Indoor palm plants can be a great choice of plant for the home. Large, lower maintenance, and set a tranquil mood in a space. Let’s talk about the various types and pick one just for your home or office.
Parlor Palm – Chamaedorea Elegans
This palm is the most popular and well-known, grown indoors. These are patient growers but after a few years of growth, they can reach a height of about 3ft or more. Once they have developed in age and given the correct amount of light, they can produce small flowers.
Kentia Palm – Howea Forsteriana
The Kentia is another popular choice of plant for indoor growers and is similar to the belmoreana (sentry palm) with the main difference (in looks) being the leaves do not arch as much with the Kentia. Similar to other palms, it is tolerant of lower temperatures and does not need a great amount of light for growth.
Sentry Palm – Howea Belmoreana
It can be quite hard to see the difference between this plant and the kentia, at first glance. The leaves on the sentry are also quite wide like the kentia forsteriana, although they arch over more. This type is also known as the curly palm, and grows slowly. This plant like other palms looks great placed in hallways or large rooms.
Pygmy Date – Phoenix Roebelenii
The Pygmy date palm is also known as the miniature date or dwarf palm. This tree can grow to approximately 3ft, which is a good height that’s manageable for a home or office. The leaves are much slimmer in width than the three above.
European Fan – Chamaerops Humilis
The European fan palm is said to grow well indoors compared to other fan types of palms. Fan types are generally not as popular as other palms. These grow several stems from the base and produce fronds that resemble a fan. Once they grow and mature, they are attractive plants.
Lady Palm – Rhapis Excelsa
This plant is another fan type of palm that can be grown indoors. These can grow up to 2-7 ft high and grow much slower than many other palms. If you find the fan-type palms look appealing then this one is a good option to consider. Indoors the Lady palm can grow up to 14ft tall.
Areca Palm – Dypsis Lutescens
The areca is a cane-type palm with several common names including butterfly palm. This species displays similar fronds as the kentia and grows up to 8ft tall, which makes it a great focal point of large rooms or within office reception areas. Growing is easy and very similar to many of the other palms. This species is the most popular grown indoors from its genus (dypsis) and is sold at many garden stores.
Sago Palm – Cycas Revoluta
The sago palm is named palm, although it’s not a true palm (just has similar looks). It will not grow well like many other palms in low light conditions and prefers above-average humidity levels. Growing up to about 2ft tall indoors this species is a slow grower – so plenty of patience is needed for a young plant. If you have pets think twice about growing a sago palm because it’s highly toxic and can cause death if ingested.
Canary Island Date Palm – Phoenix Canariensis
The Canary date palm shares many similarities with the Pygmy date (Phoenix roebelenii) within the same genus. The leaflets on this species are straight, fairly stiff, and narrow in width. Indoors you are able to grow these up to approximately 6 ft tall, while outdoors anything up to 20 meters. Best suited to be planted in containers within a conservatory or a warm greenhouse and also enjoys being placed outside in warm conditions.
Useful Points To Consider
- Having the correct living space and place: Because many palms are grown to a great height in tropical climates, a grower needs to know the plants matured height before buying. Grown indoors and potted correctly they will grow to approximately 3ft-8ft in height, making it a good idea to plan where the plant will reside, based on the space needed.
- Cost: Many can be quite expensive compared to other house plants.
- Repotting: Most palms do not like to be disturbed too often, so its best to repot only when absolutely necessary.
- Light: Palm’s prefer partial shade (or partial with some sunlight), especially the kentia and parlor, as they are more than happy in low-light conditions.
- Brown leaves, spots, or tips: Dry air, under-watering, and cold air can cause brown tips, and spots can be caused by over-watering, getting cold suddenly, or watering with hard water. The lower leaves will turn brown after a period of time naturally that can be removed (by cutting) which allows new growth. If the brown leaves also seem to be rotting (fold one in the hand to see if it has a damp feeling) – then you could be over-watering.
- Yellowing leaves: The most likely cause is under-watering.
- Root rot: Main cause is over-watering and the container, soil or both may not be draining well. This is serious and needs attention or it could be too late (will need treatment).
- Insects: Red spider mites, mealy bugs, and scale can be a problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may encounter issues with red spider mites, mealy bugs, and scale. If you notice these, gently wipe the leaves with rubbing alcohol. In the future, you can lightly mist your plant to prevent attracting pests.
Growth rates vary depending on the variation, but most grow relatively slowly. It’s important to position your Indoor Palm with enough surrounding space so the plant can grow into the area, but you shouldn’t have to move it around frequently because it’s outgoing its space.
It’s recommended that you use a fertilizer high in manganese and potassium to help maximize the growth of your Indoor Palm. If you notice yellow or brown leaves, this could be a sign that your Palm isn’t getting enough potassium. This is another reason to use fertilizer.
Where do indoor Palms come from?
Species of Palm Tree grow all across the globe and all have varying care requirements. Some thrive in desert conditions, others prefer the rainforest environment and some are even known to live in cold-weather climates.
Can these trees flower?
Your Palm probably won’t flower indoors. Palms usually only flower once they’ve fully grown and matured, which is difficult to do when kept indoors. The main attraction is the foliage, anyway!
What is the best soil to use for an Indoor Palm?
A loose, porous soil would be the best mixture to use. A combination of leaf mold, shredded bark, and peat moss has been known to help with Palm health. You can find soil specifically made for growing palm plants, so any of these would do just fine.
The Indoor Palm plant can come in a range of varieties, so you’re bound to find one with the right shape, size, and color to fit your space. They can grow to heights of 3-8ft, so make sure you have the space to accommodate them!
While they’re an expensive choice, the Indoor Palm plant looks great and they can live up to 10 years, so think of it more as an investment than anything else.
They’re simple plants, they don’t need expensive fertilizer or constant attention, just make sure you’re providing the correct water and sunlight conditions and they’ll be happy. Try to refrain from repotting them unless absolutely necessary, they prefer to be left alone and like their home once they’ve settled.
Keep your Indoor Palm in partial shade or position it somewhere with a variation between shade and sunlight. These plants are more than happy in low-light conditions and dislike lots of sunlight. Direct sunlight can bleach and burn their leaves, causing their color to fade.
The amount of water you’re giving your Indoor Palm should be based on observation. If you notice the leaves begin to brown and dry and the soil drying out, you should thoroughly water your plant. If you’ve observed yellow leaves, soil mold, and root rot, you’re giving it too much water.
Elyssa Goins is an experienced house plant hobbyist who maintains over a hundred plants. She is a gardener, beekeeper, and a proud mother of four. She is a member of the American Horticultural Society, has a published study in the National Social Science Association, and loves to talk about her love of plants. For the past twenty years, she’s been all about growing and caring for various fruits, veggies, herbs, livestock, kids, and houseplants. Managing a big garden to feed four growing kids and raising dairy goats has taught her so much about being an excellent plant parent and now is her time to share with you.