Growing Palms Indoors: Palm Care

Bringing a little California dreaming to your home isn’t as difficult as you may think, especially with the addition of indoor palm trees. There are several varieties to consider, all of which require a level of indoor palm care.

Top tips for indoor palm care

When considering how to look after your indoor palm trees, there are several main factors to consider, including:

  • Choose a palm variety that is renowned for growing well indoors.
  • Place palms in a spot that receives bright, indirect light.
  • Water palms when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch.
  • Plant them in a quality palm potting mix.
  • After a month, feed them with a top palm plant food.
  • Prune dead foliage to keep palms looking in tip-top condition.

Did you know?

Palm trees aren’t actually trees at all. They’re essentially giant grasses! This is one of the reasons that once they’ve grown a little; they’ll continue to get taller but won’t get much wider. It is also why palms make great houseplants, especially as most varieties are easy to grow and are considered to be low maintenance. They are a great option if you wish to add a little tropical flair to just about any room in the household, be it your kitchen, living space, bathroom or bedroom.

What do you need to know to grow palms indoors?

First up, which palms should you be growing indoors? There are after all a number of species to choose from, some of which are very suitable for indoor environments and some of which are not.

One of the best indoor palms to pick is the parlor palm. This slow growing specie is extremely easy to care for. It requires less light than most other types of palms and it can be placed almost anywhere in the household. Just don’t put it in the closet!

Other good options for the indoor environment include sentry palms, Chinese fan palms, and lady palms – indoor palm care for these varieties is also considered to be relatively straight-forward.

Where to grow palms indoors

When growing palms indoors, it is important to consider a few factors, including lighting conditions. The majority of palms enjoy consistently moist soil and bright, indirect light. For best results, grow your indoor palms near a west or south-facing window (but avoid direct sunlight). If possible, place in a room with a little humidity as palms thrive in warmer conditions. This is why it’s wise to keep them away from cold blasts of air, such as those let in by doorways and windows. However, you should also keep them away from the hot, dry air that comes from heating vents.

How to plant palms indoors

When planting a palm indoors, you’ll also want to think about how you go about it, as this is a vital part of indoor plant care.

  • Begin by picking a pot. For best results, choose one with drainage holes. This vessel should be no more than a third larger than the root ball of the plant.
  • The second step requires you to fill a third of the container with a quality potting mix – there are a number of mixes available online and at your local gardening center. Choose one that is specially formulated to help keep palm’s soil moisture levels even. If moisture is not consistent, palms can develop root rot problems, especially if their ‘feet’ are kept continuously wet.
  • Detach the palm from its initial container and place it in the new pot, so that the top of the root ball is about an inch below the top of the container.
  • Add soil to the pot surrounding the root ball, making sure the area where the roots grow out of the bottom of the stem is concealed with soil without being buried too deeply.
  • Position a saucer under the pot and find a good location for the plant.
  • The final stage requires you to water your newly planted palm well.

How to water palms indoors

Palms prefer soil that is not too moist, but also, not too dry. They enjoy a happy medium. For best results, once palms are established, water them when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch. If you let the soil dry out entirely, the leaf tips will most likely turn a shade of brown. Once this happens, it’s impossible to make them green again.

Even though it’s recommended to place indoor palms on a saucer, it’s also wise to not allow palms to sit in saucers of standing water. This will encourage root rot.

If you begin to notice that the tips of your palm leaves are turning an unsightly shade of brown, it’s a good idea to water the plants more frequently. If the leaves are turning yellow, however, cut back on watering your palm.

How to feed palms indoors

When a month passes post-planting, your palm will require food. Indoor palms can be picky when it comes to what they are fed, which is why it’s important to choose a plant feed that is designed specifically for your palm. This will ensure they are given all of the nutrients they require, including iron, magnesium, and manganese.

This will help to prevent fronds from yellowing and twisting. It will also keep your palms extremely well-fed for an impressive three months. For best results and for information on how much food to give your palm, read the directions carefully on the label.

How to prune palms indoors

It is almost impossible to prune palm trees for size, as if you cut off the top off the plant, it will die. You can, however, prune off dead leaves, which will help to keep the plant looking tidy and in tiptop condition.

When pruning your palm, it’s important to keep in mind that many species have pointy leaves and spines. These can prick your fingers if you’re not careful so it’s recommended to use gardening gloves to protect your hands when tidying up your palm.

Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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