If you’re looking for a soft-tropical touch in a nicely lit room, the Bamboo Palm is a great choice for you . Here’s what you need to know if you’re getting a Bamboo Palm:
Watering – If you have bamboo outside, forget everything you think you know about watering this plant inside. Unlike its outdoor cousin, the Chamaedorea should be watered to maintain soil moisture considered damp, not wet; overwatering can cause the leaves to yellow and drop. Please see our watering guide for more information.
Light – While this palm can tolerate lower light levels than other palms, it will thrive adjacent to an east-, south-, or west-facing window. So, good filtered natural light or bright florescent light will keep this palm growing strong.
Nutrition – Like other plants shipped fresh from Florida, you won’t need to feed this palm for at least 6 months after you get it. That’s because there is residual nutrients in the soil from when the palm was being propagated. After 12 months, it can be fed quarterly with a complete fertilizer formulated for interior plants. Please refer to our plant nutrition guide for details.
Cleaning – This plant, with its numerous stems and plentiful leaves and leaflets can be a challenge to clean. While we still prefer a cleaning regimen with water and a light soap solution, it would be okay to break out the feather duster on this plant. Make sure your feather duster is clean though – it’s a primary way to get bugs from one plant to another. And since the Chams are susceptible to spider mites, it’s especially important with this plant.
Pruning – The leaves of the Bamboo Palm form sheaths around the stem. The older leaves at the bottom of the plant will yellow and turn brown, and it’s easy to just give a little twist and pull these leaves off. The only time you’ll need pruners to care for a Cham is if one of the stems gets too tall or out-of-line with the rest of the plant. In that case, we recommend pruning the stem at the base where it emerges from the soil. You should never cut a stem in half because the plant does not generate new growth from mid-stem pruning cuts.
Bugs – There’s always a chance for a mealybug to set up camp on your Bamboo Palm. Look for the little white cottony mealybugs at the base of the leaves, on the stems, and especially under the leaf sheaths between the sheath and the stem; mites will hide on the bottom side of the leaves and produce webs. Be extra vigilant when scouting for mites, as they can do irreparable harm quickly often mistaken for dust on the underside of the leaves. If you see either of these, break out the spray bottle with a light soap solution and spray them daily ’til they’re gone.
Trouble – Keep an eye out for the bugs mentioned above, and you’ll enjoy this palm for a long while.