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How to Trim Tropical Palm Plants

By Kelly Shetsky ; Updated September 21, 2017

Tropical palm plants can be grown outside or indoors. They need tropical environments with high humidity and warm temperatures. There are 2,500 species of palms. They are evergreen tree-like species, with a single trunk and a fan of leaves on top. The three genera of palms that do best indoors are kentia palm, bamboo palm and lady palm. Trim tropical palm plants to remove dying foliage and promote the best growth.

Trim tropical palm plants cautiously. Many are self-pruning, so your efforts can result in reducing their health, affect how they deal with cold and make them less tolerant to deal with windstorms.

Prune damaged or dead fronds that appear yellow or brown in color. Cut them off where they meet the main trunk of the plant. Be very careful not to touch or damage the trunk.

Remove the flowers and fruit stalks. They both steal strength from the tropical palm and aren't needed. Eventually, the fruit provides food for birds and rodents. It also drops to the ground and makes a mess. The seeds will drop and create seedling in unwanted parts of the landscape.

Remove loose petioles off the palm plant by hand. If they don't pull off with ease, leave them on the tree.

Thin out palm plants as new growth emerges to control the size. Mature fronds grow below the current season's blooms. Leave at least two rows of mature fronds in place when pruning.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gloves
  • Ladder


  • Leave a few inches of foliage in place when cutting off fronds. This will give a buffer to ensure you do not damage the tree trunk.


  • Never cut off more leaves than the tropical palm plant produces in one season.

About the Author


Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.