Lady palm (Rhapis excelsa)

The Rhapis Palm is a palm species that grows in dense clumps of stalks, at the end of which fan-shaped glossy green blunt leaves grow. The fronds grow out of fibrey brown stems that grow upright.

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    All about the Rhapis palm

    This plant is usually kept indoors because it is tolerant to low light conditions and has a slow growth rate, growing less than 30 cm each year. This Rhapis palm creates a rich green tropical look to its environment, and is essential to add to your collection.


    Rhapis Palm comes from the Arecaceae family and has a few nicknames, including:

    • Bamboo Palm
    • Sticky Palm
    • Lady Palm

    Different types of the Rhapis palm

    This plant has quite a few varieties where the male and female plants are separate from each other. Some of the types are:

    • Rhapis excelsa Koban, which has broad leaf segments spreading outwards
    • Rhapis excelsa Daruma, the variety has narrow leaves and grows upright
    • Rhapis excelsa Tenzan, the leaves of which grow rapidly and have a slight curl
    • Rhapis excelsa Kodaruma, a miniature variety that grows very slow
    • Rhapis excelsa Zuikonishiki, which has green and white striped leaves

    Origin of the Rhapis palm

    This Rhapis palm is native to East Asia, and grows in places like China, Japan, and Vietnam. You can find the Rhapis palm growing in woods, in river valleys, and near mountainsides. These first grabbed attention in Japanese Palaces, after which they began being exported to Europe and America in the 1770s and 1850s.

    How to take care of Rhapis Palm


    Rhapis Palms require an average amount of water and can be tolerant to droughts once established. You should water the plant in the Spring and summer whenever you feel the top 30 centimeters layer of soil is dry. This is because most of the growth of the plant happens in these two seasons. Water the plant only when you feel the top 60cm of the soil is dry in the fall and winter.


    Rhapis palms should be placed near a window where they can’t get direct sunlight. The more shade the plant will be exposed to, the darker the color of its leaves will be.

    Rhapis Palm thrive really well in room temperatures of 16 to 28C and prefer a 50% or higher humidity level in their environment. Regular misting or placing a water tray of pebbles near the plant can help give it the required humidity.

    Leaves will begin to turn brown if the plant does not receive adequate amounts of water and light, or if the humidity in its environment is too low. The plants do not do well in cold temperatures below 15C and should not be placed near cold drafts and heating vents.

    Plant Nutrition

    Rhapis Palms require liquid houseplant fertilizers in the growing season, diluted to half the strength. If your fronds begin to look yellow, you may have to add a bit of extra fertilizer to their feeding schedule.

    If the tips of the leaves turn black, then it is probably because you have given the plant too much fertilizer or water.

    Air Purifying

    Rhapis palms do clear the air of substances like formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, benzene, and ammonia.


    Rhapis Palms are non-toxic and safe if ingested.

    Propagation of the Rhapis palm

    It is not recommended that you propagate Rhapis Palms. It can take around 7 years for these plants to grow to an approximately same size as you normally see at nurseries. If you want you can try to propagate by division of the roots. Rhapis palms have many roots, so that you can try it.