How to Grow and Care for Licuala Grandis

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Licuala grandis is an incredibly elegant-looking, slow-growing perfect for your new palm collection. 

It hails from the lowland rain forests of the Solomon Islands and the Vanuatu Islands near Australia’s coast. However, this plant is also found in cultivation in South East Asia regions.

Elegant leaves of the Licuala Grandis palmPin

Licuala is a perennial member of the Arecaceae (Palmae) Palm family.

The Licuala plants’ common names include:

  • Ruffled Fan Leaf Palm
  • Ruffled Lantan Palm
  • Grosse Licuala Palm
  • Vanuatu Fan Palm
  • Ruffled Fan Palm
  • Palas Payung
  • Vanuatu Fan
  • Palas Kipas
  • Palas Palm
  • Ray Palm
  • Palas

Licuala Grandis Quick Care Tips

  • Botanical Name: Licuala grandis
  • Common Name(s): Ruffled Fan Palm, Vanuatu Fan Palm, Ruffled Fan Leaf Palm, Ruffled Lantan Palm, Grosse Licuala Palm, Palas Payung, Vanuatu Fan. Palas Kipas, Palas Palm, Ray Palm, Palas
  • Synonyms: None
  • Pronunciation: lik-oo-AH-lah GRAHN-dis
  • Family & Origin: Arecaceae family, native to Solomon and Vanuatu Islands
  • Growability: Slow-growing, requires specific care
  • Grow Zone: USDA zones 10 and above
  • Size: Can grow up to 30′ feet tall and 8″ inches wide
  • Flowering: Produces clusters of fragrant white, cream-colored, or yellow blossoms early in the summer
  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light
  • Humidity: Requires high humidity levels
  • Temperature: Thrives in 70° to 88° degrees Fahrenheit
  • Soil: Well-draining soil with high organic matter
  • Water: Allow the top couple of inches of the soil to dry, and water thoroughly.
  • Fertilizer: Feed a diluted dose of liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season
  • Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to spider mites and mealybugs, as well as fungal diseases if overwatered
  • Propagation: Can be propagated through seeds
  • Plant Uses: Makes a great indoor or outdoor ornamental plant, can also be used as a focal point in landscaping designs.

Licuala Grandis Palm Care

Size and Growth

Ruffled Fan Leaf Palm is a slow-growing plant that can reach nearly 30′ feet tall and 8″ inches wide in the wild.

However, its growth rate may also vary depending on the temperature, sunlight, soil type, and other factors.

However, when kept as a potted plant indoors, these attractive palms usually top out at 6’ feet tall. At maturity, Licuala usually only reaches 5′ to 7′ feet in overall height.

Ruffled Lantan palm has very large, beautiful, glossy green leaves. Each round leaf is about 22” in diameter. 

The shiny leaves are undivided and pleated with notched edges. Take care when handling these rigid leaves because the edges are very sharp and can cut you.

The long, firm fronds that support the leaves are also a bit dangerous as they have a row of curved thorns at the base where the leaf’s stem meets the slim wooden trunk of the tree.

Licuala Palm has a few fan-like fronds. A tree may have only about a dozen leaves. Even so, the size and dramatic structure of the leaves make the tree seem quite full.

Flowering and Fragrance

Palas Palm produces pretty drooping clusters of fragrant white, cream-colored, or yellow blossoms early in the summer. 

The blooms attract pollinators and last well into midsummer when they transition into hard, shiny green fruits.

As the marble-sized fruits mature, they turn bright red. Each fruit houses a single seed. The Licuala fruit is not edible for humans, but birds and fruit bats like it.

Light and Temperature

Grosse Licuala Palm should be kept in low to moderate light when it is small and young, just as it would be on the forest floor in the wild. This is why it makes such a good houseplant when it is small. 

However, this slow-growing palm tree will do very well in an indoor setting that provides consistent warmth and indirect, bright light.

When the tree matures, it can be set outdoors during warm weather or planted in the landscape in USDA hardiness zones 10b and above. 

