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PlantFiles: Radicalis Palm
Chamaedorea radicalis

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Chamaedorea (kam-ee-DOR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: radicalis (rad-ih-KAY-lis) (Info)

Synonym:Chamaedorea pringlei

One vendor has this plant for sale.

4 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

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USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade
Full Shade

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Bloom Color:
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Bloom Time:
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Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
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Propagation Methods:
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Seed Collecting:
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8 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive saltcedar On Apr 4, 2013, saltcedar from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Though this plant is cold hardy enough for most
Zone 8 Winters what no one mentions it they are
fairly delicate. No heavy snow, No strong wind gust,
No hail and avoid afternoon sun or they look
terrible for the many months it takes to recover.

Positive Dave_in_Devon On Sep 8, 2012, Dave_in_Devon from Torquay
United Kingdom (Zone 9b) wrote:

Probably the most cold tolerant of all Chamaedoreas and certainly hardy enough for even many UK gardens especially in the south. In cooler climates growth is slow, but in time plants develop into handsome specimens and they are inexpensive enough to plant in clumps, which create a bold effect sooner. It would seem that the trunking form is less cold tolerant - probably due to the meristem rising above soil level as the trunk develops and therefore beyond the insulating properties of the soil.. I have several plants all of which flower at slightly different times, but two consistently set viable seed, which suggests that some plants at least are monoecious.

Positive longjonsilverz On Mar 29, 2012, longjonsilverz from Centreville, MD wrote:

***UPDATE (June 18, 2014)
This last winter was one of the coldest on record here for the Eastern shore of Maryland. Lows were close to 0F on about 6 nights, and wind chills were -30F. One 48 hour period never got above 12F. I didn't protect my radicalis palm until the first night of below 10F. (mid Jan) I used a cardboard cylinder and stuffed some cloth tree wrap inside. Only took about 2 mins, so the protection was kind of minimal. After winter my Radicalis palm seemed dead and basically disintegrated before even turning brown. I pulled all of the spears out of the cluster of 3 and poured some fungicide in there, then I waited but didn't expect much. However, In mid June, I noticed a new spear (new leaf) coming out of the palm. This is very impressive because I still have no signs of life in any of my windmill palms (trachycarpus fortunei) which should be much hardier than the radicalis palm. I am starting to think this palm can survive without protection in an average winter, (just not the record cold ones) This palm should definitely be tried more in colder areas!

UPDATE:(2013) after 2 winters, this palm has impressed me a lot with its ability to tolerate cold. Damage is minimal in the lower teens, and the recovery is fast in spring. I have a good location near the southeast side of a building which protects it from wind. It also sits underneath a red maple which provides shade in the heat of summer, but allows sunshine in the winter. Flowering begins at a young age with these palms and mine has already started. Only time will tell if this can fully survive an area as cold as here in Md, but I would assume that in areas slightly milder such as Virginia Beach or eastern NC, this palm would be a nice addition to the few palms able to survive this far north.

I recently planted a seedling of one of these palms outside here in Eastern Maryland (zone 7). I have only had it for one winter so far, and it was a very mild one, but the temperature did get down to about 16F one night. This palm had only a small amount of damage on the tips of the leaves, and it had minimal protection. Its now early spring and it has already recovered very quickly and is showing new leaves. This palm should probably be tried more in cold climates.

Positive TropicalPatty On Apr 21, 2011, TropicalPatty from Canyon Lake, TX wrote:

The Radicalis Palm is an outstanding little palm that endures the Texas heat, drought, and winter freezes to 15 degrees without any protection. I have mine planted under my Live Oak Trees where they seem very happy. This plant is under utilized in tropical landscapes.

Positive stephenp On Nov 12, 2009, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

In my opinion one of the most undergrown palms around considering it's hardiness and ability to withstand eveything that is thrown at it.

This tropical looking palm is growing perfectly happy in UK, and generally this is the reported case in most low lying parts of the country - reportedly hardy to about -10C, even with snow cover in some colder parts of the country.

They are quite slow growing however, but with a palm as good looking as this one, it's not such a disability.

Positive NorCalBrad On Apr 2, 2007, NorCalBrad from Berkeley, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

My radicalis, both trunkless and trunking, sailed through Northern California's '07 winter freeze as if nothing had happened. For such tropical-looking palms, they are admirably cold tolerant. Their only drawback is their excruciatingly slow growth.

Positive suncatcheracres On Aug 28, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I grew the trunkless type in St. Petersburg, Florida, zone 9b, for years. The seeds can take up to a year to germinate. Mine grew considerably taller than the one pictured, perhaps to eight feet tall.

My plant was sheltered by the house and a huge punk tree, now an invasive, banned tree in Florida, but this tree was planted in the 1950's and was really quite attractive, with shredding white bark. The green palm-like leaves of my Chamaedorea were really quite distinctive against the light colored bark of the tree and the white painted cedar shingles of the house. Kind of a slow grower and pricey in the nursery trade, but worth growing for it's tropical feel. Survived 18F degrees, tornados, hail, hurricane winds, and flooding, but being in a protected spot and in a raised perennial bed probably helped.

Positive palmbob On Aug 17, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

One of the more common Chamaedoreas, and one of the two most cold hardy (can survive temps down to 20F). This Chamaedorea also does well in full sun, an unusual trait for members of this genus. This palm also has two distinct varieties: a trunkless form in which the flowers shoot straight out of the ground on long stalks, and a tree form in which a bamboo-like stem is formed. This is a non-clumping species with dark, attractive, blue-green leaves with a tough, leathery texture. They are also one of the few monoecious-acting- Chamaedoreas, sometimes producing viable seed on a single plant. Though actually dioecious, this happens sometimes and not sure how if truly dioecious...


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Mobile, Alabama
Berkeley, California
Brentwood, California
Encino, California
Los Angeles, California
Merced, California
Mission Viejo, California
Oceanside, California
Reseda, California
Riverside, California
San Anselmo, California
San Pedro, California
Santa Barbara, California
Simi Valley, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Upland, California
Visalia, California
Brandon, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Odessa, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Centreville, Maryland
Cayce, South Carolina
Ladys Island, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Austin, Texas
Canyon Lake, Texas
San Antonio, Texas

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