the shape and nervation of the pinnae. C. erumpens had lanceolate rather than linear pinnae that were at least twice as broad as those of C. seifrizii. Also, C. seifrizii was noted as being a scrambling palm. When considered over its entire range, the shape and size ofthe pinnae are variable characters and of dubious merit in distinguishing between these two taxa. In fact, there is less foliar variation between Burret’s typical C. seifrizii and Moore’s typical C. erumpens than between the latter and its horticultural variety ‘Fairchild.’ In Belize, I have observed leaves ofboth extreme types ofpinnae (seifrizii and erumpens) on the same plant. The scrambling nature ofcertain forms is probably not a reliable character either. Rather, it seems to be a function ofage and ofthe amount oflight; older plants.in lower light seem to lean and scramble more while those in higher light are more compact, stiff, and upright. The amount of light also affects the stiffness of the leaves. Those in higher light have stiffish, somewhat v-shaped (in cross-section), upright pinnae while those in lower light have drooping, flat, softer pinnae. Since Seifriz’s holotype was destroyed and no isotypes have been found and C. seifrizii is common in cultivation and herbaria, it is appropriate to retypify this taxon here. Not abundant in the wild, C. seifrizii is found as scattered clumps in disturbed woodland or forest. In Orange Walk, Belize, we found it growing in disturbed forest or woodland on the margins of sugarcane?fields. Today, it is very widely cultivated and appears in gardens and collections in California, Hawaii, Florida, Europe, Australia, the Far East, and elsewhere. In fact, it is highly likely that more plants are in cultivation than in the wild. Often occurring naturally on limestone outcroppings in its native habitat, C. seifrizii is well adapted to culture in southern Florida where it has been cultivated for some time and extensive plantings now exist. Krempin (1990, p. 91) illustrated C. microspadix but erroneously captioned the photograph as C. erumpens. Krempin (p. 92, 93) also discussed and illustrated C. graminifolia but the description and photograph depict C. seifrizii. After C. elegans, C. seifrizii is the most important member ofthe genus commercially and is grown in large quantities as a potted specimen for indoor use or as an outdoor landscape subject in subtropical areas. About 18,200 kgs (40,000 Ibs) of seeds of C. seifrizii are collected for commercial purposes annually, the majority originating from Mexico although a significant amount comes from plants cultivated in Florida. Recently, commercial plantations of C. seifrizii for seed production have been established in Hawaii, Belize, Australia, and the Orient. The commercial industry recognizes two forms of C. seifrizii. One, the most popular, more or less corresponds to Burret’s type with stiffish leaves and narrow, linear, upright pinnae, while the other falls into Moore’s type with softer leaves and broader, flat pinnae. Extensive plantings of both forms have existed in southern Florida for years and have served as a source of breeding stock for commercial seed production. Much cross-breeding has occurred between the two and this, coupled with the natural variation within the species, has resulted in innumerable variants or breeding lines in the trade. In fact, most of the material produced commercially in Florida is called, for lack of a better term, “Florida Hybrid.” With tightly clustering, somewhat stiffand upright habit and dense foliage, C. seifrizii is useful as a hedge, background, or screen in either shade or sun. It is very tolerant of low light, where it takes on a softer and more open and graceful habit, often with leaning stems. It also tolerates nearly full-sun without yellowing or browning. In this situation it becomes stiffish, less graceful, and with straight erect stems; pinnae ascend offthe rachis, making the blade v-shaped in cross-section. C. seifrizii also makes a fine potted specimen as a landscape accent. It is one of the best palms for indoor use due to its tolerance of low light and resistance to infestations of mites and is more resistant to nematodes than C. elegans. Chamaedorea seifrizii is easily propagated by seeds which germinate readily within 100 days. However, some seeds may be delayed in germination or continue to germinate somewhat irregularly in cycles for two to three years after planting. The exact reason for this phenomenon is not known. A possible explanation is that the species occurs naturally in an area of definite seasonality in rainfall and on a porous substrate that is subject to fairly extensive and, at times, lengthy drying. The delayed germination or germination in cycles or spurts over several seasons may be a mechanism to ensure establishment of a sufficient number of seedlings for adequate regeneration of the species in a relatively harsh environment punctuated by dry periods. Subjecting the seeds to bottom heat of 30-32.5C (85-90° F) may increase the speed of germination and make it more regular. (Hodel, D.R. 1992)/Palmweb.

