8 Great Palm Plants to Grow Indoors

an areca palm growing indoors

The Spruce / Alonda Baird

Perhaps because of their association with tropical environments, 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 pay my taxes." Palm plants also lend a bold, tropical look to home interiors that is surprisingly easy to achieve. Most indoor palms survive in the same conditions that we find comfortable: warm temperatures, average humidity, and moderate light. Many of these slow-growing palm specimens required only occasional attention to reward you with their elegant green fronds. 

Here are eight of the best indoor palm plants to add a breezy, tropical feel to your home.

  • 01 of 08

    Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis)

    Chinese fan palm with feathery frond leaves in white ceramic pot next to houseplants

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    The star-shaped leaves of 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 taproot that the Chinese fan palm produces. Feed this palm once a year in the spring with a slow-release fertilizer.

    • Light: Bright indirect light; tolerates some shade
    • Water: Water when top of the soil feels dry.
    • Color Varieties: Emerald green foliage
  • 02 of 08

    Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)

    an areca palm growing indoors

     The Spruce / Alonda Baird 

    Also known as the bamboo palm, the areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) is popular because of its soft fronds and tolerance for low light. The areca palm prefers a moderate amount of water. Plant your areca palm in fertile soil, and give it a monthly fertilizer application to maintain a lush look.

    • Light: Grows in sun or shade but looks its best in bright indirect sunlight (indoors or out)
    • Water: Moderately moist soil
    • Color Varieties: Yellow-green stems and light-green leaves
  • 03 of 08

    Majestic Palm (Ravenea rivularis)

    Majestic palm in wicker basket with tall dark green fronds

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    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. 

    • Light: Bright indirect light for the entire day
    • Water: Requires consistently moist soil
    • Color Varieties: Bright green or dark green leaves
  • 04 of 08

    Cascade Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum)

    Green palm foliage tree isolated
    hongquang09 / Getty Images

    As opposed to some palm trees that feature a central trunk, Chamaedorea cataractarum is a very full palm plant with clumps of fronds eventually reaching six feet tall. In its native habitat, the cascade palm thrives along streams and in wet lowlands, so you must irrigate it frequently when growing it indoors. Cascade palms are understory plants that are happy in the shade. Eventually, these plants form quite a large dense clump of fronds giving you new plant material to propagate by division

    • Light: Prefers bright indirect light; tolerates shade; avoid direct sunlight
    • Water: Requires consistently moist soil
    • Color Varieties: Dark green leaves
    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

    Parlor palm in gold pot with small green fronds on shelf next to decor items

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    As the name suggests, few palms are more suitable for growing indoors 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 dead branches. Parlor palms flourish in above-average humidity and might attract spider mites if conditions are very dry. 

    • Light: Indirect light; avoid direct sun
    • Water: Uniformly moist soil
    • Color Varieties: Light green leaves
  • 06 of 08

    Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

    Ponytail palm in white pot with long wispy fronds next to gold watering can and patterned pillows

    The Spruce / Lisa Ruschioni

    Even the smallest indoor spaces have room for the ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata), with its short sturdy trunk and gracefully arching leaves. This plant is not a true palm, it is a succulent. The swollen trunk base isn't just ornamental; it functions as a water reservoir for the plant, making it very drought tolerant. Give your ponytail palm a sunny location for the best plant health. It's fine for the ponytail palm to become pot bound; in fact, being pot bound can keep growth manageable for a tabletop specimen. 

    • Light: Grows best in full sun; tolerates bright indirect light
    • Water: Provide water every week or two; avoid overwatering.
    • Color Varieties: Light green leaves
  • 07 of 08

    Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)

    Sago palm in white pot with shaggy pineapple-like trunk and feather-like fronds next to white watering can and window

    The Spruce / Anastasia Tretiak

    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 plant (which is not a true palm, it is more closely related to conifers) is very slow-growing. Choose an indoor location that receives filtered sun for four to six hours per day. The sago palm needs regular and consistent moisture but make sure the soil surface is nearly dry between water applications.

    • Light: Full sun or bright indirect light; tolerates some shade
    • Water: Water when the soil feels dry to touch; will tolerate dry conditions
    • Color Varieties: Light green leaves
  • 08 of 08

    Yucca Palm (Yucca elephantipes)

    Yucca palm with sharp leaves in corner of living room

    The Spruce / Krystal Slagle

    When it comes to growing yucca palms indoors, this is a case where paying attention to the botanical name is very important. Yucca aloifolia, also known as the Spanish bayonet, has 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 like 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 part shade.

    Fun fact: The blooms of Yucca elephantipes are edible, and the leaves are a great source of vitamin C. However, container-grown plants often will not produce any blooms.

    • Light: Full sun to part shade
    • Water: Allow soil to dry fully between waterings; avoid overwatering
    • Color Varieties: Light green to bluish-green
Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Chamaedorea Elegans. North Carolina State University.

  2. Juarez-Trujillo, Naida, Monribot-Villaneueva, Juan Luis, Jimenez-Fernandez, Victor Manuel, Suarez-Montano, Rosaelena, Aguilar-Colorado, Angel Sahid, Guerrero-Analco, Jose Antonio, Jimenez, Maribel. Phytochemical characterization of Izote (Yucca elephantipes) Flowers. Journal of Applied Botany and Food Quality, 92, 2018, doi:10.5073/JABFQ.2018.091.027