Rhapis palms –
Rhapis palms also known as Lady Palm and these are commonly found in many homes/offices and gardens around the world. These fascinating groups of palms have captured love and admiration of plant lovers since long time due to its charm and elegance. Lady Palm is very popular due to is adaptability to wide range of soils and climates. These are one of the most favorite for indoors in homes and offices.
Rhapis palms are the only ornamental palms to have different varieties both in green and in variegated forms. Rhapis subtilis, Rhapis laosensis, Rhapis humilis and Rhapis excelsa are the most popular ones used in landscaping or as indoor ornamental s.
Rhapis subtilis “Thailand Lady Palm”
Rhapis Subtilis or Thailand lady palm was introduced into cultivation by Mr. Watan Sumawong of Bangkok in late 1960’s. Thailand Lady Palm is a small species and can grow up to 2mt height. Canes are bit narrow with quiet a smooth brown fiber. Offshoots are stiff with brittle roots and suckers close to the main cane and have pointed leaf tips, since male and females flower prolifically abundant amount of seeds are produced.
R.subtilis requires high humidity and abundant moisture. Thailand Lady Palm thrives in humid, tropical climates, but seldom adapts to hot dry regions or cool subtropical areas. It can be difficult as a houseplant. All Rhapis attract scale insects but this species can be severely affected by spider mites.
Propagation is by seeds.
Rhapis laosensis “Laos Lady Palm”
Like Rhapis Subtilis Laos lady palm was also introduced into cultivation in late 1960’s.
Canes are pencil thin and as when compared to R. subtilis, have slick neat fiber. Thin leaves with wide segments curve downward providing a very graceful effect. R. laosensis grows best in humid tropical conditions.
Propagated by division
Rhapis humilis “Slender Lady Palm”
“Slender Lady Palm” is native to China and this palm is the tallest of all Rhapis and can reach up to 6 mt in height with large leaves and slender canes.
Rhapis humilis grows well in cool climates and in tropical regions with summer heat can exhibit slow growth.
Propagated by division.
Rhapis excelsa “Large Lady Palm” and “Miniature/Compact Lady Palms”
Rhapis excelsa is the most popular among the Rhapis and also widely cultivated species, easily adapting to almost all interiors, and used in both tropical and subtropical landscapes throughout the world.
R.excelsa have been used as classic ornamental palms for more than 300 years. They were cultivated by the Japanese elite in the early 1600s, introduced to other parts of the world. Popularity of this species can be characterized to its ease of care, durability, insect resistance, and long life.
R.Excelsa is also known as “broad leaf lady palm” due to its large thick leaves, sturdy canes with dark brown fiber with blunt tips with wide segments.
Miniature lady palms were developed in Japan through selective cloning of choice. Many in this have stripes and is shade loving.
Rhapis Excelsa is propagated with seeds or air layered or division or roots.
For All Rhapis –
Rhapis grow best in bright, indirect light near a window or skylight but is very adaptable to low light areas. . When grown indoors as houseplants, the growth rate decreases considerably.
New fronds come out from the center of the trunk. Trim off lower leaves as they age and become discolored.
Brown leaf damage is usually associated with extreme heat, allowing the plant to dry out, or not thoroughly watering the entire root system.
Do not over water or over fertilize them and if you, you can notice black tips.
Water them thoroughly by drenching the entire root, Rhapis likes to be moist always and drying the soil can cause the foliage turn grey and burn the tips.
Rhapis can grow in almost any soil types but it needs well drained, moist and well fertilized soil (In the initial stages). It is better if you cover the roots and base of canes to retain moisture.
Rhapis are relatively slow-growing plants and needs very little fertilizer.
Leaf color is one of your best guides as to when to fertilize them – If you find that the leaves are rich green then this indicates that the fertilizer levels are high and if it is slight yellowish it means that it is the time to apply nutrients.
For a perfect balanced diet to your garden use JEEVAH https://www.gardendiary.info/2016/02/22/bio-organic-fertilizer/
Root rots can periodically infect Rhapis for this you can use broad spectrum root fungicides or apply neem cake —– go organic.