Bamboo Palm

Bamboo Palm

The deep green foliage of bamboo palm adds wonderful depth to a shade garden. It also makes a fantastic houseplant. With its exceptional shade tolerance, this rugged palm is perfect in a bright window—and can even do well in north-facing light.

genus name
  • Chamaedorea
light
  • Part Sun,
  • Shade
plant type
  • Houseplant,
  • Tree
height
  • 3 to 8 feet,
  • 8 to 20 feet
width
  • 1-10 feet
foliage color
  • Blue/Green
special features
  • Low Maintenance,
  • Good for Containers
zones
  • 9,
  • 10,
  • 11
propagation
  • Seed

Fancy Foliage

Palms have long been used for their versatility and their ability to bring a tropical flair to any space. Bamboo palms are no exception. These tend to be some of the most common palms grown, especially for the indoors because they are proven to filter the air in your home! Bamboo palms can take anything from part sun to full shade and are ideal in the filtered light of a house or apartment setting.

This genus has more than 100 species to choose from. Most have lovely green foliage born on the typical pinnate leaves. A few varieties have smaller leaflets, and some have fused leaflets. Some, like the metallica palm, have blue and green metallic-looking foliage. Regardless of leaf size, most bamboo palms tend to stay fairly small.

As their name implies, bamboo palms form tall, slender trunks that often resemble bamboo, thanks to the rings around their trunks. Many species of bamboo palms also form suckering colonies of plants, giving them a grove-like effect. This isn’t the case in all species, though—many are single stemmed and will never form colonies. Growers will often plant several of these trees in one pot to give the appearance of having colonies to make up for it.

Bamboo Palm Care Must-Knows

Bamboo palms are easy to care for and require no special skills to grow. These plants generally won’t tolerate full sun, unlike many other types of palm. Bamboo palms prefer part sun but can manage fine in full shade.

Make sure to plant your bamboo palm in well-drained soils. While these plants like to remain consistently moist, they don’t tolerate standing water—1-3 waterings a week should do the trick. Container bamboo palms also like to have some room to grow, so if they look cramped in their current pot, consider bumping them up a container size. While bamboo palms like to be fed, don’t go overboard when fertilizing them; the easiest and safest route is to apply a slow-release fertilizer every three months or so.

Problems and Concerns

Bamboo palms are pretty rugged plants with very few problems. One of the main things your bamboo palm may encounter in a container setting is leaf burn. This often happens when too much salt from water and fertilizer build up within the soil. To solve this, either repot the plants and try and remove as much old soil as possible, or leach the soil out. To leach the soil, simply flush the pot with water until it runs clear.

During hot and dry seasons, palms can also be susceptible to spider mites. Often, you’ll see small webbing at the edges of leaves before you notice the mites themselves. Spider mites like hot and dry conditions, so be on the lookout in the summer. If you leave these plants outside, simply washing the leaves off with a heavy stream of water can remove spider mites. Otherwise, this problem can be treated with an insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Occasionally, mealybugs and scale can be a problem—these can be wiped out with horticulture soap or oil.

More Varieties of Bamboo Palm

Bamboo palm

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Chamaedorea seifrizii is a multitrunk palm that grows 8-10 feet tall and 5-7 feet wide, making it a good screening plant. Bamboo palm grows best in shade but tolerates brighter light if gradually acclimated to sunny conditions. It is often grown as a houseplant. Zones 10-11

Cat palm

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Chamaedorea cataractarum is a mounded multistem palm that grows 6-8 feet tall and wide. It’s native to Mexico, where it grows along streams and rivers, so it prefers moist soil. Cat palm grows well in full sun or moderate shade. Zones 10-11

Cauqui palm

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Chamaedorea oblongata forms a single trunk and grows best in heavy shade. It grows 8-10 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. Cauqui palm hates dry soil, so keep it moist at all times. It looks best with other low-growing shade plants. Zones 10-11

Dwarf bamboo palm

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Chamaedorea radicalis is slightly smaller than regular bamboo palm. It grows 4-6 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide with a single trunk, so it’s not ideal for screening. It is hardier than some palms (to 25 degrees F), making it better adapted to slightly cooler regions. Zones 9-11

Hardy bamboo palm

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Chamaedorea microspadix is the hardiest of the bamboo palms (to 23 degrees F). It is a clumping palm with stems reaching 8-12 feet tall and 8-10 feet wide. Its leaves are dark green and have a silvery cast. Grow it in heavy to moderate shade. Zones 9-11

