Small-sized palm species of Asian origin, the Rhapis excelsa is also widespread in Europe; it presents thin erect stems, of dark color, which carry a rough layer, constituted by the residues of the fronds by now withered; the fronds are carried by thin elongated petioles, fan-shaped, and are made up of ribbon-like segments, dark green, shiny and papyrus. These palms produce many suckers at the base, giving rise to tufts, which in nature become roundish. Very appreciated for centuries in Japan and China, hundreds of varieties have been selected, particularly small in size, or even with variegated or very light colored foliage to be easily cultivated in the apartment.
Before buying a plant and growing it in the garden or inside your own home, you need to know what the specific needs of the species are that we want to grow. This is because a wrong placement of the plant could cause difficulties in growth, rot, yellowing of the leaves or dryness and, in the most extreme cases, the death of the plant itself. As for the exposure, let's see together what the real needs of our Rhapis excelsa are.
These are plants that are grown in the apartment, with minimum temperatures not less than 10-12 ° C; if properly acclimatized they can also find a place in the garden, in areas where winters are particularly mild. They prefer semi-shady or shaded positions, since direct sunlight tends to ruin the leaves or make them yellowish.
To grow better our Rhapis excelsa, from March to October water frequently, keeping the soil slightly damp; with the arrival of cold, reduce the watering, trying not to leave the dry plant for a long time. The "old" specimens can withstand short periods of drought, without any particular problems. Remember to vaporize the foliage frequently, to increase the environmental humidity.
The choice of the soil is fundamental for the growth of our plants. Every variety of plant or flower has specific characteristics and defined needs. For this reason it is important to carefully evaluate which soil to choose for each species. Rhapis should be grown in a good soft and rich soil; it is advisable to use universal soil, mixed with shredded bark and coconut fiber; repot the plants every 3-4 years, providing them with a larger container.
If we need to multiply the plant, we should know that reproduction occurs by seed in spring; in autumn it is possible to divide the tufts of leaves, detaching the basal suckers, which can be repotted individually without particular difficulties.
Rhapis excelsa: Pests and diseases
These plants are not particularly susceptible to disease development. However, some pests such as cochineal and mites fear the attack, especially in the case of a very dry climate. The foliage tends to dry out especially on the tips if the plant is cultivated in a very sunny or very dry place; remove the damaged foliage and transfer the plant to a more suitable place for cultivation to prevent it from growing into these problems during growth.