Over the summer months in colder zones, the potted Grosse Licuala Palm plant will but must be brought inside before winter.  

You may place the tree in partial shade to the full sun at this time. Just be careful to protect it from high winds and sudden temperature changes.

Older specimens can tolerate brief periods of cold weather as low as 32° degrees Fahrenheit. Ideal temperatures for this plant range from 70° to 88° degrees Fahrenheit. 

If humidity is high and summer temperatures not too scorching, they will also tolerate more sun.

Watering and Feeding

The Licuala Palm does well with infrequent, deep watering. Allow the top couple of inches of the soil to dry, and then water thoroughly.

Mist the plant two or three times a week to keep humidity levels comfortable.

There are special fertilizers designed for palm trees. Get one of those and simply follow the instructions on the packaging to determine the amount and frequency with which you should use them. 

Fertilize Palas Payung lightly throughout the growing season. You can either give it a diluted dose of liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season or give the plant a full dose of a slow-release fertilizer once early in the spring and a couple more times through the summer. An NPK rating of 15-5-10 is best.

Let the plant rest in the winter. Don’t fertilize during this time.

Moreover, it’s important to remember that unfertilized Licuala Palm will grow at a slower pace.

Soil and Transplanting

Regarding soil requirements, the Vanuatu Fan Palm is not picky as it can survive in most soil types, provided it is moist, rich in humus, and fast-draining. 

A mixture of rich organic compost, humus, and sand is ideal. A sandy soil amended with lots of humus will work well.

Even if it has not outgrown its pot, repot every couple of years to provide your Licuala palm with fresh soil and nutrients.

  • Remove the plant from its pot. 
  • Brush old soil off the roots.
  • Wash the container.
  • Refill it with fresh soil.
  • Return your Licuala grandis to its original home.

If your Licuala has outgrown its pot, give the larger plants a bit bigger, heavier pot size to prevent it from taking a tumble. 

The best time to repot is early in the springtime. When transplanting, you can get suckers from mature plants, which can be easily replanted to get a new plant in a shady location.

Grooming and Maintenance

Prune away dead or damaged fronds as needed. Wear heavy gardening gloves and long sleeves when performing this task to prevent injury. Goggles may also be in order.

Licuala Grandis Palms are perfect plants for those without much time as they are easy to grow and require little care. They add a wonderful accent to any outdoor space, garden, or patio. 

Moreover, these plants need indoor protection by providing heavy mulch during the winter months.  

More On Palm Care

How to Propagate of Licuala Grandis

Propagation of Licuala palms can be done using seeds. If you decide to grow this plant from seed, you’ll need to:

  • Start in late winter or early spring.
  • Sow the seed into a 50-50 mix of moist perlite and peat
  • Place the germination tray in an area that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Maintain a steady temperature above 75° degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Keep the germination mixture moist and wait for 3-6 months!

Licuala Grandis Pests or Diseases

When kept as an indoor plant, Licuala palms can be plagued by common houseplant pests like mealybugs and spider mites when overwatered or otherwise kept in less-than-ideal conditions.

  • Excessive watering and cool temperatures may lead to root rot.
  • Too much direct sunlight may scorch and burn the plants’ leaves.

Is the Licuala Considered Toxic or Poisonous to People, Kids, and Pets?

Licuala Palm is somewhat toxic to cats, dogs, and people if ingested. Eating is also somewhat hazardous since the leaves are very sharp, and the stems are spiny. 

Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal distress, along with physical injury.

Is the Licuala Considered Invasive?

This plant is not invasive in North America.

Suggested Licuala Grandis Uses

Depending on your climate, Ruffled Licuala Fan Palm is a good choice as a houseplant, container plant, or landscape plant. 

However, keep in mind that smaller palms with sharp leaves at low levels may be a bit dangerous, so place these plants in areas that do not get frequent foot traffic.

Because these palms are very attractive to birds, fruit bats, and other pollinators, they make an excellent centerpiece for a bird and wildlife garden in a tropical setting. 

For dramatic landscape effect, cluster ruffled fan palms beneath a tall shade tree or shaded building foundation.

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