Palm trees are also called as Arecaceae.
These are mostly flowering plants and grow in a wide range from rainforests to deserts. Most of these are found in tropical areas.
Human use of palm trees is as old as human civilization. Palms and its benefits have also been mentioned in many ancient scriptures.
There are about 50 types of indoor palm trees available in the world.
In this article, I have listed the best indoor palm trees that are more suited for the conditions. I have also covered the conditions that are best suited to grow these palm trees within your house.
SIDE NOTE: Being tropical, all palm trees require high humidity.
Areca palm is also called as butterfly palms as their feathers arch in a beautiful butterfly pattern. They have leathery fronds with many leaflets on either side.
Being a tropical plant, it grows very well in moderate temperatures climates.
Since they grow really slow (around 5-7 inches per year) it is a good idea to get a slightly big plant to begin with.
SOIL: Areca Palm requires a good acidic well-draining soil. Areca doesn’t respond very well to waterlogging and it can cause the roots to rot.
GROWTH: They grow slowly and can last up to 10-15 years. It requires repotting every two years to remove old soil and fertilizer deposits. They like tight containers. Growth tip is at the very top of the plant, so be careful not to cut it or else growth of plant will stop.
WATER: Remember the soil should be kept slightly moist. In winters make sure it is completely dry before re-watering. Do not use chlorinated or fluoridated water as it can harm the plant. Since the soil at the bottom is moister compared to the soil at the top, make sure to check the bottom soil before watering it again.
FERTILISER: Use a good liquid fertilizer in spring and once every two-three months in the growing season. Do not fertilize in winters.
LIGHT: They need bright indirect light to grow. Direct sunlight can harm them.
BENEFITS: It gives out a good amount of oxygen. It also removes harmful chemicals such as xylene and toluene. It is also a natural humidifier.
TOXICITY: It is non-toxic and great around pets and children
Parlour palm is also called as ‘Chamaedorea Elegans’ or ‘Neanthe Bella Palm’.
It is a slow-growing beautiful tropical plant.
It is grown in clusters with three-four Parlour palms together in a pot giving a thick bushy tropical appearance.
SOIL: Any high-quality potting mix is good for Parlour palms. Care should be taken that it doesn’t become spongy.
GROWTH: They grow very slowly and not very tall. It takes years to grow to its full height (3-4 ft). It does not mind crowding and grows as clusters of multiple stems. Never cut-off healthy green fronds (the leaf or leaf-like part of a palm tree) or growth of the plant will stop. The lower fronds themselves fall off. They need to be repotted yearly until they reach their mature height.
WATER- Use less water and wait for the soil to dry out before watering again. They can’t tolerate being waterlogged. Give even less water in winters.
FERTILISER- Since they grow grouped together in a single pot, the soil gets depleted of nutrients. It does not need a lot of feeding. Fertilize them once in every four to five months. Avoid adding any fertilizer in winters.
LIGHT- They can grow in low light conditions. Having said that, it is doesn’t mean they don’t require sunlight at all. Bright filtered light works very well for them.
BENEFITS- The reason for its popularity is that it’s able to thrive in low light areas and requiring very little care. They are also cheap as compared to the other palm trees. They can survive for years.
TOXICITY- They are non-toxic and harmless. Only be careful of pests as they are vulnerable to them. Use neem pesticide spray monthly. Remove dead and decayed parts.
Chinese Fan Palm
It is also called as ‘Livistona Chinensis’.
One distinguishing trait of Chinese Fan Palm is that it is drought resistant palm. So you can get away wit not watering it for weeks.
Grown mostly in Japan and China, it is now cultivated worldwide for its strength and durability. When grown right, it can stay as a companion for years.
SOIL: It requires well-draining soil. Preferably mix peat and sand with a good potting mix. If your plant has brown leaf tips, this can be an indication of dry soil and low humidity.
GROWTH: Their indoor growth is very slow. So a good idea is to buy a 2-3 feet plant. They don’t need to be repotted often. Also, they have fragile roots. so it’s a good idea to pot them in a big pot to avoid repotting unless the soil gets depleted. Prune away the dead leaves.
WATER: Being drought resistant, they require less water and need dry spells in between waterings.
