Decorating your living space without plants and trees is inconceivable.
You can try trinkets and stuff, but what gives life to any space is life, actually.
So, plants and trees.
Among many species you will find, I heartily recommend that you try growing palm trees indoors since they will give a beachy note, among many other things, to your home.
If you don’t know which palm trees to choose, or how to grow them in the first place, here’s just the thing for you!
Stay tuned to discover all there is to know about growing palm trees indoors and which types to choose from!
The ultimate list coming right up!
The Best Palm Trees to Grow Indoors
Let’s be honest – I know we would all love to have a coconut palm in our homes.
But, no can do. I mean, you can try, if you are a sadist. But, coconut palm will never reach its full potential as a houseplant. So, let it be.
Instead, here comes a list of the best types of palm trees you can grow in your home!
You will get a full list plus some practical pieces of advice on how to care for them properly.
Roll up your sleeves and get ready to plant some palm trees when you’re done with this article!
1. Fishtail Palm (Caryota mitis)
This beauty, named after its interesting leaves, is a rather appealing palm tree to grow.
Once you choose it as your home tree, beware the height it reaches. Fishtail palm can grow some 20 to 25 feet so you need to pay attention to space where you keep it. And, if you think this is too much, in its natural habitat, this plant can reach even 60 feet!
They grow as clumpy and feature numerous stems from the base.
For proper maintenance, you can reward it with occasional misting and indirect, bright sunlight.
As for soil, plant it in well-drained soils that don’t retain too much water, but still, water it regularly.
In this way, the fishtail palm will reach its full potential.
2. Parlour Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
Ah, the classy, the elegans ones!
Native to Guatemala and Southern Mexico, these are the most typical palm plants you will find ornamenting and decorating lobbies and interiors in general.
I mean, the name says it all!
As opposed to the previous type, these do not grow as high, but can instead reach some 4 to 6 feet in height.
What makes this plant all the more desirable for indoor space is that it can develop yellow flowers that will give a great tropical vibe.
The maintenance is rather easy and, as we will see, parlour palm doesn’t require any special attention.
As for proper care, avoid direct sunlight exposure – it doesn’t do it well! Next, use quality potting soils for optimum nurture.
Then, whatever you do, avoid overwatering. Never, never use too much water on the parlour palm.
Finally, keep it as far away as possible from windows and draught, making sure that you meet the optimum temperature requirement, i.e. 65 – 80 F.
3. European Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis)
Guess where this one comes from?
Yes, Europe it is! More precisely, the western Mediterranean (not to say Italy, France, Spain).
This beauty is extremely cold-hardy. It can survive at as low temps as 10°F!. It is quite tough, meaning that even if the leaves get damaged, the trunk will survive and continue to grow when the time has come.
Due to its slightly stunted look, it is also known as Tyrion palm. Sorry, I meant dwarf palm!
The fan arrangement of leaves is the main cause of its original name and in general, European fan palm can grow some 5 to 9 feet in house conditions.
This one doesn’t prefer full sun exposure either, so partial shade and sunlight will be the optimum environment.
Water regularly while the roots are forming and when this is done, cut back on the water.
Furthermore, European fan palms aren’t picky when it comes to soils and they easily adapt to anything.
What more could you want?
4. Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
Ah, the golden cane palm!
Or, the butterfly palm; whichever you prefer.
Native to Madagascar, it grows some 6 to 10 inches annually and in closed spaces, it can reach 6 to 7 feet.
Having trunks resembling a bamboo tree, it will bring diversity to your home décor. Moreover, it can also develop flowers which are typically pale yellow.
When it comes to proper indoor maintenance, go for the slightly acidic to neutral, rich and moist soils.
Waterlogging is a NO! Be moderate instead.
Finally, make sure to keep your butterfly palm in bright, and yet indirect light. And, whatever you do, make sure that the room temperature doesn’t go below 50°F.
5. Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona Chinensis)
Here comes another fan palm in our list!
As opposed to the previous one, this one comes from, yeah, you’ve guessed it, east Asia.
In its natural habitat, this beauty with star-like leaves can grow up to 40 feet!!! When grown indoors (luckily), it grows way smaller than this. Still, just the fans can reach some 6 feet in length and they look rather stunning.
