Lady Palm
Plant Type
Sunlight Amount
Credit: Paul Craft
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Lady Palm

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.
light
  • Part Sun
  • Shade
plant type
height
  • 1 to 3 feet
  • 3 to 8 feet
  • 8 to 20 feet
width
  • 2-15 feet
problem solvers
special features
zones
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
propagation

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 inbounds. Dig the suckers out with a sharp spade or cut them off with hedge trimmers.

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

Credit: Paul Craft

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

Credit: 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. 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

Credit: 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. Dwarf lady palm is native to Southeast Asia, and is less hardy than most other lady palms. Zones 10-11

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