Broadleaf Lady Palm Tree

Broadleaf Lady Palm Tree

The Broadleaf Lady Palm tree is an excellent house plant for beginners but loved by gardeners of all skill levels for its hardy nature, its rich bright green coloration and its elegant and tropical appearance.

Let's discuss everything you need to know about this easy to care for fan palm created by cultivators in South East Asia:

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Why grow a Broadleaf Lady Palm Tree?

Here are the top reasons why gardeners love to grow these palm trees:

  • The Lady Palm is known globally as one of the most simple types of house plants to keep.
  • These palms are non-toxic to humans, dogs and cats (but also not meant to be a snack).
  • Not only are these plants aesthetically pleasing, but they may make your home a healthier place to live and breathe. These palms may help clean toxins from the air of your home such as formaldehyde, ammonia, benzene, xylene, nitrogen oxide, and toluene.
Broadleaf Lady Palm Tree

The BroadLeaf Lady Palm Tree's Names

The palm's botanical or scientific name is Rhapis excelsa. This palm is also known by several common names:

  • The BroadLeaf Lady Palm Tree
  • The Little Lady Palm Tree
  • The Bamboo Palm
  • The Lady Palm
  • The Miniature Fan Palm
  • The Slender Lady Palm
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Facts About The BroadLeaf Lady Palm Tree

Here are some interesting facts about the background and history of the Broadleaf Lady Palm Tree:

  • Most sources say that these palms are not found in the wild; all varieties were cultivated by gardeners in China, Japan and Taiwan. Others claim that they are found in the wild in Vietnam.
  • The Lady Palm was frequently found growing in Japanese palaces.
  • This palm began being grown by gardeners in Europe in the 1770s and in America in the 1850s.
  • The root and bark of the Lady Palm has been used for medicinal purposes.
  • The Lady Palm's leaves are often wider in comparison to the leaves of other palms.
  • There are many varieties of this palm available, some of which are rare, making them a regularly found plant in the collections of gardening enthusiasts.
  • When grown outdoors, the Lady Palm is often planted in a way that allows them to function as a fence. They grow similarly to bamboo, but are not considered invasive as bamboo is and they offer more privacy due to the wide palm leaves.
Broadleaf Lady Palm Tree

Varieties of the BroadLeaf Lady Palm Tree

Due to their creation stemming from cultivation, and their subsequent popularity, there are many varieties of the Lady Palm available.

The majority of Lady Palm varieties may be sorted into two categories:

  • The butterball variety is generally more round in form and features foliage evenly across the palm.
  • The open style variety is generally more thin and features the thickest foliage at the top of the palm.

In these two categories, the Lady Palm is available in two colorations. Some varieties feature plain green palm leaves while others feature variegated palm leaves.

The plain green palm leaves are bright and rich in color. They compliment virtually any decor style.

The variegated variety features variegated green and white or golden yellow palm leaves. These varieties are not as common, often making them a collector's plant. The variegated variety tends to prefer cooler temperatures and is more sensitive to sunlight, making their growth in the shade crucial.

The variegation has the potential to fade as a result of overfeeding or over fertilizing and excessive exposure to light, making this variety better suited to more experienced gardeners.

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Broadleaf Lady Palm Tree

Caring for a BroadLeaf Lady Palm Tree

If you have decided to try planting a BroadLeaf Lady Palm Tree, here is the information you will need to grow one successfully:

Habitat and Lighting Requirements

The Broadleaf Lady Palm does best indoors. Place your palm tree in indirect sunlight as they do best in the shade. These palms are not very tolerant of direct sunlight and their leaves will become brown as a result of living in direct sunlight. If placed in front of a window, they are happiest behind a translucent curtain to limit their exposure to the sun.

While they may be grown outdoors, this is best attempted by an experienced gardener because they are more difficult to grow outdoors since they do best in the shade and are sensitive to over watering. However, if grown properly and in the right climate, these palms add a beautiful touch to the landscape and may attract birds and or butterflies to your garden.

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Temperature Requirements

The Lady Palm is able to live in temperatures ranging from twenty degrees to one hundred degree Fahrenheit or negative six to thirty seven degrees Celsius. These hardy little palms are even known to have survived a mild frost. They have no specific humidity requirements and accept a variety of levels of humidity, even dry air, as well.

Soil Requirements

They thrive in a variety of soil types, however, they prefer slightly acidic soil and they require soil that drains well due to their sensitivity to over watering. Many gardeners plant their Lady Palms in African violet soil, in which they are known to thrive. These palms also prefer soil that contains perlite, peat moss and vermiculite.

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Fertilizer Requirements

Some gardeners may occasionally fertilize their Lady Palms with a 10/10/10 fertilizer, however, most of these palms rarely, if ever, require it. It is recommended that they be fertilized once a year if necessary.

Watering Requirements

These palms have minimal watering requirements; they prefer moist soil with no standing water. If standing water is allowed to remain in their pot, they may become victims of root rot if the water is not drained promptly. These palms are very forgiving if you forget to water them; they tolerate short dry periods well.

Growth and Size

The Broadleaf Lady Palm is a slow grower; gardeners may expect a palm grown indoors to grow approximately eight to twelve inches per year. The average Lady Palm grown indoors will reach an approximate height of four feet; with regular and careful pruning, this size is easy to maintain.

If a gardener minimally or rarely prunes their palm, it may reach a height of fourteen feet high and have palm fronds of approximately six to twelve inches.

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Pruning is important for your palm's overall health and growth. As your palm ages, or if your palm is exposed to intense heat, you might discover some of the leaves become discolored, especially towards the bottom of the palm. Any discolored leaves should be pruned to encourage new growth.

As you will read below, fungus may grow on Lady Palms if they do not have good ventilation and are grown close together; by pruning your palm, you are increasing the ventilation around the plant and reducing the likelihood of fungus being able to grow.


Propagation (breeding) the Lady Palm is no simple task, making it a project better suited to experienced gardeners. Additionally, you will need to be incredibly patient to propagate these palms; most are grown for approximately seven years before they attain nursery size.

Some varieties of Lady Palms must be divided to be propagated because they do not have male and female plants. Division is generally not problematic due to the palm's hearty nature. Other varieties require a male and female plant to propagate. Should you choose to grow a Lady Palm from seed, these may be obtained commercially.

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Diseases and Pests

The Lady Palm is not a victim of many diseases and pests, however, gardeners will need to be mindful of the following conditions and pests:

  • White spider mites may grow on these palms and have real potential to cause damage if not addressed promptly. Simply wipe them off with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol, which kills them and effectively removes them from the palm. Check for these villains regularly if you find them to ensure no survivors remain to continue attacking your palm.
  • Scale insects live on the underside of the Lady Palm's leaves, making them easy to miss if not regularly checked for. These insects require insecticide to vanquish them effectively from your palm.
  • Root rot is caused by over watering. This may be prevented by proper watering and planting the palm in soil with good drainage such as African violet soil.
  • Black or brown fungal spots appearing on the palms usually results from plants being over crowded and a lack of good air flow around the plants. To treat this condition, create more space between your plants and remove any affected leaves from the plant and dispose of them away from the plants.
  • Brown palm leaf tips usually result from excessive fertilizing. These palms require very little fertilizer, so this is another condition that may be prevented with good gardening techniques.


The Broadleaf Lady Palm is often found in homes and corporate or commercial settings, but never in the wild, as they were cultivated into creation. This palm has gained popularity around the world with gardeners of all experience levels because it is easy to grow, beautiful to look at and hardy in nature.