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RHAPIS excelsa

Image of Rhapis excelsa

James H. Schutte

Family

Arecaceae

Botanical Name

RHAPIS excelsa

Plant Common Name

Lady Palm

General Description

Graceful lady palms are among the best for shade. Native to southern China, they are petite, clumping and moderate to slow growing. The straight, thin stems or trunks are clothed in dense, dark brown, matted fibers and leaf bases. Clumps may eventually have hundreds of stems. The leaves are often clustered at the ends of the stems, divided and shaped like a hand – palmate. The tips of the leaflets are bluntly toothed, pointed and the leaf color is very dark, shiny green. Small flowers are produced on short, branched stalks among the upper leaves and are inconspicuous. Small, white round fruits follow the flowers. There are many cultivars including variegated forms which are highly valued as interior specimens.

Beautiful and tough lady palms are easy to grow and a good choice for landscapes in frost-free locations or as an interior specimen anywhere. They are tolerant of most soils with ample drainage. However, this palm grows best with evenly moist conditions. Planted outside, partial to full shade is best as full sun causes the leaves to yellow. Inside, provide moderate, indirect light, though they will tolerate low light conditions. Prune by removal of whole canes and propagate by division of the clumps or by seed. Lady palms make great screens, accent plants, hedges and houseplants.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Palm or Cycad

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    5'-15' / 1.5m - 4.6m

  • Width

    3'-30' / 0.9m - 9.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought, Salt

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    White

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    Yes

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No