12 Best Palm Trees You Can Grow Indoors

Potted tropical palms add a touch of uniqueness and beauty to any home. Their beach-like presence makes them appealing indoor plants, setting your home apart.

Popular varieties like majesty, yucca, ponytail, and areca palms have become trendy additions to modern homes due to their gorgeous look and low-maintenance nature.

You get to choose what suits your lifestyle best, and Plantly is here to offer you options tailored to your preferences and requirements. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Ruffled Palm (Licuala grandis): Dramatic circular leaves resembling folded fans.
  • Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens): Beautiful appearance and low maintenance.
  • Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata): Stout trunk with lush, curly leaves.
  • Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans): Adaptable to various conditions with fan-shaped foliage.
  • Yucca Palm (Yucca elephantipes): Sturdy trunk with ascending leaves.
  • Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa): Slow-growing with glossy, fan-shaped foliage.
  • Majesty Palm (Ravenea rivularis): Long, dark green fronds with a majestic appearance.
  • Cascade Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum): Dark green, glossy leaves on thin shoots.
  • Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii): Single trunk with feathery fronds.
  • Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana): Tolerates low light conditions with feathery fronds.
  • Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta): Low-growing with long blue-green fronds.
  • Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis): Resilient palm with graceful fronds.
  • Indoor Palms Care Guide: Soil, Water, Temperature and Humidity, Fertilizer, Propagation
  • Pests and Disease Management

Best Indoor Palms

Ruffled Palm (Licuala grandis)

ruffled indoor palm

The ruffled fan palm boasts large circular leaves resembling folded fans, adding dramatic flair to any space ( My fave of all palms out there ).

Originating from Australia, these palms can reach heights of up to 6 feet and spread up to 10 feet wide when grown indoors.

When placing a ruffled fan palm outdoors during summer, choosing a sheltered location is advisable to shield its sizable leaves from potential wind and storm damage.

While the plant produces berry-like red fruit, it’s important to note that these fruits are toxic to humans but attract bats and birds, serving as a food source for them.

Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens)

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 (Beaucarnea recurvata)

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, which 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 (Chamaedorea elegans)

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 elephantipes)

yucca plant

Yucca palm 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 (Rhapis excelsa)

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 (Ravenea rivularis)

majesty palm near a window

Long, dark green fronds are the major asset of the Majesty’s majestic palm. It’s also a native of Madagascar. 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 (Chamaedorea cataractarum)

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 (Phoenix roebelenii)

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 (Howea forsteriana)

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.

Sago palm (Cycas revoluta)

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.

Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis)

chinese fan palm

Chinese Fan Palm is an excellent choice for indoor settings due to its resilience and ability to thrive in typical indoor conditions. Its graceful fronds and tropical appearance add a touch of elegance to any space, making it a popular choice among indoor gardeners.

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 keeping the soil moist is essential, it’s equally vital 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

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.

Pest and Disease Management

Fusarium wilt

Fusarium wilt, caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum, is a severe disease affecting palm plants. It spreads through contaminated soil and pruning tools, often without visible symptoms, until the infection becomes severe.

Solution: Preventive measures include using sterilized tools for pruning and avoiding overwatering to reduce the risk of soil contamination. If detected, affected plants should be isolated and treated with appropriate fungicides.

Ganoderma Butt Rot

Ganoderma butt rot, caused by the fungus Ganoderma zonatum, can lead to wilting and decline in palm plants, eventually resulting in death. The disease is characterized by the formation of complex, shell-like conks at the base of the palm trunk.

Solution: Regular inspection of palm bases for conk formation is essential. Infected plants should be promptly removed to prevent further spread, and affected areas should be treated with fungicides, as a professional recommends.

Leaf Spot Diseases

Leaf spot diseases, caused by various fungi, are common issues affecting indoor palm plants. These diseases thrive in consistently moist conditions and manifest as spots on the foliage, reducing the plant’s ornamental value and overall health.

Solution: To mitigate leaf spot diseases, avoid overwatering and ensure proper air circulation around the plants. Prune affected leaves and treat with fungicidal sprays as needed, following product instructions carefully.

Spider Mites, Mealybugs, and Whiteflies:

Sap-sucking pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and whiteflies commonly infest indoor palm plants, feeding on the foliage’s surface and undersides. These pests can weaken the plants and cause aesthetic damage.

Solution: Regularly inspect plants for signs of pest infestation, including webbing, sticky residues, or visible insects. Treat affected plants with horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps, ensuring thorough coverage of foliage and repeat treatments as necessary for adequate control.

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