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CYRTOSTACHYS renda

Image of Cyrtostachys renda

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Arecaceae

Botanical Name

CYRTOSTACHYS renda

Plant Common Name

Lipstick Palm, Sealing Wax Palm

General Description

The brilliant red trunk and leaf stems of the lipstick palm make it a must-have for any lover of tropical plants. This heat loving, evergreen palm is native to the hot, lowland swamps of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. It is clump-forming and becomes huge in its native habitat but grows comparatively small in cultivation. Unlike many other palms it is absolutely intolerant of cold, so it is best grown in tropical (not subtropical) landscapes or warm, bright conservatories.

The feathery fronds of lipstick palm are light to dark green and held upright. The leaf stem (rachis and petiole) is red as is the crownshaft (column just below the crown of leaves). Each trunk supports no more than eight large leaves. Older parts of the trunk are grayish brown or nearly white with attractive rings. When heat is high, a red, branched floral inflorescence develops just below the leaves. It becomes covered with tiny pale greenish yellow flowers. Small, round, black fruits develop later in the season.

Grow lipstick palm in very fertile, non-alkaline soil that is evenly moist or partially saturated. It thrives in heat and humidity but grows poorly where conditions are cool. It is also intolerant of high winds. This striking palm is best used as a focal point in a tropical landscape near a pond or in a low spot that’s frequently moist. It can also be container grown if provided ample moisture, bright light and high heat.

Several varieties exist that differ in crownshaft and leaf petiole color. Some are brighter scarlet, golden yellow, orange or light green.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    11 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H2

  • Plant Type

    Palm or Cycad

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun

  • Height

    20'-35' / 6.1m - 10.7m

  • Width

    12'-20' / 3.7m - 6.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Southeastern Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Poorly Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water, Ample Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Light Yellow, Light Green, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Red, Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Red, Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Red, Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Red, Green

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Bark Color Modifier

    Striped/Striated

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Tropical, Water Gardens

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No