The Lipstick Palm Tree, scientific name Cyrtostachys renda, considered to be rare and exotic because of the time it takes for a seed to germinate and palm availability.
Tricky to grow, the sealing wax palm needs high humidity, a lot of water, and is not tolerant of drought or wind. It is definitely a collectors palm and is one of the most beautiful and sought-after palms in the world.
Lipstick palm is definitely one of my favorite palms trees. Its striking red crownshaft creates a nice contrast with its luxuriant bright green fronds. I think it is a must-have for any tropical garden.
Lipstick Palm Tree Profile
Scientific name: Cyrtostachys renda (syn: Cyrtostachys lakka). The name, Cyrtostachys comes from the greek ‘kyrtos’, meaning curved and ‘stachys’, meaning ear of grain to describe the curved inflorescence.
Common names: The Lipstick Palm is also known as Sealing Wax Palm, Rajah Palm, and Red Sealing Wax Palm.
Origin: It is native to Malaysia and the island of Sumatra.
Appearance: The Lipstick Palm trunks have similar characteristics with the Bamboo Palm. The Lipstick Palm is well known because of its brilliant red, sometimes orange, colored crownshaft. It is slender, smooth and slightly swollen at the base. It has pinnate, or feather like, dark green leaves that grow upward more than outward and can get up to 2ft long. Stiff leaves have around 50 slender leaflets that are 18 in. long.
Flowers/Fruits: The Lipstick Palm produces greenish flowers which grow on the long stalks from below the crownshaft. It has male and female flowers on the same inflorescence. Flowers are followed by small shiny fruits that turn black when they ripe. Fruit is about 1 in. long and oval in shape with a single seed inside. The lipstick palm fruit is not edible.
Growth Rate: Slow to Moderate. Cyrtostachys renda has multiple slender trunks which grow in clusters up to 10 – 20 ft tall and 1-5 ft wide. In the wild Lipstick palm can get up to 50ft tall.
Outdoor/Indoor Use: Both.
Cold Tolerance: It is not hardy, surviving only brief temperature drops down to 35F. Ideal year-round temperatures range from 75-85F. It is great for growing in USDA Zones 10b (35 to 40 F) to 11 (above 40 F).
Light Req: Partial shade to Full sun.
Water Req: Provide with a lot of water. As they naturally grow in swamps, they are highly tolerant of flooding and can be grown in standing water. Lipstick Palm prefer rich, moist, loamy soils but will adapt to any well-drained soil. It does not tolerate drought that well.
Maintenance: Moderate. To prevent nutritional deficiency, apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season.
Insects and Diseases: It has no major pests or disease problems.
Propagation: The propagation of Lipstick Palm is through seeds. Seeds are very slow to germinate. Fresh seeds germinate much more quickly, but will take 2-4 months to germinate. Young plants stay small (a few inches tall) for perhaps 3 years, then begin to grow slowly.