About once or twice a week, I get a call from someone who wants to grow this exotic species in their yard. For this reason, I’m writing about growing this palm. I’ve gotten calls from such places as Las Vegas, Dallas and Madison, Wisconsin. Don’t laugh; people just love this species. In the continental U.S., there is hardly any location where the Lipstick Palm can survive over the long run outdoors. The problem is the winter’s cold. This species rapidly succumbs at temperatures under 47 degrees F. I mean, overnight! Back in my more reckless years, I’d try these again and again. But, one nights failure of the heaters and all of the Red Sealing Wax were gone. Nowadays I don’t heat the greenhouses and don’t even have a chance with this species.
This species is native to southern Thailand, Malaysia, and some Indonesian islands. It is a clumping palm and can get to sixty feet. It’s hallmark is the red crown shaft. Thus the common names. It wants sun in the tropics but can be grown in filtered light. Here in Southern California it wants a greenhouse. Or, if you are super industrious, you can try it inside the house but it’ll be a challenge.
In South Florida there are some being grown outdoors, but winter cold fronts put them at risk of death. In HI, they seem to thrive where winter lows are hardly ever below 55 degrees near the water. Remember, below 47 degrees F. and this species is gone. I can get one for a real enthusiast, but they are always quite expensive. One photo below shows interior environmentally controlled culture of this species in Southern CA. The last photo shows a 5 gallon plant that saw temperatures of 46 degrees for one night.