1 Nov 1998
Chamaedorea radicalis x seifrizii
(kam-e-door-e-ah rad-eh-kal-is se-friz-e-i)
The Chamaedoreas are typically small, almost toylike, compared to palms that we are familiar with. Their origin is Mexico, situated within a forest such that their light is filtered, thus they are best suited in a shady area, or in dappled light resulting from overhead slats of a patio. Usually they thrive on the north side, under the eaves, or in any other area protected against direct sunlight. It isn’t necessary that it be dark, in fact It should be quite bright, but not in direct line-of-sight sunlight. Usually rays of sunlight before ten in the morning or after 4 in the afternoon are harmless. Of course this plant will do well inside, but periodically put it out and rinse with cold water to preclude aphids and other afflictions. A good drink of rain water once in a while will flush away salts that have accumulated from your tap water (if you can keep the leaf tips from browning your plant is perfectly happy, but some browning is inevitable with our water supply).
This species is a cross, so it presents the best of two plants. The radicalis is 4’ and trunkless but the seifrizii is 10’ with a trunk but clumping (new growth adjacent to the trunk), so this plant will be larger than 4’ and have a trunk with offsets. The trunk is about 2” in diameter, coated with a silicone-like powder. The growth is considered slow, perhaps a foot in 3 years, unless heavily fertilized and in optimum conditions. It will usually tolerate short periods of 32 degrees F. It’s best feature is that it is a feather palm (soft, featherlike) with dark leaves having prominent ribs of character. The leaves emerge from the petiole (the branch) in a peculiar, stacked arrangement. The radicalis has reddish fruit (seeds), the seifrizii has black.