Bamboo palms (Dypsis lutescens) grow outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11; however, you can grow them indoors in cooler regions. Bamboo palms go by many other names, including cane palm, Madagascar palm, yellow butterfly and golden cane palm. All palms are either tropical or subtropical, so bamboo palms grown indoors or out like moisture, humidity and warm temperatures. Established palms are low maintenance, making them an ideal plant for busy moms.
1. Palm Growth
Bamboo palms are clumping palms with slender, yellow trunks, producing yellowish-green leaves and clusters of yellow fruit. They are slow-growing palms, gaining about 12 inches per season and reaching a height of up to 30 feet with an 8- to 20-foot spread. Although slow, bamboo palms eventually outgrow their indoor space and must be discarded unless the outdoor climate is suitable for growth. You can transplant palms, even large ones, in late spring to early summer.
2. Outdoor Temperatures
Outdoor palms thrive in air temperatures up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and roots require soil temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees for best plant growth. Bamboo palms are tolerant and can withstand low soil moisture and temperatures down to 32 degrees for a short time; however, they are frost sensitive and sensitive to leaf necrosis during long periods of frost. Plants exposed to 32 degrees for four hours or more can sustain extensive damage and die.
3. Indoor Temperatures
Indoors, palms need a room temperature of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 degrees at night for proper growth. During winter, palms halt active growth, and some varieties require cooler daytime temperatures of 55 to 60 degrees; however, bamboo palms do not thrive in temperatures below 60 degrees. Place indoor bamboo palms in an area with filtered light. While bamboo palms do grow in low-light conditions, they grow taller in locations with more light. Keep palms away from drafty windows and doors that expose them to chilly drafts.
4. Cold Damage
Hardiness of bamboo palms can vary by duration of frost, plant maturity and plant size. A light frost lasting only around an hour may cause no damage to the bamboo palm. Larger palms are more likely to withstand severe frost without harm, while smaller palms often die. Frost damage can range from burned leaf edges to affecting the entire crown, including parts of the trunk. Crown damage caused by frost is most often fatal.
- Cal Poly: Golden Cane Palm Dypsis Lutescens
- Missouri Botanical Gardens: Dypsis Lutescens
- University of Florida: Areca Palm Production Guide
- The New Sunset Western Garden Book; Kathleen Norris Brenzel, Editor
- Clemson Cooperative University: Indoor Palms
- University of Minnesota: Growing Palms Indoors
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images