Neanthe Bella Care Infographic
Neanthe Bella Care Infographic

Neanthe bella is an evergreen houseplant that is easy to grow and care for. In this detailed guide, we take you through the plant’s complete care process and propagation techniques.

Our experts list their tried and tested tips to grow healthy plant foliage and also tackle the most common problems that this plant faces. Read on to know it all in detail.

What Is a Neanthe Bella?

Neanthe bella is a low-maintenance perennial houseplant native to southern Mexico and Guatemala. The plant is also known as neanthe bella palm and is popular due to its miniature size and lush green foliage with slender stems. This makes it an amazing tabletop plant and a favorite of many.

Neanthe Bella Plant Care Guide

The evergreen neanthe bella palm requires minimal time and effort. The plant is durable and adaptive to most environments. Care for their basic requirements and you will be able to witness its green and beautiful foliage.

Large Potted Neanthe Bella PalmGive your neanthe bella plant partial, shaded sunlight and rich, well-draining soil to make it happy.

Provide it with temperatures within 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels above 60 percent to have a thriving houseplant in your collection.

Regularly remove dead and diseased parts and fertilize once a month during the growing season. With this ideal environment, your plant will be sure to thrive and produce wonderful growths!

Read on to know more in-depth information in the section below.

– Water Requirements

Water your neanthe bella palms only when you find the topsoil completely dry. The best way to know the level of moisture is to stick a finger an inch into the soil before watering the plant. The plant needs just slightly moist soil rather than an overly watered, soggy one.

Do note that an incorrect watering schedule can be disastrous to the health of this plant, thus avoid overwatering or underwatering it to keep it healthy and thriving.

– Light Requirements

Neanthe bella does not fare well in direct sunlight. The plant prefers medium light and cool, partial shade. Overexposure to the afternoon sun can result in bleached leaves, so keep them protected with a light filter such as a shade cloth or a greenhouse placed over it.

When indoors, place it near a north-facing window away from the harsh sunlight of the day.

– Soil Requirements

The plant requires rich and well-draining potting soil. When choosing a potting mix for this plant, opt for sandy, loamy or clay soil. Neanthe bella does not thrive in salty soils.

Additionally, use a potting mix with peat and perlite added that will kick in some aeration. Do not let the plant sit in waterlogged soil as this can drastically hamper the health and growth of the plant.

– Temperature Requirements

The plant requires a steady and consistent temperature range between 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite being hardy, the plant does not fare well in cold temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, keep it away from cold drafts and chilly winds which can wilt the plant and cause it to die.

Ideally, you need to move the plant indoors during the months when there is extreme cold or extreme heat. Keeping the temperature range constant is vital to the health of this plant.

– Humidity Requirements

The plant requires moderate to high humidity to grow at 60 percent. To promote moisture levels around it, place the plant in a tray of pebbles and water. Moreover, mist the plant frequently during the hot and dry months of the year.

Take care not to overdo the misting as excess moisture can harm the health of the plant. You can also use a humidifier to maintain humidity if your plant is placed indoors.

– Pruning

You wouldn’t need to regularly prune this plant as it seldom grows in an unruly fashion. However, regularly snip away yellowed or diseased leaves to keep the plant healthy and encourage fresh growth.

Snip away unhealthy neanthe bella leaves just above the node. Always use a sterile pruner or knife to prevent the spread of any infections.

– Fertilizing Requirements

Neanthe bella palm is not a heavy feeder. Fertilize the plant once a month during its growing season with a diluted standard liquid plant fertilizer. Do note that the fall and winter months are the time to let the plant remain unfertilized. Thus, refrain from adding fertilizers during these months.

 

Propagation 

Propagate neanthe bella easily through any of the below-mentioned methods. You don’t have to be an expert gardener, just the right technique and a few tools should get you going. Find the details of the procedure listed below.

– Right Season To Propagate

Choose to propagate your neanthe bella in the warm months of spring and summer. Not only will the young offset cope well in the warmth of the season, but the roots will also establish themselves better, leading to a healthy plant later on.

