What palm plant is easy to care for indoors?
Some Recommended Palms to Grow Indoors:
Howea forsteriana (kentia or paradise palm) and Chamaedorea elegans (syn. Neanthe bella; parlour palm)
can thrive in lower light situations than most other palms. A kentia palm is native to the south pacific and is slow growing but may reach 8 feet or more. The parlour palm, a Mexico native, is also slow growing so while it can reach 8 feet or more, it is frequently seen at a height of only two to three feet. In winter they should be watered sparingly.
Kentia palms hate re-potting but make great houseplants if given good soil, plenty of water and at least dappled sunlight. Chamaedorea is a genus of palms from Central and South America, with strong vertical growth and little need for repotting as long as the soil drains well and is topdressed.
Chamaedorea seifrizii (bamboo palm)
is another upright palm that can tolerate lower light and is a good palm for a beginner. It is a multi-stemmed plant that can reach heights up to six feet tall. Native to the highland forests of Mexico and Central America, this plant prefers a slightly warmer room (75 to 80º) with a 15º temperature drop at night. Lower leaves turn yellow and fall off (or can be removed) as the plant grows.
Chamaerops humilis (European fan palm)
is the hardiest indoor fan palm, growing naturally in the most northern locations of any palm, including in parts of southern Europe. It can be grown as a single-stemmed tree if suckers are removed, otherwise it forms a wide, dense clump. Trim yellowing leaves as the tree grows.
As a Mediterranean native, European fan palm is comfortable in the dry atmosphere of a Northeastern home in winter. It benefits from low night temperatures and a cool rest period during the winter with temperatures kept between 50 and 60º.
Phoenix roebelenii (pygmy date palm)
is native to Southeast Asia and has dense, feathery, pinnate fronds growing from a thick, single trunk. This tree prefers high humidity and temperatures between 65 and 75º, and never below 50º. It grows slowly and typically reaches less than 6 feet tall. Remove yellowing lower leaves as plant grows.
Rhapis excelsa (lady palm)
is a smaller fan palm, with elegant leaves and which grows in a quite upright manner, making it popular for smaller rooms. There are numerous cultivars of various proportions, from 6 inches to 6 feet tall. It can do well in a position with Eastern light but needs consistent moisture once established.
Microcoelum (weddel palm)
is a compact palm that grows to 4 feet, with a 2-foot spread. Young plants are generally bought when they are only 9-12 inches high, with three or four 8-to10-inch-long fronds. This is an easy care compact palm popular with indoor gardeners.
Your palm needs proper lighting and moisture. Light: Give your palm bright light, but without any direct sunlight. Humidity: Your palm fronds can become dry and brown due to low humidity. To help it regain its leafy charm and fix the dried out look, it will need increased humidity. You can do this by standing the potted palm on a tray of moist pebbles throughout the year (especially now). Indoor humidity is extremely low in winter, when windows are closed, and the heat is on. You will need a large saucer to lay a thick layer of small pebbles, about a couple of inches. Add water halfway up the pebbles to produce humidity around the plant. Otherwise, a small humidifier is an easy alternative helper. Watering: Allow the top half-inch of the soil to dry out between waterings. Water early in the day, plants take up moisture at this time. Do not water at night, as it can cause root rot. Use room temperature or tepid water, not cold. The palm likes room temperatures between 60-80 degrees F., temperatures below and about that range will be stressful to the plant.
For complete care and troubleshooting information, see our guide Palm Plants Indoors
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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