Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Small Palm not Often Found; the Miniature Fishtail palm

Chamaedorea metallica

I've rarely seen this palm for sale although its relatives should be easy to find. This is Chamaedorea (pronounced sham a dorea) metallica. It is related to the easy-to-grow Bamboo palm and Neanthe Bella Palm. It's commonly known as a "Miniature fishtail palm" and if you look at its leaves for just a moment, it should be easy to figure out why it was given that name.

This sturdy and calm-green palm is a Mexican native and just about the smallest palm you can buy. It grows slowly and will only grow to a height of about 3 feet (1 meter) or so. From time to time, you should see it produce an unusual-looking cluster that is its flower and fruit. The Miniature fishtail palm is a great choice for a beginner who is interested in learning to cultivate plants from the relaxed Palm family. 

There is another palm that is called a Fishtail palm, too, botanically known as Caryota mitis. (I'll talk about that one on another day.) Common names of plants aren't always a reliable way to find what you are looking for. Some plants may have different common names in different areas of the world. Their botanical name should always be the same throughout the world.

I was delighted to find this palm, which I've rarely seen, at one of my favorite florists. You can send plants and floral arrangements almost anywhere in the world from:

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 in 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 Miniature fishtail palm in a 10" diameter (25 cm) container should use about 2 quarts or almost 1 liter of water, when necessary. 
  • They would appreciate a daily 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.

***To view a short video on the Neanthe Bella palm (a relative of the Fishtail palm)

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

  The Indoor Garden TV show

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