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How to Care for a Lipstick Palm

The lipstick palm (Cyrtostachys renda), commonly called sealing wax palm, grows to a height of 20 feet. The leaf sheath and crown of the lipstick palm frond is a brilliant red, and each frond leaf is a feathery green. During the summer months, the tree has long panicles of whitish-green flowers followed by small, oval black fruit. Native to Indonesia, Borneo and Sumatra, the palm requires a tropical location to flourish. It grows best in USDA hardiness zones 11 to 12. The tree does not tolerate temperatures that dip below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and prefers a location with high humidity. The seeds are difficult to start, and often take up to a year to germinate.

Place or plant the lipstick palm in an outside location with dappled sunlight. Full sunlight can burn the fronds. The palm grows well in either a container or planted directly in the garden. It requires well-draining soil.

Apply 3 to 4 inches of mulch, such as bark chips or leaf debris, around the base of the lipstick palm. The mulch helps to keep the soil moist during the summer heat and also reduces weed growth.

Water the lipstick palm frequently. Keep the soil moist to the touch but not water-logged. Always water the palm using warm water. The lipstick palm will not tolerate drought conditions and will quickly wilt.

Fertilize the lipstick palm monthly using a water-soluble palm tree fertilizer. Apply according to the directions on the label.

Spray the lipstick palm in December, January, February and March using a Mancozeb-based fungicide. Use a hand-held garden sprayer to apply the fungicide when the temperature is below 70 degrees Farenheit for best results.


The lipstick palm rarely suffers pests or disease when grown outdoors, but when grown indoors spider mites or scale may afflict the palm. Spray spider mites off of the plant using a steady stream of water. Repeat the process if the palm becomes re-infested. Apply a horticultural oil spray to remove scales, following application directions on the label.


Keep the lipstick palm away from cold drafts if kept inside the house during the winter months. Cold drafts will cause the fronds to dry out and die.

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