Chinese fan palm will thrive when receiving bountiful sun, although partial shade is also an option. It doesn’t require much watering. Moreover, during the dormant season, you can even reduce the watering additionally.
Interestingly, this is also a cold-tolerant palm tree that can survive at 20°F. Just take care that the temperature doesn’t get lower than this.
As for soils, any of the well-draining soils will be more than fine. Just as its Mediterranean counterpart, it’s easily adaptable to various soils.
6. Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis)
As we are travelling around the globe searching for lovely palm trees to grow at home, we’ve reached the Canary Islands and the Canary Island date palms.
When found in nature, it grows even up to 65 feet, but, in indoor conditions, this perennial grows only 10 feet in its first 15 years.
It develops rather stiff and straight leaves that are quite weather-resistant, so you can keep them even outside.
Until it’s fully established, Canary Island date palm is quite drought tolerant. However, after that, know that it tolerates water rather well, even in excessive quantities.
This type of palm tree adores lots of sun, not to say the more the merrier. As for soil, it will require well-drained, fertile soils yielding medium moisture.
7. Majesty Palm (Ravenea rivularis)
And, we’re going to back to Madagascar and another beautiful species of palm trees native to this region.
If you think the size doesn’t matter, hmm, think again!
This little wildling can grow even 80 to 100 feet in natural surroundings and lower when grown indoors. So, you might consider transferring it outside eventually.
Anyhow, until the time to do that has come, you can have it inside and enjoy the vibe it gives. By the way, it doesn’t grow fast so you’ll have plenty of time to cherish its presence in your indoor garden.
Nurturing (Her) majesty palm is no fuss.
The first thing you need to know is that they like it hot (though partial shade is a-OK!) and they like it wet.
Despite this, always go for well-drained soils, preferable peat-based. Wet does not mean it needs to rot!
8. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
Some funny creatures come from Eastern Mexico!
And, so does out little ponytail. I won’t say ponytail palm, because it’s not a true palm. Believe it or not, it comes from the Agave family and it classifies as a succulent. Haaaa!
But, still, I like it and it quite resembles palms. (Had I not told you this misfortunate fact, you wouldn’t even know, admit it! J)
So, the ponytail palm typically grows in warm climates where it reaches some 20 feet or more. In your home, 3 feet tops is what you can expect.
It prefers bright sunlight, but should you forget (please, don’t), it won’t mind. For optimum growth, you can even keep it outside for a while during summer months and then take it back inside as it gets colder.
You can safely cut back on watering with ponytail palm. Even if the soil dries completely between two watering, the plant will forgive this to you too.
From the above, we can also infer that our little agav.., um, palm, likes its soils dry, so go for these when planting it.
9. Yucca Palm (Yucca elephantipes)
AKA, stick yucca or yucca cane. Or, the broomstick, as I like to call it.
Well, have you seen it?
I am talking about a palm tree that is indigenous to Central America and Mexico (obviously!)
Here you get a stick (stem, tree, call it what you like) and a broom on top. The broom features pointy, but dull and harmless tips (you don’t need to worry that your kids or pets will sting themselves).
Partial shade or full sun – it works either way.
Drought, though slight, is also OK, by the way. So, there is no need for overwatering.
Opt for soils that can retain water and nutrients and are heavy at the same time. The latter is important so as to hold your yucca palm in an upright (broomstick) position.
10. Cascade Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum)
The Mexican hat palm or cat palm is a full, thick plant that obviously comes from Mexico, southern part though, and you can also find it in Central America.
It features feather fronds arrayed in a cascading wall, hence the title.
When kept indoors, they can reach some 6 feet in height. The abundant leaves arch wide too, so you will need quite some space for it.
Contrary to some of the previous types listed, this one just can’t get enough of water. Its natural environment is anywhere close to streams or flooded areas, so water plentifully. I know I do mine!
Cascade Palm prefers shadier spots over full exposure so take this into account when finding a perfect place for it.
Cascade palm will be grateful if you plant it in a soil that keeps the moisture evenly and that doesn’t dry out around the root way to fast.
As we established that it likes moisture, regular misting (I do it every other day) is desirable to keep the foliage looking clean and healthy.
11. Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
Patience, my darlings, we’ll leave Mexico and Central America behind soon!
Here, the resemblance to the bamboo canes is “guilty” of the name of this type.
Thick clusters and green fronds shaped like fathers is what you’ll find on a bamboo palm.
While one of the concerns with the previous types was the space, you can rest assured that this one won’t need too much of it.
A corner, let’s say, 4 to 12 feet in height and 3 to 5 feet wide is all you’re going to need. And, here’s a pro tip for you. Control the growth of your bamboo palm by keeping it in shade. The full sun makes it grow faster.
Again, the well-drained soils are the safest option even though the plant likes moisture.
Whatever you do, don’t overwater, but water evenly instead. And, as the tip says, partial sun exposure will do just fine for your little feathery bamboo.
12. Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
Not a palm alert on!!!
Just like with the ponytail palm, we are dealing with another palm look-alike.
However, this one comes from the Land of the Rising Sun.
As said, it doesn’t come from the palm species but is instead a cycad. If you don’t know what this is, well, it’s merely a prehistoric plant, millions of years old. Nothing special, indeed.
Dark green, stiff and glossy fronds emerge from a shaggy stem. By the way, the stem is rather short when the plant is still young, sometimes it doesn’t even emerge from beneath the surface.
Anyhow, later on, the trunk can even grow as high as 20 feet. But, honestly, you probably won’t live to see it. They grow at an unbelievably slow rate so you will only notice a medium growth throughout the years.
Here’s one precaution – sago is toxic! Keep it away from pets that are likely to chew on it and from toddlers as well.
Although tolerant to low light, they will thrive better in bright light conditions.
As for watering, do not push it! Root rot is a likely consequence of too much water, so be moderate. Well-drained soils will help you in this respect.
13. Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana)
No, not Kenya, Kentia!; the one that comes from the Land Down Under.
Quite a masochist plant, I should say!
I’ll get to that.
In its natural habitat, it can reach the stunning 40 feet. As a potted plant, it grows in clusters (2 – 3 plants within a pot), and 12 feet is the maximum point in height.
This is a plant that will add up to the exotic décor on your home only enhanced by the inflorescence of white blooms on its spikes.
Clay to loam as well as acidic to alkaline is the soil choices you can go with; Kentia palm will tolerate anything. Still, for pots, you can try with slightly sandy soils for proper draining.
They don’t like to be way too dry, nor way to wet, but prefer something in between. Still, they will tolerate these slightly extreme conditions too.
As for the temperature, they can survive at anywhere between 25°F or 100°F.
See now why I called it a masochist?
14. Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)
We’re back to south-eastern Asia!
This dwarfish beauty also comes as a couple of plants within a single planter.
It is so miniature that it grows merely 8 – 10 feet so it’s perfect for those who love plants but don’t have too much free space at their disposal.
Still, however harmless that it looks all so tiny, note that the fronds develop sharp spines so you’re in for a poke if you act carelessly around it.
We might also say that this is a tough plant since it is known to survive at 30°F or even 20°F.
But, I wouldn’t expose it to such extremes.
Proper care for pygmy date palm means regular watering, without any oscillations in terms of water quantity. If you skip one watering, don’t double the next one!
You can keep it either at full sun exposure or at full shade. The best is to find a place that is bright in the morning with the light gradually diminishing as the sun sets.
Finally, well-drained soil with the addition of sand will be the best choice for our little dwarf.
15. Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
Ah, the gracious one!
We are again dealing with a species autochthonous to south-eastern Asia and you can also find it under the name rhapis palm.
It also features dark-green and shiny fronds for leaves and a light pruning at the bottom will transform it into a real bush.
Being slow growers, they can reach anything from 2 to 7 feet during their lifetime. Note that this also comes as multiple trunks planed together.
In the case of lady palm, full sun exposure is not allowed; instead, keep it at low light during summer and in wintertime, you can move to light shade.
Draught is also a no and as for temperature, 70°F in summer and above 55°F in the wintertime is ideal.
Well-draining soil is your one and only choice here. The more draining, the better (use pebbles for optimum results).
When we talk about watering, during summer, water away, my friend, water away!
Still, refrain yourself from doing the same in wintertime.
