How to Grow Palm Trees Indoors


Many types of palms do well indoors. Some palm trees, such as the parlor palms will grow in low light conditions and others, such as the Pygmy date palm, rarely grow more than 10 feet tall, making them ideal for indoor use. Palm trees can give your home an exotic, tropical feel and are low maintenance. Space is the main factor to consider when thinking about indoor palms, as you cannot prune them to control size.

Step 1

Transplant the palm tree into a pot with drain holes if it did not come with one. Use only a well-draining potting mixture and plant it at the same level it is in the current pot. The size of the pot will depend on the type and size of tree you are planting. It should have enough room for the roots to grow for at least a year, but not so big that the nutrients will leach from the soil before the roots can use them.

Step 2

Place the tree in indirect light, according to the type of palm. Directions that came with the tree will explain the trees lighting needs, such as low light or bright light. It will also tell you the best direction for the incoming light, such as a south or east facing window.

Step 3

Water the tree immediately after planting and again whenever the top of the soil begins to feel dry. The soil should always remain moist, but never soggy

Step 4

Pour the water in until it runs through to the drain tray. Allow it 15 minutes and discard the excess water. If the tree is large and heavy, fill the drain tray with pebbles and sit the pot on top of them. Do not allow the bottom of the pot to sit in water--it should sit above the pebbles. This will create much-needed humidity for the tree and you won’t have to lift the pot to drain excess water.

Step 5

Apply a palm tree fertilizer in the spring and again in the summer. Palm trees have specific nutritional needs but are not heavy feeders. Too much fertilizer will cause as much harm to the tree as not enough. Follow the fertilizer manufacturer’s directions as to how much to apply per type and size of the tree.

Step 6

Take the tree outdoors, if possible, during the summer. Slowly acclimate the tree to an indirectly or filtered light location. The trees will normally flourish when placed outdoors when it is warm. Bring the trees back indoors when the temperatures start to get to a low of 50 degrees F at night.

Step 7

Clean the fronds once a month, or more often if they are dusty, with a clean cotton cloth and distilled water in a spray bottle. Some tap water contains chemicals that will damage the fronds or turn them brown. This will also clean off any spider mites or aphids that have made a home in your palm tree.

Step 8

Cut off fronds only when they have turned brown. The fronds collect nutrients needed for the tree, pruning them off prematurely will jeopardize the health of the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Flowerpot with drain holes Drain tray Potting mix consisting of perlite and organic matter Fertilizer for palm trees Pebbles Spray bottle Distilled water Clean cotton cloth Pruning shears


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Growing Palms Indoors
  • Clemson University Extension: Indoor Palms
  • NDSU Extension: Interior Plantscaping with Large Houseplants
Keywords: indoor palm care, potted palm care, growing indoor palms

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.