Plant of the Month – Rhapis humilis

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rhapis-humilis-in-potResembling it's not so distant and more common cousin  Rhapis excelsa, this Slender Lady Palm has thinner stems and slightly drooping leaf segments that make for a more graceful appearance.  The dark green leaves of Rhapis humilis are about the same size as R. excelsa, but are more divided and split into about twelve leaflets per leaf.  The thin stems are wrapped with light brown fiber and shoot up from the soil like bamboo, giving R. humilis an elegant and somewhat far east look. Slender Lady Palm is thought to be a native to China, but has completely become extinct fromrhapis-humilis-leaves living in the wild and only now survives by propagation of a single male plant that survived.  As a result, every plant in the world is derived from a division or culture of this plant, making Rhapis humilis impossible to grow from seed. Growing Rhapis humilis is similar to growing Rhapis excelsa.  They are both slow growing and enjoy well drained soil that is moist but not soggy.  They need bright light, but like any palm will deteriorate if the air is too dry and stagnate.  R. humilis is not as easy to locate as R. excelsa or as available in large specimen sizes.  Being such a rare beauty in the interior industry, I have mostly seen them in 5 or 7 gallon containers growing around 4-6 feet tall and not more than 3 feet wide. rhapis_humilisSlender Lady Palm is quite a looker and used as a screen or a stand-alone specimen plant in your abode you most definitely will not be disappointed.   I would recommend a topdressing of stones, glass or mood moss to really show off how stunning this plant can be.