Let’s talk about Chamaedorea Seifrizii the indoor bamboo palm tree! For starters, it is NOT a bamboo plant.
Chamaedorea seifrizii (kam-ee-DOR-ee-uh see-FRIDZ-ee-eye) is a member of the Arecaceae family hailing from forested regions of Central America – Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.
This evergreen perennial is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 8b and above. It is grown commercially in Hawaii and in Florida for use indoors as potted plants across the United States and Canada.
You may hear it commonly referred to as:
- Clustered Parlor Palm
- Bamboo Palm plant
- Reed Palm
- Cane Palm
The spring and summer rains can be a very welcomed event for palms in the south Florida area.
The rains along with the high humidity help push out new dark green leaves on one of my favorite indoor palm trees.
The Bamboo Palm Chamaedorea seifrizii produces about ten or fifteen feathery, dark green fronds per cane. The stems are thick and covered with tan fiber that looks like bamboo.
Bamboo Palm Care – What To Do When You Bring Your Palm Home?
How Big Do Bamboo Palms Get?
When kept as an indoor houseplant, the Chamaedorea Palm can reach a height of about seven feet and a width of about four feet. The palms reed-like stems grow in thick clumps.
Flowering & Fragrance
Bamboo Palm flowers are dioecious, meaning that the male flowers and the female flowers grow on separate plants. The blooms are yellow, and the female flowers transition into orange fruits which turn black when ripe.
The flowers have no noticeable fragrance.
What Is The Best Lighting Conditions indoors?
The slow growing bamboo palm does best in bright, indirect sunlight. Keep in mind that Cane Palm naturally grows as an understory plant in forests. It has a good shade tolerance and is happy with filtered light or dappled sunlight.
This makes it an excellent candidate as an office plant under low light conditions.
Chamaedoreas do best at a room temperature range of 65°-75° degrees Fahrenheit, but the palm is quite adaptable and can survive a bit below or above these temperatures. Protect the plant from hot or cold drafts and any extremes in temperatures.
Bamboo palms can stay outdoors year-round in areas where the temperature never falls below 55° degrees Fahrenheit.
When Used As An Indoor Houseplant
Most Bamboo palms are nurtured and shade-acclimated for interior use and should do well in most light conditions indoors including low light.
Any area with good natural or artificial light levels should be adequate.
Take care and avoid both direct sunlight and dark low light corners.
The palm’s natural look and symmetry can be maintained by turning the container 1/4 turn every week to allow light to penetrate the foliage canopy of your bamboo palm trees.
Watering & Feeding: How Often Should You Water?
Bamboo palms prefer consistently moist soil, but you must never allow the potting soil to stay soggy. Instead, the soil should always be just barely, perceptibly damp.
After watering allow the plant to completely drain. As mentioned above the bamboo palm plant likes to stay evenly moist, remember that’s moist, NOT wet.
Potting soil that stays wet creates conditions perfect for root rot. When the soil surface has dried down about one third or halfway down from the top you should water the complete top of the soil.
Make sure the drainage holes in the pot are not blocked to allow excess water that can accumulate in the bottom of the planter to drain.
The bamboo palms do not like soggy soil or to sit in water.
Overwatering will cause the leaf tips to fade, and yellowing leaves, then turn brown and eventually fall off from the stems.
New growth comes out very pale.
The palm may also experience stem or root rot.
Underwatering is preferable to overwatering, so allow the top couple of inches of soil to dry out before providing a thorough watering. If you overdo it and the plant suffers from underwatering, the tips of the green leaves and new growth will turn brown.
Trim the dry brown edges and tips off with wet scissors, and give the plant a good watering.
Good Water For You Palms and Houseplants
Speaking of water! There is nothing like rainwater to water your bamboo palms and houseplants with.
Rainwater sort of works like a natural fertilizer for indoor plants! Generally, it’s clean and just seems to have a little extra that makes “happy plants”
Always use distilled water or rainwater. Avoid using water that has been treated by a water softener because of the very high salt content.
Should You Fertilize?
