Care For Bamboo Palm - Knowledgebase Question

Wellesley, MA
Question by petersonkana
June 11, 2000
I have recently purchased a bamboo palm. I have repotted it so it may rest inside, near a window with south/southeast exposure. What are its basic care requirements (i.e., type and amount of light, fertilizer, moisture)? I'd greatly appreciate any advice you might have to offer.


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Answer from NGA
June 11, 2000

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Bamboo palms (Chamaedorea erumpens) are not true bamboos, but their reed-like stems do resemble bamboo. The plant can get quite large--6-10 feet tall under proper conditions.

Like most palms, bamboo palms like average household temperatures, with a minimum temp. of 50F. They require a soil with excellent drainage, and will suffer in saturated soil. They prefer a relatively humid environment; dry winter heat can stress them, so be sure to locate them away from hot air vents, or drafts from doors. They like bright light, but prefer little or no direct sun. The southeast exposure may be fine, but if they will be exposed to hot mid-day summer sun you may want to move them or use thin lacy curtains to provide filtered light.

Spider mites are a common problem, especially in hot, dry conditions. Spritz the new growth with a fine mist of water; if mites are present you'll see their very fine webbing. To control them, use an insecticidal soap spray, focusing on the undersides of the leaves where the mites congregate.

A monthly application of a dilute, balance fertilizer during the summer months is helpful; avoid fertilizing in the winter as growth slows.

Generally, palms should be repotted only when the plant becomes quite pot bound, because their roots don't like to be disturbed.

Good luck with your plant.

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