How to Care for Indoor Potted Palms


Potted palms bring lush tropical greenery inside the home, adding color and a natural element to your decor. Proper care of the potted palm ensures it will remain healthy and attractive for many years. As tropical plants, indoors is the only place they can be grown successfully in areas with cold winters. There are several varieties of palm well suited to containers, either due to their small size or because they grow and mature slowly so they take many years to outgrow their indoor confines.

Step 1

Place the palm in an area where it receives bright natural light year around, such as near a south-facing window. Move the palm as the sunlight changes each season to maintain the light quantity received.

Step 2

Keep the soil moist at all times, watering as necessary. Water when the very surface of the soil begins to dry out until water drains from the bottom of the pot, but avoid standing water. Empty the drip tray under the planter whenever standing water is present.

Step 3

Wash the leaves once a month to prevent dust buildup. Place the palm in the shower and rinse with lukewarm water or place outside during summer rainstorms.

Step 4

Place palms in an area protected from drafts and away from air conditioner or heater vents, which may dry them out. Choose a room with daytime temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees F and nighttime temperatures of 60.

Step 5

Fertilize with a timed-release houseplant feed every two months or when recommended on the fertilizer package. Fertilize during spring and summer when the palm is actively growing, but avoid fertilizing in winter when the plant is semi-dormant.

Step 6

Repot the palm into a larger pot every two to three years or when the roots begin to outgrow the pot. Fill the next pot with a well-draining soil mixture and plant the palm to the same depth it was at in its previous pot. Palms do best when slightly root bound.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use leaf polishers or shining compounds on palms, as this damages them. While rare, treat any insect infestations immediately. If lower leaves begin dying, the plant is overfertilized.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Potting soil
  • Pot


  • Clemson University Extension
Keywords: potted palm care, houseplant maintenance, indoor trees

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.