Palms come from tropical or subtropical areas. There are thousands of species and very few grow on dream beaches or in deserts. The vast majority of these great plants thrive in the dim undergrowth of rainforests. These plants rarely get to see the sun, sometimes never. This is exactly the reason why some palm trees can also be grown well as indoor plants, some even in slightly darker rooms. A lot of palm trees do not need a high level of humidity or warmth. So it comes down to choosing the right strains if you want to keep a palm in your home. There are even great plants for the garden, although the right variety has to be selected here as well.

Indoor palms

Indoor palms usually require little care, but the appropriate cultivation conditions. There are also demanding types, but the choice is yours. When it comes to care, factors such as light, temperature, water, humidity and fertilizer are decisive. The indoor palms include:

  • Stick palm (Rhapis excelsa)
  • Zwergdattel palme (Phoenix roebelenii)
  • Fishtail Palm (Caryota mitis)
  • Chilean honey palm (Jubaea chilensis)
  • Bergpalme (Chamaedorea)
  • Betelpalme (Araca catechu)
  • Kentia (Howea)

Care of the indoor palms

There are types of indoor palms that are easy to care for or less easy to care for. The demands on care are similar, but there are still differences. These make it necessary to know the exact name of the respective palm, so that one can check again exactly what individual requirements it has. Only general information about indoor palms is given here. Exceptions always prove the rule.


Almost all indoor palms need a bright location, whereby bright midday sun is better avoided. In winter, a bright place is essential for survival, but here, too, a warning must be given against direct midday sun. Curtains, blinds and drapes protect the plants.

  • Many indoor palms also feel good outdoors in summer. You have to get used to the sun slowly and should only be in partial shade.
  • Otherwise a bright location without bright midday sun
  • Morning and evening sun are usually tolerated without any problems
  • Bright in winter, but also without the midday sun
  • Curtains, blinds or curtains provide protection
  • Little light, if they thrive better in a brighter location
  • Stick palm (Rhapis excelsa)
  • Zwergdattel palme (Phoenix roebelenii)
  • Fishtail Palm (Caryota mitis)


When it comes to temperatures, it depends on where the palm trees originally come from. Species that originate from the tropics require warmth, although there are also species that thrive in cooler surroundings. Palms from desert regions love it hot, dry and bright. There are also palms that can withstand a few freezing temperatures for a short time, which is why they are also suitable for outdoors, even if not without protection.

  • Palm trees from the tropics – warmth, but not too much
  • You can usually cope with slightly cooler temperatures.
  • Palms from desert regions – high temperatures: date palm, brahea, Washingtonia


For many palm lovers, watering is the most difficult part of caring for them. They are afraid of watering too much or too little. It is really only important that the surface of the earth first dries off before watering begins again. You do the so-called finger test and check the earth.

  • Always allow the surface of the earth to dry off before watering
  • Do a finger test
  • Don’t pour too much
  • Do not leave any water in the coaster
  • Use stale water

Tip – It is important to water once, but thoroughly, until the water runs out of the bottom of the jar, rather than just a little each day. You can also submerge the pads in water. This is especially beneficial if you have forgotten to water and the soil has withdrawn from the edge of the pot. When watering, the water just runs through.

Air humidity
The origin of the palm tree is also meaningful when it comes to air humidity. Palm trees from the tropics require a high level of humidity, while those from the desert do not. Palm trees adapt quite well to their surroundings, even if it takes a while. If the air is too dry, there are aids that can increase it, for example spraying or electric humidifiers.

  • Origin important for air humidity
  • Dry air for desert palms
  • Humid air for tropical palms
  • Humidity can be artificially increased
  • Frequent spraying
  • Electric humidifiers
  • Ventilate regularly, especially in winter


From spring onwards, palm trees should be fertilized. It is important to pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions, both with regard to the amount of fertilizer and the intervals between fertilization. Too much fertilizer often leads to brown leaf tips.

  • Fertilize from spring
  • Not necessarily palm fertilizer
  • Always fertilize according to the instructions given
  • Do not over-fertilize!

Palm trees for free range

Almost all indoor palm trees also feel good outdoors in summer. But they better spend the winter in the protection of their apartment or house. But there are also more robust species that can be planted out. This is unfavorable for very cold areas, but if you live in a wine-growing climate or in another area with not too icy and long winters, you can definitely give it a try. Of course, the plants need to be well protected throughout the winter. In addition, it should be carefully considered whether you really want to plant the palm out or whether it is not enough to just put the bucket palm outdoors in summer. Of course, in this case a suitable wintering area is required and this is often lacking, at least with larger specimens.