Miniature fishtail palm

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Chamaedorea metallica is a small shade-tolerant palm suited as a groundcover when grown in a large grouping. The deep bluish-green leaves are splashed with silver, providing the plant with a metallic sheen. Miniature fishtail palm grows 4-6 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. Zones 10-11

Pacaya palm

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Chamaedorea tepejilote is a giant among bamboo palms. This tree grows 10-20 feet tall and 5-20 feet wide. It is a fast grower when given the conditions it prefers—heavy to moderate shade and evenly moist soil. Zones 10-11

Parlor palm

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Chamaedorea elegans may be better known as a houseplant than as a landscape plant. It has been popular for indoor use since Victorian times. In the landscape, it grows 5-8 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. Shade is essential: The foliage may burn and the plant decline if given too much sun. Zones 10-11

Velvet palm

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Chamaedorea adscendens is named for the velvety appearance of its bluish-green leaves. It grows 2-3 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide, and it makes an excellent groundcover for moderate to heavy shade. Zones 10-11

A Quick and Dirty Bamboo Palm Guide

The genus Chamaedorea contains 107 known species of palm trees, all native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. Of these, one species, Chamaedorea Costaricana (the Bamboo Palm) reigns supreme among gardeners and home decorating enthusiasts as the palm to get. This beautiful, slow-growing palm does well as a “border plant” when grown outdoors, and makes an excellent potted ornamentation when grown indoors. Experts note that this species is hardier than Areca Palms but easier to obtain and grow than Kentia Palms.

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Facts About Bamboo Palms

As the binomial nomenclature would indicate, this variety of palm can indeed be found in Costa Rica, along with other tropical zones across the Americas. It is easily distinguished by its thin, green trunk that closely mimics the appearance of a bamboo stalk. Much larger than its popular sibling, the Chamaedorea Seifrizii, this Bamboo Palm can reach heights over 20 feet. In homes, however, these palms will typically stay a more manageable 10 feet in height.

Photo By Dick Culbert Licensed Under CC BY 2.0

The stalks are often clustered and reach about an inch in thickness. From the stalks, numerous palm fronds sprout, with a multitude of glossy, green pinnate (feathery) leaves. These leaves arch downwards and have ample spread, ranging from 4-15 feet. They will grow to 4 feet in length.

The Bamboo Palm irregularly produces seeds, which will germinate over a period of six months when planted. When mature, the Bamboo Palm will grow bright orange and bear a green fruit that turns black as it ripens. Don’t eat it, though; the fruit is packed with oxalates that will upset your stomach.

This plant likes moisture and shaded/filtered light. It will grow at a moderate rate in these conditions and requires little care outside of the standard upkeep that you would give to an indoor palm plant. This is also one of the most cold-tolerant of the Chamaedorea plants.

The Bamboo Palm will eventually grow too large for its pot, necessitating a transplant. This is a difficult procedure, though, as the root balls of the Bamboo Palm can become very large and complex. Handle with care.

Planting Bamboo Palms

Whether indoors or outdoors, you should plant your Bamboo Palm in a spot that will grant ample but indirect sunlight. Too much light will scorch your leaves, but too little light will cause the fronds to underdevelop. They might even fall off, leaving you with naught but a stick in the ground. Outdoors, this means a shady area, preferably shielded by other trees.

The soil should be average in its composition. Not too salty, not too acidic, and none too dry. You’ll have to keep the ground moist, but avoid watering too much to keep from damaging this palm. It should be lightly fertilized outdoors and may require no fertilizer at all in these conditions. Your plant has plenty of room to grow, so beyond that, you’ve not much to do.

Indoors, the strategy will be much of the same, but you’ll have to watch your plant positioning. A southeast window is ideal, but other windows are suitable as long as the light level is not too great. In the pot, you’ll have to do more to manage your water levels, as you can easily over dampen the soil. If it’s soggy, you’ve added too much water and exposed the palm to the possibility of root rot. Keep the pot well-drained and remove excess water from you collection area if it starts to build up.

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You should watch your indoor temperature to promote ideal plant growth. This palm likes it best when you have the thermostat set between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. At night, don’t go below 60 degrees. The exception to this rule is winter when the plant is not growing. During these months, you can set the temperature to 55-60 degrees with no ill effects.

