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How to Grow Indoor Palms

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Indoor palms are commonly palms that grow to not much larger than 10 feet tall. They are outdoor palms in mostly subtropical regions. Indoor palms (see varieties below) don’t drop leaves. They thrive containers even in limited light.

Get to know Indoor Palms

  • Plant type:
  • Growing Zones and range: 9-11 outdoors
  • Hardiness: Tender
  • Temperature: Average room temperature not below 55°F (13°C)
  • Light: Medium, indirect light
  • Height and width: Indoor palms range in size from 3-15’ (0.9-4.5m) tall with stiff trunks and fan-like or feathery, compound leaves
  • Foliage: Fan-like, feathery, compound leaves
  • Uses: Houseplant
  • Botanical name: Various species
  • Common name: Indoor Palms

Where to plant Indoor Palms

  • Grow palms indoors in medium, indirect light.
  • Grow palms in a mixture of equal parts all-purpose potting soil and sandy, organic topsoil.

When to plant Indoor Palms

  • Set indoor palms outdoors in bright indirect light in summer.
Parlor palm, Chamaedorea elegans
Parlor palm, Chamaedorea elegans

Planting and spacing Indoor Palms

  • Space  palms 3 or more feet apart depending on size; allow for plenty of air circulation.

How to water and feed Indoor Palms

  • Keep the soil just moist; browning frond tips is an indication the soil is too dry.
  • Fertilize indoor palms with fish emulsion from late spring to early fall.

Indoor Palms care

  • Repot palms as needed in spring or summer.
  • Put palms outdoors for the summer.
  • Wash foliage frequently with a hose or in the shower.
  • If spider mites attack, raise the humidity and spray with horticultural oil.

Indoor Palm propagation

  • Grow new palms from seed.

Indoor Palms varieties to grow

  • Chamaedoreas (Chamaedorea spp.) are small palms.
  • Chamaedoreas elegans is dwarf palm and a popular parlor palm, also known as Neanthe bella or Collinia elegans, grow to 3-4 feet tall with 2-foot leaves.
  • Kentia palm (Howea forsterana) is a popular indoor palm and can endure drought and low light; arching, dark green fronds to 7 feet.
  • Areca palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens), sometimes called butterfly palm, multiple trunks, graceful green fronds, to 10 feet tall.
  • Fishtail palm (Caryota spp) ragged-edged leaves shaped like tropical fish grows to 10 feet tall.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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