Most growers use a granular, slow-release fertilizer in growing their palms.
Seifrizii is sensitive to excess fertilizer salts (aka soluble salts).
Remove the time-release fertilizer from the top of the pot and leach the soil thoroughly with lukewarm water.
Provide monthly feedings in the spring and summertime using a high nitrogen, liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength. Fertilizer that is too strong may burn the roots.
Don’t fertilize at all during the autumn and winter months when your plant should be nearly dormant.
If planted outdoors, Bamboo Palms need excellent drainage. Allow the soil to dry completely before soaking thoroughly. Water early in the morning or early in the evening to prevent excessive evaporation of precious water.
Fertilize once early in the springtime and once midsummer with a half-strength liquid fertilizer.
Soil & Transplanting
Clustered bamboo palms can do well with a standard, well-draining, houseplant potting soil. It should have plenty of natural organic content (e.g. leaf mold or peat moss) that allows it to simultaneously retain moisture while expelling excessive water.
Because Chamaedorea palms grows slowly as a houseplant, you will not need to repot it very often. When you see that the roots are filling the pot, choose a pot that is one size larger and repot.
Knock as much of the old soil off the roots as you can, and check to be sure the roots are healthy. Prune off any damaged or dead roots.
Repot using an entirely fresh potting mix. Press the soil down gently but firmly to prevent the plant toppling out of its new pot.
If planting outdoors, choose a warm day late in the spring or early in the summer to plant your bamboo palms in a well-prepared, sheltered setting. The soil should be well-draining and rich in humus, garden compost or decomposed manure.
It’s best if you prepare the planting area in the autumn and let it rest until planting your palm in the springtime or early summer. The day before you plant your Cane Palm, water the area thoroughly. Let the surface dry a bit before planting.
With well-draining soil, you can plant your palm in a flat area. If you have drainage challenges (e.g. a high clay content) mound the soil up a bit to encourage excess water to drain away.
Grooming & Maintenance
Bamboo Palm likes a high humidity level, so be sure to provide the plant with a humidifier, a pebble tray or regular misting.
New plants have a thick canopy You should expect to lose some of the interior foliage as the plant begins its acclimation to its new indoor setting.
Regularly cleaning the green leaves with a soapy water solution will help reduce their attack from spider mites and mealybugs. More on cleaning houseplant leaves.
Once your plant has become acclimated to its new interior home it can be enjoyed for a long time. It’s why plant experts have used bamboo palms for decades.
Just remember to not overwater your Chamaedorea and provide as much bright indirect light as you can.
Bamboo Palm rarely needs “pruning”. Brown leaf tips do show up, and it needs a bit of tidying from time to time:
- Trim off old fronds as they die back. Allow the bases of the leaves to dry thoroughly and then remove them.
- If leaf tips turn brown, use a set of wet scissors to trim them back.
- Remove any bare stalks.
- Remember to use sterilized tools, and pruning shears with alcohol when you have finished with them.
Discover more palms and indoor plants (30+) for your home.
Bamboo Palm – Chamaedorea seifrizii growing at a nursery
NOTE: Chamaedorea microspadix is called the hardy Bamboo palm.
How To Propagate The Bamboo Palm
You can propagate Chamaedorea from seed, but it is a slow process. It is usually better to buy young plants from your local nursery.
Even the smallest and least expensive plants you’ll find there are between two and five years old. If you try to grow your own from seed, it will take a very long time to get a plant of any size at all.
If you do decide to try growing bamboo palms from seed, use a seed tray with separate compartments to keep the roots from becoming entangled. When plating the seeds cover with about 1/2″ of potting mix. Place the tray or pots in an area with a consistent temperature of about 85° degrees Fahrenheit for the next six to nine months.
NOTE: We use to stack the pots of seeds up and cover them with carpet to keep them warm.
Keep the planting medium moist, and provide filtered, indirect light. You are trying to replicate a tropical, forest floor setting. If all goes well, you may see some growth in just under a year.
