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How to Grow Caryota

Cayota mitis
Fishtail palm, Caryota mitis

Caryota–commonly called fishtail palm–is a palm grown for its broad, divided, deep green leaves that resemble the tail of a fish. The finely divided leaves have leaflets that are flattened and split at the tips like fish tails.

Cayota is a tropical plant native to Southeast Asia. It is often grown as a houseplant in temperate regions. Caryota is grown as a specimen tree in tropical regions.

Caryota is a genus of 12 species of single and cluster-stemmed palms.

Get to Know Caryota

  • Plant type: Palm
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 10-12
  • Optimal growing temperature: day 68° to 75°F (20°-24°C), night 58° to 65°F (14°-18°C)
  • Height and width: 10 to 40 feet (3-12m) tall and 10 to 22 feet (3-7m) wide depending on the variety.
  • Foliage: Finely divided leaves, the leaflets are flattened and split at the tips like fish tails.
  • Flowers: Green or purple flowers appear when the plant is mature.
  • Uses: Specimen tree, houseplant
  • Common name: Fishtail palm
  • Botanical name: Caryota
  • Family name: Arecaceae
  • Origin: Southeast Asia

Where to Plant Caryota

  • Grow Caryota in full sun with midday shade outdoors.
  • Indoors grow Caryota in bright filtered light and high humidity.
  • Outdoors grow Caryota in humus-rich, moist, but well-drained soil.
  • Indoors grow Caryota in a soil-based potting mix.

When to Plant Caryota

  • Set Caryota outdoors any time of the year in tropical and subtropical regions.
Caryota mitis, fishtail palm
Caryota mitis, fishtail palm

Planting and Spacing Caryota

  • Outdoors space Caryota 10 to 22 feet (3-7m) apart depending on the variety.

How to Water and Feed Caryota

  • Water Caryota freely during the growing season. Water Caryota sparingly in winter.
  • Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthy.

Care Caryota

  • Where Caryota is not hardy, grow it in a war greenhouse or use young specimens as houseplants.
  • Caryota prefers to be potbound; repot when roots occupy 3/4 of pot space.
  • Caryota rests in winter; keep the soil barely moist, withhold fertilizer.

Growing Caryota as a Houseplant

  • Grow Caryota in bright light and medium to high humidity.
  • Keep the temperature warm.
  • Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy.
  • Fertilize Caryota regularly from spring to fall.

Caryota Pests and Diseases

  • Caryota is susceptible to attack by mealybugs, mites, and scale insects.

Caryota Propagation

  • Propagate Caryota from offsets.
  • Sow seed at 81℉ in spring.

Caryota Varieties to Grow

  • Caryota mitis, clustered fishtail palm. Slow growing from 20 to 25 feet tall; basal offshoots form clustered trunk with fibrous leaf base; light green leaves. Commonly grown as houseplant.
  • C. ochlandra, Canton fishtail palm. Grows to 25 feet tall; medium dark green leaves; hardy to 26℉ /-3℃.
  • C. urens, fishtail wine palm. Grows 15 to 20 feet tall; dark green leaves; hardy to 32℉ /0℃.

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