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Rhapis excelsa

Lady Finger Palm

Rhapis excelsa

If you're looking for a beautiful and low-maintenance houseplant to add to your collection, you might want to consider the Lady Finger Palm. Also known as the Ruffled Fan Palm, this plant is a popular choice for both its beauty and ease of care.

Origin and Habitat of Lady Finger Palm

The Lady Finger Palm (scientific name: Licuala grandis) is native to the Vanuatu islands, located in the South Pacific. It can also be found in other parts of the world such as Australia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The plant is commonly found in rainforests and prefers a warm, humid environment.

Habit: A slow growing, clumping evergreen palm with dark brown fibrous covered cane or bamboo-like stems producing thick, pleated digitate fan-like fronds growing up to 4 metres tall but usually only to about half that height in potted or containerised plants. Inflorescences are rarely produced on potted or containerised plants.

Temperature: Plants grow best between 20 to 25ᐤ C but are tolerant of temperatures between -5 to 37ᐤ. Avoid placing plants in windy or drafty locations which can lead to less attractive plants as the leaflets can get tattered.

Light Exposure: Plants are tolerant of a range of light conditions from partial sun to shade. Indoors plants will grow best in locations of bright, indirect light or areas with weak sunlight (early morning or late afternoon). Plants can deal with lower light conditions but in such cases the leaves will be a darker green.

Watering: Lady Finger Palm is rather drought tolerant but when getting established like a moist growing medium but not soggy; water only when the top 3 cm of soil feels dry to the touch during the growing season and when the top 10 cm of soil feels dry to the touch during the cold season. Always check the soil moisture first but as a rule of thumb watering once to twice a week in the rainy season, once every three or four weeks in the cold dry season and usually once a week in the hot dry season.

Fertilising: Due to their slow rate of growth plants only need to be fertilised with a well balanced fertiliser at half strength only once per month. Plants can be damaged by over fertilizing so one must be careful.

Pruning/Repotting: Remove yellowing, brown or heavily damaged leaves as necessary. Repotting can be done every two or three years each time increasing to a slightly larger pot until it has reached the desired pot size; once it has reached its desired size, the plant should be repotted ever two or three years still into the same or similar sized pot but using a new potting medium.

Pests/Diseases: Lady Finger Palms are generally pest and disease free; however, overwatering is the leading cause of various fungal pathogens that cause different types of root rot in the plants.

In conclusion, the Lady Finger Palm is a stunning plant that can thrive in the right environment. With proper care, it can be a beautiful addition to any home or office. Remember to provide it with bright, indirect light, consistently moist soil, and high humidity levels to keep it healthy and happy.

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