The 16 best indoor palms to grow

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Written By Martin Cole

Plantsman, gardener, plant-obsessive

best indoor palms

Indoor palms bring a touch of the tropics and a sense of calm to any space.

I always think that the best indoor palms are really valued as house plants because of the atmosphere they create. For those of us living in colder climates palms evoke thoughts of warm summers and exotic holidays in faraway places.

Palms are also popular for their ease of care, the variety of shapes and forms and for their air-purifying qualities.

But they are usually also among the bigger house plants. Therefore, they are really useful and versatile for those who like to style their interiors with plants.

For example, you can use palms as statement plants, displayed individually or in groups. You can use them to fill empty corners and spaces, or you can place them as the backdrop within a group of different types of plants that you position together.

The AI imagined image below gives you a sense of the contribution palms can make to a room.

best indoor palm trees
Bedroom with Palms – imagined by AI (Midjourney)

Here are the 16 best indoor palms to grow, each with its unique characteristics and care requirements.

1. Chamaedorea elegans (Parlour Palm)

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Chamaedorea elegans, Neanthe bella
  • Common names: Parlor Palm, Neanthe Bella Palm
  • Plant family: Arecaceae
  • Origin: Mexico and Guatemala
  • Type of plant: Understory palm
  • Size (indoors): Up to 4 feet
parlour palm
Chamaedorea elegans

Why it is one of the best indoor palms

The Parlour Palm is not only visually appealing but also highly adaptable to indoor environments. It thrives in low light, making it perfect for rooms with limited natural light. This palm is a slow grower, which means it won’t outgrow its space quickly.

It is also known for its air-purifying qualities, making it a healthy addition to your home. Its compact size and elegant fronds make it an ideal choice for tabletops or small corners.

Challenges

Overwatering can lead to root rot. It prefers consistent moisture but let the soil dry out slightly between waterings. Also, do not expose it to too much sunlight.

Read our full Parlour Palm plant profile, with key facts, care instructions and trouble shooting guide.

2. Howea forsteriana (Kentia Palm)

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Howea forsteriana
  • Common names: Kentia Palm, Thatch Palm
  • Plant family: Arecaceae
  • Origin: Lord Howe Island, Australia
  • Type of plant: Feather palm
  • Size (indoors): 5-12 feet
Howea forsteriana
Howea forsteriana

Why it is one of the best indoor palms

The Kentia Palm is a favorite among indoor plant enthusiasts due to its elegant, arching fronds and adaptability to a range of indoor conditions. It can tolerate low light and dry air better than many other palms, making it a resilient choice for homes and offices.

This palm adds a sophisticated, tropical feel to any room and, like lots of palms is known for its air-purifying properties. It’s also relatively low maintenance, requiring minimal pruning.

Challenges

It’s sensitive to overwatering and fluoride in water. Use filtered water and ensure good drainage.

Read our full Howea forsteriana plant profile, with key facts, care instructions and trouble shooting guide.

3. Rhapis excelsa (Lady Palm)

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Rhapis excelsa
  • Common names: Lady Palm, Bamboo Palm
  • Plant family: Arecaceae
  • Origin: China
  • Type of plant: Fan palm
  • Size (indoors): 6-10 feet
Rhapis excelsa
Rhapis excelsa

Why it is one of the best indoor palms

The Lady Palm is one of the more elegant palms. It stands out for its adaptability and tolerance to low light levels, making it an excellent choice for darker spots in your home. It is a robust plant that can withstand less-than-ideal conditions, including dry indoor air. This palm is also known for its air-purifying abilities, removing toxins from the environment. Its dense, fan-shaped fronds create an attractive, lush appearance, enhancing the aesthetic of any room.

Challenges

This palm is slow growing, so expensive to purchase, but its clumping nature means offsets can eventually be divided off for new plants.

Read our full Rhapis excelsa plant profile, with key facts, care instructions and trouble shooting guide.

