Indoor palm plants are popular houseplants. Besides homes, indoor palm plants are also commonly found in offices and other public buildings. While some small palm plants can grow on a tabletop, others grow much higher and are suitable for malls and room with cathedral ceilings. However, to grow palm plants indoors it's important to know the type of environment needed for the plants to thrive. Often this involves high humidity with good air flow and warm temperatures.
Indoor palm plants are not limited to tropical areas as outdoor palms are and can be grown in any region because they're protected from adverse weather. Being smaller than outdoor palms, they don't require as much care. Instead, they need about the same amount of attention as any other indoor houseplant.
Indoor palm plants come in many varieties. The cabbage palm, which has dark green leaves, is one of the most popular indoor palm trees. Grown mostly in south Florida, the cabbage palm is ideal for living rooms or dining rooms, adding a tropical theme. The Kentia palm has feathery leaves that branch off a main rib. It starts out small, but grows as tall as 9 feet, according to JungleMusic.com. The lady palm is a fan palm, growing to about 5 to 7 feet.
The height of the ceiling should be considered before choosing an indoor palm tree. For example, small ceilings are more suited for palm plants within the 5-foot range, such as pygmy palms or dwarf palms. On the other hand, taller ceilings can accommodate larger palms such as the Rhapis Excelsa or lady palm, which grow to heights ranging from 8 to 10 feet.
Tips on Watering and Containers
Adequate soil hydration without over-watering is essential. Typically, palm plants should be watered about once a week, depending on circumstances. A plant container needs to be large enough for root growth. However, too large of a container can cause nutrients to seep from the soil before the new roots reach them. Because clay pots are porous, they allow for more water to evaporate through the sides. Therefore, plants in clay pots need more watering than those planted in containers made of glass, plastic, metal or wood.
During winter it helps to give indoor palm plants added humidity when heaters are running. This is possible by placing plants on a platter containing damp gravel. Misting leaves several times daily also helps provide more humidity. A room humidifier is also helpful, although care should be given to ensure that mold doesn't build up on walls or carpets.
It's important that an indoor palm plant has the correct soil and nutrients. High manganese and potassium levels are needed for all palm trees. However, some palm trees are more suited for acidic soils, while others do better in base soils.
Also, some palms, such as the Madagascar palm, are poisonous if eaten. Therefore, this palm isn't a good choice for homes with pets or small children.