Moreover, spring and summer are the months when the plant actively grows, unlike the cooler months of fall and winter when the plant slowly moves towards a state of dormancy. So utilize the season to your advantage when you propagate the plant.

– Tools Required

Before you begin your process of propagation, keep your tools ready and at hand to make it hassle-free. You will need:

  • A sterile and clean sharp knife or pruner 
  • A suitable potting mix for the plant
  • Well-draining, shallow tray for seeds and a deep container for plant sections
  • A plastic sheet or transparent container with holes for ventilation

– Propagation Method

You can choose to propagate the neanthe bella plant through division or using seeds, though using seeds is a far slower process. Moreover, the success rate is often higher in the division method in comparison to seeds.

Take note that the neanthe bella plant cannot be propagated using the stem of leaf sections. Find the details of both methods of propagation listed below.

– Propagation Through Division

This is a simple means of vegetative propagation where the mother plant is dug out carefully and divided carefully using secateurs or a spade. Here is how you can go about this:

  • Begin by choosing a healthy and mature mother plant. This will be the plant that will be divided under hygienic conditions.
  • Take it out of the container by tapping gently at the base of the plant with a scythe or spade. The entire plant will be in your hands with the soil and roots intact.
  • Loosen the surplus soil around the roots and pick a section complete with the root structure intact. Snip it out of the cluster.
  • In a container with good quality potting soil, place the division as a separate plant. Additionally, add a mixture of peat moss or perlite for aeration.  
  • Plant the mother plant back into its original container as well. 
  • Water both lightly, place in a partially lit warm place, and maintain humidity around it. You can cover the divided section with a plastic sheet or container in case you need to increase humidity around it.
  • You may notice some wilting in both plants — the mother as well as the divided section but this is normal and is caused due to the stress of the process. Care as you would normally do and they should gain their vigor soon.

– Propagation Through Seeds

The challenge in propagation through seeds is that this plant rarely produces flowers and fruits, so collecting seeds becomes a difficult activity. Coupled with this is the fact that it takes a long time from germination until the plant grows into mature adult foliage.

Nevertheless, it can be a rewarding experience if you are patient. Here are the steps involved in this process:

  • Collect seeds from the black fruits when they occur or purchase good quality ones from a store. Make sure that the seeds you purchase are not more than a year old.
  • You will need to collect several of them as the neanthe bella seeds are notoriously unreliable, so to increase the success rate, use more seeds.
  • Clean the seeds by removing the pulp and tissue of the fruit stuck onto them and rinsing thoroughly. It is advisable to wear gloves while cleaning the seeds as the pulp can cause mild skin irritations.
  • Soak the seeds in water for at least a week and remove the hard outer seed covering. Sow the seeds immediately after soaking.
  • Use a well-draining shallow tray with potting soil and gently press the seeds down.
  • The seeds will thrive best within temperatures of 85 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. If there is a chill in the air, use a heat mat under the tray to regulate proper heat. 
  • Water to keep the soil lightly moist. If required, cover the tray with a plastic sheet to improve humidity.
  • Wait for several weeks for germination to set in and the seedlings to sprout out. Transplant the seedlings into a bigger container once you spot two nascent leaves. 
  • It may take several more months for the plant to develop and grow into a thriving adult plant. Until then, care for the seedling as per our care guide to see success.

Problems 

Neanthe bella comes with a few fairly common gardening problems, though they can be tackled easily. Let us identify and find solutions for each one of them.

– Pests

Spider mites are the most common pests that can infect this miniature palm, even if you are growing it indoors. These pests form a web-like texture on the underside of leaves and stem corners, laying eggs and growing a colony of their own.

The pests suck the sap out of the stems, making the plant go limp and weak. Thus, it is important to prevent this from happening, catch them early, and tackle the problem efficiently.

Prevent spider mites by keeping your plant free of dust and misting the plant regularly with organic applications such as neem oil, which repel spider mites with their odor. As soon as you spot pests, isolate the plant to prevent its spread to nearby plants.

