Types of Palm Houseplants

Palm trees instantly conjure up images of the tropics. Palms are frequently grown for ornamental value and for the picture of leisure and relaxation they project. When cultivated as a houseplant, palm trees can add an exotic touch of green to a home that is refreshing and unexpected.

Pygmy Date Palm

The pygmy date palm (Phoenix roebelenii), also called a miniature date palm, is a popular ornamental plant native to Northern Laos, Southwestern China and Northern Vietnam. The plant has yellow green leaves, and the palms tend to droop. As its name suggests, the pygmy palm is a small palm, reaching a maximum height of between 6 and 12 feet. Pygmy dates are well suited for zones 10 to 11, and they will grow well indoors with sufficient light. Pygmy dates require well drained, moist soil. These slow growing plants produce yellow flowers which give way to small brown fruits that resemble dates.

Needle Palm

The Needle Palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix) is an extremely cold hardy palm native to the southeastern United States. The plant has a shrub-like appearance, with dense clusters of long, thin leaves. The plant reaches a maximum height of 10 feet, though it can also be much smaller. The slow growing plant produces clusters of small delicate flowers, which give way to brown fruits. Needle palms need well drained soil, and though they will grow in sun and shade, partial sun is ideal. Needle palms are becoming scarce in the wild thanks to commercial exploitation and should be bought from a trustworthy nursery.

European Fan Palm

Native to Europe, Northwest Africa and the Mediterranean, the European fan palm (Chamaerops humilis) is a small clumping palm that rarely exceeds 10 feet, often growing to 5 feet or a little above. The European fan palm has brilliant green palm leaves and a stout trunk from which multiple stems emerge--the plant has a shrub-like appearance. The plant blossoms with dense clusters of small flowers, followed by clusters of brown fruit. It is fairly cold hardy and will grow in gardening zones 7 to 11. The European fan palm can be grown indoors with well drained soil and a fair amount of sunlight.

Keywords: palm trees, palm houseplants, houseplant types

About this Author

Michelle Wishhart is a writer based out of Astoria, Ore. She has been writing professionally for five years, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for an alternative weekly paper in Santa Cruz. She has a B.A. in fine arts from the University of California in Santa Cruz and a minor in English literature.