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Dwarf Palm Chamaedorea elegans

Previously known as:

  • Collinia elegans
  • Neanthe bella
Phonetic Spelling
kam-ee-DOR-ee-uh ELL-eh-ganz
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Bamboo Palm is a subtropical palm, upright, spreading, and multistemmed growing up to 7' in indoor environments. It is one of the most sought-after indoor palms because it thrives in interior conditions that other plants cannot tolerate.  The leaves spread out attractively and have a drooping form. When grown outdoors in a temperate zone, it can reach 6-7 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide; as a houseplant, they grow only between 2-7 feet tall.

They need bright indirect light and low to medium humidity levels, though they can tolerate low-light conditions.  Try to keep near a north- or east-facing window if possible for optimal light levels.  This plant has been shown to remove indoor air pollutants.  Overwatering can be a problem, so be sure to plant in well-drained soil and let the soil dry slightly out between waterings.  It can tolerate drought and dry soil but prefers moist soil.  Repot only when necessary; generally, every other year is enough. Protect from cold drafts near windows, doors, or vents, and regularly mist the leaves if kept in a heated room. Plant in a peaty container mix and fertilize 2 times during the growing season and none in the winter.  It is safe for pets.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Red spider mites and mealybugs are potential insects that can cause problems. Misting and cleaning with a damp cloth can prevent or remove these from the plant.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Even pinnately compound leaf; fused terminal pinnae
  • Base of petiole thick and fleshy
  • Stem erect and thickened, bamboo-like
  • Leaflets thin, high L/W ratio

It can be distinguished from C. erumpens by its leaflets appearing thinner and longer (higher L/W ratio). 

 

VIDEO Created by Laura Barth for "Houseplants, Succulents, and Cacti", a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bella'
'Bella'
Tags:
#houseplant#drought tolerant#edible plant#perennials#shrub#edible flowers#low light#tough plant#interiorscape#palm#accent plant#pet friendly#dappled shade#herbaceous perennials#fantz#indoor tree#dry soils tolerant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical feel#heavy shade tolerant#hsc#hsc-f
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Bella'
'Bella'
Tags:
#houseplant#drought tolerant#edible plant#perennials#shrub#edible flowers#low light#tough plant#interiorscape#palm#accent plant#pet friendly#dappled shade#herbaceous perennials#fantz#indoor tree#dry soils tolerant#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#tropical feel#heavy shade tolerant#hsc#hsc-f
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Chamaedorea
    Species:
    elegans
    Family:
    Arecaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico to Honduras
    Edibility:
    The inflorescences are battered and fried in parts of South America.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 7 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Vase
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 10a, 11b, 11a, 12b, 12a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Round, fleshy black fruit may occasionally appear, though rarely when grown indoors. The rachis will turn red-orange.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    After a few years of growth will produce small, light yellow, yellow, or orange-red odorous flowers on irregularly branched stems that grow below or among the leaf (interfoliar). They emerge from the trunk as lateral buds and open in the form of clusters of small balls without petals. The rachis is green and branched and the branch bracts papery and overlapping.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Fronds
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    8-inch long light green, arching to drooping, evenly pinnate fronds, 11-20 narrow leaflets per leaf. The leaflets are lanceolate-linear in shape and the terminal pair is usually fused together at the base. The petiole is thin with a thick, fleshy base.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Smooth green stems can become woody with age. Erect, slender, to 3/4" diameter, bamboo-like.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Heavy Shade
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Sap and juice from the fruit may cause skin irritation.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Unknown
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Sap/Juice