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How to Take Care of Indoor Palm Plants Tips Guide

Learning how to take care of indoor palm plants isn’t too hard. Sure, it might seem like a lot to take in, but—with the help of this straightforward guide—you’ll be all ready to go in no time. 

That said, I wouldn’t recommend them for complete beginners. The challenges you face will really vary between different types of palms, but palms tend to be rather picky. As such, indoor palm tree care is best left to those with a bit of experience under their belts.

Sound like you? If so, then maybe you’ll be enjoying one of these slow growing large indoor plants in your home soon. Keep reading to learn about planting, the process, and the palms themselves!

A Mini Growing Guide for How to Take Care of Indoor Palm Plants

how to take care of indoor palm plants

While it might be tempting to go out and buy a palm right away, there are a few things you’ll want to pay attention to when learning how to take care of indoor palm plants. As mentioned, each type of palm is different, so alter the specifics to perfectly meet the needs of your palm(s).

Palms need four main things to thrive: water, warm temperatures, fertilizer, and sun. Temperatures and sun exposure can be addressed by placing the palms near an east, west, or south-facing window. 

These locations generally offer plenty of indirect sunlight throughout the day, so be sure to work them into your decor ideas. However, make sure to keep your palms out of direct sunlight.

Palms prefer a moist, tropical environment. You can expect to water your palms once or twice a week. Still, make sure the top of the soil is dry to the touch before watering to avoid moisture buildup. 

Ensuring your plant pots have drainage holes can help prevent root rot. For temperatures, you’ll want to ensure the area where your palm(s) reside never dips below 50 degrees overnight. Generally, up to 80 °F during the day and down to 60 °F at night is ideal.

Lastly, don’t forget to fertilize. Using time-release fertilizer, you should only need to fertilize your palms two or three times per year. Prune as needed.

How to Take Care of Indoor Palm Plants Propagation Options

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With a general idea of how to take care of indoor palm plants under your belt, we can now move on to propagation. Sure, you already paid for one, but do you really want to spend even more to fill your home with these houseplants? Probably not, and that’s where knowing how to properly propagate can come in handy.

Just remember, there isn’t any one “best way” to propagate your indoor palms. Like growth requirements, the most effective method(s) will vary from palm to palm. Be sure to do your research, and feel free to experiment if you like!

Propagation by Division

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If you keep a set of pruning shears then propagation by division might be a great option for you. This simple process works best with clumped varieties of palm trees, as the multiple stems can be easily propagated.

First, grab a few pots to hold the stems you’ll be removing. Fill these pots with soilless potting mix and water the mix until it’s decently moist. Next, gently remove your main plant from its pot and look for stem clumps with separate root systems.

Once you find one, separate these roots from the main root system (taking special care to avoid damage to the mother plant). Put each clump in its own pot, and place the pot(s) in a warm, shady area. Beyond that, just continue your plant care routine as normal.

Propagation Using Suckers How to Take Care of Indoor Palm Plants

You’ll see a lot of different types of palms when learning how to take care of indoor palm plants. While division might be best for clustered palms, removing suckers—new stems—is a better option for some types of palms.

You’ll want to wait until the suckers are a few inches tall, complete with their own root systems. Pull the sucker—complete with root system—from the pot, then plant each sucker in its own pot. Like before, place in a shady, warm area and continue care of your palm plants as normal.

Propagation With Pups

Some smaller palms grow pups, which are small sister plants. Like suckers, these can be easily removed and propagated once they’ve grown their own root systems. 

Essentially, the process is the same. Wait until the pups are ready, then remove them by cutting the pup away from the mother plant using a sharp blade. Plant the pup in its own pot, placing soil up to the bottom of the lowest leaves.

Place a clear plastic bag over the top of the plant to lock in humidity. I recommend using small wooden sticks to keep the sides of the bag from touching the pups delicate leaves. To finish, simply place the pup in bright, indirect natural light and moisten the soil regularly.

What to Watch Out for How to Take Care of Indoor Palm Plants

how to take care of indoor palm plants

Knowing how to take care of indoor palm plants, but knowing what to watch out for is just as important. Overall, palms are relatively easy to care for, assuming you can keep their living standards up. However, like all types of plants, they are prone to a few issues from time to time.

Visual imperfections can quickly become an issue, turning a once beautiful tree into a complete decorating disaster. Fortunately, diagnosing and treating these issues is fairly straightforward. 

Are your palm’s leaves:

  • Wilting or yellowing? If so, you’re giving them too much water. Reduce watering, and keep an eye out for root rot.
  • Dry and brown? In this case, you’ll need to give your palms a bit more water. Dry and brown tips are easy to treat, but they’re hard on the eyes and need to be addressed right away.

There are also a ton of small pests to keep an eye out for, such as spider mites, scale insects, and mealy bugs.

My Favorite Types of Palms

Well, you’ve made it this far so you should know how to take care of indoor palm plants. You even know how to turn one plant into multiple palms, helping you save money in the future. There’s only one question left: what kind of palm should you get?

