Plant Profile: Bamboo Palm

Most members of the palm family are easy to care for and continue to be popular houseplants. The bamboo palm is no exception and is a long-standing favorite in homes and commercial establishments. It produces clusters of small, slender canes. Its graceful fans and rich green color give it an overall lacy appearance. A bamboo palm can reach a height of of about 6 feet (1.8 meters). Bamboo palms are often chosen over areca palms by commercial interiorscapers because they are more resistant to insect infestation. They add a peaceful, tropical feeling wherever they are placed. In terms of its atmospheric benefits, the bamboo palm has an excellent overall rating and one of the highest transpiration ratings. It pumps much needed moisture into the indoor atmosphere, especially during winter months when heating systems dry the air.

Family: Arecaceae (palm)

Origin: Mexico

Care: Provide plenty of water during periods of active growth. In winter, when grown in standard containers, water just enough to keep the root ball moist. Wash the leaves periodically to prevent spider mites. Do not pinch out the tip of the stalks or cut off the newest frond as this will eliminate new growth.

Lighting: Semi-bright

Ideal Temperature: 60-75°F (16-24°C)

Challenges: Spider mites and scale insects are a risk when the atmosphere is too dry.

Propagation: Cuttings

Plant Profile: Lady Palm

The lady palm is a large palm that has fans 6 – 12 inches wide that consist of between for and ten thick, shiny leaves. The leaves are connected to a brown, hairy main trunk by thin, arching stems. Lady palm is one of the easiest houseplants to care for and is highly resistant to attack by most plant insects. It is also one of the best plants for improving indoor air quality. It grows slowly and is easy to maintain. The lady palm is so popular in the United States that some commercial nurseries deal exclusively in its production. The leaf tips can be trimmed with pinking shears to remove the salt buildup and leave the tips with their natural green, saw-tooth appearance.

Family: Arecaeae (palm)

Origin: Southern China

Care: Water well in spring and summer with room-temperature water. Allow to dry slightly in fall and winter. Feed regularly with a weak concentration fertilizer when plants are growing. Mist often, especially during winter when the air is dry.

Lighting: Semi-bright to semi-shade

Ideal Temperature: 60-70°F (16-21°C)

Challenges: Usually pest free. Occasionally spider mites. Too dry a location causes fronds to dry and turn brown.

Propagation: Cuttings

Plant Profile: Areca Palm

Also known as yellow palm or butterfly palm, the Areca Palm is one of the most popular and graceful palms. It is tolerant of the indoor environment, releases copious amounts of moisture into the air, removes chemical toxins, and is also beautiful. One of the faster-growing palms, the areca features a cluster of cane-like stalks that produce feathery, yellow-green fronds. Because of its all-around good qualities, the areca is commonly found in commercial settings as well as in the home. An underplanting of golden pothos or English ivy adds to its aesthetic appeal. In a houseplant setting, a 6 foot (1.8 meter) areca palm transpires approximately 1 quart (one liter) of water every 24 hours. The areca is consistently rated among the best houseplants for removing all indoor air toxins tested. It also has the unique ability to move salt accumulations to selected branches. When saturated, these branches die and should be quickly removed. Its high marks in all rated categories make the areca one of the top eco-friendly houseplants.

Family: Arecaceae (palm)

Origin: Madagascar

Care:Keep the root ball damp. Provide a complete fertilizer on a regular basis, except in winter. Mist regularly to give a fresh appearance and to provide humidity to discourage insect infestation.

Lighting: Semi-bright

Ideal Temperature: 65-75°F (18-24°C)

Challenges: Spider mites and brown tips on fronds from over-dry atmosphere

Propagation: Cuttings

Plant Profile: Rubber Plant

Formally known as Ficus Elastica, the rubber plant was a favorite plant of the Victorians and remains equally popular today. Bred for toughness, it will survive in less light than most plants its size. It will tolerate dim light and cool temperatures. This plant is easy to grow and is especially effective at removing formaldehyde. It receives high marks in all categories and is an excellent overall houseplant. Its common name is derived from its thick, leather-like, dark-green leaves that contain a rubber-like latex. Given proper conditions, it will eventually reach a height of 8 feet.

Family: Moraceae (fig)

Origin: India, Malaysia

Care: Feed regularly during the summer months only. Water regularly from mid summer to fall, allowing the soul to dry slightly between waterings. Then, water sparingly. The rubber tree does not tolerate overwatering.

Lighting: Medium to Bright

Ideal Temperature: 60-80°F (16-27°C)

Challenges: In dry, centrally heated air Rubber Plant is susceptible to attacks by scale insects, spider mites and thrips.

Propagation: Air Layering