Common Names: bamboo palm, reed palm
Family: Arecacea/Palmae (palm Family)
Palm Tolerant of Shade and Low Light Conditions Can be Grown in
Containers Grows Well Indoors. Has evergreen foliage Has Unusual or
The Bamboo Palm or Reed Palm is a relatively small graceful palm
that grows to about 7 feet. Usually plants sold in nurseries or seen
in collections are clumping with about 20 or 30 individual plants.
Each stem is long and slender with "nodes" very similar in
appearance to Bamboo. Although plants are commercially clumped
together to form shrub-like specimens, this palm naturally spreads
by suckers or offshoots also similar to Bamboo. The stems are tall
and have about 10-15 fronds each with about 12 dark green pinnate
leaflets. As the old fronds die, these should be trimmed off and the
leaf bases or sheath allowed to dry out. Later these should be
removed as this promotes good plant hygiene and exposes the
attractive light green "bamboo stem".
Although the Bamboo Palm is mostly used indoors as it prefers
shade, it can withstand higher light and will produce flowers and
fruit in these environments. The flowers arise from the leaf sheaths
or covering and are dull yellow in color. The fruits are usually
small pea-sized berries that are orange/red in color. Caution should
be used with the fruit however as it is an irritant to humans!
The Bamboo palm, like most of the Chamaedorea palms, is native to
Mexico and Central America where it thrives as an understory palm.
Today this palm is grown in most nurseries and is very common in
malls, offices, homes and courtyards.
Very easy to grow and maintain. As with most palms, the soil should
be well drained. Applying household fertilizer in the summer months
will keep these palms green and healthy. The main insect problem
with this palm is Spider Mite, which usually occurs in very dry
areas indoors mostly in the winter months. As the webs produced are
virtually invisible until it has damaged the plant significantly, a
light but thorough spray mixture of water, alcohol and Safer's Soap
applied once a week should prevent this. Mealy Bug, Scale,
Gliocladium blight and Phytopthora bud rot can also affect this palm
but they far less commonly seen.
Light: Thrives in low indoor light but can tolerate some sunlight if
Moisture: Keep evenly moist but not consistently wet.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 10 - 12.
Propagation: By seed which takes 6 months or more to germinate.
Propagation by removing the suckers or offshoots from the parent
plant is also common.
This graceful palm is mainly used as a specimen palm in offices,
malls or homes. In warm climates (South Florida, Hawaii and
California) it may be used in protected areas outside as a screen,
hedge or accent to the landscape.
This palm is inexpensive and easy to find as it is routinely offered
for sale by discount chains, grocery stores and almost always
available from garden centers. It may be offered under several names
including C. erumpens as well as C. seifirizii. C. microspadix
(hardy bamboo palm) is very similar in look but has larger,
papery-textured leaves and can be grown outdoors in frost-prone
areas to USDA Zone 8.
The fruit of the Bamboo Palm is very toxic and should not be