You will have to fertilize this plant more often when it is indoors. You should use a slow-release fertilizer or a liquid fertilizer that you have cut to half strength. Only fertilize during active growth periods, about once per month. If you notice the leaves of the Bamboo Palm becoming discolored or damaged, cut back on fertilization even further.

Be delicate when moving your Bamboo Palm to a new pot. The root structures are dense, tangled, and can be damaged with sloppy handling. Choose a new pot about 2 inches larger (in diameter) than your old one, pack it with similar soil, and water after transplanting (but not too much). Once your palm has hit its stride, you can start implementing more advanced care techniques.

Caring For A Bamboo Palm

To keep your Bamboo Palm growing steadily, you’ll have to protect it from environmental hazards. Low humidity is one such danger, and you should try keeping the moisture in the air suitable by using a humidifier or spraying your plant down with water mist periodically. Showering your plant with lukewarm water also serves to remove excess fertilizer salt (which the Bamboo Palm is particularly susceptible to) and discourage the most common pests (thrips, scales, and mites) from targeting your plant.

The larger you palm grows, the more at risk it becomes for pests. It has a natural resistance, but the critters can still take root if you’re not careful. If your initial efforts at dissuading them fail, you might try using an insecticide to kill the infestation and prevent future ones.

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You should also get in the habit of pruning your Bamboo Palm regularly. Check for dead and wilted leaves, and chop them off at the base with a pair of sanitized pruning shears. Using dirty shears can increase the possibility of different infections (like Pink Rot).

Additional Requirements

Following the above instructions should yield a healthy cluster of Bamboo Palm stalks with resplendent fronds. Take note of the following to keep your palm standing strong:

Bamboo Palms are highly temperature resistant, but you should aim for the ideal temperature range to keep the leaves looking healthy.

Keep the soil moist but not too wet and drain excess water regularly.

This palm has a low tolerance for salt. Watering and spraying down the plant will keep salt levels from building up to dangerous levels.

Your Complete Guide to Caring for a Bamboo Palm in Your Home

Bamboo Palm by Plantz

The bamboo palm is the perfect plant to combine ease of care, a pop of color, and a healthy dash of style in a neglected corner of your apartment. That’s why we’re breaking down everything you need to know about the bamboo palm, from characteristics to uses to how to care for it.

What is the Bamboo Palm Plant?

A bamboo palm, or Chamaedorea, is a type of palm in the Chamaedorea genus.

It’s also a rare tropical delight in that, unlike many of its warm-weather cousins, it can actually thrive in lower light. Most tropical plants actually need bright light in order to live, however, the bamboo palm is happiest in low and indirect light.

But that’s the classic story of this plant: it’s hardy, low fuss, and puts on a good show.

Characteristics

The Chamaedorea bamboo palms are a popular houseplant, and once you’ve tried one, you’ll understand why. However, they should not be confused with real bamboo. Real bamboo is a grass, in the Poaceae family; Chamaedorea is a palm, in the Aracaceae family. Real bamboo requires a full dose of sun and many species of bamboo are grown ornamentally outdoors in the southern United States. The Chamaedorea palms are called “bamboo palms” because of their resemblance to real bamboo, but we can enjoy these palms indoors in lower light situations.

Nonetheless, most bamboo palms remain on the small side, though they will grow taller if they have a larger pot or if they’re planted outdoors (bamboo plants allowed to spread can get between 4-12 feet tall.

For those who want a tropical flair in their outdoor garden, check your climate–the bamboo palm can be planted outdoors in USDA plant hardiness zones10 and 11.

Cleaning the Air

Most plant experts can agree that the bamboo palm has a significant positive effect on your health.

How? It’s simple: like many plants, the bamboo palm is great at cleaning the air.

In particular, bamboo palms are good at absorbing formaldehyde, benzene, chloroform, and carbon monoxide from the air.

Talk about a friendly neighbor!

Decoration

Do you really need another reason to start searching for your very own bamboo palm?

If you do, we can’t ignore one of the main attractions of the bamboo palm: it’s a very pretty plant to put on display in your home.

It has an exotic flair that many a flower pot lacks, but it’s still a tidy, compact plant with an attractive shape and a certain aura of sophistication.

Plus, it’s a pretty easy plant if you want to brighten up a neglected corner of your apartment or living room.

Caring for Your Bamboo Plant

Okay great, you’re thinking, but how hard is it to keep this plant alive?

