Care for Indoor Tropical Palms


Palms can give any room in your home a tropical look. The trees will be large compared to other houseplants and cannot be pruned back for size, so a lot of room is required. There are many species of palm that can be grown indoors, and some require more light than others, so spaces that are well lit should factor in when making a purchase. Palms rarely have any type of disease problems when grown indoors, and maintenance is minimal.

Step 1

Keep the palm near a south, east or west window with filtered sunlight. Direct sunlight through a window will cause leaf burn. Temperatures generally should be kept between 70 and 80 degrees F during the day, 60 degrees F during the night and 55 to 60 degrees during the winter.

Step 2

Place a drain tray filled with pebbles under the palm's container. The container should sit on top of the pebbles and not in the tray. Water the tree when the soil starts to dry on the surface, until the water comes through the drain holes. Leave the water in the tray to provide humidity for the tree. Never allow the container to sit in water.

Step 3

Place an inch of compost on top of the soil in the container once a year. As you water, the compost will leach into the soil and promote good drainage while adding nutrients to the soil.

Step 4

Wash leaves with warm tap water to remove dust and air pollution once a month. You can also place the tree in the shower or leave outside during rain if the plant is easy to move.

Step 5

Place the tree in the shade outside during the summer. Slowly move it to a filtered sun area, giving it time to acclimate to brighter light. Never place it in direct sun.

Step 6

Apply a liquid or time-released fertilizer made for palm trees. They require certain micronutrients that other houseplants may not. You can fertilize any time the tree is actively growing, and amount and how often will depend on tree size and tree type. Follow the manufacturer's suggestions.

Step 7

Re-pot palms in the spring every 2 or 3 years only if they are very root bound. Palms will do better if slightly root bound, so only move to the next pot size if you want a larger plant.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never use a leaf shining product on palm fronds as it will damage them.

Things You'll Need

  • Palm tree fertilizer
  • Drain tray
  • Pebbles
  • Compost


  • Clemson Extension: Indoor Palms
  • University of Minnesota Extension: GROWING PALMS INDOORS
  • NDSU Extension: Interior Plantscaping with Large Houseplants
Keywords: growing tropical palms, indoor palm care, exotic indoor plants

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.