Nothing screams “tropical indoor plant” quite like palm plants. There are lots of different types of palm houseplants, but don’t worry. Keeping these elegant plants thriving is easy with this detailed indoor palm plant care guide.
- Benefits Of Growing Tropical Indoor Palms
- Different Types Of Palm Houseplants
- Watering Palm Plants
- Best Lighting For Indoor Palms
- Best Potting Soil For Palms
- How To Fertilize Palm Trees Indoors
- Battling Houseplant Pests On Indoor Palm Trees
- Pruning Palm Plants
- Troubleshooting Common Problems
Benefits Of Growing Tropical Indoor Palms
If you want to create an indoor jungle, then you’ll definitely need to add a few of these beauties to your collection. Palms make excellent houseplants because they are very tolerant of neglect, but they will grow their best when given the proper indoor palm plant care.
These easy care indoor plants are perfect for most homeowners because they don’t like a lot of light, and will easily adapt to growing indoors. Plus, palm plants help to clean the air in our homes, which is another wonderful benefit of growing tropical indoor palms.
Palm plants can live for many years when they’re cared for properly, and some palm varieties can grow into huge palm trees in containers indoors.
You can even move your palm plant outside (in a shady spot) during the summer to give it a boost if you want.
Different Types Of Palm Houseplants
Like I mentioned above, there are tons of different palm plants that make excellent houseplants.
They don’t all look exactly the same, and some palm plant varieties don’t even look like what you would imagine. So, keep that in mind while you’re out shopping for new indoor tropical plants.
Here are a few of the most common types of palms for indoors that you might find for sale online or at your local garden center.
- Areca palm tree
- Ponytail plant
- Parlor palm
- Majesty palm tree
- Fan palm
- Cateracterum palm
- Sentry palm
- Yucca palm
- Butterfly palm
Indoor Palm Plant Care Guide
Even though there are tons of different varieties of indoor palm plants, they all require the same basic conditions to grow their best.
That’s great news, and makes indoor palm plant care so much easier!! Here are some basic tips for caring for a palm plant indoors.
Watering Palm Plants
Palm plants are tolerant of being under watered, but they will grow their best when watered on a regular basis.
Ideally, palm plants prefer it when their soil is kept evenly moist, especially during the summer months (their active growing season).
Allow the soil to dry out only slightly between waterings in the summer. During the winter, you can let the soil dry out a bit more between waterings.
Be very careful not to overwater though, this is the number one killer of palm plants. I recommend growing indoor palm plants in pots that have drainage holes in the bottom, which will help to prevent overwatering.
If you struggle with giving your plants the right amount of water, I recommend getting an inexpensive soil moisture gauge to help you get it just right. You could also use indoor plant watering devices to help with watering palm trees in pots.
Best Lighting For Palm Trees Indoors
One of the reasons palm plants are such common houseplants is that they can easily adapt to low light conditions indoors.
In fact most indoor palms prefer the shade, and will suffer if they get any direct sunlight. This is perfect, since most of us don’t have a ton of direct sunlight in our homes anyway!
Low light palm houseplants prefer bright indirect light, but will tolerate less light, especially during the winter. The won’t survive in complete darkness though, so if there’s no natural light in the room, you’ll definitely need to add a grow light.
If you put your palm plant outside during the summer, make sure to keep it in the shade so it won’t get sunburn.
Best Potting Soil For Palm Trees
When it comes to what soil to use for palm trees and plants, most indoor palms aren’t super picky. The best soil for palm trees growing in pots is a loose, porous soil mix, such as a combo of peat moss, leaf mold, and shredded bark.
If you’re one of those people who tends to forget to water your plants (ehem, not that I would know anything about that), then you can mix some peat moss and/or vermiculite into the general purpose potting soil to help retain moisture.
Keep in mind that palm plants don’t like to be repotted, and can be grown in the same pot for several years. So, it’s best to wait to repot your palm plant until it’s pot-bound.
How To Fertilize Palm Trees Indoors
Indoor palm plants don’t really need to be fertilized, but of course the plants will benefit from being fed as a part of your regular indoor palm plant care routine.
However, they are very sensitive to chemical houseplant fertilizer, and using synthetic fertilizers can do more harm than good.
It’s best to stick with using an organic plant fertilizer to feed your indoor palm plants.
The good news is that there are lots of options for organic palm tree fertilizer on the market that are specifically made for indoor house palms, which makes feeding them super easy! My favorite brands of indoor palm fertilizer are Jobe’s, Espoma, and Dr. Earth.
Whatever type of fertilizer you decide to use, it’s important to know when to fertilize palm trees. Be sure to only fertilize your palm plants during their active growing period (spring and summer). Don’t fertilize indoor palm plants during the fall and winter, or the plants may suffer.
Battling Houseplant Pests On Indoor Palm Trees
Spider mites are the most common pest that can attack indoor palm plants. Keeping the humidity level high in the air around the plant will help to fend off spider mites, and will also benefit the plant. Houseplant scale and mealy bugs can also be a problem, but are much less common.
If you find that your palm plant has bugs, begin treatment immediately. Don’t use chemical pesticides on houseplant pests though, they aren’t very effective (plus they’re harmful to us and our pets!).
I recommend using organic neem oil, which is a natural pesticide. I also like to use a mixture of 1 tsp Dr. Bronner’s Baby-mild Liquid Soap per 1 liter of water to help control houseplant pests. Insecticidal soap or horticultural oil also work great. Learn more about how to get rid of houseplant bugs here.
Pruning Palm Plants
Indoor palm plants can be pruned to keep them looking nice, and to maintain their shape. Pruning off any old yellow, brown or spotted leaves on a regular basis is a good habit to get into, and will keep you palm plant looking its best.
It’s common for the lower leaves of palms to turn yellow or brown with age. If your plant is really full, you can prune off the old, small leaves around the bottom by simply cutting the fronds back to the stem of the plant.
You don’t need to remove the whole frond if it just has brown tips, but otherwise looks healthy. Brown tips of palm leaves can be pruned off any time to keep the plant looking nice. Since palm leaves are so thin, use a sharp pair of pruners like bonsai pruning shears or micro-tip pruners for trimming palm plants.
If there are any super long stems, and you don’t like how they look, you can remove those too, but it’s not necessary. Be careful not to remove too many healthy fronds though, or it could harm the plant.
Common Indoor Palm Plant Care Problems
One of the most common problems that indoor palm plants have is brown leaves and tips. Why do the tips of palm leaves turn brown? Here are a few common causes…
- Lack of water
- Overuse of chemical fertilizers
- Spider mites
Keep in mind that if you just brought the plant home from the garden center, it will take some time for the chemical fertilizers to wash out of the soil (but it doesn’t hurt to check to make sure you’re watering it enough, and that it’s not infested with spider mites).
If you’ve had the plant for a while and don’t use chemical fertilizer, then take a close look to see if the plant has spider mites. If the plant is clean, then check the soil and make sure it’s not too dry.
To keep your indoor palm plants looking nice, simply trim off the brown tips.
If you don’t have a houseplant palm yet, or you’re looking to add more to your collection, you can buy indoor palm trees and plants online, or find them at your local garden center.
Indoor palm trees and plants are very low maintenance, easy to grow houseplants that will thrive for years when you give them the proper care. Indoor palm plants are also beneficial to us because they are one of the best houseplants that help to purify the air in our homes! If you ask me, they might just be the perfect houseplant.
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Do you grow palm plants in your home? Share your indoor palm plant care tips and advice in the comments below.