Common Names: slender lady palm, dwarf lady palm
Family: Arecacea/Palmae (palm Family)
Palm Tolerant of Shade and Low Light Conditions Can be Grown in
Containers Grows Well Indoors.
Resembling its close cousin Rhapis excelsa, this lady palm has
thinner stems and drooping leaf segments that give it a more
graceful appearance. It grows slowly to form large clumps of densely
packed stems that reach heights of . The slender stems are
wrapped in tightly woven light brown fiber and are topped with
clusters of 5 to 10 leaves.
The palmate leaves are medium green, held on 12" petiols and grow
from 2' to 3' in diameter. Leaves are deeply divided into 1" wide
segments that droop downward. Male flowers are dirty white and borne
on 2' branched infloresences. Fruits are never seen as no female
plants of this species remain.
Slender lady palm is thought to be native to southern China but has
disappeared from nature. All existing specimens are derived from a
single male plant. Every plant in the world ultimately came from
this single specimen.
This plant is adaptable to most well drained soil types. It does not
like rich soils so provide only light feedings twice a year in
spring and summer.
Light: Plant in shady or partly shady sites for best leaf color. It
will survive in bright conditions but will look yellowish and faded.
Moisture: Provide moisture when dry. Does not like soggy soils.
Slender lady palm can survive short periods of drought.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 11. Can survive freezing temperatures into
the low twenties. It may be damaged but will recover.
Propagation: No seeds are produced. New plants are obtained only by
division of clumps.
Although this palm is rather slow growing, it can be used to create
attractively dense screens and hedges. Slender lady palm is also
exceptional as an accent or specimen plant, expecially when groomed.
Since dead leaves often persist on the stems, trim them off so that
the graceful clump of slender stems can be enjoyed. Thin out stems
to reinforce a far east look.
This little palm can handle interior environments so gardeners in
the north should consider growing potted specimens to brighten their
homes (move them to the patio for summer vacation).
This is a beautiful palm and has been prized by palm fanciers for
centuries. The Japanese are especially fond of the slender lady palm
and other species of Rhapis. They have developed dozens of dwarf and
variegated selection several Rhapis species.
Slender lady palms tend to be expensive (if you can find them at
all) but I think they are worth it.