Best Palm Trees You Can Grow Indoors

Palms are classic indoor plants for achieving a tropical look. The long fronds producing lush green foliage perfectly bring out a fresh and jungle-like vibe indoors. Most palm species are adaptable and forgiving of indoor growing conditions.

Hence, they are a great candidate for newbie gardeners seeking low-maintenance houseplants.

There are a lot of palm species. To give you an idea of what palm plant to add to your collection, we’re giving you an exciting list of 12 indoor palm plants.

12 Best Indoor Palms

Areca palm

areca palm

Perhaps you’ve heard some gardeners talk about bamboo palm, golden cane palm, or yellow palm. All of these refer to the famous areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) of Madagascar. It’s among the most sought-after species of palm trees indoors, especially in temperate zones.

Areca palm boasts a beautiful appearance, with the leaves growing ascending and curved at the apex. The petioles are either yellow or orange-tinged, and the stems are clustered and slender. Areca palm grows an average height of eight feet indoors.

It can tolerate low light conditions, making it a perfect match for those plant owners who like low-maintenance houseplants.

Ponytail palm

ponytail palm

One look at the ponytail palm, and you’ll know precisely why it’s called such. It has a stout and bulbous trunk crowned with lush and curly leaves. It’s as if this plant has a hairstyle of its own. Its unique appearance makes it a desirable plant for an indoor living space.

However, there’s a catch! A ponytail palm isn’t exactly a true palm. Instead, it’s a form of a succulent plant under the Agave family, scientifically known as Beaucarnea recurvata. Just like most succulent species, the ponytail palm is also drought tolerant.

Thanks to its thick trunk that serves as its water reservoir.

To avoid the perils of root rot, it’s best to plant a ponytail palm in well-draining soil. Bright indirect light is also most preferred.

Parlor palm

neanthe bella palm

There are many ways to call a parlor palm, including Parlour tabletop Palm, Neanthe Bella Palm, and Bella Palm. This species is native to Mexico and Central America but is adaptable to various growing conditions.

Its size is relatively small, reaching about 4 feet tall in an indoor space. Parlor palms are also slow growers. Hence, it works well in tight spaces. You can also make it a tabletop centerpiece.

The overall appearance of the parlor palm looks like that of bamboo, which will surely bring a tropical vibe.

Yucca palm

yucca plant

Another member of the succulent group is the yucca palm. It has a central sturdy trunk with leaves growing on top or bunches off the side. Although commonly called a palm, yucca isn’t technically a palm.

It just so happens that their appearance resembles most palm trees; that’s why.

The most common yucca palm grown indoors is the Yucca elephantipes. It grows up to 10 feet tall when taken as an indoor plant.

Lady palm

lady palm

Lady palm (Rhapis excelsa) is another well-known indoor palm plant that’s shade-tolerant and slow-growing. The foliage is glossy green and fan-shaped, which extends from tall stalks or stems. Known for its classic beauty, lady’s palm adds an oriental appeal indoors and outdoors.

When tended indoors, the average height of lady palm is about six feet tall. You can limit its size by potting it in a smaller container.

Majesty palm

majesty palm near a window

Long, dark green fronds are the major asset of the Majesty’s or majestic palm. It’s also a native of Madagascar and goes by the scientific name Ravenea rivularis. While it’s famous as one of the indoor palm plants, it grows pretty tall in its natural habitat, reaching an average mature size of 100 feet tall.

This species, however, is a challenging one. You must strike the right balance in providing light, temperature, and fertilizer.

Cascade palm

cascade palm

The Cascade palm is also known as the cat palm. It’s one of those low-growing palm plants that you can grow indoors. Thanks to its relatively small size it can fit in tight spaces. Its average height is three feet tall.

It has dark green leaves that are glossy on the surface. They grow on several thin shoots, making the entire palm plant look dense. It requires high maintenance in terms of humidity because cascade palm is native to the jungles of Central America.

Pygmy Date

Pygmy date palm

A native of Southern China, the pygmy date palm (Phoenix roebelenii) is a common favorite element in many landscapes. This palm tree grows on one single trunk, reaching an average height of 10 feet.

In appearance, the trunk of a pygmy date palm is covered by old leaf scars. From afar, it looks like it has thorns. It has feathery fronds that are bright green. The base of the petioles has sharp spines that can hurt you.

So, handle the leaves of pygmy date palms extra carefully, especially during pruning.

Kentia palm

kentia palm

Having tolerance for harsh conditions such as low light and drought, the kentia palm (Howea forsteriana) is built to be grown indoors. While it is a slow-growing palm tree, it can grow up to 40 feet tall when planted outdoors. But you can always treat it as an indoor palm tree.

