Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa): Growing Tips and Care

Last Updated on December 16, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

If you love indoor plants, then you can be sure to like the lady palm. The plant can do well under certain conditions, therefore necessitating the need to understand what it takes for it to grow well.

The lady palm care does display a great pattern that looks quite appealing to the eye. The Rhapis excelsa can be an outdoor or an indoor plant. However, you will need to stick to the specific requirements to enhance its growth, especially when you decide to grow it inside your house.

caring for lady palm tree

Types of Lady Palms

You may be thinking of visiting a garden center to check the types of Lady Palms available. The most common varieties that are now available in the market are the Butterball and open types.


The critical feature that confirms the Butterball is the number of canes. Butterball grows from a seed and will possess many canes, which are about 3″ to 4″ tall.

They are available in many pot sizes ranging from 6 inches to 14 inches. Furthermore, the Butterball lady palms will have dense foliage that runs from the top to the bottom.


The other famous type of lady palm is the open type, which appears to be thinner and more upright. The open types are often tall, and they will be available in pot sizes ranging from 14 inches to 28 inches.

Planting Lady Palms indoor

Lady palm - Rhapis Excelsa

It is easier to grow the lady palms since it requires minimal space. However, every variety has its own culture and environmental conditions to grow. It can thrive well anywhere, whether in your house or garden.

When to plant

Lady palm can do well under all seasons provided that you strictly adhere to conditions necessary for their growth. You can opt to grow them indoors or outdoors. It is wise to note that lady palms will do well indoors during the winter. You will be careful to observe the seasons properly.

When your lady palm is two years old, you should think of repotting it. When repotting, you should increase the pot’s size every time until it reaches the best size for you. You can also do it to refresh the soil.

Where to plant

The lady palm does well in sandy soil. It worth noting that the plant roots will rot if you allow it to rest in the water, therefore necessitating the need for a type of soil with good drainage. They do well in warm conditions, though, you can also be careful to take care of conditions that will support it even in cold areas.

How to plant

When planting a lady palm, you should be careful not to place it in direct sunlight. Please place it in an east-facing window so that it gets no interference with direct sunlight.

The lady palm plants thrive well in temperatures that don’t exceed 80 Fahrenheit’s, though it must not come below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is also essential to ensure that they have sufficient shade to protect the direct sunlight from fading the leaves. Watering should be frequented, especially when the soil is dry during the summers.

Lady palm care

Caring for Lady palm tree

Now that your lady palm is growing, you need to follow certain specific tips to ensure your lady palms get proper growth. Here are the lady palm care procedures.

Soil and Fertilizer

Notably, many soil types are preferable, such as the loamy soils or sandy soils. You only need to keep in mind that a well-drained soil will favor the growth of your lady palm.

Your lady palm does not need feeding during the winter, though it will be great to use a fertilizer that takes time to leach into the soils. You can use proportionate amounts of nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen when you are not sure of the soil’s fertility.

Sun and Light

The Rhapis Excelsa does not need direct sunlight, lest it fades its leaves. Notably, the lady palm will tolerate light shade during winter, though oversized shades will do well during summers.

Water, Humidity, and Temperature

Water is essential during summers, though it will be wise to be careful with drainage. During the winter seasons, you need to reduce the amount of water that you apply. You can do it once in a month or even weekly, depending on the temperatures.

The Rhapis excelsa does well in relatively humid conditions. Keep it at temperatures exceeding 70 Fahrenheit in summer, but you should be careful to keep it below 55 Fahrenheit during winter.


Repotting is excellent during spring. You can do it every year in spring. While repotting, it is essential to protect the roots ball. Transfer it while it is intact without unnecessarily disturbing the roots.


Lady palm needs pruning just like any other plant. Pruning will enhance the growth of the Rhapis excelsa since it makes it thrive. When Pruning, trim off lower leaves, they will develop a characteristic yellow color as it age. You can opt to cut the whole trunk when all the leaves begin to discolor since it may sign a disease.

Brown leaves are typical at the tips. Always trim off the brown leaves, while keeping those who can still survive. Overheating may cause the leaves’ browning, so be careful to place it in a low-temperature place when this becomes rampant. It is possible to tell if you are overwatering your lady palms by checking for the black tips.


You may use the cut-outs from pruning to propagate the lady palm. Though, it is possible to propagate the lady palm by seed, it may not yield viable seeds, especially in indoor settings.  

Propagating can be easy during pruning since you will divide more mature plants. When propagating, you should expect a slow growth due to shock, but it will recover after some time.

Pests and Diseases

The common pests that will damage the lady palm includes

  • the scale insect
  • mealybug
  • Spider mites

The fibrous sheath leaves of the plant are the perfect home for the best. You can use the neem oil to control the scale insects and mealybugs. You may also opt to spray using the Malathion, though they may not be effective.

The best control option for pests is a systematic insecticide that the plant will absorb into its system. Ensure that you spray very early in the morning

There is one common disease that affects the lady palm. Root rot is widespread with the Rhapis excelsa, and the causative pathogens may include Fusarium oxysporum Pythium.


how to care for lady palm tree

Lady palm is an excellent pant for the casual palm-lovers who have moderate space. You only need to provide suitable conditions for it to thrive well. Feed it well during summer and adequately water it when there is a water shortage while paying proper drainage. Pruning should be constant.


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Jason is a respected home and garden expert and a well-established figure in the digital media industry. He is the founder of, a leading online platform providing high-quality content on home improvement, DIY projects, gardening, and more. His passion for creating engaging, value-driven content has made a go-to resource for home and garden enthusiasts. In addition to his work with KKMediaGroup, Jason co-founded, a website dedicated to offering practical advice and innovative ideas on farming, food, and family. His entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to sharing knowledge and expertise have played a significant role in the success of both platforms.