When the seedlings appear, you can reduce the temperature a bit and move your seedlings into slightly larger pots. Pots should be small but deep to encourage good root development.
As your seedlings grow, continue to keep them in a warm, shady setting. Low lighting encourages the best leaf color. When your plants become better established, you can transition them to a sunnier setting to encourage stronger stem growth.
We grew 1000’s of “Chams” from seed. Here is the process.
- The seed takes 9 months to mature on the palm.
- The collected seeds were planted in 6″ pots and sprouted in about 9 months
- Four or five young seedlings are planted into small containers and grown in the shade.
- As the plants grew larger (about 1 year) they are then stepped to larger size 10″ pots.
- The small palms were then placed out into the full sun to grow for 12-18 months.
- Once the plants reach a salable size, which could take 2-5 years they were moved under shade to begin the acclimation process.
- Here the plants will spend the next 3 – 6 months putting on new growth where they’ll get their robe of dark green leaves of acclimated fronds.
Propagation with Offshoots
Mature bamboo palms produce offshoots. These can be separated from the parent plant when repotting. However, I would not recommend it. This puts too much stress on the plants.
When and if you separate the offshoot from the parent plant, be sure to use a clean, sharp implement to avoid traumatizing the plants.
If the offshoot has roots which it should, pot it up as an independent plant. Keep the offshoot in a warm, sheltered place, and be sure to keep the soil evenly moist. Soon it will establish itself and you can begin treating it as an adult plant.
Chamaedorea Bamboo Palm Pests or Diseases
Like many houseplants, Bamboo Palm may be plagued by mealy bugs, spider mites, white fly, aphids and/or scale. These can usually be avoided with proper watering, ventilation and correct humidity levels.
If your plants are bothered by these pests, try eradicating them with a Neem oil or insecticidal soap solution.
Be sure to clean the area surrounding the plant before you begin treatment. All of these pests can hide in cracks and crevices on tabletops, flowerpots, etc.
Your initial application should be made with a clean cloth or sponge soaked in the solution. Wipe all the leaves clean of the pests. Use cotton swabs to apply the solution in cracks and crevices.
Subsequently, give the plant a good misting with the solution every day for a week. This should resolve your problem.
At the end of the week, you may wish to finish up by giving your plant a shower with a fairly strong stream of water to wash off any remaining pests and rinse off the residual of the solution.
Palms grown indoors can experience attacks from mealybugs and problems with spider mite infestations.
Spider mites love the dry conditions in homes and offices and hide on the undersides of leaves.
To prevent spider mite infestation, be sure to keep humidity levels fairly high. You can use a humidifier and/or pebble tray and mist your plants daily to keep humidity levels up.
Excessive watering and/or overcrowding can also lead to plant diseases like fungal infections, sooty mold and/or viral infections, such as rust. Prevent these with proper care and hygiene.
Clustered Parlor Palm is especially sensitive to excess salt, which can cause leaf burn.
If you notice salt buildup on the surface of the soil, flush the soil with rainwater or distilled water, allowing it to flow freely through the pot’s drainage holes. When the water runs clear, stop. Allow the soil to become nearly dry before watering again.
Is The Chamaedorea Considered Toxic or Poisonous To People, Kids, Pets?
Cane Palm’s leaves and stems are non-toxic, but its fruit is quite poisonous. Be sure to prevent fruit from falling where it could be accessible to pets or children. You may wish to simply remove and dispose of the blooms and berries as soon as they appear.
Suggested Bamboo Palm Uses
As an outdoor plant in a tropical setting, Bamboo Palms do well in a large container on a porch or patio. It makes a nice specimen display, and it can also be used to create a dramatic and interesting hedge.
Bamboo Palm is a hardy, affordable palm that does well in a wide variety of indoor settings where lighting and temperature are moderate and consistent.
It is frequently used as an office or mall plant, and makes a nice addition to any room that can provide bright, filtered lighting and a comfortable temperature.
The plant is one of several that were used in the NASA clean air study in the mid-to-late 20th Century, which you can read about [HERE].
Other Popular Palms For Use Indoors