16. Sentry Palm (Howea Belmoreana)
You will also find it under the name curly palm.
When I first bought it, I thought it was Kentia palm. But, lo and behold, it’s two different types.
Native to Australia, this plant can reach heights when found in its autochthonous habitat. However, when potted, some 10 feet is what you can expect.
Since I mentioned similarity with kentia palm, somehow this (sentry palm) is not as frequent a choice for a house palm as kentia palm is. The reason is that the fronds take up more space.
Still, having sentry palm in your house creates a tropical paradise look, so I simply had to include it in my list.
If you worry about the maintenance, the plant is non-toxic, so you don’t need to worry about this.
As for temperature requirements, 65°F to 75°F is ideal, but in case, make sure it doesn’t get below 55°F.
Sentry palm prefers a fast-draining soil, potentially with the inclusion of sand and perlite. Obviously, there’s no fuss about watering so when you notice that the moisture is fading then it’s time to water it.
Finally, as long as you keep it away from direct sun exposure, everything will be just fine.
17. Christmas Palm Tree (Veitchia merrillii)
I wish you a Merry Christmas,
And, a Happy New Year!
I know it’s not the time yet, but the Christmas palm tree inevitably reminds me of the Yuletide.
The reason why it is called Christmas palm tree is the white flowers that emerge at the crown base. Later on, these are substituted with bright red fruits just at the end of December.
This is how they resemble Christmas lights and hence the name. When grown indoors, with its 10 – 15 feet it can be a perfect substitution for your Christmas decoration.
While you may think that caring for Christmas palm tree isn’t as simple, well, think again!
Just keep it in bright light and possibly the full sun exposure to see it reach its full potential. Next, moderate moisture and regular watering is a perfect combo.
As for soil, try with peat-based mix with the inclusion of sand.
18. Needle Palm (Rhapidophyllum Hystrix)
AKA Needle Palmetto.
Finally, here’s a domestic one! Needle palm is native to the USA and you can mostly find it in the south and southeast.
It’s perfect to be kept indoors since it doesn’t take up (too) much space. It grows some 3 to 6 feet in height and the ferns can take up to 4 – 8 feet of width.
It got the name by the sharp, pointy and needle-like spines, so beware in its surroundings.
Needle palm is frost resistant and will survive even at 5°F. Yes, it may totally freeze, but it will come back to life.
Typically grown outside, it can also be a welcoming addition to your indoor garden.
Well-draining and organic, wet soils will be your best friend in the proper care for our pointy palmetto.
Partial shade is preferable and make sure to avoid any draught.
It doesn’t require too much watering, though it won’t suffer from it. Still, keep this at an average.
19. Bottle Palm (Hyophorbe Lagenicaulis)
I liked this one a lot due to its unusual shape!
Namely, its trunk slightly bulges at the bottom and it most resembles a bottle.
It was a great addition to my indoor garden just for the sake of diversity.
It’s an unbelievably slow grower, so you don’t need to worry about its growing too fast. Anyways, 12 feet is the highest they can reach in indoor conditions.
This also means you will not have to repot frequently, which immediately makes the maintenance easier.
As for other maintenance issues, the first thing I need to tell you is that the bottle palm is frost-sensitive. So, keep it away from cold. It goes as far as that merely a light breeze can be detrimental.
This is why you need to keep it in a warm environment with plenty of sunlight.
When you’ve just planted it, you can water more than usual, but as the plant forms, you can slow down.
As for soil, it will thrive from drier soils, and sometimes it can even tolerate saline salts.
20. Lipstick Palm (Cyrtostachys Renda)
I saved a special treat for my female readers at the end of the list!
Lipstick Palm, Maharaja palm, Sumatra wax palm, sealing wax palm, or Rajah wax palm.
It got the name due to its characteristic crimson red crown shaft. In addition to these, the leaves are dark green form above and greyish green from the lower side.
Now just imagine adding this beauty adorned in royal colours to your existing garden! Oh, the colours, what a feast for the eyes!
It’s characteristic for its gigantic size when found in nature (7-11 feet tall and even up to 6 meters wide), though it grows significantly smaller when potted.
As for maintenance, our little lipstick is tolerant to full exposure to the sun, but I’d suggest you keep it in partial shade.
