information: From the age of the dinosaur this
prehistoric looking plant has a very distinct look. Cardboard
growing foliage is thick and firm with a feel and look of plastic. Once or
twice a year (usually in spring) you will get a rapid spurt of
growth. During this growing period be sure to keep the Cardboard
Palm in as bright of light as possible.
Cardboard Palms prefer very bright lighting for proper growth.
Direct sun or very strong filtered light from a east, south or
west windows will do nicely. Heated sunrooms or greenhouse are an
excellent place to grow a Cardboard Palm.
Cardboard Palms are sort of like a succulent not requiring a
lot of water. On larger plants allow the soil to dry 1" to
2" from the surface soil before watering. Water all the way
around the plant until water runs from the drainage holes. Remove
excess water from the drip tray within a couple of hours to help
prevent root rot.
Feed only twice a year. Once in the early spring when the
Cardboard Palm begins to grow, and once in the
late fall with Peter's Houseplant Special plant food.
Cardboard Palms are propagated by planting seed.
Common houseplant pests can include: Foliar Mealy bug or Scale.
"Cardboard Palms" are available from small containers to
very large containers. A large, mature plant may be 3 to 4 foot
tall and up to 6 foot wide with a heavy trunk. A large specimen
like this would be quite expensive.
visitor to Denver Plants sent us an email stating that she had
lost two pets that had eaten ripened seeds from a female Cardboard Palm. This visitor wanted us to share her experience
with the public. The following is the text from her email.
"This is a request that you update information you show on
the "Cardboard Palm". Your list indicates that the
plant's roots are poisonous, with a rating of 1. (The number 1
rating means highly toxic). Please be aware that all parts of the
plant are poisonous. Of particular concern are the seeds of the
female plant, which resemble bright red jelly beans when the pod
splits and the seeds ripen. The toxicity causes liver and kidney
failure... and there is no known antidote. We know, as we lost two
dogs to this plant before we knew what it was. Very few people are
aware of this. Please do your readers and subscribers a favor and
let them know just how dangerous this plant can be if it's not
properly isolated from pets and toddlers".
During my 30 year career as a house plant distributor I have
sold hundreds of "Cardboard Palms" and never heard of a
poisoning case here in the Denver Metro area... although it is
possible, as the plant is listed on our poisonous plants list
along with several other common houseplants.
One possible reason
that we have never heard of a poisoning case is that grown indoors it would take many years for the plant to mature and
produce flowers and seed, which could attract pet. In most
instances a Cardboard Palm generally would not receive enough lighting to
ever produce seed indoors. Apparently the stems and leaves are also
poisonous. The stems are covered with thorns which would help detour
a pet or toddler from chewing on them. Cardboard Palm's leaves are very leathery
and not easily removed from the plant.
Cardboard Palms are fascinating and beautiful
plants. I own one myself. My pets and my "Cardboard
Palm" get along just fine.