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Lady Palms

Lady Palm Trees

All lady palms have an elegant looking leaf display attached to small trunks or stems.

There are four different species that will thrive in shade to choose from.

Malls, hotels and office building use these trees often in hallways and other locations where there is a lack of nature light.

Two of the varieties are also cold tolerant.

This makes them a prized specimen for display in containers poolside and to place indoors when cooler temperatures arrive.

They can make a magnificent looking privacy screen too.

 photographed at the Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco by Eric in SF

All the varieties have the following in common.

  • Deeply divided circular to semi-circular green fan leaves.
  •  a fuzzy like coating on their trunks. This coating of fibers can range from black to a yellow orange-depending on species.
  • Require shade to some degree.
  •  a clumping type, usually spreading underground and emerging with new shoots. 

This is one of the pluses making them popular in containers. They will spread out to fill the pot nicely with leaves at varying heights.

Broad-leaf Lady Palm

Broad Leaf Lady Palm Tree Leaf

Its origin is not actually know but suspected by many to be Asia, more specifically southern China.

The plants sold today are cultivated in nurseries and unfortunately they aren’t found in the wild anymore.

Some new cultivators of this species are being introduced from Japan, so sometimes the overall size, leaf color and size will vary between plants of the same name.

This beauty works great for a privacy screen planted in soil. Being a slow grower there’s no problem with keeping it from spreading out from a fence instead of along it.

Quick info: Scientific Name: Rhapis excelsa

  • 8-12 ft tall 6 to 10 ft wide (as wide as you let it get), multi trunks
  • Minimum temp 25°F    zones 9-11 outdoors
  • Shade to light shade- the warmer the temp the more shade it needs.
  • Slow grower, any type of soil not alkaline with a bit of organic matter
  • Medium water needs.

Slender Lady Palm

Slender Lady Palm Trees

Origins are about the same as its sister. But some say she’s prettier.

The leaves on this beauty are more circular and wider across, plus she’s taller making her have a more elegant type of appearance.

She is better suited to a drier more arid environment and can tolerate even colder temps.

Some say that most of the slender lady palms sold today are actually divisions from the male part of the plant. Therefore you may still get flowers but no fruit or seeds.

No worries though, it will spread out producing off shoots of itself underground.

The beautiful slender lady palm works well for a privacy screen or as a clump with a wall for a backdrop.

Place:Osaka-fu Japan Description - Rhapis humilis |Source - KENPEI's photo 

Your Ultimate Palm Tree Handbook

Quick info: Scientific name Rhapis humilis

  • 15-20 ft tall, 12 plus ft wide, multi trunks
  • Minimum temp 22°F  zones 8-11
  • Full to part sun, will tolerate full sun if it’s not too hot
  • Slow growth rate, any well drained soil
  • Will thrive with some organic mix in soil and regular water

Dwarf Lady Palm

The dwarf member of the family is harder to describe due to its widely varying leaf patterns and sizes.

Its height could vary greatly from one to another as well.

Their trunks are only about half as thick as its sisters, only about half an inch.

It has the same brown to black fibers covering the thin trunks.

It is not as cold tolerant as the others and originates in Thailand and Cambodia.

This is the smallest one of all the species.

If you’re concerned about size, and still want a nice palm for a container in the house then this little lady could be the answer.

Quick info: Scientific name Rhapis subtilis

  • 2-7 ft tall and wide, multi trunks
  • Minimum temp 30°F   zone 9-11 outdoors
  • Full to part shade, needs humus mixed in soil (to hold moisture) that is acidic to neutral
  • Slow growing, not drought tolerant and will thrive with regular feeding

Jade Empress or Lady Finger Palm

The last of the lady palms goes by a couple of different common names.

They are the Jade Empress Palm and Lady Finger Palm.

She has all the same characteristic leaves, but the fibers on the trunk and leaf bases are a yellowish color.

I think she's a pretty good looker myself.

Quick info:  Scientific name Rhapis multifida

  • 6 plus ft tall, 6 ft wide, multi trunks but more sparsely clumping
  • Minimum temp 30°F, zones 9-11
  • Shade to part shade, any soil with some humus for moisture
  • Needs regular watering
Lady Palm Tree-Rhapis multifida

All the different species of lady palms are similar in appearance. Each will do well in containers or indoors. 

There may only be one or two species available for purchase in your location- but whichever one, it will surely bring you that little slice of paradise wherever it is displayed.

NOTE :  About Buying Palms

If you are looking to buy palm trees of any kind then I would highly recommend purchasing through the Real Palm Tree Store.

They are a huge nursery based in Florida with connections to many quality growers.

Whether you are ordering from inside the United States, Canada or another part of the world-- ordering one tree for your landscape or many for a commercial project-- I’m confident you won’t be disappointed.

Their customer service is second to none; all products are high quality and backed by a money back 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Make sure to visit real palm trees, ask questions and read the reviews before buying anywhere else.

Palm Tree Store

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Need more information? You may find these articles helpful:

Landscaping gives you some idea where in your yard to put your next palm tree.

Small palms will give you some ideas on other varieties used in containers or landscapes.

Indoor palms lists the best ones for in your home or office year round.

Growing will explain popular garden terminology like the plant hardiness zones, soil types, and sun/shade requirements.

Fertilizing teaches what kind to look for, where to apply and how to determine the correct amount to use.

Cold hardy varieties will give you a list of palms that will tolerate below freezing temps and even snow.

Palm Tree Passion> Types of Palm Trees >Lady Palms