This fellow is easily one of our favourite plants and it's no surprise why. If not for the fact that it's hard to propagate, we are pretty certain that it would have become one of the "it" plants today!
What a beauty—that was our first thought when we first saw the cardboard palm. To say that we were smitten at first sight is probably an understatement. If you're as lucky as us to get your hands on them (they are fairly uncommon), here is a guide on how you can keep them happy and alive. Good news – they are fairly low maintenance plants!
These plants adore sunlight. Partial sun or full sun will work very well—they should be placed in either a garden or right next to a window with ideally at least 2-3 hours of direct sun a day. The branches will tilt towards sunlight so remember to rotate the plant regularly to avoid a lop-sided plant.
This fellow is fairly drought resistant—nothing will happen if you miss a watering or two. Water thoroughly only when the top 2-3 inches of the soil is dry. Be careful to only water the potting mix and avoid the trunk or the foliage when watering as this can cause rot. Once the trunk starts to rot, your chances of saving it will be slim. You will notice that when extremely underwatered, the trunk looks shrunken up and shrivelled.
These plants are not soil snobs. All that is needed is well-draining soil—regular potting mix with some added perlite will work well.
TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY
They are tropical plants and are not a fan of the cold weather. Keep them well-protected indoors during summer. They are not humidity snobs either—low to average humidity is a-okay.
PESTS AND DISEASES
Cardboard palms are generally pest and disease-resistant, though they have been mentioned to be prone to spider mites. They will be happy plants as long as you wipe down their leaves quarterly with a tad of neem oil.
Don't be expecting new leaves and branches every couple of weeks. These are slow and steady growers!
Feed them during the growing season (warmer temperatures). Simply refer to the instructions on your fertiliser product and halve the amount of fertiliser required to reduce the risk of fertiliser burn.
Sadly, this majestic plant only propagates via seed. Not only is it extremely difficult to get your hands on them, it is also very challenging to germinate them indoors. If you're looking to get these plants, buying them as a grown plant is probably your safest bet.
Check the drainage hole(s) to see if roots are starting to outgrow its container. If you see roots, simply loosen the soil around the plant, pull it out, gently remove excess soil from its roots, place it in a slightly larger container and top it up with soil. If you don't see roots but get a sense that the soil is tired or worn out, go ahead and repot it with fresh soil in its current pot.
All parts of the plant are highly toxic when consumed. Make sure to keep it away from the mouths of your furry babies and children!
Have you seen the cardboard palm in person? What are your thoughts?