Not every palm is suitable for planting out, just as not every area is suitable for it. Urban gardens often have a much milder climate and are ideal, provided they are light enough.
Suitable varieties:

  • Chinese hemp palm (Trachycarpus fortunei) – the most popular palm, grows very quickly, forms a trunk, about 1 m in 10 years, frost hardiness -12 ° C to -18 ° C, protect from -12 ° C
  • Needle palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix) – hardest of frost palm, good for small gardens, grows very slowly, susceptible to wind, needs plenty of water, frost hardiness -14 ° C to -24 ° C, with protection
  • Dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor) – second hardest palm, must be sunny and warm, usually regenerate after frost damage, frost hardness -12 ° C to -20 ° C
  • Dwarf palm (Chamaerops humilis) – only for mild areas, likes it dry, frost hardiness -10 ° C to -13 ° C, needs plenty of winter protection

The care of outdoor palm trees

It is best to plant palm trees in front of a warm house wall. There they find protection and also work very well. They are often a bit sensitive for a free stand, but if you protect them well in winter you can try that too. The right location, water-permeable soil, abundant watering, especially in dry weather, and correct fertilization are important for planted palm trees.


Planted palms should be a little protected. In addition, a high level of humidity is important, as is often the case in wooded or water-rich areas. Natural wind protection is also recommended, open terrain is usually unfavorable.

  • Protected location
  • Warm
  • Gladly higher humidity – bodies of water or forest nearby
  • As sunny as possible, the need for sun is high
  • Wind protection – no open terrain, wind leads to stronger temperature cooling in summer and easterly winds in winter to extreme temperatures
  • Ideal for large bodies of water (sea, large lake)
  • Not at high altitudes

Tip – The January mean should not be below zero degrees. For this purpose, the average temperature values ​​for all days in January are determined. The cut must be above zero degrees, then it will also work with the planting of palm trees.

Plant substrate

Most palms love a slightly acidic substrate. It is then ideal to mix peat and compost into the potting soil. If you have loamy garden soil available, you can mix in a bit of it. If you want to be on the safe side, you can buy ready-made palm soil and use it.

  • Either ready-made palm soil (expensive)
  • Alternatively, a mixture of normal soil, peat, compost and some clay
  • Slightly sour
  • Permeable, but must also be able to store water


Planting takes place between March and June. This is important so that the palm can get used to the location and prepare for winter.

  • Dig a sufficiently large planting hole, twice the size of the plant ball
  • Mix humus into the excavated material, especially with loam and clay soils
  • Do not incorporate any additional fertilizer
  • Set palm and fill in soil
  • Water well and provide the plant with sufficient water for the next few days and weeks

Watering and fertilizing

  • Water when it is dry
  • Always allow the substrate to dry well first
  • Not too much water
  • Use less fertilizer, compost or organic fertilizer in the spring is usually sufficient
  • From late summer onwards, do not fertilize any more so that the tissue can mature, otherwise the sensitivity to frost increases


It is important to increase the frost resistance. This is achieved on the one hand by stopping fertilization in late summer, i.e. from mid-August, and on the other hand by exposing the palm to colder temperatures every year before packing it up for protection. The palms can cope with the first night frosts, except perhaps in the planting year. You don’t have to pack it up yet. The plant is only protected when the night frosts drop below -5 ° C. This can increase to -10 ° C over the years. Younger palms are more sensitive to frost than older ones. They need protection sooner and more.

  • Harden palms
  • Don’t pack too early
  • Wait up to -5 ° C night temperatures
  • If the soil moisture is high, the frost tolerance decreases, so cover the soil, preferably with dry leaves
  • High humidity is also rather unfavorable in winter
  • Tie the tuft of leaves together – rain protection (open on sunny days to meet the light requirement)
  • Wrap the trunk in a reed mat or something similar, several times if necessary
  • If there is a strong frost, wrap the tied tuft of leaves with several layers of frost protection fleece. Do not use foil!
  • Alternatively, the entire palm can be built around. A lath frame is used. This is combined with bubble wrap. It is important that the sides can be opened (at least one) so that air can be exchanged.

Frequently asked questions

At what age is it recommended to plant a palm tree out?

The palm should be at least 4 years old. The older it is, the more resilient it is, at least when it is healthy and well cared for.

How can you tell whether the palm tree prefers high or low humidity?

Palms with soft, rather delicate pinnate leaves prefer more humid air. Palms with firm, rough leaves usually get along well in dry air. Large-leaved leaves evaporate significantly more water than filigree pinnate leaves.

Is there anything to consider when fertilizing palm trees?

You should not fertilize too much and better organic. Fertilization takes place between March and October. It is much better to fertilize more often and less than less often, but more heavily. In addition, you should never fertilize on a dry root ball, because that burns the roots. In addition, the leaves should not be wetted unless a top dressing is done. Diluted algae juice is recommended for this, but it must be sprayed onto the underside of the leaf because otherwise the juice can hardly penetrate. It is advisable not to fertilize newly acquired palms for two months. They were mostly planted in fertilized soil.

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