Live indoor palm trees have the ability to bring a tropical feeling to any room, business or office space. There are a wide variety of exotic-looking indoor palm trees that adapt well the less-than-perfect growing conditions found in your home or work area. Most palms require little maintenance, are relatively free of pests and are readily available in garden centers, nurseries and many retail stores.
Native to the Lord Howe Island, the kentia (Howea forsteriana) palm is often found living indoors. An elegant palm that can reach heights of 60 feet when planted outdoors, the kentia palm will grow anywhere between 5 and 12 feet when potted in a container. The leaves, known as fronds, of the kentia palm are long, arching, feathered leaves that are dark green in color. The Kentia palm is slow-growing and durable and is rarely bothered by pests. This palm flourishes in well-lit areas but can thrive if placed near windows where it will be exposed to indirect light. Plant kentia palms in a fast draining, sandy mix of potting soil. Water when the top soil begins to dry out; over-watering leaves plant susceptible to root rot.
Commonly found in malls, offices and homes, the bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii) is easy to maintain and adds a dash of color any indoor space. Native to Mexico and Central America, bamboo palms are delicate and graceful-looking trees that grow to heights between 5 and 10 feet. Foliage is long, slender and cane-like and dark green in color. Pot the bamboo palm in a well-drained soil that's a mix of sand and moist peat and place plants in shaded areas. When located in well-lit surroundings, the bamboo palm produces a creamy flower and an orange-red fruit. The fruit contains oxalic acid that may cause irritation and burning of the skin.
Grown mainly as an ornamental in China and Japan, the lady palm (Rhapis excelsa) is often used to decorate malls, offices and homes. It's high tolerance of neglect and poor lighting conditions makes it ideal for indoor use. The lady palm has bright, shiny green fronds and must be placed in well-lit areas for fronds to maintain their bright color. Plant these palms in well-drained, acidic soils made up of sand, loam and leaf mold. The lady palm can endure periods of drought once it's established and is highly resistant to most pests and diseases. Lady palms produce small stalks of pale pink-white flowers and a creamy white fruit that should not be eaten.
Golden Cane Palm
Normally found in the tropics and sub-tropics, the golden cane palm (Dypsis lutescens) add an exoitc appeal to homes, offices and waiting rooms. The golden cane palm can grow up to 20 feet tall, but when used in containers it rarely grows past 12 feet. The palm thrives in full sun and looks best in brightly lit areas, but the golden cane tolerates shaded spots as well. Plant the golden palm in moist, well-drained, fertile soil and water when soil becomes dry. Stems of the golden cane have six to eight light green or yellow-green fronds that arch out from multiple, slim trunks. The palm produces small, yellow-white flowers and a yellow-orange berry-like fruit. Golden cane palms add moisture to the air and also remove several toxins from the air.