Aug 2011 – Rhapis Excelsa

Rhapis Excelsa

Rhapis Excelsa
(Lady Palm, Monkey Palm)

A multi-stemmed fan palm from southern China that forms dense clumps or thickets that are leafy to ground level. The leaves have five to eight widely divergent segments that are stiff and spreading or held erect and with no tendency to droop. The leaves are light green and generally take on a yellowish hue if the plants are starved or grown in full sun.

The stems are very slender and covered with woven brown fibre. It is one of the best garden palms but because of its very slow growth. It is very cold-tolerant and will grow well in temperate areas. Plants can also be induced to grow in the tropics but in a shady position. In temperate regions the species will tolerate considerable exposure to sun, even full sun, but the leaves bleach badly and may even burn, especially if not watered regularly.

For best appearance this species should grown in a semi-protected position where it only received partial sunlight during the day. It can be successfully established under large trees and will make satisfactory growth providing it is mulched and kept moist. Indoors the plants are very decorative and will last for long periods without the need for spelling. In fact it is one of the most durable of indoor palm. Most propagation is by division of the clumps. Seedling-grown plants are rarely available.

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