Kentia palm has feathery fronds and green leaves. The fronds grow from a single trunk. It makes a great focal point indoors.

Sentry palm

sentry palm @flickr

The Sentry palm (Howea belmoreana) is a cousin of the Kentia palm. Hence, they have some similarities. It’s otherwise known as curly palm. A classic palm plant, this species is one of the favorites of Queen Victoria more than a hundred years ago.

Its fronds are broad and look like that of a coconut palm.

This palm plant, however, is much slower-growing than the others. It’s also less popular than the other palms, which is ironic because it’s a tough plant overall. Thus, it requires less maintenance and care.

Chamaerops humilis

Chamaerops humilis

European fan palm (Chamderops humilis) can be single or multi-trunked. It grows suckers from the base and looks like a rounded shrub or small tree once mature. It grows up to 15 feet tall and is crowned by large, fine-textured, and fan-shaped leaves.

The good thing about fan palm is that it’s very hardy. It’s drought tolerant once established. The vast and palmate-compound leaves of the European fan palm are ornamentally attractive.

Sago palm

sago palm @flickr

Technically, the sago palm is not an actual palm tree. It belongs to the Cycadaceae family and is called a cycad, with the scientific name Cycas revoluta. Other common names include King sago and Japanese sago palm.

However, its appearance resembles that of palm trees.

Sago palm has long blue-green fronds that grow from a unique trunk. It makes a good accent plant in a landscape because it’s low growing, reaching only 8 feet high. It’s also reasonably low-maintenance.

Indoor Palm General Care Tips

Soil

palm potting mix

Indoor palms must be planted in a porous, well-draining mixture like sandy loam. A general-purpose potting mix will do, but you can add more peat moss for better water retention. While it’s essential to keep the soil moist, it’s also equally important that it isn’t waterlogged.

Light

palm tree lighting

Different species of palm plants will require other light conditions. Some like direct sunlight and full sun, while some love partial shade and indirect sunlight. Some palm trees can tolerate low light, too.

Finding a spot with bright, indirect light is the key to keeping your palm plants thriving indoors. This way, they receive ample exposure to light without the risk of sunburn or etiolation.

Water

Young palm trees need regular watering. They’re developing an extensive root system during this time, so deep watering is a must. Regular and consistent moisture in the soil helps with its growth.

Once mature, they need less watering. Make sure that the soil is also well-draining to prevent waterlogging.

Temperature & Humidity For Indoor Plants

Most palm plants cannot withstand temperatures below 50°F (10°C). Remember, these species are tropical and subtropical. Hence, they’re perfect for indoor setups because it’s extra warm inside than outside.

Kentia palm and parlor palm are just among the cold-hardy species.

Fertilizer

Palms are susceptible to potassium deficiency. So, adding fertilizer is crucial, especially for potted indoor palm trees. They have limited access to nutrients because of the lesser amount of soil they have.

Add fertilizer formulated for palm plants and apply it during the growing season.

Pruning

The golden rule for pruning palm trees is to never over-prune them. Once you over-prune the fronds, there’s a tendency for your palm to lose vigor. This is because they tend to draw nutrients from the mature fronds.

Hence, keeping them is essential until they’re depleted, old, and brown.

Propagation

Division and offshoot propagation are the fastest methods to multiply palm plants. Asexual propagation is much preferred over sexual propagation because using seeds is inefficient. Seeds take an average of 100 days to germinate.

On top of that, the germination rate is usually low, only 20%.

To do away with that, gardeners look for the offshoots and cut them off with some roots on. That way, you can plant the offshoot separately as an individual plant.

Indoor Palm Common Diseases and Pests

  • Fusarium wilt

    One severe disease of palm plants is fusarium wilt. The fungus Fusarium oxysporum is the culprit behind this. They spread through infected soil and pruning shears. Once they get through the palm’s system, they don’t usually produce visible symptoms unless the plant is heavily infected.

  • Ganoderma Butt Rot

    Ganoderma butt rot is a fungal infection that may cause wilting or loss of vigor, resulting in palm plants’ death. This is caused by the fungus Ganoderma zonatum. The visible symptom of this disease is the appearance of a hard, shell-like conk structure at the base of the palm trunk.

  • Leaf Spot Diseases

    Leaf spot diseases are among the common problems of palms. Different types of fungi also cause them. They usually appear when the foliage is consistently moist. Leaf spot diseases decrease the ornamental value of indoor palm plants and affect their overall health.

  • Spider Mites, Mealybugs, and Whiteflies

    These three are common among houseplants and can infest your indoor palm plants. They’re sap-sucking pests that will appear on the surface and undersides of the foliage. You can generally treat them with horticultural oils.

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