4. Dypsis lutescens (Golden Cane Palm)

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Dypsis lutescens, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
  • Common names: Golden Cane Palm, Areca Palm, Butterfly Palm
  • Plant family: Arecaceae
  • Origin: Madagascar
  • Type of plant: Clustering palm
  • Size (indoors): 6-10 feet
Dypsis lutescens
Dypsis lutescens

Why it is one of the best indoor palms

The Golden Cane Palm or Areca Palm is celebrated for its feathery fronds and ability to remove toxins from the air, contributing to a healthier living space. It is a fast grower and provides a lush, tropical backdrop in any room.

This palm needs a lot of water and can be particularly effective in using that water to add humidity to the indoor air, making it beneficial in homes with dry climates. Its golden stems and vibrant green leaves can brighten up any space.

Challenges

Prefers high humidity and consistent moisture, which can be challenging in drier indoor environments.

Read our full Golden Cane Palm plant profile.

5. Phoenix roebelenii (Pygmy Date Palm)

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Phoenix roebelenii
  • Common names: Robellini Palm, Pygmy Date Palm, Miniature Date Palm
  • Plant family: Arecaceae
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Type of plant: Feather palm
  • Size (indoors): 2-6 feet
Phoenix roebelenii
Pygmy Date Palms by Carol (vanhookc) is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Why it is one of the best indoor palms

The Robellini Palm is ideal for small spaces due to its compact size and slow growth rate. It’s a versatile plant that can adapt to various light conditions, although it prefers bright, indirect light.

This palm adds a touch of elegance with its slender trunk and arching fronds. It’s relatively easy to care for, making it a great choice for beginner plant enthusiasts.

Challenges

Watch out for spider mites and scale insects, which can be a problem in dry indoor climates.

Read our full Robellini Palm plant profile

6. Fishtail Palm (Caryota mitis)

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Caryota mitis
  • Common names: Fishtail Palm
  • Plant family: Arecaceae
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Type of plant: Clustering palm
  • Size (indoors): 6-10 feet
Caryota mitis
Caryota mitis by Carol (vanhookc) is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Why it is one of the best indoor palms

The Fishtail Palm is unique for its jagged, fishtail-like wedge shaped fronds. It is a fast grower, quickly transforming any space into a lush, tropical paradise. This palm is relatively easy to care for, thriving in bright, indirect light and requiring moderate watering. It’s an excellent choice for creating a focal point in larger rooms or offices. The Fishtail Palm is another palm known for its air-purifying capabilities.

Challenges

It is sensitive to overwatering and requires well-draining soil. It can also be susceptible to mealybugs.

Read our full Fishtail Palm plant profile.

7. Chamaedorea seifrizii (Bamboo Palm)

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Chamaedorea seifrizii
  • Common names: Bamboo Palm, Reed Palm
  • Plant family: Arecaceae
  • Origin: Mexico and Central America
  • Type of plant: Clustering palm
  • Size (indoors): 5-7 feet
Chamaedorea seifrizii (Bamboo Palm)
Chamaedorea seifrizii by Forest and Kim Starr is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Why it is one of the best indoor palms

The Bamboo Palm is known for its tolerance to low light and its graceful, clumping growth habit, resembling bamboo, which adds an elegant, tropical flair to your space. It has less delicate fronds than Chamaedorea elegans (the Parlour Palm), but more distinct bamboo-like stems.

This palm is particularly effective in adding humidity to the indoor air, beneficial for dry environments. It’s also relatively easy to care for, although it requires a decent amount of watering and occasional pruning.

Challenges

Requires consistent moisture but is prone to root rot if overwatered. It also prefers higher humidity levels.

Read our full Bamboo Palm plant profile.

8. Licuala grandis (Ruffled Fan Palm)

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Licuala grandis
  • Common names: Ruffled Fan Palm, Vanuatu Fan Palm
  • Plant family: Arecaceae
  • Origin: Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands
  • Type of plant: Fan palm
  • Size (indoors): 3-6 feet
Licuala grandis - best indoor palms
Licuala grandis (Ruffled Fan Palm)

Why it is one of the best indoor palms

The Ruffled Fan Palm is a fantastic palm – just look at those beautiful pleated, dark green leaves. No wonder it makes a great focal point in any indoor setting. Its slow growth rate and manageable size make it ideal for smaller spaces or as a tabletop plant. This palm thrives in indirect light, and can even tolerate cooler temperatures than many palms

Challenges

It requires fairly high humidity and consistent moisture, and is sensitive to cold drafts and direct sunlight. It is also quite rare and not that easy to find in nurseries.

