Lady Palm

The dense foliage of this plant creates beautiful texture, indoors or out in the garden.

Lady Palm Overview

Description Whether grown indoors or outdoors, lady palm is easy to grow. Tolerant of low-light conditions, it has large, hand-shape leaves with long, glossy, dark green, finger-like leaflets. The foliage forms a dense canopy above clumps of sturdy stems that are covered with dark brown fibers that have a woven appearance. 
Genus Name Rhapis spp.
Common Name Lady Palm
Plant Type Houseplant, Shrub
Light Part Sun, Shade
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 2 to 15 feet
Special Features Good for Containers
Zones 10, 11, 9
Propagation Division, Seed
Problem Solvers Good For Privacy

Landscaping with Lady Palm

Favoring shade or part shade and moist soil, lady palm grows about 7 feet tall in dense thickets. Plant it near a property line and use it as a living screen. Or plant it alongside a garage or composting area to block a view. Create a hedge or screen using lady palm by planting nursery-grown container plants about 4 feet apart. The plants will grow together within a couple of years, creating a dense screen.

Lady Palm Care Must-Knows

Lady palm spreads by underground stems called rhizomes. Plan to remove the suckers on the outskirts of a lady palm regularly to keep the plant contained. Dig the suckers out with a sharp spade or cut them off with hedge trimmers. Otherwise, lady palms don’t require much pruning, except for damaged or dead fronds. Use a sharp pair of sterilized pruners to snip off the fronds.

Rich in texture, lady palm makes an attractive accent plant for indoors, too. Small varieties, sometimes called miniature varieties, are wonderful for tabletops in large spaces like living rooms and family rooms. Large varieties can enliven the corner of a room. All lady palms grow best in bright, indirect light. A south- or west-facing window covered by a sheer curtain is a good choice. These adaptable palms will grow in low-light areas, such as north- or east-facing windows, but expect them to grow exceptionally slow in this condition.

Water lady palms thoroughly when the surface of the soil mix is dry to the touch. Lady palms are slow-growing and benefit from a monthly dose of fertilizer from April through September. Use a houseplant fertilizer and dilute it to half-strength.

More Varieties of Lady Palm

Slender lady palm

slender lady palm
Paul Craft

Rhapis humilis gets its name from its long, slender leaf segments, which grow to 18 inches long. And despite their common name, all slender lady palms sold are male, which means that they will not bear fruit. It makes a good container plant or privacy screen 15 feet tall and wide. Zones 9-11

Broadleaf lady palm

Lady palm
Paul Craft

Rhapis excelsa is the most widely grown species of lady palm. It has been cultivated for so long that its exact origins are unknown. This lady palm grows in light to heavy shade and makes an elegant houseplant. It also forms an excellent privacy screen. It grows 10 feet tall and wide. Zones 9-11

Thai lady palm

Dwarf lady palm
Ed Gohlich

Rhapis subtilis is highly variable, ranging in size from 2 to 7 feet tall and wide. The fan-shape leaves are divided into three to 12 segments. It is a slow-growing palm that likes consistent moisture. Thai lady palm is native to Southeast Asia and is less hardy than most other lady palms. Zones 10-11

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