The Right Palms to Grow Indoors

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Palms are wonderful indoors. They are relatively low maintenance, attract comparatively fewer pests, and provide a truly natural and serene feel to your space. They provide a tropical look to your office and home and are known for purifying the air.


Some of the varieties that can be used indoors include:

Bamboo Palm (Chamadorea seifrizii),

Bungalow Palm (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana),

Cascade Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum),

Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii),

Chinese Fan Palm Livistona chinensis),

Golden Cane Palm (Dypsis lutescens), Kentia Palm(Howea forsteriana),

Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa),

Parlour Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) ,

Walking Stick Palm (Linospadix monostac).

While most of these are available at nurseries in various stages of growth, it is advisable to ask a professional as to which species is best for your particular area.  Different species will react differently to the atmospheric conditions in your area.  Getting a species that is ideally suited to your area will cause lower frustration and require less work.

Palms, like any other plant, need a fairly delicate balance of moisture, fertilizer, light, as well as warmth, for them to thrive.  Peat moss or leaf mold, along with a mixture of soil with sand, and loam, is the preferred combination for indoor palms.  The soil should be rich, well drained, and moist. Soggy soil should be avoided.

Watering should be carried out carefully, with healthy amounts of water while they are growing, and lower amounts in the winter. Bright light is usually good for most species and they should, therefore, be placed in the brightest areas of your house. Palms also thrive in artificial light.

Palms should not be kept near a heat source as these can cause drying of the leaves. To maintain humidity in the room it is recommended to place a water pan in the vicinity of the pot.

The warm season is the growing season for Palms. Healthier growth will be achieved if a balanced fertilizer is used about once a month.  Dusting the plant leaves with a green mist on a daily basis will keep them lush and green. However, in the winters you can reduce the frequency and amount of green mist.  Dust on the leaves can be wiped down with a wet cloth.

Mealy bugs and spider mites are the most common pests that are attracted to indoor palms. Natural neem oil and insecticidal soaps are recommended to keep them at bay.  White oil can be used for white palm scale but an insecticide is needed for the larger pink scale or black scale. Small amounts of scale can be removed by hand. Scale is not a major concern but it looks unsightly on palms.

What  steps  do you  need to take in order to know  how to choose the  best palms for your home's  interiors?

Know the  extent of your  commitment  to  grow  the  palm.   Some indoors  palm  varieties require   regular watering.  If you cannot bring yourself to fully dedicate your time to the task, ask someone to do it in your absence.

Easy maintenance also means you need to look for  indoor palms that are not vulnerable to pests and diseases.

Understand  the  general  weather  conditions  inside  your  house  and outdoors.  These  can have a huge impact on the overall health and survival of your indoor palms.   Palms require sunlight whatever their tolerance level is.   As plants they need the sun's rays to produce their own food - process of photosynthesis. 

Provide a heating system  when and where  necessary.  This goes for areas that experience colder months.    Some  indoor  palms  may not be  cold hardy and in spite of being  sheltered inside your home, may still  have low tolerance  for cold temperatures.

Identify the spots where you want to place your palm.  Do research on the  average  height  of  the  indoor palm to  identify where  it can  be  placed with respect to its height.   Plants love  being taken out  in the rain or a shady location  for hosing gently on a regular basis.   Or even swap a plant  that has  been growing on the  back veranda.   Your palms  and  other plants will look better with a rest and  they will  last more  than twice as long.

Now that you have the basics of how to choose the right palm to decorate your indoor environment, you will need some suggestions on the most popular indoor palms.

Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)

This is a lovely clumping  fan palm and is possibly  the best  indoor palm.    It  will  tolerate  low light and dry conditions and is a native to southern  China and Taiwan.   It may be divided into separate plants.

Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana)

This Australian  palm is very popular as an indoor palm throughout the world. They are a slow growing palm especially indoors.   They are  a single trunked feather leafed palm.  When planted in  the  ground  they can grow up to 10 metres in height.

Fishtail Lawyer palm (Calamus caryotoides)

The Fishtail Lawyer Cane is a climbing palm  that is endemic  to the tropical forests of  Queensland.  Grown indoors,  this palm  can survive even a dimly lit room.  It has fishtail-like leaves and can grow up to 15 metres in its natural habitat.

Pony Tail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvate)

When planted on the ground, the  Pony Tail Palm can tower over 8 metres.   Indoors, the height can be  controlled by prevailing conditions such as the amount of sunlight and water.   Its caudex, which lies  partially above  ground, makes it a popular indoor palm.

Golden Cane (Dypsis lutescens)

This is clumping palm  tolerates  indoors where it will grow a greener colour than outside, it stays a  manageable size in a pot  and excepts being root  bound  and low on water.

Growing  palms indoors gives your  interior  the  look of a  tropical paradise right in your own home.    The greater  benefit, however, is getting visual and physical  therapy from  taking care of the rich green foliage.

Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona  chinensis)

This palm is native to Japan and Taiwan and is slow growing in a pot but will tolerate  semi- shade.

Walking Stick Palm (linospedix  monostachya)

This palm is native  to the Australian  subtropical  rainforests and  grows  naturally  to 2 to 3 m.   It is a slow grower a 


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