9. Ravenea rivularis (Majesty Palm)

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Ravenea rivularis
  • Common names: Majesty Palm
  • Plant family: Arecaceae
  • Origin: Madagascar
  • Type of plant: Feather palm
  • Size (indoors): 5-10 feet
Ravenea rivularis - Majesty Palm
Ravenea rivularis – Majesty Palm

Why it is one of the best indoor palms

The Majesty Palm adds a regal touch to any space with its large, arching fronds. It is a fast-growing palm that can quickly fill a room with lush greenery. This palm is relatively easy to find in nurseries and garden centers, making it a convenient choice for plant fanatics. It is also pretty versatile – it thrives in bright, indirect light , but it can tolerate some direct sunlight, making it easy to place in your home. The Majesty Palm is also known for its air-purifying properties, contributing to a healthier indoor environment.

Challenges

It can be a bit tricky to grow this palm. It can become leggy in low light. It also requires regular watering, high humidity and extra feeding in high light environments.

10. Rhapis humilis (Slender Lady Palm)

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Rhapis humilis
  • Common names: Slender Lady Palm
  • Plant family: Arecaceae
  • Origin: China
  • Type of plant: Fan palm
  • Size (indoors): Up to 12 feet
Rhapis humilis
Rhapis humilis by Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Why it is one of the best indoor palms

The Slender Lady Palm is a great indoor palm, as its suitable for both low and bright light conditions. It has an elegant and slender, upright growth habit, which makes it ideal for narrow spaces or corners. It’s also relatively easy to care for, requiring minimal maintenance and tolerating dray air and cooler temperatures. It differs from Rhapis excelsa in that it has more pointed leaflets and grows taller.

Challenges

It can be more expensive than other palms and grows slowly.

11. Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Cycas revoluta
  • Common names: Sago Palm, King Sago Palm
  • Plant family: Cycadaceae
  • Origin: Southern Japan
  • Type of plant: Cycad
  • Size (indoors): 2-3 feet
Cycas revoluta - Sago Palm
Cycas revoluta – Sago Palm

Why it is one of the best indoor palms plants

The first thing to note is that the Sago Palm is not a palm – it is a Cycad. Cycads are among the earliest plant forms that developed on Earth, and unurprisingly these plants are tough. It is adaptable to a range of light conditions, from low light to bright, indirect light and requires minimal watering and pruning.

Despite not being a true palm, the Sago Palm is a great house plant due to its unusual appearance. It is slow-growing and can live for many years with proper care. This plant is known for its sturdy, feather-like fronds and a rough, shaggy trunk that adds the prehistoric look to your home.

Challenges

It is toxic if ingested, so it’s not suitable for homes with pets or small children. It also requires well-draining soil to prevent root rot.

12. European Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis)

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Chamaerops humilis
  • Common names: European Fan Palm, Mediterranean Fan Palm
  • Plant family: Arecaceae
  • Origin: Mediterranean region
  • Type of plant: Fan palm
  • Size (indoors): 2-5 feet
Chamaerops humilis
Chamaerops humilis – European Fan Palm

Why it is one of the best indoor palms

The European Fan Palm is a hardy, slow-growing palm that’s ideal for indoor environments. It has a unique, multi-trunk growth habit and fan-shaped fronds, creating an interesting visual texture.

This palm is adaptable to various light conditions, from partial shade to full sun and also relatively drought-tolerant and can handle occasional neglect. This is a tough palm, I have grown it outside in the UK and it handles everything the weather throws at it (including some frost).

Challenges

It can be sensitive to overwatering and requires well-draining soil. It also prefers cooler temperatures, which might be challenging in warmer indoor environments.