Next, be generous with watering. It can take water a-plenty.
Finally, humus based, well-draining soils that retain moisture evenly shall be the perfect choice for our little lipstick palm.
Growing Palm Trees Indoors – the Know-How
Obviously, my idea was to make you fall in love with beautiful palm trees first!
So, it is now safe to proceed to the part where I tell you all about the proper care for these beautiful creatures.
Before we go into detailed care tips, let’s deal with the basics first.
Palm Trees – In a Nutshell
When we talk about palms, as a rule, the first thing that comes to our mind is those grandiose, marvellous trees that grow along beaches and similar.
Although we are not far from the truth, there’s more to palms than just this.
The botanical name of this family is Arecaceae and it includes over 2,500 species distributed in almost 200 genera.
While most of the palms are tropical and subtropical as you would think, there are also such types that have adapted to life in the desert.
As you can see in my list, there is a true variety of types and each one is unique in its own way.
Typically, palm trees are characterised by their large, evergreen feather-like leaves (AKA fronds) growing directly from the stem top.
Their primary habitat is outdoors, but they look rather stunning as indoor plants too, whether at home or as decorative plants in offices, lobbies, showrooms, etc.
General Care Tips
Once you decide that you are ready to have a palm tree indoors, there are certain things to consider.
Just like with human beings, not all the palm types have the same requirements. They come from different spaces on this lovely Earth of ours so some might tolerate drought, some might not. Some like only the full sun and nothing else but the sun, while some will thrive in partial shade.
1. Mind the gentle beings!
Where exactly you are going to display your lovely palm tree must depend primarily on its requirements and only then on the space available.
Immediately linked to this is the fact that the palms’ ferns are delicate and don’t like to be brushed against.
Choose corners and keep them at such places where your kids or pets can’t reach them.
Frequent “traffic” immediately next to your palm tree can be rather harmful, leading to the general deterioration of frond’s health or even death. So, pick a place for your palm tree that is a bit further from your central area.
2. Mind the size and space!
The next thing you need to pay attention to when keeping any palm tree indoors is its size. This factor will have quite some impact on where you keep your palm eventually.
Some don’t grow quite so high or wide, so you can even lift them on a stool or shelf. Others, the bigger ones, will require more space typically due to the wide span of ferns.
This is why there is quite a lot of empty space available to cluster your other greenery around the palm making your own little jungle.
For quite some time I kept my plants apart, distributed all over the place until I started the spring cleaning one day and had to move my beauties to a single spot so I could clean properly.
That’s when I realized how great they looked together! It was like a small forest in my own living room, so later on, I decided to keep them clustered together.
3. Does it flower, by the way?
Yes, it does.
As we have witnessed in the list above, some types of palm trees blossom.
Kentia palm, Christmas Palm Tree and Parlour Palm, for example, are of the blossoming kind.
To speak verily, rarely, quite rarely will you see a palm tree blossom and/or flower.
Remember, these beautiful wildlings are created to grow outside where they can live unhindered by the lack of anything.
When inside, they are not in their natural habitat which is why they have to suffer the non-blossoming consequence.
However, the absence of flowers is more than compensated by the elegant, tropical jungle-like and grandiose spread of ferns that will turn your home into a true little piece of heaven.
Growing any plant in your home brings multiple benefits whether you are aware of that or no.
As for our palm trees, there are multiple other benefits besides giving your place a tropical beach look.
Out of these, let’s check the most important ones.
1. Giving more oxygen + Filtering the air
It is common knowledge that humans are carbon dioxide factories. Carbon dioxide consumers are plants.
So, having a palm tree will aid you in creating more oxygen released after photosynthesis process.
If you have multiple palm trees in your house/apartment, try to distribute them all over the place. This will secure that you have more air in each room.
In addition to creating more oxygen, palm trees are also a great aid in purifying the air in your closed spaces and improving the air quality.
They consume the VOCs (formaldehyde, xylene, ammonia, carbon monoxide, etc.) that are generated daily from various sources. This is how they make the air better.
Just as an example, our lady palm and areca palm are great in filtering the air pollutants, while bamboo plant and pigmy date palm dispense with xylene and formaldehyde.