Not as hard as you might think.

Unlike some other popular houseplants with a diva reputation (looking at you, fiddle leaf fig), the bamboo palm is a laid back housemate that isn’t terribly demanding.

That’s not to say you can put it anywhere and it will grow like a weed, but you’ve got a solid chance of success as long as you take the right steps to take care of your new friend.

Lighting Conditions

Now, you might think that a tropical plant like bamboo likes a lot of sunshine right?

Wrong.

Remember earlier when we said that the bamboo palm actually prefers low light conditions?

The bamboo palm, as a rule, prefers minimal sunlight and likes to take the sunlight it does get in the form of indirect, filtered light or shade.

Wherever you place your palm, be cautious when changing locations–a sudden change in lighting conditions can shock the plant and cause serious damage. Anytime you want to change lighting conditions, do it gradually so your plant has time to adjust to the change.

Temperature and Humidity

As we’ve mentioned, bamboo palms are tropical plants.

That means that, despite their low-fuss personality, they do have certain requirements in terms of temperature and humidity.

The bamboo palm grows best in temperatures between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and likes medium to high humidity.

If this doesn’t sound like your home climate, consider whether a bamboo plant is your best choice.

Either way, bamboo palms do not respond well to cold and dry conditions. They can survive just fine indoors in winter, but you can mist them periodically to make up for the moisture that’s absent from the air.

You should also be careful to protect your bamboo palm from drafts, as they don’t respond well to drafts. This usually means keeping your precious palm at a safe distance from windows and doors.

With that in mind, let’s talk about watering, one of the most basic (and finnicky) aspects of plant care.

As we’ve noted, bamboo palms like humid, moist conditions. This is not at all the same thing as sitting in mud or soaking water — if you soak your plant, you have a better chance of harming the roots than anything else.

Instead, aim to keep the soil uniformly moist (NOT wet). When the soil has dried down one-third to halfway from the top, you should water the whole top surface of the plant and make sure that any excess water drains out.

Remember: these plants don’t like sitting in water. If they sit in too much water, you run the risk of rotting roots.

As a rule, you should only water the soil when it looks dry (rather than watering it every day). If you’re not sure whether the soil is dry or not, use your Soil Sleuth – be sure to get one when you purchase your plant. With the Soil Sleuth, you can determine the relative moisture in the soil below the surface and water accordingly.

Finally, there’s the matter of pruning.

Where houseplants are concerned, there’s a bit of debate. Some people think that pruning plants will hurt them, while others say that it doesn’t cause any harm but doesn’t have much benefit either outside of aesthetic value.

For bamboo palms, most parties agree that pruning is good for the overall health of the plant (as long as you don’t pull an Edward Scissorhands).

Inspect your palm regularly for any dead or yellowing leaves. If you see any leaves that fit this description, use sharp bypass pruners to cut them off at the base of the stem so the leaves don’t affect the health of the rest of the plant.

Always make sure to sharpen your pruners before you prune — dull blades can create uneven cuts or tears which will create open wounds. You should also make sure to clean your pruners first, as dirty pruners can spread diseases between plants.

Common Problems

Now that you know how to take good care of your beloved housemate, let’s talk about a few common problems your bamboo palm may face.

Unfortunately, bamboo palms, especially those cultivated indoors, are susceptible to pests A common issue is mites, a troublesome bug native to Japan that loves munching on bamboo. Sadly, they followed bamboo palms to the US, so they’re a problem many a bamboo grower must deal with.

They’re an annoyance, but they’re certainly manageable.

Bamboo mites like to bite the underside of the leaves and suck out juices (like a vampire) which causes the bamboo to take on a yellow-green appearance as photosynthesis is impaired.

Your best option is to wipe the top and bottom of the leaf and leaflets with a soapy solution. This will wipe away the little boogers. You might also try a systemic miticide approved for mites, as it’s absorbed throughout the plant and kills mites as they feed, though it requires repeat applications since it doesn’t kill newly laid eggs. Repeat wiping, and you’ll soon be mite free

Ready to Bring Bamboo into Your Home?

Think you’re ready to bring a bamboo palm into your life?

You came to the right place!

We offer high-quality bamboo palmsin two different sizes, depending on your preference. If you’re new to our site, check out our Before You Buysection so you’re prepared for your new green friend. Once you buy your plant, make sure to check out our Receiving Your Plantsection.

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