How to Grow the Teddy Bear Palm Tree (Dypsis leptocheilos)

Teddy Bear Palm Tree (Dypsis leptocheilos)
Teddy Bear Palm Tree (Dypsis leptocheilos). Photo by Flickr.

The Teddy Bear Palm Tree, scientifically known as Dypsis leptocheilos or Neodypsis lastelliana, stands out as an elegant palm distinguished by its unique trunk adorned with a distinctive reddish-colored fuzzy crownshaft.

It is native to Madagascar, an island nation located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. It is naturally found in Madagascar and is not native to any other region.

This versatile palm can be cultivated both indoors and outdoors, although it’s occasionally mistaken for another palm variety known as the Redneck Dypsis lastelliana.

Quick Facts:

Scientific name:Dypsis leptocheilos or Neodypsis lastelliana
Common names:Teddy Bear Palm, Redneck Palm, Red Fuzzy Palm.
Origin:Native to Madagascar.
Growth Rate:Moderate. Up to 30 ft tall and 15 ft wide.
Cold Tolerance:USDA Zones 10b (35 to 40 F) to 11 (above 40 F).
Light Req:Full sun.
Water Req:Moderate.
Soil Req:Widely adaptable.
Fruit:Yes. Yellowish-orange. Not edible.
Propagation:By seeds, germinating in 4-6 months.

Identifying Characteristics of the Teddy Bear Palm

Characterized by a single, pristine, white, waxy trunk, encircled by scars from fallen fronds, the Teddy Bear Palm earns its name from the dense, reddish-brown, velvet-like or fur-like fuzzy material, known as “tomentum,” that covers the crownshaft.

The trunk shares notable similarities with bamboo. A striking crown consisting of approximately 15-20 slightly arching leaves emerges from the crownshaft.

These pinnate, or feather-shaped, leaves reach lengths of 8-10 feet, featuring exquisite, drooping dark green leaflets measuring 18 inches in length and 1 inch in width.

Flowers and Fruits of the Teddy Bear Palm

Teddy Bear Palm Tree (Dypsis leptocheilos) fruits
Teddy Bear Palm Tree (Dypsis leptocheilos). Photo by Flickr.

During the period from May to August, the palm produces pale yellow, creamy flowers, supported by 3-foot-long branched inflorescences that emerge from beneath the leaves.

The Teddy Bear Palm is monoecious, bearing both male and female flowers on the same plant. Following the flowering stage, the palm yields berry-like fruits.

How To Care For Teddy Bear Palm

Dypsis leptocheilos exhibits a medium growth rate, reaching heights of up to 20-30 feet and boasting a width of 15-20 feet. It thrives in full sun and requires a moderate amount of water, along with well-draining soil.

To prevent nutritional deficiencies, it is advisable to apply high-quality palm fertilizer with a continuous-release formula twice a year during the growing season.

Propagation of the Teddy Bear Palm is typically carried out through seeds, which take approximately 4-6 months to germinate. For optimal results, soak the seeds in warm water overnight before planting them.

Plant the seeds to a depth of ½ inch in a mixture of garden soil and fast-draining potting soil, ensuring that the soil remains consistently moist and receives adequate light.

Teddy Bear Palm Tree Pictures

Teddy Bear Palm Tree (Dypsis leptocheilos) at the nursery
Teddy Bear Palm Tree (Dypsis leptocheilos). Photo by Flickr.