Neatnhe Bella or Parlor Palm - one stray stem growing...

Begonia2005(7)October 13, 2012

I have this Parlor Palm in a small plastic pot which I bought about 2 months ago.

One stem has been growing much faster than the rest of the plant. It is much taller, more sparse and it also shows some browning on the leaves.

I had another plant like this before, which my husband managed to kill by under-watering (I was away over the summer). I remember it had the same symptom like this one though. One stem grew much faster and taller than the rest of the plant.

What causes the plant to act like this and what can I do to change the situation? Should I just cut off that stem?

I heard the Palm has a certain "growing point" and that you must be careful not to cut that part because otherwise, the plant will no longer grow.

Also, given the pot it came in 2 months ago seems quite small, do you think I should re-pot in something slightly larger?

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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

You know what I think? This is a pot of seedlings, a common way to sell small palms, and one seed is a different species!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 4:47PM
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Neanthe bella is a synonym (obsolete name) of Chamaedorea elegans, Parlour Palm. They're a single stemmed palm so, as Larry said, it's a pot of seedlings. They normally grow up to 2 metres tall, so it's probably best left as a clump, that way the growth will remain stunted and it won't get too tall for you to handle. Unless of course you want tall plants. Some of the seedlings will waste away from too much competition and die.

If you wanted to, you could separate them and pot up as singles. Best done in warmer weather. You'd need to wash the soil away gently and slowly tease the roots apart. Done in water it's easier. Then plant in a well draining soil and keep the air humid around them until they settle in.

Where plants are kept in nurseries with mature palms often seeds will fall into the pots and then you get "surprise plants".

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 8:07PM
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I am not sure I understand. One plant is made of only one of those stems? That would seem like an extremely thin and frail plant.

Should I cut that extra-long stem?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 12:05AM
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Whether you cut out the tall frond is up to you, but it is most likely a different palm. Although, difficult to tell which species it might be. Depends on how you want the pot to look.

The others look to be the same, Parlour Palms. But a Parlour Palm only grows with one stem, so what you have is a group of many plants. One of those on its own could grow up to about 2 metres tall, with a single slender stem.

While they're all crowded together they'll be stunted, but some will probably die off so there won't be so many in there. The strongest/survivors will still be crowded and stunted to a degree.

As seedlings/young plants, they're a normal size. Separated they'd thicken up and grow a bit quicker. However, Parlour Palms are a relatively small, thin palm.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 3:33AM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Begonia, this species of palm is made up of a single stem, it doesnt branch, so to fill the pot and make it look luxuriant the nursery put lots of seedlings in one pot, so the punters think they're getting a bushy plant!
And from my experience palms dislike root disturbance.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 5:04AM
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I understand now that the pot is made of many different plants clumped together.
The question is: is it OK to leave it like this?
Can it go for a long time in this condition?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 9:42PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Well I had a Dypsis palm that was similar.I spilt it up leaving a few and it shot up! But its up to you really. That bigger one is asking for its own pot tho I reckon!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 7:26AM
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Yes, you can leave them, remembering they'll stay a bit stunted and you may lose a few of the smaller weaker plants. They'll still look a nice pot.

The main Dypsis sold is D. lutescens. It's a multi trunked (clumping) palm. Not the best long term indoor palm. They get up to about 5 - 6 metres tall.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 8:04AM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Well mine was IDed as D lutescens on palmtalk and GW but it never branched!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 8:40AM
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There's about 40 varieties of Dypsis lutescens (not sub species) and a couple are single stemmed. But you're very unlikely to see them around. The rest are clumpers, in that they multiply at or below ground level. Branching is when the trunk comes up and new trunks branch off that above the ground. This is a palm (not a Dypsis) branching just over 2 metres above the ground.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 10:17AM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Ah they branch when mature! Well mine never got anywhere near that size! Oh I wish!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 5:18AM
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No, it's NOT a Dypsis. The one in the photo is actually Archontophoenix. But the Dypsis lutescens produces side plants/suckers at ground level (or just below. They do it from a very early age. Archontophoenix grow very much taller than D. lutescens. My tallest D. lutescens are about 5+ metres tall. That's why I mentioned earlier on that they weren't an ideal long term indoor plant.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 7:25AM
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