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June 10th, 2020

Lipstick palm: Dress up your palm garden

by R.S. Walsh

The lipstick palm also known as red sealing wax palm or rajah is an ornamental palm. With striking bright red crown shafts and leaf sheaths and a bamboo-like appearance, it makes a visually pleasing addition to a palm garden or tropical landscape.

The lipstick palm is a favorite among many landscapers and gardeners. Its aesthetic appeal and overall uniqueness makes this palm an easy consideration when designing a tropical landscape. Its native habitat is Southeast Asian countries in rainforests and swamps. It is important to note that as a water hungry plant it only thrives in wet and humid environmental conditions, making it a perfect match for our tropical islands.

It is however best to plant this palm away from beach areas due to its low salt tolerance. The lipstick palm makes an ideal palm for adding some color near a water feature, planted in or near a wet area of the landscape and also makes a nice specimen when it is planted in a pot around the pool. This palm makes a great indoor potted palm as it prefers partial shade when it is young. However, as it matures it will adapt to more sun, so when it outgrows the inside area, it can be planted directly in the outdoor landscape with a gradual introduction to sunny conditions. It is considered a slow growing palm that can potentially reach 30′ high and approximately 15′ wide.

Overall, the lipstick palm is a distinct palm growing in popularity. It is another palm to be considered when adding to our diverse tropical palette in the Southwest Florida landscape.

This column is a joint effort by all at In The Garden, Sanibel’s local garden center located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel Island, Florida.

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