chamaedorea palm

12 Fascinating Types of Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea)

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There is no denying the fact that bamboo palms or the Chamaedorea species are an amazing addition to any landscape. It serves a great purpose in the space while giving that beautiful aesthetic. It can easily serve as a screen or an accent plant.

The Chamaedorea sp. may not be a real bamboo, but it does mimic the same appearance and plays the same functions as the real one. Although, they vary on the growing and caring part. 

The bamboo palms tend to be a bit more sensitive to too much water, which is something you need to take note of if you plan on having this plant. If you want to know how to grow and care for the bamboo plant, check out our article “Growing and Caring for Bamboo Palms”.

Now that you know the wonders of these indoor plants, here are the different Chamaedorea species that you can choose from:

Reed Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)

This species of bamboo palm is one of the most common because of its amazing ability to be a houseplant. Generally, this palm loves a warm and moist environment with not too hot nor too cold weather. A lot of indoor growers love this species because it does not require too many fertilizers and disease occurrences are highly unlikely to happen. It is known to have a resistance to Gliocladium, a fungal disease.

Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

The parlor palm originated from Mexico and Guatemala. As a tropical plant, it is often grown in greenhouses in colder areas wherein it can still grow for up to 5 to 6 feet high. The parlor palm also has a more compact version that fits around 10 to 17-inch diameter pots, perfect for indoor landscapes. This species of bamboo palm can survive under full sun longer than the other species. Because of this species’ beautiful leaves, they are often utilized as cut foliage for flower arrangements.

Chamaedorea adscendens

This palm originated from Guatemala and Belize. What makes this species of bamboo palm stand out is its ability to adapt and survive in various environmental conditions. It can withstand low to medium light levels and 25 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit in terms of temperature. Another thing that growers love about this plant is its compact stature. It is perfect for indoors with less space.

Florida Hybrid (Chamaedorea ‘Florida Hybrid’)

This hybrid is a product of a cross between C. seifrizii and C. erumpens. It is commonly seen in southern parts of Florida. This hybrid of bamboo palms tends to get all the great qualities of its parents making it more desirable than the C. erumpens, but not as widely propagated as the C. seifrizii. In terms of taking care of this hybrid, follow the same grow and care instructions as to its parental plants.

Radicalis Palm (Chamaedorea radicalis)

If you live in a place with cold climates, this is the palm for you. The radicalis palm originated from the highlands in Mexico. Also, it is the one that thrives better in colder climates compared to all the Chamaedorea species. In terms of its physical attributes, it is single-stemmed with foliage that looks a lot like the Areca palm. Its dark green leaves with a white cast make it more appealing to growers who are not a fan of brightly colored plants. Currently, interior landscape horticulturists are still studying its indoor habits. So far, they have learned that this plant thrives in low to medium light in an indoor setting.

Chamaedorea cataractarum

This species of bamboo palm was famous in the 1970s but then got lost in the limelight as other plants came into the picture. Although it is not as famous as before, it still has some fans due to various reasons. Some growers prefer to have low-lying or not too tall palms, which is why they go for the C. cataractarum. It only grows up to 2 feet high and produces offshoots at its base when it matures. However, it is not all fun and games with this plant as it is a slow grower. This growth habit makes it more susceptible to spider mites which makes it not that good of an indoor plant. In terms of growing and caring, follow the general instructions for the Chamaedorea species.

Chamaedorea amabilis

This bamboo palm species is also propagated and utilized widely in California but it originally came from Panama, Costa Rica, and Colombia. It bears a beautiful fish tail-shaped unsplit pinnate foliage. The deep green color and prominent margins and veins make this plant more attractive. The stems are slender and closely packed with each other. The way the stems bend so beautifully adds to this plant’s appeal.

Chamaedorea arenbergiana

As a native of the Central Americas, it is fast-growing and one of the tallest species under this genus. During its younger years, its foliage tends to look like a fishtail but as it grows older it becomes wider and turns into an ovoid pinnate. As one of the tall species, its trunk is roughly 1 inch wide with noticeable rings similar to bamboos. Although this beautiful plant may look enticing, bear in mind that this is not the perfect palm to grow in cold climates. This plant can’t withstand cold temperatures and the freezing mortality rate is high.

Chamaedorea brachypoda

The C. brachypoda is a native of Guatemala and Honduras. This species is one of the easiest to grow as it tends to grow and reproduce fast through sprouts. The C. brachypoda is one of the invasive species under this genus, so it is crucial to keep an eye out for any sprouts that might spread too fast in your landscape.

Moreover, it is characterized by having bifid foliage and a slender stem that goes for a quarter-inch in diameter. Another characteristic that makes this palm invasive is its ability to survive cold temperatures of up to 27 degrees Fahrenheit. Although, it is sensitive to high light exposures and low humidity.

Chamaedorea costaricana

This palm tends to be known but not to the point that it is readily available everywhere. The C. costaricana tends to grow tall with thick stems that resemble bamboo more than any other species under this genus. It can extend vertically for up to 20 feet. In terms of light exposure, this palm can tolerate being under the full sun but its growth will be optimized when grown in shaded areas instead. As a native of southern Central America, it can moderately tolerate cold temperatures of up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

Moreover, this palm produces suckers which give it a dense and compact look. The group of suckers can occupy up to 15 feet wide, which is why it is not a very good indoor plant. Despite surviving being planted in pots, this plant still needs bright indirect light. Another downside for this palm is its high susceptibility to spider mites, which is a common houseplant insect pest.

Chamaedorea elatior

The C. elatior originated from Mexico and Guatemala. Despite being an easy plant to grow, it is not widely used in landscapes, which might be due to its leaves. As a young plant, Its foliage is compact and beautiful but as it grows older, the stems grow longer and the leaves start to twine. This palm is one of the true branching palms under this genus. Despite its lack of aesthetic appeal for growers, this plant has notable characteristics such as being cold hardy to the point of withstanding temperatures less than 25 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this palm performs best under shaded areas outdoors.

Chamaedorea ernesti-augustii

This palm is known for being the easiest large bifid Chamaedorea species to grow. Mexico and Central Americas are their points of origin. It bears beautiful 2 feet long and 2 feet wide leaves that look like a fishtail. Its leaves are dark green with a gray cast. It is a crowd favorite because it has good tolerance to cold climates and resistance to spider mites, making it a great indoor plant. There are no special growing and caring instructions for this marvelous plant.

Tips on Choosing the Right Bamboo Palm

Indeed, there are still a lot of Chamaedorea species available in the market. The chosen few that were mentioned are the notable ones but it doesn’t mean they are more special than the others. Generally, you have to consider a few things before getting your palm. Consider the space, climate, and availability to take care of your plant. 

You can also take into consideration the other plants you have that might interact with the palm in terms of common pests and diseases. Before buying your bamboo palm, remember to read more about the type you want and see if it fits the aforementioned things to consider.

See our list of indoor plants you can grow.

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