Chamaedorea microspadix, commonly called hardy bamboo palm, is a compact, clump-forming palm that has surprisingly good winter hardiness. Plants will tolerate light frosts and may be grown outdoors in USDA Zone 8 locations where winter temperatures periodically dip to as low as 20 degrees F. The stalks of this palm are ringed by leaf scars and somewhat resemble bamboo canes, hence the common name. It is native to forested areas of central to northeastern Mexico where it often forms dense colonies. Outdoors, plants typically mature to 8-10' tall, but sometimes assume a more prostrate growth habit. As a houseplant, hardy bamboo palm usually grows to 4-6' tall where it is noted for its dense, attractive foliage, compact shape and easy maintenance. Each pinnate green leaf (to 2' long) typically has up to 9-11 pairs of narrow green leaflets. Clusters of creamy white flowers may bloom in summer if enough light is present. Plants are dioecious. Red fruit on female plants is attractive.
Winter hardy to USDA Zones 8-11 where it is easily grown in rich, moist, well-drained soils in filtered sun/part shade to shade. Avoid direct sun. Best growth occurs in moist shady locations. This palm is noted for having exceptionally good winter hardiness (withstands occasional temperature drops to 20 degrees F.). Indoors, this palm serves as an excellent container plant for homes, offices or malls in cooler climates. Plants adapt very well to the limited light and controlled temperatures which are often present in indoor locations. Outdoor foliage accent plant for shady areas in climates that suffer occasional winter frost. Indoors, it survives well in houses, apartments, offices and commercial establishments such as malls.
Growing Instructions for the Hardy Bamboo Palm
The seeds need to be planted when received or stored in a refrigerator until they are planted. 1. Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. 2. Fill several pots with a mixture of peat moss and perlite. Use pots that have drainage holes in the bottom. 3. Sow the seeds 1/4 inch deep in the growing medium. 4. Water the seeds. 5. Place the pots in an area in full sun or light shade and with warm temperatures. In temperate regions keep the pots in a greenhouse or indoors if it is not warm outside. 6. Water the seeds when the growing medium starts to dry out on top. The seeds take 1 month to germinate. 7. When the seedlings have developed two leaves, they can be transplanted.