Despite its name, bamboo palms (Chamaedorea seifrizii) are not bamboo at all but are a type of palm in the Araceae family. These tropical plants are native to Mexico and Central America and grow naturally as forest understory plants. They are ideal houseplants that can add a tropical feel to any room. Plus, they are listed on NASA's clean air varieties list
|Botanical Name||Chamaedorea seifrizii|
|Common Name||Bamboo palm|
|Plant Type||Perennial, clustered parlour palm, reed palm, cane palm|
|Mature Size||4-12 ft. tall, 3-5 ft. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Partial, shade|
|Soil Type||Moist but well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, neutral|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer|
|Flower Color||Yellow, orange|
|Hardiness Zones||10-11, USA|
|Native Area||Central America|
|Toxicity||Non-toxic (although the fruit is toxic)|
Bamboo Palm Care
Bamboo palms are popular houseplants because they are low-maintenance and they do well in a variety of lighting conditions. They do require consistent moisture, so if you tend to under-water your plants you may want to skip this palm.
Bamboo palms are the perfect tropical plant for medium to low-light conditions. Unlike other palms, they do not require bright light in order to thrive. They do well in a variety of light conditions ranging from low light to bright light, and can even tolerate being placed in north-facing windows. Avoid hot, direct sunlight as it will burn their delicate leaves.
Moist but well-draining soil is best for bamboo palms. Soil that is porous but humus-rich is ideal. Amending standard potting soil with peat moss, orchid bark, and perlite is a great DIY soil mix for bamboo palms.
The soil of bamboo palms should be kept evenly moist, but never waterlogged. Bamboo palms are sensitive to both overwatering and under-watering, but it is always best to under-water rather than overwater. Allow the top of the soil to dry slightly between waterings.
Temperature and Humidity
These tropical palms enjoy warm temperatures and humid environments and are hardy in USDA zones 10-11. They are not frost-tolerant. Bamboo palms do well in typical household temperature and humidity levels but appreciate extra humidity where possible. Placing your palm near a humidifier or on a pebble tray will help to increase the humidity around the plant.
Bamboo palms should be fertilized during the growing season to help encourage healthy growth. Granular, time-release fertilizers work best. Spread the fertilizer on top of the potting medium and ensure that you water it in. Avoid fertilizing during the fall and winter when the plant is in dormancy.
Are Bamboo Palms Toxic?
The foliage of bamboo palms is considered nontoxic to pets and humans, however, their fruit is quite toxic. While it is rare for bamboo palms to fruit indoors (since their flowers are dioecious), if they do fruit it is usually best to cut the fruit off and dispose of it rather than let it mature due to its toxic qualities.
Symptoms of Poisoning
- Upset stomach
Pruning Bamboo Palms
These palms are low-maintenance and rarely need pruning. Consistently tidying up any dried, brown leaves or leaf tips will help keep the plant looking healthy and attractive.
Propagating Bamboo Palms
Bamboo palms are sensitive to trauma and can be tricky to propagate. Mature bamboo palms produce offshoots that can be separated and established as new plants.
Use a clean, sharp knife to separate offshoots from the mother plant. If the offshoots have their own root systems (which they should), ensure that you separate those as well. Pot the offshoots in loamy, well-draining soil and keep them in a consistently humid environment until established (approximately 2-3 months).
Potting and Repotting Bamboo Palms
Bamboo palms should be repotted once they have outgrown their previous container. They tend to be slow-growing so you should not need to repot them too often. Keep in mind that the plant will grow as large as the pot you give it—so if you want to keep your bamboo palm small, don’t increase the pot size very much when you repot. This will help to control the size of the palm.
Bamboo palms are susceptible to a range of common houseplant pests such as mealybugs, aphids, whiteflies, fungus gnats, and scale. These pests can be mitigated with insecticide treatments if necessary. Be sure to regularly check over your bamboo palm for pests to help catch any infestations early.