Growing Chinese Fan Palms Indoors


Chinese Fan palms (Livistona chinensis) are the perfect palm trees to grow indoors. Slow growing and graceful, they will add interest and a touch of green to your home. This very hardy palm will tolerate poor soil and occasionally cool temperatures, making it an almost ideal houseplant. Although relatively easy to grow, the Chinese Fan has a few specific needs related to its tropical heritage. Fulfill those needs and you will be rewarded with a healthy and beautiful plant.

Step 1

Choose a container that has good drainage and a tray to catch excess water. Well-drained soil is a must for Chinese Fan palms, so fill the container with a potting medium made especially for palm trees.

Step 2

Place your Chinese Fan palm in a sunny location. These tropical plants need at least five full hours of sunlight per day. Do not place the palm immediately next to a window, however, because the fluctuations in temperature near a window between day and night can cause the leaves to become scorched or too cold.

Step 3

Water your palm tree enough so the soil is continually moist during the spring and summer. In the winter, let it dry out a little bit between waterings. Insert the tip of your finger into the soil. If the top layer (around an inch) of the soil is dry, water your tree again.

Step 4

Fertilize the Chinese Fan palm starting in late winter and continue into early autumn. If the tips of the fronds start to turn brown, you are probably using too much fertilizer or fertilizing too often. Start with a half-dose of palm tree fertilizer once every two weeks. If you see brown edges developing, cut that back to once a month.

Step 5

Keep the palm fronds clean. Run a dusting rag over them or take them outside and hose them off occasionally. Spider mites are attracted to dusty palm leaves and can become a big problem in Chinese Fan palms.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not place the Chinese fan palm near an air conditioner or heating vent, because it does not tolerate hot or cold drafts very well. Never let standing water collect on the surface of the soil or under the container, because doing so can lead to rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Container with drainage holes and tray
  • Potting medium made for palm trees
  • Watering tool
  • Fertilizer formulated for palms
  • Dusting rag


  • University of Minnesota Extension

Who Can Help

  • Livistonia chinensis (Chinese Fan Palm)
Keywords: Chinese fan palm, Livistonia chinensis, growing palms indoors

About this Author

April Sanders has been a writer and educator for 11 years. She is a published curriculum writer and has provided academic content for several subscription databases. Sanders holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social psychology and a Master's degree in information sciences and technology.