Indoor palm plants can be a beautiful and exotic addition to your home. These tropical plants can transform a dull space into a vibrant atmosphere of life. They’re usually large enough to really catch the eye and their feathered leaves provide an impressive display of foliage. Indoor palm plants come in many shapes, sizes, and species. So, there are plenty of different types to consider before deciding which plants will best fit your space and decor.
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One of the most important things to consider before buying indoor palm plants is their mature size potential. Many palms can grow quite tall. This growth can become an issue for small spaces or low ceilings. That said, it’s common for palms to be slow growers, and they don’t need to be repotted very often. Withholding a larger pot from your palm can slow down its growth, keeping it at a manageable size.
Here are 15 of the best types of indoor palm plants to choose from:
Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
The ponytail palm is native to Eastern Mexico and despite its name, it’s not actually a true palm. Indoors, these plants will reach about 3 feet tall. However, outdoors, grown in warm climates, they can grow to be as tall as 20 feet or more. They don’t mind being root-bound, which is great because it will also keep their height and growth very manageable.
Their trunks are short, sturdy, and function as a water reservoir. This feature makes them quite tolerant of droughts as well as people who forget to water their plants. This thick trunk has provided the ponytail palm with nicknames such as the bottle palm and the elephant foot tree.
Fishtail Palm (Caryota mitis)
The fishtail palm is one of our favorite indoor palm plants. It is native to southeast Asia and features leaves which are shaped like fish tails. These plants are often grown in a clump, with multiple stems growing from the base. Fishtails can grow up to 10 feet indoors, and in their natural environment, they can grow to 60 feet tall. They require bright, indirect sunlight and they enjoy the occasional misting.
Cascade Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum)
The cascade palm, cat palm, or Mexican hat palm is native to Southern Mexico and Central America. This palm is a thick, full plant that grows a cascading wall of lush, green, feathered fronds. They can grow up to 6 feet tall indoors and their abundant foliage can take up a lot of space. These plants naturally grow near streams and flooded earth so they’ll need a good deal of water. They thrive best in shady, moist environments.
Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
Parlor palms are one of the most popular palms and they’re also one of the easiest to grow indoors, which makes sense given their name. They’re native to Southern Mexico and Guatemala and may also be referred to as the neanthe bella palm. Grown indoors, they’ll get to be between about 4-6 feet tall, and may even produce small flowers.
These plants are typically sold and grown as a cluster of smaller plants, which may give them the appearance of one larger palm. They grow fairly slow and will do well in low or indirect light. An average temperature is fine for these plants but they do prefer above average humidity, which can be achieved with regular misting.
Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
Bamboo palms, native to Mexico and Central America, get their names from their long, bamboo-like canes. They grow together in dense clusters and produce green, feathery fronds. Bamboo Palms are ideal as houseplants because they’re slow growing and tolerate low light and low humidity quite well. They may grow anywhere from 4 to 12 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide. The plants will grow larger in lots of light so keeping these plants is a somewhat shadier area can help to control their growth.
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European Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis)
European fan palms are native to, as their name suggests, Europe. More specifically, they’re found in the western Mediterranean area and can also be known as the Mediterranean dwarf palm. Compared to other palms, this species is quite hardy and can tolerate temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit. They can grow from 5 to 9 feet tall and they’ll grow 20 to 30 inch fronds in a fan-like arrangement.
Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
Sago palms, native to southern Japan, are not actually true palms but are referred to as such due to their similar look. They produce stiff, dark green, glossy fronds that grow from its short, shaggy trunk. The trunk is very low in young plants, possible even subterranean, but the trunk could grow up to 20 feet tall. This may seem like a poor choice of palm for a small houseplant, but they’re incredibly slow growing and could take up to 100 years to achieve that height. The sago palm is toxic if ingested so this plant may not be ideal if you have pets who might like to nibble on your greens.
Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
The areca palm, known as the golden cane palm or the butterfly palm, is native to Madagascar and South India. This plant is another very popular choice for indoor palms, likely due to the beautiful feathery fronds it produces from its thin, bamboo-like trunks. It can grow up to 6 or 7 feet at a rate of about 6 to 10 inches of growth per year. The areca palm likes bright, indirect light but can tolerate low light quite well.
Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana)
An Australian native, the Kentia palm is another very popular choice because not only is it a beautiful plant, it’s very easy to care for and incredibly forgiving. It’s tolerant of low light, can handle lower temperatures, and is a fairly slow grower. This palm has that exotic, tropical look of arching fronds and long, slender trunks. These plants are generally sold and grown in clusters of 2-3 plants in a pot.
Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis)
The Chinese fan palm is native to east Asia. They can grow quite tall, up to 40 feet, but can be kept much smaller when grown potted and indoors. Their star-shaped leaves grow in circular, segmented fans and if grown to their full potential, they can reach up to 6 feet in length. They’re a pretty hearty species that can tolerate cold, drought, and low light.
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Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)
The pygmy date palm, native to southeastern Asia, is also known as the miniature date palm or the dwarf palm. They are often purchased and grown as several plants in one pot. These plants can grow up to 8 to 10 feet and do best with bright, indirect light and moderate to high humidity. Be careful with these plants and always wear gloves when pruning because they can grow sharp spines on their fronds which could give you a nasty poke.
Canary Island Date Palm (Phoenix canariensis)
Canary Island date palms are very similar to the pygmy date palms and are, not surprisingly, native to the Canary Islands. Outdoors, they may grow up to 65 feet tall with a width of 40 feet. Luckily, if you’re thinking about growing these plants indoors, they grow quite slowly and may only grow up to 10 feet tall in their first 15 years of growth. Their leaflets are straight, narrow, and quite stiff. They do enjoy a somewhat balmy atmosphere so put them by a bright window or in a greenhouse if you want to see them really flourish.
Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
Lady palms, also called rhapis palms, are native to southeastern Asia. Their leaves make up a circular fan of numerous shiny, dark green fronds. These plants will need some pruning around the bottom to allow them to have a more tree-like, rather than bushy, appearance. They can grow anywhere from 2 to 7 feet tall but they do grow quite slowly. Keep these plants out of direct sunlight, or even in areas of low light, if you want them to grow more slowly.
Majesty Palm (Ravenea rivularis)
Majesty palms, or Majestic palms, are native to Madagascar and require moisture, warmth, and humidity. These plants are slow growers and are very tolerant of shady spaces. While these are beautiful plants to grow indoors, it’s possible they’ll eventually outgrow their indoor spaces and may need to be moved outside. In their natural habitats, they can grow up to 80 to 100 feet tall with fronds up to 8 feet long.
Yucca Palm (Yucca elephantipes)
The yucca palm, yucca cane, or stick yucca, is native to Mexico and Central America. These plants aren’t to be confused with the Yucca aloifolia, also known as the “Spanish Bayonet” due to its razor-sharp leaves. The Yucca elephantipes is a spineless palm and while they do have pointy tips, they aren’t sharp or dangerous. These plants like full sun or partial shade and are very drought tolerant.
Indoor Palm Plants - The Wrap-up
There are countless different species of palm trees but only some of these species are suitable for growing indoors. Many palm tree species can grow to be quite large, but they often grow very slowly or their growth can at least be manipulated with pot size or available sunlight. Palm plants usually have an incredibly impressive display of lush, green foliage, which makes them a gorgeous and lively addition to any room in your home.