Palms Tips and Care

Palms are probably the most popular houseplant, and with good reason: they're reasonably priced, easy to care for and they look great. Palms are divided into two groups: the feather palms, with long fronds divided into many segments, and the fan palms, whose leaves are shaped much like a hand with the fingers spread. Here are some important growing tips:

  • Palms tolerate most indoor growing conditions and relatively low light levels, but will appreciate a bright location set off from a sunny window. A deep pot is best, because most of the roots grow vertically. Make sure you use a good potting mix--ideally one that maintains moisture, because palms prefer constant moisture.
  • Although they enjoy constant moisture, they do not want to be soggy all the time! Allow them to dry slightly between waterings.
  • Mist palms often to maintain the humidity they enjoy in their native tropics. They need very little fertilizer. Use a general houseplant fertilizer several times a year.
  • Finally, don't place a palm where cold drafts can chill it, such as near a door or window, because soon after exposure, the leaves will turn brown and begin to drop off.
  • Watch for spider mites! In the dry air of our homes they can be a problem. Use a systemic insecticide in the soil every 3 months to help keep them at bay.

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