2. Reducing Stress
As if by magic, plants are great at reducing stress.
Whenever I get home after a busy and stressful day, I already feel better as soon as I take a look at my lovely plants, including my palm trees.
I know we would all like to believe in magic here, but there’s the real science behind.
Namely, by consuming the carbon dioxide and reducing its emissions, palm trees regulate the humidity level in your surroundings.
This is directly linked to creating optimum living and/or working environment because it leads to enhanced productivity.
This is why it’s great to keep the palm trees in your working or studying space.
I suggest you choose palms with wider ferns, such as kentia, areca, or Chinese fan palm.
3. Improving mental health
Don’t you like it how soothing it is looking at your plants?
I know it’s not related to palms, but I have just potted pink oleander and I can’t take my eyes off of it. It’s new, so I have to give it some special attention.
Then I move on to my palms and that, my darlings, is a feast for the eyes.
The green colour is soothing in general and makes you more relaxed. It’s nature’s colour and the closest to the outdoors as you can be while still inside.
Besides, caring for someone/something other than yourself is highly rewarding and it’s the best of feelings when you see your plant thriving and you know that’s because of you.
4. Better Sleep
Again, palm trees aid in creating optimum humidity conditions that eventually leads to better sleep.
The clean air they provide that you consume overnight makes you feel well-rested even if you didn’t have the required 6 to 8 hours of sleep.
5. Natural scent
With plants around, you don’t have to reach for the artificial air fresheners.
Your palm tree will provide all the natural scent that will be only the more pleasant than the scents that are released from bottles and other media.
In this way, your living, sleeping, or working space shall be relieved of the unpleasant odours and shall display a scent very close to the one you can feel in nature.
Practical Tips for Growing Palm Trees Indoors
While in a previous heading I explained some generalities on growing palm trees inside, this time we are dealing with the actual steps and factors to consider before, during and after planting a palm tree.
When these are obeyed, then there’s absolutely no need to worry that your new beauty shall not survive.
Of course, before any of these prerequisites, there is one that is as equally important, and that is LOVE!
Love your plants and show it to them. Believe it or not, they will know!
1. Light Requirements
There is no life without light.
Without light, we would wither and die soon enough. With insufficient light, we are frequently exhausted, irritable, lifeless even.
The same applies when we talk about the plants.
One of the first prerequisites for a plant to grow indoors is providing sufficient light.
Mind how I said sufficient, not a lot of or plenty?
Hm, why is that?
Well, plenty of light isn’t always the best. Sometimes, a little light can cast a big shadow.
When it comes to palm trees, light requirements certainly are an important factor in a proper maintenance routine.
However, to provide the optimum amount of light, you need to know your plant well.
You cannot and should not just place it by the window and hope for the best!
What if the ferns start fading? What if they get scorched? What if they die?!?!!
You do not want that!
Before choosing a place for your palm, always check beforehand how much light your beauty needs. Why?
Let’s take bamboo palm and needle palm as an example.
These prefer partial exposure to sun and don’t require too much bright light. Keeping them in the full exposure probably won’t do much harm if the exposure is short.
Still, their progress will be slowed down; so, for optimum growth results make sure that they are partially exposed to the sun with a slight shade.
Of course, the same applies to those types of palm trees that prefer the full sun, such as Canary Island Date Palm or Fishtail Palm.
Luckily, in the majority of cases, the palms will tolerate partial exposure even if they prefer the full sun and vice versa.
Still, try to check the particularities of the type you want to grow so you can provide the proper light prerequisite.
2. Soil Requirements
Soil is to plant as food is to man.
You can spend some time without it, but eventually, you will just die as will your plant if not potted.
When it comes to choosing the soil, naturally you would think that any soil will do just fine. Just stick your palm inside and you’re good to go.
Well, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Just like we need a variety in our diet, so do the plants. They can’t be satiated with bland nutrition. They need various nutrients so you need to go for such type of soil that will provide this to them.
Generally speaking, palm trees prefer slightly acid to neutral soils rich with nutrients that will boost the growth. Among such soils, you can give a chance to various options among which the combination of leaf mould, shredded bark and peat seem to be the most adequate one.
Next, you can also try the palm and cactus soil mix that also gives good results. I used this one and I can’t complain.