FERTILISER: Once in six months for faster growth
LIGHT: It needs a good amount of light. It can stay in the partial shade as well but growth will be slowed.
BENEFITS: Palm seed extract has been shown to have potent anti-cancer property. Its leaves are used to make fans, hats etc whereas its wood is used for walking.
Toxicity: It is non-toxic and safe. They do not attract pests.
Sago Palm is not a true palm although it appears like a palm tree.
It is from the family of cycas. Its name is Cycas revoluta.
It has a wood-like base from which multiple fronds appear. It is a very delicate slow growing palm. It has an amazing history dating back before the dinosaurs.
SOIL: It requires organic well-draining soil. It is better to plant the sago slightly above the soil level to avoid the collection of water.
GROWTH: Sago palms are very slow growing. They only produce one leaf per year. So it’s a good idea to buy a big plant to enjoy its beauty. Its maximum height indoors is about two feet and takes around five years. Repotting every 2-3 years is fine for the plant. Choose a two-inch bigger container.
WATER: It requires less water but high humidity. Keep misting or keep a water pebble tray for creating good humidity. Overwatering can cause the root to rot. Water only when the topsoil begins to dry. Waterless in winters.
FERTILISER: Because of their slow growth, they require feeding only three times a year. An organic liquid fertilizer works well. Its growing time is April to September so feed them once in April once in June and once in August.
LIGHT: Keep it in a place that gets bright indirect light (about five to seven feet away from a sunny window). It will protect the plant from burning sunlight.
BENEFITS: According to neuropathy, it is effective in bone pain, cancer, liver enlargement etc., but only after it is processed in a certain way as it is poisonous.
TOXICITY- It is toxic and very dangerous to animals. It can also cause death to pets.
Ponytail palm is not actually a palm.
It is a succulent and is also called a bottle palm tree or elephants foot tree.
Its unique characteristic is a bulbous trunk. This bulbous trunk stores water. From the top of the trunk hair like leaves emerge outwards in a ponytail pattern, giving it a stunning appearance and unique name.
SOIL: Being a succulent, it requires well-draining cactus soil. Let it dry out between waterings.
GROWTH: Being a succulent, they require warm temperature and high humidity to grow well. They can grow up to three feet in height when kept indoors. Their lifespan is between 10 and 100 years.
WATER: Never over water the plant or it will cause root rot. Also, make sure there is no standing water. Let it dry out completely between waterings. Watering 3 times a week is enough.
FERTILISER: A liquid fertilizer in spring and summer and after every couple of months is enough.
LIGHT: Bright direct sunlight or indirect bright light is good for this desert succulent.
BENEFITS: The leaves of Ponytail Palm contain a high amount of saponins which is helpful in lowering cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. If you grow lots of ponytail palms together they will remove harmful chemicals from the environment.
TOXICITY: Keep away from pets and children as it causes discomfort when chewed.
Also called as Cyperus alternifolius, this plant is native to Madagascar, in the Indian ocean.
It is cultivated as an ornamental house plant worldwide.
The tall stems have umbrellas of radiating leaves giving it a beautiful appearance.
SOIL: It requires moist and slightly acidic soil.
GROWTH: Being an aquatic species, its leaves turn brown if root becomes dry. It grows well if you put the pot over a pot of water at the root level. Divide the plant every three years. Remove the plant from the soil and cut out the outer part and replant and discard the old central part. Prune out the dead stems when you see them.
WATER: The roots require constant water and need to remain moist. It cannot be overwatered since it grows in swamps with roots fully submerged in water.
FERTILISER: Give it liquid diluted plant food once every month in the growing season. Don’t feed it in the winter season. Too much-wet soil can cause a stale smell from the soil. Try adding small pieces of charcoal to remove the smell.
LIGHT: It needs bright light. It grows well in full sun and can also survive in partial shade.
BENEFITS: It is antibacterial, antioxidant, and antifungal. A study was done with umbrella palms and its ability to remove pollutant sludge and its efficiency in municipal wastewater treatment. It showed high efficiency in removing chemical parameters and was also highly efficient in removing polluted sludge. It can also remove heavy metal polluted water under low Ni concentrations.
TOXICITY- It is toxic to pets. If ingested, the symptoms can include vomiting with blood, anorexia, pupils dilated, and hypersalivation.
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