Rhapis humilis is a tall, suckering and thin trunked fan palm. It is a type of “Lady Palm” and this species is one of the most sought after. This is because it’s a great growing species, has strong canes that don’t bend over and gets significantly tall for the genus – tallest of the Rhapis genus. It does sucker and produces canes averaging one inch or a bit bigger in diameter. Leaves hold up to twenty leaflets that are narrow, a bit droopy, dark green and come to a point at their ends. The more common Rhapis excelsa leaflets come to a blunt tip at the end of the leaflets. The amazing thing about this species is that it attains such tall heights. I’ve seen specimens that have reached twenty-four feet! Compare this to the average height of a R. excelsa at six to eight. Finally, the Rhapis humilis is known to tolerate full sun along the coast.
Plants like we’re showing here are near impossible to find. We have four plants which are each about fifteen feet tall in their pots. These four plants are shown in the four rows of photos below. Be aware that, in California, there are only large garden specimens growing in full sun and with heights of over 20 feet. These are called the “California Rhapis humilis” and all plants sold come from divisions of existing plants. This is a dioecious species and there’s only known to be male plants. So, if someone tells you they grew them from seeds, you know they are not this true Rhapis humilis – more likely R. multifida (shown below in today’s Blog) which doesn’t take sun well and only gets to heights under ten feet. These 25 gallon specimens shown below would be perfect for an upscale garden or interior usage application. The more expensive plants are in the first two rows of photos and are almost sold out. The less expensive 25g have about five cnes and are $1500. The garden photo is by FM at the LAA. These oldest/largest divisions were taken from forty year old specimens and have taken ten years to establish as you see them now.