Indoor palm trees can add a touch of the tropics to your home. Fresh and graceful, these plants are popular for their distinctive foliage. Not all palm trees can be grown successfully in the home, however. Choose a type that is slow-growing and that has been cultivated to remain a smaller size. These are usually called "dwarf" palms. Finally, consider the light needs of your tree. Most indoor palms need exposure to day-long, bright but indirect light, according to the University of Minnesota.
The parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) is a slow-growing, dwarf variety of palm, highly popular with indoor gardeners for its ability to grow in lower light conditions than most other palms, according to the University of Minnesota. This tree grows rather bushy--it grows on many canes--and can range in size from only a few inches to several feet tall. The parlor palm reaches a maximum height of 6 feet. It should be kept in a location away from cold drafts, such as by an air conditioner, and in consistently warm temperatures.
Kentia Palm (Howea forsterana)
Kentia palms (Howea forsterana) are sometimes called sentry palms. They grow on one tall, slender cane and have long, gracefully drooping fronds. These trees can tolerate cold temperatures better than parlor palms. They are not as compact as parlor palms, however, and will eventually grow too tall for your home--unless you have two story ceilings. Like all palm trees, they cannot be pruned to control height.
Lady palms (Rapis excelsa) are slow-growing and rather pricey, but they will also lend a distinctively Asian air to your indoor decor. These palms feature dark-green fronds shaped somewhat like a human hand, and grow on several slim canes. They are bushy rather than tall.
Fan palms are desirable for their distinctive, fan-shaped foliage, according to the University of Minnesota. The Chinese fan palm (Livistona chinensis) and the European fan palm (Chamaerops humilis) are the two types most commonly grown indoors. These demanding but highly attractive trees must have bright sunlight in order to thrive, such as that given by as a large set of south-facing windows. Fan palms can grow either on a single cane or more than one cane. They differ slightly in appearance: Chinese fan palms have ruffled edges, while European fan palms appear like cut-out lace.