Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, commonly called bamboo palm, butterfly palm or areca palm, is native to moist forest areas in Madagascar. Although endangered in its native habitat, it is commonly available in commerce throughout the world for outdoor plantings (where winter hardy) or as a houseplant. This multi-stemmed palm is now considered to be the most popular palm sold as a houseplant. Outdoors it will typically grow to 12-30' tall. Multiple-ringed, cane-like, yellow stems grow from the base of the plant in clusters. Stems sometimes resemble bamboo when suckers are removed, hence the common name of bamboo palm. Stems are topped with pinnate, upward-curving, light green leaves (to 3-6' long) with yellow midribs. Each leaf has 40-60 1/2 to 3/4" lance-shaped leaflets per side. Yellow flowers bloom in summer in panicles to 2' long. Flowers are not particularly showy. Flowers are followed by small yellow-orange fruits (each to 1/2" long) that mature to nearly black. Another common name for this palm is golden cane palm in reference to its yellow stems. Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-11 where it is best grown in rich, moist but well-drained soils in bright part shade areas. Tolerates full sun. Garden Uses. Where winter hardy, it may be grown in groups as a landscape specimen. Excellent screen, informal hedge or privacy wall. Very popular indoor houseplant.
- Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat.
- Soak the seed in water for several hours.
- The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Prepare a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. Put the soil in a pot. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
- Put the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the seeds.
- Place the pots in an area with warm temperatures in full sun or part shade.
- When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.