Here are the ones I recommend.

Areca Palm

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With a maximum indoor height of six to seven feet, the Areca Palm is a great option if you’re looking to fill a lot of space. The fronds can spread up to four feet wide, though, so you will want to keep that in mind.

This plant—also known as the Bamboo Palm—prefers warmer temperatures and higher humidity. It can survive in temperatures down to 50 degrees Fahrenheit for short periods of time, but extended exposure will lead to issues. It can also tolerate average humidity, but this isn’t ideal.

For best results, place this palm away from air conditioners and indoor heaters. 

Cat Palm

how to take care of indoor palm plants

For less spacious decorative interiors, the ​Cat Palm (Chamaedorea Elegans) is a great alternative. These plants are extremely slow-growing, often taking up to 10 years to reach a maximum size of three feet tall.

Well-draining potting mix and warmer temperatures of 70-80° F will have this plant living its best life inside of your home. It’s actually one of the easier palms to grow, making it an easy recommendation for first-time palm plant owners.

To top it all off? This palm isn’t toxic, so your furry friends will be safe!

Chinese Fan Palm

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The Chinese Fan Palm looks exactly like what it’s named after. The fronds on this palm spread wide, growing to a maximum length of 60 inches long.

These plants are very easy to grow. In fact, multiple states have dubbed them “invasive”, which is a testament to their growth potential. That said, you will want to keep that in mind if you decide to relocate them outside, as they may take over your property.

Like many other palms, the Chinese Fan Palm prefers higher humidity levels. Unlike the others, however, it can actually survive freezing temperatures, though this obviously isn’t ideal.

Kentia Palm

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Tall and thin, the Kentia Palm (Howea Forsteriana) is a great pick if you’re looking for an indoor palm. Indoors, they typically reach a maximum height of six to ten feet. Outdoors, they can reach up to 40 feet tall.

This plant is used to the Australian heat, but it does well in moderate humidity levels and bright indoor light. Pruning requirements are minimal, and you need only fertilize during the spring and summer months to keep this plant looking its best.

Lady Palms

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Photo via the Spruce

Lady Palms (Rhapis Excelsa) are a type of tiny palm that would fit well in a larger apartment. Growing less than a foot per year, size shouldn’t be an issue with this plant.

Lady Palms don’t do well with direct sunlight. To avoid leaf burn, I recommend placing your palms in a north or east-facing window where they’ll get plenty of bright indirect light.

Majesty Palm

how to take care of indoor palm plants

Native to Madagascar, the Majesty Palm actually looks a lot like a Kentia palm. Distinguishable for its arching fronds and strict requirements, this is definitely one of the more challenging palms to grow at home.

These plants require a high humidity level, the perfect balance of light & fertilizer, and heat. On the plus side, the Majesty Palm can do well in a wide range of temperatures, from as low as 65° F to as high as 85° F. 

Wrap Up

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Congratulations – now you know how to take care of indoor palm plants! Of course, every type of palm is a little bit different, so I highly recommend doing research on your particular plants to get the best results. Still, this little guide should give you enough to get started.

Are you planning on growing your own palms in the future? Perhaps you already have a few around your home, and simply want to expand your collection. Either way, be sure to let me know in the comments below.

As always, thanks for reading. I love you guys. See you next week!

Looking for something a little more laid back? Consider growing these outdoor wildflower seeds instead!


FAQs About How to Take Care of Indoor Palm Plants

How often should you water indoor palms?

You want to avoid giving your palms too much water, as this can cause root rot and other complications. Of course, too little water can be harmful as well. I suggest watering your plants once the top of the soil feels dry to the touch.

Should I cut off brown palm leaves?

Yes, but remove only the browned part of the leaves. 

Do indoor palms need direct sunlight?

No, direct sunlight can actually harm your indoor palm plant. Stick to indirect, bright sunlight instead.

Why is my indoor palm dying?

There are a number of different possible reasons, but poor lighting and over/underwatering are the most common. Make sure your indoor palm trees are getting a lot of indirect sunlight on a daily basis. ​Bright light is fine; direct sunlight is not.

For watering, adjust your watering schedule and keep track of the results. If—despite increased watering—your plant still has brown tips then your palm may be having an issue with dry air. Consider using a humidifier to prevent humidity-related issues.

How to bring an indoor palm tree back to life?

To revive these indoor plants, you’ll first want to figure out how they got to their current state. From here, you can adjust your watering schedule accordingly. With that out of the way, give your palm slow-release fertilizer and remember to only cut fronds when they’ve completely died. You should also look at the current lighting situation, and adjust plant placement if necessary.

What does a sick palm tree look like?

While changes on the leaves are an easily recognizable sign of over/underwatering, changes to the center stalk indicate a much more serious issue is at hand. Brown and shriveling center top stalks are a clear indication that your ​tropical plants are sick.

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