Still, if you can’t be bothered all that much with “experiments” know that the commercial soils made for general purpose will also do just fine.
Besides its primary function to provide the proper nutrients to the palm tree, the soil must also provide the proper drainage of excess water. This is why you need to go for the porous soils in most of the cases.
It is true that a vast number of palm trees can take water abundantly, but still, they don’t like to sit around in pots all soggy and waterlogged.
This is where the soil comes in.
The porosity of soil will enable the excess water to run through and leave just enough of water. This is why dense soils should be given a wide berth.
Next, the soil you choose has to have such quality that it dries out evenly. It should not retain too much water only around the root and it neither should dry around it too quickly.
In general, all palm trees prefer well-draining and porous soils and rarely you need to go for a soil that retains moisture over a longer period. Maybe in the case of the areca palm tree, you can use the moist soils, but otherwise, porous is the one to go with.
Pro Tip: Since you need to use well-draining soils for your palm trees, use sand or pebbles to enhance this feature of the soils. In case of sand, add it to the potting mix before planting and in case of pebbles, put these at the bottom of the pot before you put the soil mix inside.
Finally, to improve the nutrition, sometimes just adding some fresh soil on top of the existing will do wonders to your plant.
Soil tends to settle over time and you will see the parts of your plant getting exposed.
With a new layer of soil, you will compensate for the previous visual defect and will also offset the loss of nutrients already consumed from the old soil.
3. Water Requirements
The second precondition of life is water.
So, watering your palm trees properly is a matter of life and death.
For the plants, not for you, silly!
Palm trees are indeed tropical and subtropical plants, but that does not mean that you can just pour gallons of water and leave it be.
Systematic watering is a crucial thing. Regularity is appreciated. Being moderate is always the perfect quality.
As said, overwatering, waterlogging, and sogginess are not permitted. Yes, plant trees love water, but they don’t like to rot.
Excessive water stuck in the pot will do more harm than good. This is why you need to avoid this at all cost.
In the Soils Requirements section, I already mentioned the tricks to improve the drainage quality of soils so when combined with proper watering your plant will thrive.
However, if you are such plant lover that still forgets to water regularly, you can add some peat moss to the soil in order to improve the water-retaining qualities. In this way, you won’t do much damage even if you forget to water on time.
Speaking of it, if you skip one watering, never offset this during the next one.
Less is more in this case.
Pro Tip: For optimum watering effect, make sure to store away some water at room temperature and use this for watering. I store a few bottles filled with water for this purpose. The reason is that such water, i.e. at room temp., reduces shocks to palm or any other plant. This is particularly relevant during summer when you don’t want to cool off the root too much and cause a major, harmful temperature change with the cold water or make it freeze in the winter.
Finally, take note of the fact that some palm trees like you to mist their ferns so they would look alive. You can do this every couple of days just so the ferns can consume some moisture too that will make them look glossy.
4. Temperature Requirements
I think it’s safe to say that when these tropical beauties are grown indoors it’s best to keep them at room temperatures.
Since, of course, we cannot generalize way too much, you should check whether the palm you bought prefers cooler air or the heat.
As an example, parlour palm and kentia palm might easily be the most popular ones since they tolerate rather low temps (even as low as 50°F at night).
However, European Fan Palm, for example, is so cold-hardy that survives even at 10°F. Next, the needle palm comes back to life even when exposed to temperatures as low as 5°F.
Still, take care that you don’t expose your palms to any unnecessary extremes.
Check their optimum temperature requirements before planting and try not to go outside those limits.
Alongside the temperature, also pay attention to avoid any draught since many types of palm trees do not tolerate these conditions.
Most notably, among these, you will find the parlour palm, lady palm and needle palm.
5. Fertilizing Requirements
Just like us, people need some extra nutrition to our daily diet (I’m not referring to fast food here, however delicious that may be! J), so do the plants.
The addition of fertilizer to the soil is an excellent way to boost the nutrition of the palm you planted. What I mean here is to go with such a fertilizer that incorporates all micronutrients including the potassium and manganese.
Now, the market offers a wide variety of fertilizers with slightly different formulas to choose from and basically, the final choice depends on what your palm needs or likes best.
