Chamaedorea Metallica – Metal Palm Tree – A Tough Small Palm

Most palms are thought to be great towering plants we can tie our hammock to and watch the sunset.

There are also many small palms like the Chamaedorea Metallica plant that can fit very nicely indoors. We’ve looked at the small tabletop palm Chamaedorea elegans ‘Bella,’ also called the Neanthe Bella palm and parlor palm (parlor palm).

Chamaedorea Metallica - the metal palmPin

Now let’s look at another small palm – Chamaedorea metallica. This one is tough as nails.

Chamaedorea palm trees are a specific genus of perennial palms belonging to the Arecaceae family of plants containing more than 100 species. Unfortunately, only about six of them are available for purchase by individuals as indoor and/or landscape plants. 

Most types of Chamaedorea species come from Central America and the rainforests of southern Mexico. Chamaedorea metallica originates in Mexico.

These types of palm trees typically have extremely narrow stems that are less than 1″ inch around. Chamaedorea palm trees may be multi-trunked or single-stemmed. The leaves of Chamaedorea palms generally are dark green, and compound arranged along a mid-vein in a feather-like formation. 

Chamaedorea metallica (kam-ee-DOR-ee-uh meh-TAL-ih-kuh) is exceptional in this genus because of its metallic blue-green foliage with a metallic sheen and why it is called Chamaedorea Metallica.

Chamaedorea Metallica Common Names include:

  • Miniature Fishtail Palm
  • Dwarf Fishtail Palm
  • Metallica Palm
  • Metal Palm

In this article, we share the care of Chamaedorea metallica.

Chamaedorea Metallica Palm Care

Metallica, also known as the miniature fishtail palm, is slow-growing. Expect to pay more than usual for these understory palms and deep shade dwellers. Its slow growth also means you’ll be able to enjoy the plant in the same place for years.

Remember This…

One good rule of thumb in purchasing plants is that most of the plants that do well indoors are slow growers. Don’t judge a plant based just upon price and height. Slow growers usually cost more and may not be as tall but are better over the long haul.

Size & Growth

With its slow growth rate and growing indoors as a houseplant, it typically attains a height no greater than 5′ feet while its typical spread is approximately 4′ feet. However, under ideal outdoor conditions, Metallic Palm may grow to be as tall as 10′ feet. 

Metallic Palm has a single, very slim single stem green trunk usually ringed by the scars of old leaves. When you purchase this type of palm, you will typically be buying 2 or 3 of them. They are usually sold planted in groups. The stems are approximately 15″ inches long. 

The leaves themselves are a deep green, metallic blue-green, or grayish-green shade. The only palm with its unique metallic sheen. They are pinnately veined and look something like a fish tail, thus explaining some of the common names. 

Its evergreen foliage is arranged spirally at the tips of the stems. The leaves may be as large as 30″ inches long and as wide as 15″ inches.

The old leaves mature, yellow, and fall off, leaving behind swollen leaf rings.

Chamaedorea Metallica in a decorative containerPin

Flowering

Metal Palm produces bright orange flowers but also in shades of purple or red. They grow in a branching inflorescence. The flowers transition into oval green egg-shaped fruits, turning black as they ripen. The small black fruits are not edible. This plant is dioecious, meaning that it has female flowers on female plants and male flowers on male plants.

Low Light Conditions & Temperature

Fishtail Palm is an understory plant that typically grows in the low light conditions in the rain forests of Mexico. Therefore, this palm likes a shady or partial shade setting and is quite tolerant of low lighting.

Metallica Palm is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zone 10b to 11. The Metal palm can tolerate temperatures as low as 25° degrees Fahrenheit for brief periods.

Watering & Feeding

This palm has moderate water requirements and is adaptable to a wide variety of types of soil. However, the soil must be kept evenly moist. The plant should not be allowed to dry out completely or to stand in water. 

It is important to keep this palm well-nourished with a generous feeding of high quality, slow-release palm tree fertilizer two times during the plants’ growing season.

Rich Soil & Transplanting

The best potting mix for this palm is a loamy, humus-rich, well-drained soil. If planted in the landscape, this small tree can tolerate alkaline limestone soils. 

Grooming & Maintenance

Trim off dead or damaged leaves as needed. Wipe the leaves occasionally with a clean, damp cloth to remove the buildup of dust and any lurking mealybugs. 

Potted Chamaedorea metallicaPin

How To Propagate Chamaedorea Metallica 

Miniature Fishtail Palm can be propagated by seed. However, it takes quite a long time to germinate, up to 4 months. Therefore, if you decide to propagate Metallic Palm by seed, the best time to do so is within 4 to 6 weeks following the ripening of the fruit.

Chamaedorea Metallica Common Pests or Diseases

As with most plants, overwatering will cause root rot. In addition, compromised plants grown indoors are subject to infestation by most common pests, such as spider mites and mealybugs hiding between the stem and leaf axil.

Treatment with natural products, such as Neem oil sprays or insecticidal soap, is recommended. 

Is the plant considered toxic or poisonous to people, kids, pets?

The sap and the juice inside the fruit may cause contact dermatitis for some pets and people. Therefore, it’s best to avoid contact and to wash up promptly after handling this plant. 

Is Metallica Considered Invasive?

Although this plant is not officially considered invasive, it is worth noting that it does thrive in tropical settings, and it does tolerate a wide variety of soil types. In addition, it is propagated by seed, and it produces fruits that birds could spread. 

Furthermore, other types of Chamaedorea are considered weedy, so it is reasonable to believe that this plant could become invasive given the right setting. Therefore, if you live in a tropical area, keep an eye on it and avoid unwanted spread. 

Suggested Uses For Chamaedorea Metallica Palm

Metallica Palm tree is slow-growing and is the perfect palm for a small landscape setting with deep shade. 

This plant from the genus Chamaedorea isn’t a palm you’ll find in the typical Garden Center. Instead, you’ll find it in nurseries or garden centers carrying a wide array of different indoor plants.

In the landscape, the durable Metallica Palm is a good choice for a shady or partially shaded area. It makes a lovely specimen single stemmed palm in a small, shaded courtyard. However, it is equally at home in your home. This small palm is unlikely to outgrow most home settings.

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