If the infestation is minimal, snip away the affected sections with a sterile garden pruner and apply an organic soapy insecticide all over the plant, making the pests fall off. Repeat every few weeks until all of the pests have been removed from the plant.

– Root Rot

A classic outcome of overwatering the plant is root rot. This is a condition where roots develop fungal growth due to excess moisture in the soil. It is a deteriorating condition and can make the plant wilt, fade its leaves, kill off its branches, and eventually die.

Prevent root rot by avoiding damp and soggy soil. You have to maintain the plant in a well-draining and porous potting mix to reduce all chances of fungal growth.

If you suspect root rot, gently remove the plant from the soil and check for blackened sections. Snip away any rotten roots with the help of a sterile garden pruner, taking care not to damage the main root of the plant. Repot the plant in fresh, aerated potting mix. 

– Cankers

This is a form of lesion on the surface of the stem that can obstruct the upward movement of water and nutrients from the roots. Cankers are caused by bacterial or fungal infections when the plant is not grown in its ideal environment.

Dry or overly moist soil and inadequate or over-exposure to light, heat and humidity are a few of the reasons why these infections can develop. The only way to tackle this is to prevent occurrence by caring for the plant as per the details mentioned in our care section. 

– Leaf Spot

This is a fungal or bacterial infection that results in spots all over the foliage. If ignored, this condition can make the plant wilt and affect its overall health. As soon as you find the spots, snip away the leaf or stem section to prevent further spread. Scale back on the watering immediately as moisture can accelerate the spread of the fungus.

Apply a regular over-the-counter fungicide if the spread is minimal. For deeper infections, unfortunately, it will be difficult to recover the plant.

– Dying Neanthe Bella Palm

Another outcome of an incorrect watering schedule is a wilted and dying plant. The plant is not a thirsty one and requires just enough water to keep the soil lightly moist, so add more water only when the topsoil is at least one to two inches dry. 

The frequency of watering can be once every week in spring and summer and once every two weeks in winter. For an additional boost to its growth, fertilize with a liquid formula once a month in spring. Additionally, keep the plant away from air conditioner vents and room heaters as the sudden blast of hot or cold air can make the plant wilt.

– Neanthe Bella’s Leaves Turning Gray and Crispy

Are your plant’s leaves getting brittle and gray? Check your watering schedule. A thirsty plant under stressful conditions results in brittle and crispy leaves along with a change in its color. 

Monitor your plant watering schedule and water them as per the season. If the weather outside is hot and dry, increase the frequency of watering. Moreover, the larger the plant gets, the more thirsty it is going to get, so stay consistent in your watering schedule and avoid overwatering as well as underwatering.

– Roots Sticking Out of Drainage Holes

If you find roots sticking out and blocking drainage holes or if you suspect root rot, it is advisable to repot your plant into a container that is one size bigger.

As much as the neanthe bella plant does not require frequent repotting and most gardeners, especially beginners, consider it to be low in maintenance, sometimes you really need to move it over to a bigger pot to keep the plant growing.

Conclusion

After reading this detailed guide, you can now easily care for and grow healthy neanthe bella plants in your garden. Here is a quick recap of the important points from this guide:

  • Neanthe bella or the bella palm is a beautiful tropical plant that is much sought after due to its compact and small size. It grows to a height of three to four feet indoors and each cluster of leaves grows to about six inches in length and one inch wide. 
  • The plant grows upright and bushy with each pinnate leaf bearing a dozen smaller leaflets and tiny little seasonal blooms without petals. 
  • It requires a consistent level of light and warmth to thrive and sustain its lush, green evergreen foliage. Additionally, this plant needs moderate humidity and regular fertilizer use.
  • Make sure its soil is slightly moist and the pot is well-drained. An incorrect watering schedule can cause root rot and other bacterial diseases.
  • You can easily propagate the plant by division or seeds, although seeds are a far slower process.

Neanthe bella is a delightful plant that can adorn and charm any garden space, apart from being easy to care for. Now you have good reasons to include it in your home or garden space!

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