All in all, you can’t go wrong as long as you are using fertilizers specifically made for palm trees.
As for the best time to apply any fertilizer, it is safe to say that any time during the palm’s active season will be more than fine. When the palm tree is dormant, you can easily cut back on fertilizing since fertilizing at that point will just be a waste of the fertilizer.
Anyhow, be careful with the frequency and the quantity of the fertilizer you apply since the abundance isn’t always the best.
I’d prefer not to make any wild guesses, so for these, check the instructions given by the manufacturer since the application frequency and quantity is not the same when you opt for spikes or water-diluted fertilizers, for example.
Anyways, you will know you’ve overdone it when the tips of all the ferns start turning brown.
In the life of any plant, pruning is a necessary step in the maintenance process. It relieves the plant of the unnecessary burden that is the old leaves, or ferns, in the case of our palms here.
When pruned properly, your palm tree will thrive and grow at a faster rate. Properly being the keyword here!
I almost made a mistake by wanting to remove a slightly yellow fern on my palm unaware it might be harmful.
Namely, it’s not the time to prune a palm tree when you spot some light yellowing. Yes, the fern is damaged, but somehow the palm is still feeding off of it.
Even when the fern turns partially brown, it’s not the time to prune either yet.
Only when the fern is completely brown, then you can prune the palm tree, not before.
Also, an important consideration when pruning is not to prune too much. This means that you should by no means remove all the old ferns leaving just a few novel ones.
In this way, your plant loses its charm, first of all, and is likely to wither since this weakens it.
7. Propagating & Repotting
Every true plant lover, myself included, cannot wait to multiply the number of its favourite plant in the house.
You can’t wait for the root to divide, stems to grow enough to be cut, etc.
Let’s see where palm trees stand in this respect.
I am sorry to inform you, guys, but it’s a slim chance that you will be able to propagate a palm tree on your own terms.
Typically, the propagation of palm trees is completed through seeds. Now, if your palm flowered, you can try using these seeds, but the success is not guaranteed.
Instead, it’s better to buy commercially available seeds, plant them and wait, wait, and then wait some more until you get a resemblance of a slightly grown palm tree.
So, even better than the seeds is buying an established palm tree and get to love it immediately
Another step in the proper maintenance for a palm tree is repotting.
This one is necessary at such time when your palm tree has outgrown its pot and needs to be transferred to a larger container.
By repotting, you will enhance the quality life of your palm because you will transfer it to a new environment that will dutifully provide better care.
Namely, larger pot means more soil, and a new one, for that matter. Such soil is packed with a new batch of nutrients for the palm tree to consume from then on.
The first thing to pay attention to about the new pot is the size. Typically, you need to go a size up in height and width. In practice, this means some 2 – 4 inches.
Next, there is no need to repot palm trees on an annual basis. This is how you will unnecessarily disturb the palm and hinder its development.
Only repot when the palm outgrows the current pot. Luckily, the majority of palm trees are extremely slow growers so you don’t have to pay much attention to repotting.
By the way, should your palm reach the ceiling, congrats, the game is over!
In such an instance, take it outside to the hallway, or the garden, if you have one. If neither of these is feasible, give it away to companies or hotels that have adequate space to display it.
As for pot material, there is a variety of materials available from metal and terracotta to plastics. I believe we are all free to make our choices here based on what fits in the current surroundings.
The same goes for the visual aspect of the pot. Mix and match and let your creativity on full display.
8. Common Pests and Diseases
Our final consideration when it comes to proper care of palm trees is the common pests that might attack your palm tree or diseases that the palm might struggle with.
As for pests, just like with any other domestic(ated) plant, scale insects and spider mites are the most typical pests you will find torturing your plant.
To get rid of these, insecticidal soap is your weapon of choice!
As for the diseases, potassium deficiency is the most typical issue you need to be aware of.
This is embodied through the death of the oldest leaves that typically start from the fern tops.
The best prevention, in this case, is to use a supplement packed with potassium and to release it gradually.
Plant the palms, guys!
Plant the palms in every nook and cranny of your indoor space!
Watch them beautify your closed spaces, make your feel attached to nature again and provide a lifetime of joy.
That would be all, folks!