Chamaedorea Elegans is an easy plant to grow in the house. It has a long slender stem, topped with clusters of lance-shaped leaves. At 3 or more years old it can produce a flower spike. The florets will develop into small berries. These are used by Mexicans as a vegetable called Tepejilote.
Germination Temperature (°F)
Keep moist at all times, water 2-3 times in Summer, once a week in Winter.
Feed every 14 days in Summer only with standard liquid fertilizer at half strength.
Re-pot when it has become root-bound, usually every other year in Spring, into one size larger pot. A 7 inch pot is likely to be the biggest needed. Then just top up each Spring by carefully removing top layer compost and replacing it with John Innes no 2 mixture.
After producing berries, the spike will dry. Cut it off with scissors close to the stem and grow new plants from the seeds. Sow them in a warm propagator in Spring using a moistened half peat, half sand compost. Plant seeds 1 inch deep and keep compost moist.
The plant needs a spot in good but indirect light. If kept at a distance from a window for a length of time in Winter, it begins to grow spindly. Keep it out of draughts. Cut off any leaves as soon as they fade. Never let compost to dry out completely but keep it just damp.
Clean the plant once every 2 months with milk using 6-7 drops in a cup of water. Between cleanings, wipe with damp cloth.
Grow Chamaedorea Elegans on its own or when small, in a bottle garden grouped with other plants. If leaves become yellow and marked and thin webbing develops on the underside, check for red spider mites. Mealy bug and scale insect can occur.
Kitchen and bathroom are good situation for Chamaedorea because of the steam.
Spray daily with rain water or soft water. Stand pot in saucer with pebbles almost covered with water.
The first potatoes were cultivated in Peru about 7,000 years ago.