Friday, February 21, 2014

How to grow the Tolerant Neanthe Bella Palm

This sweet and graceful Neanthe Bella palm belongs to a neighbor of mine. It was bought at the grocery store a few years ago and is living quite well in her living room. The peaceful Neanthe Bella is one of the easiest to grow palms that can live in the home. It is possible for it to live for many years. They have been available just about anywhere plants have been sold, probably since houseplants first appeared as an item for sale.

They will produce flowers and fruit (non-edible) that are quite unusual, from time to time. So if you see a spindly green cluster starting to grow from its trunk, that is what is happening. I think you will be delighted, as you watch this interesting fruit mature.

Their botanical name is Chamaedorea elegans "bella" and they can naturally be found in the mountain forests of East Guatemala and Mexico. They grow slowly but can eventually reach five feet or about 1-1/2 meters tall.  

Care Instructions--
  • Bright indirect light or some morning sun is just right. Too much afternoon sun will bleach out the leaves. It will tolerate low light for quite a while. 
  • Water when the top of the soil is dry about 1/2" down in 6"(15cm) diameter pot.  Let it dry out a little more, about an inch or so (3cm) for a plant that is in a 10" (25cm) diameter pot. 
  • For a plant that is in a 6" (15cm) diameter container  water with about a pint or half liter, when necessary. 
  •  A Neanthe Bella palm in a 10" diameter (25 cm)container should use about 2 quarts or almost 1 liter of water. 
  • They would appreciate misting but adapt very well to normal house humidity.
  • An occasional dusting and cleaning with fresh water is helpful.
  • Fertilize regularly for best color and growth.

***There is a short video on the "The Indoor Garden" TV channel on YouTube that shows the unusual fruit of the Neanthe Bella Palm:

***To watch video clips from my 90's TV series, click here: 


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