How to Plant and Grow Bamboo Palm

Bring tropical flair to your space with bamboo palm.

Palms have long been popular for their versatility and ability to bring a tropical flair to any space. Bamboo palms are no exception. 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.

chamaedorea seifrizii bamboo palm
Paul Craft.

Most bamboo palms have lovely green pinnate leaves. A few varieties have smaller leaflets, and some have fused leaflets. Some 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. Many species of bamboo palms form suckering colonies of plants, giving them a grove-like effect. This isn't the case in all species; many are single-stemmed and never form colonies. Growers often plant several of these trees in one pot to give the appearance of colonies.

Bamboo Palm Overview

Genus Name Chamaedorea
Common Name Bamboo Palm
Plant Type Houseplant, Tree
Light Part Sun, Shade
Height 3 to 8 feet
Width 1 to 10 feet
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Special Features Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11
Propagation Division, Seed

Where to Plant Bamboo Palm

Bamboo palms can take anything from part sun to full shade and are ideal in the filtered light of a house or apartment setting. These tend to be some of the most common palms grown, especially for indoors, since they aren't picky about light. They can only be grown outside of containers in the warmest parts of the country in Zones 10 and 11.

How and When to Plant Bamboo Palm

If you are planting a bamboo palm outdoors in Zones 10 or 11, select a shady location with well-drained soil. Do not plant in full sun. Plant at any warm time in these zones, digging a hole just as large as the root ball. If the soil is poor, enrich it with compost first.

If you are using a bamboo palm as a houseplant, a job at which it excels, amend standard potting soil with perlite, peat moss and orchid bark for the perfect home for the plant. Although these houseplants are low-maintenance, they require consistent moisture, so paying attention to regular watering is necessary. They don't require bright light and should not be placed in a sunny spot. A north-facing window is a good place for the plant.

Bamboo Care Tips


Bamboo palms typically don't tolerate full sun, unlike many other types of palm. Bamboo palms prefer part sun but can manage fine in full shade.

Soil and Water

Make sure to plant your bamboo palm in well-drained soil. While these plants like the soil to remain consistently moist, they won't tolerate standing water; one to three waterings a week should do the trick.


While bamboo palms like to be fed, don't go overboard when fertilizing them. The best route is to apply a granular slow-release fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season. Don't fertilize in fall and winter.


Low-maintenance bamboo palms rarely need pruning. Remove any dried leaves or damaged foliage to keep the plant looking good.

Potting and Repotting Bamboo Palm

Container bamboo palms like to have room to grow, so if they look cramped in their current pot, consider bumping them up a container size.

Pests and Problems

Bamboo palms are 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 builds up within the soil. To solve this, either repot the plant to remove as much of the old soil as possible or leach the soil out. To leach the soil, 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 the 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 insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Occasionally, mealybugs and scale can be a problem—these can be wiped out with horticulture soap or oil.

How to Propagate Bamboo Palm

Although bamboo palms can be propagated by seeds, they take up to six months to germinate. A faster way to propagate bamboo palms (assuming you already have one or have a friend who has one) is to cut a section of the offshoots formed by an existing plant. Use a sharp garden knife to cut a section and its roots from the plant. Pot the offshoot in a container filled with well-draining soil and keep it in a humid environment for a couple of months.

Types of Bamboo Palm

The bamboo palm genus has more than 100 species to choose from.

Bamboo Palm

bamboo palm chamaedorea seifrizii
Paul Craft

Chamaedorea seifrizii is a multi-trunk palm that grows 8-10 feet tall and 5-7 feet wide, making it a good screening plant. A bamboo palm grows best in shade, but it can tolerate sunny conditions if it's gradually acclimated. It's often grown as a houseplant. Zones 10-11

Cat Palm

cat palm chamaedorea cataractarum
Paul Craft

Chamaedorea cataractarum is a mounded multi-stem 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

cauqui palm chamaedorea oblongata
Paul Craft

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

dwarf bamboo palm chamaedorea radicalis
Paul Craft

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's hardier than some palms (to 25°F), making it better adapted to slightly cooler regions. Zones 9-11

Hardy Bamboo Palm

hardy bamboo palm chamaedorea microspadix
Paul Craft

Chamaedorea microspadix is the hardiest of the bamboo palms (to 23°F). It's 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

miniature fishtail palm chamaedorea metallica
Paul Craft

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

pacaya palm chamaedorea tepejilote
Paul Craft

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

Parlor Palm

parlor palm chamaedorea elegans
Dean Schoeppner

Chamaedorea elegans may be better known as a houseplant than as a landscape plant. It's 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

velvet palm chamaedorea adscendens
Paul Craft

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

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How fast do bamboo palms grow?

    As houseplants, bamboo palms are slow growers, usually growing only 2 to 3 inches a year. When planted outdoors in Zones 10 and 11, they grow much more quickly; depending on the specific type of bamboo palm, growth can be measured in feet, not inches.

  • Are bamboo palms good for indoor air quality?

    Bamboo palms have been identified as plants that improve air quality. In the case of bamboo palms, they filter formaldehyde, xylene and toluene. However, there are no statistics that indicate how many plants are necessary to improve air quality,

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