The Best Way to Choose an Indoor Palm

Updated on March 14, 2018
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna writes about the care of plants (indoors, outdoors, and in gardens). She wrote an orchid care booklet—a companion piece for workshops.

Choosing the perfect palm for the indoors can be tricky. In my article, you'll find everything you need to know about my two recommendations: the spineless yucca and the pygmy date palm.

Plant Rescue
Plant Rescue

Spineless Yucca

If you are looking for a flexible plant to use indoors that is versatile in its appearance and size, look to the spineless yucca plant. A fairly common container plant that is virtually easy to manage as long as the growing conditions are correct. The plant can just about match any interior design as a single bush, a small tree or as staggered canes.

A rough, thick, cane-like trunk that is slightly swollen at the base. The trunk branches occasionally in older plants. The leathery, light or pale-green sword-shaped leaves are stalkless and closely spaced, radiating out from the end of the trunk, narrowing to a long weak point.

The leaves grow from 1 to 3 feet long and 1 to 2 inches wide. Once in awhile you can find character stumps, which can give some very unusual looks.

The spineless yucca originates from the southwest tropics where the sun is prevalent and shade is sparse.

In its natural habitat the plant can mature to 30 feet tall with dark-green leaves, blossoms and fruit. Indoors the plant can get as tall as 5 to 7 feet seldom blooming and fruitless with paler leaves.



Keep the plant healthy indoors with lots of sunlight.

Place the plant in an east, west or south-facing window.

Make sure you apply proper watering and maintenance techniques if you have to have the plant in low light.

Allow the top 1/4 to 1/3 of the soil to dry out before watering well in the bright or high light.

Allow 3/4 of the soil to dry down between waterings in low light.

Do not let the plant sit in a puddle that can accumulate in the bottom of the container causing root rot--especially in low-light areas.

Overwatering will manifest as foliage collapse, brown spots or cane rot, especially at the soil line.

Another unique quality about the spineless yucca plant is that it can handle variable temperature ranges. With good air circulation, spineless yucca plant can take high temperatures in the 90’s to low in the 30’s with good air circulation. This makes the spineless yucca a smart choice for lobbies or home entries. These plants group well with cactus creating the Southwestern look.

Another advantage about the spineless yucca is virtually insect free. Spider mites don’t like this plant. At times mealybugs or scales may be found on the plant. More common is that the plant is insect free. When insects are detected Use an approved insecticide when insects are detected.

When buying a spineless yucca plant come go to a reputable supplier. We have the healthiest plants guaranteed. Choose a spineless Yucca where the roots are strong and avoid any that have “cane wobble.”

Life Improver
Life Improver

Pygmy Date Palm

Pygmy Date Palm is an indoor plant that makes any homeowner happy because it is easy to grow and adapts well to any surroundings. The plants feathery arching fronds offer a stately appearance. Do not let its delicate, wispy and fragile look fool you. This plant is hardy.

Place the date palm in bright, yet indirect, natural light throughout the year. They grow happily in sunlight near an east window that has the morning sun.

Pour water at the top of the planter, into the soil, to keep the soil moist because you will keep their aggressive root system happy.

Keep soil from becoming excessively wet because otherwise, root rot will result.

Discard excess water in the saucer at the bottom of the planter; especially during the cold weather or in an air conditioned home.

Let the excess water sit in the saucer for a week during the hot weather or in warmer indoors. Avoid watering until saucer is empty.

Avoid drying out the soil because palms tend to droop, and then their color alters to light green.

Protect date palms from drafts near air conditioning, doors, and windows—they love warmth.

Farm 8
Farm 8

Caring for Date Palm

Make sure the date palm is comfortable in temperatures of 60 degrees at night and between 70 and 80 degrees during the day. Winter the temperatures can vary slightly with 55 to 60 degrees because they are not actively growing.

Schedule regular times to rinse the foliage to clean the plant. Wash with lukewarm water. Place the palm in your shower is the best way to do it. Alternatively, take it outside and spray it very hard but with fine spray. The lukewarm water helps keep pests away.

Set palms outside during the summer months. They love it if it is done on a gradual approach to the heat and light levels. Keep the plant out of direct sunlight.

Give the palm the brightest indoor light during the growing periods. Add fertilizer when palm is vigorously going. Dilute liquid fertilizer or add a slow release brand in the planter

What do you think?

Do you feel confident growing indoor plants?

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Questions & Answers

    © 2016 Kenna McHugh


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