Broadleaf Lady Palm Care Instructions

Broadleaf Lady Palm

Scientific name: Rhapis Excelsa
Synonyms: Bamboo Palm, Lady Palm, Miniature Fan Palm

The Broadleaf Lady Palm is a beguiling specimen with its dense growth habit, elegantly fanned deep green foliage and large presence. A true statement piece for any home or office space with a lovely easy-care nature.

These Palms are quite possibly native to China and Taiwan, however, no records of them are found in the wild and are mainly cultivated species, which is why they make such excellent houseplants as they have been bred to grace royalties homes for centuries. Due to this they are also relatively tolerant of lower lighting conditions and are a slow grower, so will not dominate a room too quickly.

Toxicity: Not only gorgeous but non-toxic to your fur babies or human babies.

Common Symptoms

  • Brown or Black leaf tips: This may be due to your houseplant receiving irregular watering, or the air is too dry. Be sure to routinely feed and water your Rhapis but do not allow the plant to sit in wet soil as this can lead to root rot. If you notice brown or black tips, prune them off and adjust watering and fertilizing. If the crisping reappears, be sure to raise humidity by placing your plant on a pebble tray.

  • Rapidly yellowing lower leaves or Mushy stems: Overwatering is the leading cause of houseplant demise in most homes. Yellowing leaves are a clear indication that your Palm is being overwatered, another indication of over-saturated soil is if the stems are mushy to the touch or turning brown. This means that root rot has set in which is causing your plant to die. Amend this by allowing your soil to dry out two-thirds of the way before watering again. Be sure that your planter is draining correctly and use the guide of watering weekly during summer months and less often in winter, and be sure to keep the soil moist to the touch but not soggy.
  • Leaves drying out and Wilting: Underwatering will lead to your Broadleaf Lady Lady Palm looking less than stellar by causing its foliage to crisp up and wilt. These lush Palms prefer consistently damp soil. If you find this happens regularly, adjust your watering schedule, if you find your Palm dries too quickly, re-pot into a more moisture-retentive soil or adjust positioning. These Palms prefer bright indirect to low light to thrive and excessive light will cause the soil to dry rapidly.
  • Spotting on new growth: If you find that your new foliage is coming out with brown spotting, this is an indication that your Palm has root rot, and should be tended to immediately. Re-pot your Broadleaf Lady Palm and remove any dead or mushy roots, then spray the roots and foliage with an organic fungicide to prevent disease from setting in. Re-pot into a moisture-retentive potting medium and adjust your watering routine, avoid allowing your plant to sit in soggy soil.
  • Spotting on leaves: This is a possible sign of a fungal or Viral infection. Stressed plants, often caused by incorrect care, can show signs of fungal or viral diseases which manifest in spotting on the foliage. Treat this with a good quality fungicide.
  • Pests: Broadleaf Lady Palms are relatively hardy houseplants and are mainly prone to root rot if overwatered, however, if consistently irregularly watered or if your Palm receives insufficient light this can lead to stress from their less than optimal environment, which makes your plant susceptible to common houseplant pests such as scale, mealybug and spider mites. If this is the case, correct environmental factors and treat pests with a good quality organic pesticide.

Care Instructions

  • Origin: Possibly native to China and Taiwan
  • Height: Average height 4 meters, however, this is an extremely slow-growing plant and can stay in the same container for between 4 - 7 years.
  • Light: Bright filtered light is ideal, avoid direct sunlight. Will tolerate lower lighting conditions.
  • Water: Keep soil evenly moist during the Summer months and only allowing the top 2 - 3 cm to dry out. During Winter allow soil to dry 25% of the way before watering again.
  • Humidity: Medium to high humidity is optimal to avoid dry leaf tips. 
  • Temperature: Ideal temperatures range from 18°C - 26°C.
  • Soil: A well-draining organic-rich potting mix that promotes moisture retention.
  • Fertilizer: Use a well balanced organic fertilizer once a month from Spring through Summer.
  • Pruning: Prune off any lower or discoloured leaves as the palm ages. If stem rot sets in it is advised to cut them back with a sterile pruner abd seal cut with cinnamon powder.
  • Repotting: It is recommended to repot your Broadleaf Lady Palm during Spring, however, this does not need to happen regularly as these are slow-growing houseplants that don’t mind being cramped and can stay in the same container for up to 7 years. When repotting choose a container that is a maximum of 5cm bigger than the previous and avoid too much root disturbance.
  • Propagation: Rhapis Exelsa are often propagated via tissue culture as stem cuttings and seed propagation methods are less successful.

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