Because of their affinity for tropical climates, palms elicit feelings of peace and relaxation like no other plant can. No one ever looked at a palm and thought, "That reminds me to get the taxes done." Palm plants also lend a bold, tropical look to home interiors that is surprisingly easy to pull off. Most palms survive in the same conditions that we find comfortable: warm temperatures, average humidity, and moderate light. Add some breezy sophistication to your home with these slow-growing palm specimens that need only occasional tending, and will reward you with their elegant dark green fronds.
01 of 08
The star-shaped leaves of the Livistona chinensis set it apart from other palms that have the more classical feathery frond leaves. Although a slow-growing palm, the mature height of the plant can reach 15 feet or greater, so it's worth seeking out the subglobosa dwarf cultivar if you plan on a permanent indoor setting.
Chinese fan palms do well in bright light, but younger plants tolerate shady locations. Water when the top of the soil feels dry. Choose a large pot that will accommodate the long tap root that the Chinese fan palm produces. Feed this palm once a year in the spring with a slow-release fertilizer.
02 of 08
Also known as the bamboo palm, the areca palm Dypsis lutescens is popular because of its soft fronds and tolerance of low light. The areca palm prefers a moderate amount of water, although it does tolerate occasional drought. Plant your areca palm in fertile soil, and give it a monthly fertilizer application to maintain a lush look.
03 of 08
The majestic palm (Ravenea rivularis) has two positive qualities that make it ideal as an indoor houseplant: it is very shade tolerant, and it is a slow grower. However, you must be aware of two drawbacks of this palm: it needs constant moisture and humidity, and it will outgrow an indoor space over time. If you can keep your majestic palm in a reasonably moist area, like the kitchen or bathroom, then you can look forward to cultivating a graceful stand of dark green fronds that will add life to an empty corner of your home.
04 of 08
As opposed to some palm trees that feature a central trunk, the Chamaedorea cataractarum is a very full palm plant with an abundance of fronds growing in a four-foot tall clump. In its native habitat the cascade palm thrives along streams and in wet lowlands, so you must irrigate it accordingly in your home. Cascade palms are understory plants that are happy in the shade, and will expand in their pots, giving you new plant material to propagate by division.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
As the name suggests, few palms are more suitable for indoor growing than the parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans). The parlor palm grows in average indoor light (or even artificial light) and temperatures and requires no pruning other than an occasional tidying of spent branches. Parlor palms flourish in above average humidity and may attract spider mites if conditions are very dry.
06 of 08
Even the smallest indoor spaces have room for the ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata), with its short sturdy trunk and gracefully arching leaves. The swollen trunk base isn't just ornamental; it functions as a water reservoir for the palm, making it extra drought tolerant. Give your ponytail palm a bright location for best plant health. It's fine for the ponytail palm to become a little root bound; in fact, this can keep growth manageable for a tabletop specimen.
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If the Cycas revoluta is your first introduction to the world of indoor palms, you're in for a treat. Stiff fronds grow in an upright habit from a short, shaggy trunk that resembles a pineapple. This palm is slow-growing and shines when given a site with strong light. Water your sago palm sparingly to avoid problems with crown rot. If you've grown your sago palm successfully for years only to experience sudden plant loss, don't feel bad: the plant has a natural lifespan of about 15 years.
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When it comes to growing yucca palms indoors, this is a case where paying attention to the Latin name is very important. The Yucca aloifolia, also known as the Spanish bayonet, sports razor-sharp leaves and belongs outdoors. Yucca elephantipes is the spineless yucca palm, and while its leaves do have a pointy tip, the plant is unlikely to draw blood, unlike its spiny cousin.
You might also see the indoor yucca palm sold under the name "stick yucca." Tough strappy green leaves emerge from an attractive trunk on the yucca palm. Plants are very drought tolerant and grow in full sun or partial shade. Fun fact: The blooms of Yucca elephantipes are edible, and the leaves are a great source of vitamin C as well.