Rhapis humilis

Source: palmbob

Rhapis humilis

Rhapis humilis or Slender Lady Palm is a beautiful slender palm that produces suckers and looks somewhat like a bamboo.

Rhapis humilis was grown in the 17th century in China as well as in Japan where variegated plants have been developed.

With regard to reproduction, there are differences of opinion: some say only male plants exist nowadays and propagation can only be done by vegetatively by taking suckers while others argue that in China there are still female plants which allow the harvest of seeds. If you find any seeds, you will have to wait a bit to see if it really is Rhapis humilis.


The trunk can be 6 m high and 15-28 mm in diameter.

The leaves are fan-like and in half circle, incised in 7 to 20 pleated segments. They are slightly arched, with a primary cleavage to 19-105 mm from the base of the leave and a secondary irregular cleavage. The leaf base is covered with tomentum.

Male and female inflorescences are similar, about 40 cm long and 1 cm in diameter.

It is quite hardy but does not tolerate heavy tropical heat and will grow better in moderate climates. Growth is very slow. Is a nice indoors plant.


Common names:

Dwarf Bamboo Palm, Dwarf Slender Lady Palm, Little Lady Palm, Miniature Fan Palm, Reed Rhapis, Slender Lady Palm


Chamaerops excelsa var. humilior, Chamaerops sirotsik, Licuala waraguh, Licuala wixu, Rhapis javanica, Rhapis sirotsik


South of China and south of Japan


In forests between 100 m and 1,000 m


USDA Zone 9-11, leaf damage at -3 °C, plant dies at -6 °C



Any soil but well drained


Prefers shade or partial shade, ideally filtered sunlight as in undergrowth


Fertilize once a year in spring


Repot every 3-5 years to prevent developing root system from breaking the pot
take suckers in spring


Overwinter frost free, preferably at least 10 °C


Sowing, suckers in spring when repotting

Sowing instructions:

  • soak the seeds for 1 day
  • sow in moist sand
  • 20-30 °C
  • germination: 3-4 months