How to Care for an Indoor Bamboo Palm & Cut Its Dying Leaves

by Jenny Harrington

Bamboo palms (Chamaedorea seifrizii) grow up to 7 feet tall and their graceful fronds provide an exotic look for low-light indoor areas. These palms grow as outdoor perennials only in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12, but they can thrive as houseplants with proper care. Bamboo palms just require basic maintenance and periodic pruning of dead leaves to look their best. With little effort, this tropical-looking plant can brighten the dim corners of your home.

1 Set the palm in area that doesn't receive bright or direct sunlight. Avoid locations near drafty doors or windows, or where dry air from vents can dry out the soil and foliage.

2 Water bamboo palms when the top one-half inch of soil just begins to feel dry in spring and summer. Empty the water that drains into the drip tray immediately after watering. Allow the top 1 inch of soil to dry before watering in winter.

3 Mix one-half teaspoon of a soluble 24-8-16 fertilizer with 1 gallon of water. Water the palm once monthly in spring and summer with the solution. If the leaf tips begin to brown, water with plain water until it drips from the bottom of the pot to rinse excess fertilizer salts from the soil. Empty the drip tray promptly.

4 Dust the leaves monthly with a feather duster or wipe the dust from the leaf surfaces with a damp lint-free cloth to prevent spider mite infestations. If spider mites do infest your palm, spray the infected areas with a ready-to-use insecticidal soap spray once weekly until the pests are gone.

5 Cut off the old dead fronds as needed, but leave the sheath-like base of the frond on the plant until it dries out naturally. Cut back these sheaths to the stem after they dry.

Items you will need

  • 24-8-16 soluble fertilizer
  • Watering can
  • Feather duster
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Insecticidal soap
  • Shears

Warning

  • Bamboo palms can produce fruit, but it's highly toxic. Remove and dispose of it promptly, especially if children have access to the plant.