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Licuala Grandis: Tips on How To Grow Your Own Ruffled Fan Palm

The Licuala Grandis plant, commonly known as the “ruffled fan palm,” is a beautiful, rare, and gorgeous palm tree native to the Vanuatu islands. It gets its nickname as a result of the shape of its leaves; it has a beautiful set of broad glossy leaves shaped out in the form of a fan. Its leaves are medium to light green, grow in an upright position, and are circular with a pleated pattern.

Licuala Grandis

The licuala grandis palm is a perennial plant that belongs to the Arecaceae family. It is a great flowering plant that produces fragrant blossoms in early summer. Their blooms come in a variety of colors, ranging from white to cream-colored, or sometimes yellow. The texture of their fruits is smooth and shiny, and they turn red when fully mature. Their fruits are not edible and considered toxic to humans, although bats and birds do eat them.

Under the right growing conditions in its natural habitat, the licuala palm can reach a height of around 13 feet. Their leaves can reach about 22 inches in diameter, making them a large plant. Although, when growing indoors in containers, their size tends to be around 6 feet in height.

Plant Overview

Scientific nameLicuala Grandis.
Common nameRuffled Fan Palm.
OriginVanuatu Islands, off the coast of Australia.
SizeAround 13 feet in height.
LightingPartial or full shade.
SoilMoist but also well-drained soil.
Temperature70 – 88 °Fahrenheit ( 21 – 31 °Celsius). 
FertilizerBalanced fertilizer.
ToxicityToxic if ingested.
PropagationBy seed.

Licuala Grandis Care

The licuala plant is a slow-growing plant and can take around 6 months to even germinate. When growing indoors, always keep them in areas with lots of space so they can spread without obstruction. Also, be careful when handling the licuala grandis plant as its leaves have notched edges that are sharp and can cut you.

Light Requirements

In their natural habitat, ruffled fan palms grow under canopies of trees, making them adaptable to partial or full shade. You can grow your licuala grandis plant in partial to complete shade away from direct sunlight when just starting.

When they become more mature and established, they develop a tolerance for more sunlight exposure. However, do not expose them to direct sunlight for an extended period as this can damage their leaves causing them to turn brown.

Soil Requirements

Soil Requirements
The Palm Centre

When it comes to soil requirements, the ruffled fan palm is not picky as it can survive in most soil types provided it is moist, rich in humus, and also fast-draining.

The licuala grandis palm is very susceptible to root rot, so letting it sit in a layer of water is a bad idea. When growing in a container, use a mixture of perlite, coco peat, and sandy soil mixed with lots of humus as its potting medium.

The plant performs well in both acidic and alkaline soils, so there is no need to worry about that. Just ensure your soil is fast-draining and damp at all times.

Also, reduce the frequency of watering during the winter season as plants go into dormancy.

Water Requirements

Licuala grandis’ watering needs are straightforward. Their soil needs to remain damp at all times. The idea is to only water the plant when the top of the soil starts to get dry.

In hotter regions, the soil tends to dry up faster, needing more watering compared to colder regions, where evaporation occurs more slowly. You can use your fingers by dipping them into the topsoil to determine the level of dampness. If it is dry, water the plant.

Also, ensure your containers have drainage holes for expelling excess water to prevent waterlogged soil.

Fertilizer Requirements

During the growing months, you can fertilize the plants monthly using a balanced slow-release fertilizer. There are special fertilizers designed for palm trees. Get one of those and simply follow the instructions on the packaging to determine the amount and frequency with which you should use them.

When growing indoors, you can use a well-balanced fertilizer that is diluted to half its strength once or twice a month. They are best applied when watering the plant.

Also, avoid fertilizing during winter due to dormancy. Doing so can damage its inactive roots.

Temperature And Humidity

The natural habitat of the ruffled fan palm is usually warm and humid. So, for better growth, it would be nice to recreate such an environment for your plant.

Licuala grandis grows best in temperatures ranging from 70 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 31 degrees Celsius). Although it can still withstand colder temperatures, provided it doesn’t fall below 32 ° Fahrenheit or 0 ° Celsius, doing so can greatly damage the plant.

Licuala grandis loves humid environments, so always provide your plant with humidity. Keep humidity levels above 50% when growing indoors.


Pruning Licuala Grandis
The Garden Store

Licuala grandis leaves are usually large with a beautiful glossy green color. When exposed to excessive direct sunlight or low humidity, their leaves tend to develop brown edges. These brown edges, which alter the natural look of the plant, can be cut off at the trunk area using a pair of sterilized scissors or pruning shears. This also goes for mature and aged leaves.


Propagation of the ruffled fan palm plant can either be done through a transplanting of suckers or seed propagation. Both methods require a long waiting time before germination can take place.

When transplanting, you can get suckers from mature plants, which can be easily replanted to get a new plant. Ensure the suckers are planted in moist soil and kept away from direct sunlight.

For seed propagation, the best time to sow them would be in spring. Prepare your soil medium by mixing it with perlite and peat to encourage water retainability and fast drainage. Plant the seed in the middle of the growing medium. Water the plant to keep it damp and keep it away from direct sunlight.

Common Health Problems/Pests And Diseases

Growing the licuala grandis palm plant as an indoor plant can expose it to attacks from general household pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, etc.

The best way to handle these pests is by washing the leaves of the plant with slow rushing water or by spraying them with Neem oil or an insecticidal soap mixture.

When exposed to direct sunlight for a long time, your plant will eventually develop brown leaves. Licuala grandis root rot is another common problem of the licuala grandis plant, caused mostly by overwatering.

Avoid placing your plant in direct sunlight and only water when you notice the top of the soil is getting dry.


Is licuala grandis toxic to pets?

Yes. Licuala grandis palm is toxic to pets and humans when ingested. It can cause mouth irritation and also induce vomiting in victims.

What is the best way of propagating licuala grandis palm plants?

Seed propagation is the best and easiest way of propagating the ruffled fan palm.

How long does it take for a licuala grandis plant to germinate?

Growing a licuala grandis palm plant requires lots of patience as it is a slow-growing plant. Before licuala grandis germinates, It can take up to 3 to 6 months.

Can I grow my ruffled fan palm plant in direct sunlight?

No. It can cause the leaves to burn and turn brown when exposed to direct sunlight for a long time. Partial or full shade is great for new plants.

How often should I water my ruffled fan palm?

You should water the plant only when you notice the topsoil is getting dry.