Gerald L. Klingaman
Plant Common Name
Lipstick Palm, Sealing Wax Palm
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.
AHS Heat Zone
12 - 10
USDA Hardiness Zone
11 - 15
Palm or Cycad
20'-35' / 6.1m - 10.7m
12'-20' / 3.7m - 6.1m
Average Water, Ample Water
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Container, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Tropical, Water Gardens
Sharp or Has Thorns