Care of Household Palm Plants


Palm trees do very well as houseplants and are not difficult to grow and maintain. Although palms are tropical and many species grow very tall, the smaller varieties and dwarf palms are well adapted to indoor use. And because they are in a controlled environment, you can easily control the temperature, humidity and amount of water you give these plants. Whether you choose an areca palm, a dwarf Phoenix date palm or another smaller variety, the care of all indoor palm trees is essentially the same.

Caring For Indoor Palm Trees

Step 1

Plant your palm tree in a large container with a drainage hole, using standard potting soil. Remove the palm from its nursery pot and estimate how much potting soil to place in the bottom of your container by noticing the height of the unpotted root system. Then fill your pot to a level that will allow the top of the unpotted soil to rest about 1 inch from the top of your container. Place your tree into the container and then fill it with additional potting soil, to within 1 inch of the rim.

Step 2

Fill a plant saucer with small pebbles and then place your potted palm on top of the saucer. Water it until the water drains out of the drainage hole in your container and fills the saucer with water. Keeping water in the saucer will help to raise the humidity around your palm, which these tropical trees like.

Step 3

Mist your potted palm tree every day with a fine spray of water. If you like, you can keep an inexpensive humidity meter near your plant to make certain the humidity is above 50 percent at all times.

Step 4

Fertilize your palm tree twice a year with a half strength dose of plant food having an N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. Follow label directions on your plant food container for details about mixing and applying the product.

Step 5

Treat your palm for spider mites if you should see any signs of webbing on the fronds. Insecticidal soap is an effective, organic remedy for these pests and other small, sucking insects---it is available at garden supply stores and nurseries.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some species of palms, such as the coconut palm, are not well suited for use as a houseplant.

Things You'll Need

  • Large pot with drainage hole
  • Potting soil
  • Large plant saucer
  • Pebbles
  • Humidity meter (optional)
  • Balanced fertilizer
  • Insecticidal soap


  • Areca Areca Palm
  • Jungle Music: Palms As Houseplants
Keywords: palm trees, house plants, tropical indoors

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.