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Lipstick Palm Growing Conditions: Learn About Lipstick Palm Plant Care
By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Lipstick palm is appropriately named for its distinctive, bright red fronds and trunk, and is considered by many to be one of the world?s most beautiful and exotic palms. For more lipstick palm information, this article will help.
Parlor Palm Plant Profile
The Spruce / Krystal Slagle
The parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) has long been used as an indoor plant in the United States. This attractive little plant was first discovered in Central America and brought back to the United States where it immediately became a popular indoor palm. It gained a near-instant following for several good reasons: It's adapted to relatively low light, can handle lower temperatures, and grows in attractive clumps with light-textured foliage cloaking thin trunks. These factors make the parlor palm one of the most popular indoor palms grown in most temperate countries.
It is possible to sometimes find single-stalk specimens, but most often the palms are grown in small clumps so that they resemble palm-like shrubs in attractive pots. The fronds are popular in flower arrangements, Palm Sunday decorations, and wreaths because they can survive for up to 40 days after being cut from the plant. The parlor palm plant is non-toxic for animals and humans.
|Botanical Name||Chamaedorea elegans|
|Common Name||Parlor palm, Neanthe bella palm|
|Mature Size||In natural habitat, 6 to 16 feet tall as a houseplant, 2 to 6 feet tall, 2- to 3-foot spread|
|Sun Exposure||Bright, indirect light|
|Soil Type||Outdoors, any well-drained soil indoors, use a peaty soil-based potting mix|
|Soil pH||5.1 to 7.5 (acidic to neutral)|
|Bloom Time||Spring rarely blooms indoors|
|Hardiness Zones||10 to 12 (USDA)|
|Native Area||Rainforests of Southern Mexico and Guatemala|
Watch Now: How to Grow and Care for a Parlor Palm Plant
Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis)
Bio: Native to the Canary Islands, they can grow to 60 feet tall and spread their canopies 30 feet across.
Who loves ‘em: Birds, which live in the canopies. Landscapers who’ve lavished them on Vegas pools, Beverly Hills streets, the east end of the San Francisco Bay Area's Bay Bridge, and S.F.'s Embarcadero.
Biggest threat: A disease called fusarium wilt—spread by pruning tools—that’s killed some street trees in San Francisco and L.A. Victims are replaced with fusarium-resistant types such as Chilean wine palms. Pruning practices have since changed for the better.
Amazing fact: “The fibrous leaf bases hold moisture,” says San Francisco palm broker Jason Dewees, “so little gardens take root in them. I’ve seen tiny coast live oak and ferns up there.”
The Best Indoor Palms
Palm trees are accustomed to growing in conditions similar to those found in our homes consistently warm temperatures, average humidity, and bright to medium light. This makes palms an ideal houseplant, though it is obviously an enormous palm tree in the middle of your living room isn’t going to be practical! For this reason, slow-growing palms that require little maintenance are most suited for use in homes. These include the following.
Areca Palm (Dypsis Lutescens)
This is one of the most popular palms for indoor use due to its easy-going nature, which requires little in the way of care and its ability to withstand low light. It is native to Madagascar and also goes by the common name of butterfly palm. It can grow to around 8 feet in height, though typically doesn’t get much bigger than 5 or 6 feet tall when grown indoors.
The feathered fronds of the areca palm give it an attractive tropical look, though it is technically classified as a bamboo palm because its stalks resemble bamboo when mature. It can be difficult to tell the areca palm apart from the kentia palm as they are very similar in appearance, though typically, kentia palms have slightly wider leaves. Areca palms also tend to be less expensive to buy than kentia palms as they grow more quickly when young and therefore take less work for growers to produce and less time for them to reach a saleable size.
Keep your areca palm happy by setting it in bright but indirect sunlight and maintaining moist but not wet soil. Areca palms grown in direct light will scorch easily, while those grown in very low light will have slow growth. However, if you have a shaded corner of your home that needs brightening up, an areca palm is a good choice as long as you don’t mind very slow growth.
Areca palms cope well with low light, but it does inhibit their ability to grow. If kept in low light, ensure you water much less regularly than if grown in bright indirect light. This plant likes to be watered moderately but can withstand some short periods of drought.
Kentia Palm (Howea Forsteriana)
This palm has wide leaflets that can grow up to a foot in length, demanding space when kept as a houseplant. Fortunately, this plant is very slow-growing, typically only producing one new frons each year. This means that while the plant may be quite wide, it will take many years for it to reach great heights. Its slow-growing nature also means it will not need to be frequently re-potted, making it extra easy to care for.
The kentia palm grows natively in Australia and is also commonly known as paradise palm. It is a feathered type of palm, with fronds that have a gentle arch on them. Kentia palms grow well in bright, indirect light, but they also tolerate low light very well. While they won’t exhibit much new growth in low light conditions, they will survive and maintain a healthy appearance.
Water this plant only once the top layer of its soil has dried out and mist it every few days with water to increase humidity and prevent its leaf tips from turning brown.
Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea Elegans)
This palm is native to Mexico and is the most common type of palm to be used as a houseplant. It grows exceptionally slowly, reaching maximum heights of between 2 and 4 feet, making it a suitable size for growth in almost any home. With delicately arching feathered fronds in a mid-bright green color, it’s not hard to see why this palm is so popular.
Aside from being a compact size and having a pleasing aesthetic, this palm is also super easy to care for. It enjoys a variety of lighting conditions, from bright, indirect light to shade. It also likes to be watered fairly infrequently as it is easily susceptible to root rot. Overwatering will quickly kill the plant, so only water once the top few inches of soil are dry and always be sure to plant it in well-draining soil.
As a very slow-growing plant, you may be waiting for a good few years for it to reach its mature height, but as long as you are a patient grower, then this has its benefits. The plant won’t quickly outgrow its home on your shelf or table, and it will not need to be re-potted each year. In fact, the parlor palm likes to be rootbound, so only repot the plant when absolutely necessary.
Sentry Palm (Howea Belmoreana)
The sentry palm is very similar in looks to the kentia palm, though there are a few distinguishing features. The leaflets are wide but not as wide as that of the kentia, and its fronds are more arched. The leaves also have a habit to curl slightly, which is why it also goes by the name of curly palm.
This palm grows even more slowly than the kentia, but it can reach extraordinary heights when mature of around 10 feet, which is very tall for an indoor plant (though it grows much taller when grown outdoors). Its stature makes it a great focal point in hotel lobbies or in shopping malls. To grow this plant indoors, allow it bright, indirect light and mist it regularly.
Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix Roebelenii)
This palm is native to Southeast Asia, growing up to 10 feet outdoors but typically between 4 and 6 feet when grown as a houseplant. With a chunky wide trunk and narrow leaflets, the pygmy date palm has an interesting look. It is categorized as a feathered type of palm and grows very slowly.
This plant likes to be kept in a mixture of shade and bright, indirect light and for its soil to be kept consistently moist. Water the pygmy date palm once the top of the soil begins to dry out and always be careful not to overwater. As a slow-growing plant, do not re-pot this palm frequently. It is sensitive to having its roots disturbed, and prefers to be kept slightly rootbound.