13. Pindo Palm or Jelly Palm (Butia capitata)

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Butia capitata (Butia odorata)
  • Common names: Pindo Palm, Jelly Palm
  • Plant family: Arecaceae
  • Origin: South America
  • Type of plant: Feather palm
  • Size (indoors): 5-6 feet
Pindo Palm or Jelly Palm - Butia capita
Pindo Palm or Jelly Palm – Butia capita

Why it is one of the best indoor palms

The Pindo Palm is known for its distinctive blue-green fronds and a robust, stocky trunk. It’s a slow-growing palm that’s well-suited for indoor environments. This is another tough and frost hardy palm, tolerating a range of light conditions, from full sun to partial shade.

The Pindo Palm is also relatively drought-tolerant, requiring less frequent watering compared to other palms. Its beautiful arching blue fronds create a striking form.

Challenges

It prefers well-drained soil and can be susceptible to root rot if overwatered. The Pindo Palm also requires regular pruning to remove old fronds and maintain its appearance.

14. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Beaucarnea recurvata
  • Common names: Ponytail Palm, Elephant’s Foot Palm
  • Plant family: Asparagaceae
  • Origin: Eastern Mexico
  • Type of plant: Succulent
  • Size (indoors): 3-8 feet

Why it is one of the best indoor palms plants

Another palm that isn’t a true palm, the Ponytail Palm is nevertheless loved for its palm-like appearance and ease of care. Its bulbous trunk and cascading leaves make it a really interesting plant visually. It is also a pretty low-maintenance option and its ability to store water in its trunk makes it tolerant of irregular watering.

Challenges

It prefers bright light and may not thrive in low-light conditions. The plant is also slow-growing, so patience is required for it to reach its full size.

Read our full plant Beaucarnea recurvata profile.

15. Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona chinensis)

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Livistona chinensis
  • Common names: Chinese Fan Palm
  • Plant family: Arecaceae
  • Origin: Japan, Taiwan
  • Type of plant: Fan palm
  • Size (indoors): Up to 6 feet
Chinese Fan Palm - Livistona chinensis
Chinese Fan Palm by PpYukShing is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Why it is one of the best indoor palms

The Chinese Fan Palm has large, fan-shaped leaves and an spreading habit. It is a real tropical stunner and is particularly effective in larger spaces where its broad leaves can be fully appreciated. It is also relatively easy to care for, making it suitable for beginners.

Challenges

It requires consistent moisture and can be sensitive to overwatering. The Chinese Fan Palm also prefers bright, indirect light and may struggle in darker positions.

16. Christmas Palm (Adonidia merrillii)

The Christmas Palm, scientifically known as Adonidia merrillii, is a popular choice for indoor cultivation due to its elegant appearance and manageable size. Here’s a detailed overview:

  • Scientific name and synonyms: Adonidia merrillii, formerly known as Veitchia merrillii
  • Common names: Christmas Palm, Manila Palm, Kerpis Palm
  • Plant family: Arecaceae
  • Origin: Philippines
  • Type of plant: Feather palm
  • Size (indoors): Typically 5-6 feet, can grow taller
Christmas Palm
Christmas Palm by Key West Wedding Photography is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Why It Is a great indoor palm

The Christmas Palm is valued for its sleek, slender trunk and beautifully arched fronds. It is well-suited to smaller spaces due to its relatively compact size compared to other palm species and is a relatively low maintenance plant. During the holiday season, its clusters of bright red fruits add a festive touch, hence the name “Christmas Palm,” although these berries do not necessarily appear when the plant is grown indoors.

Challenges

The Christmas Palm prefers bright, indirect light and does not thrive in low-light conditions. It also prefers thrives in higher humidity environments, which might require additional effort in drier indoor climates.

Read our full Christmas Palm plant profile.

References

World Checklist of Palms – Rafael Govaerts, John Dransfield. ISBN 9781842460849, Kew Publishing 2005.

Ornamental Palm Horticulture, Broschat, Timothy K.; Meerow, Alan W.; Monica L. Elliott, 2017, University Press of Florida

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