Palms are originally native to the warm, humid regions of the tropics and subtropics. Seafarers brought the exotic plants to Central Europe as early as the 18th century. The palms were kept in pots in orangeries, winter gardens and parks and were a symbol of luxury and extravagance. Few people could afford a palm tree for their home. Even today, palm trees represent a dignified ambience, which is why they are very popular as indoor plants. On the one hand they impress with their beauty and on the other hand they remind you of vacation, sun and the lush vegetation of tropical forests. But palm trees grow less luxuriantly in your own four walls. Often they even get brown leaf tips. It is not that rare that they stop growing and drying up.
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The most popular indoor palms
There are over 2,600 different palm species worldwide. Many of them have already been grown as house plants. Above all, the shape of their leaves makes palms attractive as indoor plants. A distinction is made between the two leaf shapes palmat and pinnat. Palms with pinnate leaves are pinnate palms. Palms with palmate leaves are called fan palms. Feathered palms are in the majority compared to fan palms. Among the most decorative and popular indoor palms are
- Bergpalme (Chamaedorea elegans)
- Honigpalme (Jubaea chilensis)
- Cocos nucifera
- Priesterpalme (Washingtonia)
- Hanfpalme (Trachycarpus fortunei)
- Date palm (Phönix dactylifera) and
- Schirmpalme (Livistona).
Growing a palm tree in the room requires a certain amount of sensitivity, but it is not necessary to imitate the tropical climate of its country of origin 1: 1. It is sufficient to meet the basic requirements of the plant in terms of light, temperature, soil moisture and air humidity. The palm thanks it with healthy, shiny green fronds.
Location, care, and wintering
Indoor palms do not grow as tall as palm trees in the wild, but rather they are no more than 2.50 m tall. Almost all indoor palm species are well suited as solitary plants for decorating a room. If they should still be grouped, a combination with other tropical plants is recommended.
Mountain palms come from Central America, where they grow as undergrowth in mountain forests. The plants have brown woody trunks and dark green pinnate leaves that are not smooth but are slightly curved around their longitudinal axis. The trunks of young mountain palms are short and green. In plants that are at least three years old, panicle-like yellow flowers form on upright stems. The mountain palm is robust and can even withstand minor care mistakes. It tolerates dry indoor air, but thrives much better with higher humidity.
Light, partially shaded locations without direct sunlight are preferred by mountain palms. A light intensity of a little over 700 lux is sufficient. But at no time of the year should the plants be in the dark. Mountain palms feel most comfortable at temperatures between 18 and 24 ° C. But they can also be kept at higher temperatures.
The substrate of the mountain palms should be permeable and preferably slightly alkaline. Mountain palms are also suitable for hydroponics. You only have to repot the plants when the pot is completely rooted. After the soil has been evenly distributed around the roots in a larger pot, it must be pressed firmly but carefully, because the fragile mountain palm roots can be easily damaged.
The mountain palm needs plenty of water. The root ball should always be kept moist when the plants are growing. It can also be really wet once (but not all the time) because excess water is used up quickly before the roots can rot. You can even put some water in the coaster. From spring to autumn, slightly calcareous liquid fertilizer can be added in moderate concentration to the irrigation water every four weeks.
During winter, mountain palms only need moderate watering. The upper areas of the earth can easily dry out between watering. A room temperature of 10 ° C should not be fallen below in winter. Temperatures of 12 to 14 ° C are favorable.
The honey palm comes from Chile and grows there in a Mediterranean climate. It does well in temperate climates. It is a pinnate palm with a smooth, gray trunk and wide, silvery-green leaves.
- If possible, choose a room on the south side of the house
- also tolerates cooler temperatures
Permeable soil enables the irrigation water to run off well. If the roots look out of the top of the pot, the plant must be repotted in spring.
Water thoroughly and regularly during the growth phase. The root ball must always be moist to the ground. The upper layers of the earth can, however, be left to dry off before new water is added. Leaves that have turned brown may only be removed when they have completely dried up. The tip of the honey palm is its only point of vegetation, so it must never be pruned. In spring, plant growth can be supported by regular fertilization every two weeks with commercially available liquid fertilizers.
The frost-resistant honey palm can also overwinter at low temperatures. The lower the room temperature, the less the plant needs to be watered.
The coconut palm is a pinnate palm that rarely grows more than 1.50 meters high as a houseplant. It stands on an elephant’s foot and is native to the ocean coasts of the tropics. Young plants have narrow, ribbed leaves. Only later do the typical feathers develop.
- direct sunlight
- 12 hours of light daily
- possibly use artificial light
- Light requirement 1000 to 2000 lux
- Temperatures up to 28 ° C
- not less than 18 ° C room temperature
- Put it outside during the summer and in the summer rain
- Ideal humidity 70 to 80 percent
- Partial shade for young plants
The coconut palm needs permeable soil, so that drainage and ventilation of the roots is guaranteed. It rarely needs to be repotted. With rapid growth, the pot can be too small after two years, with slower growth, it may take four years. The plant needs a lot of water during the growth phase from spring to autumn. However, no water should remain in the coaster after watering. To support the growth of the coconut palm, commercially available liquid fertilizers can be added to the irrigation water every four weeks. Sufficient moisture can be provided by spraying the plant or by using an air humidifier.
When coconut palms overwinter at room temperature, they can still grow a little during this time. If they are in cooler rooms, the plants stop growing and only need to be watered a little and no longer fertilized. The room temperature should not fall below 18 ° C, even in winter.
The priest palm (Washingtonia), also known as the petticoat palm, is a fan palm with light green fronds native to Central America. Because its lower leaves dry up quickly and then droop, it looks like the plant is wearing a priest’s skirt or petticoat. Fine fibers hang from the leaf ends of these palm trees. Their trunk often has a reddish hue and is covered in scales with the leaf bases of fallen fronds.
- daily sun exposure
- Temperatures between 20 and 25 ° C
The priest palm needs permeable soil. If the pot becomes too small for the roots, they can be transplanted in spring.
During the growth phase, the priest palm needs plenty of water. The earth should be constantly moist. However, she cannot stand too much moisture. Therefore there should be no water in the coaster. Sufficient light, warmth and humidity are thanks to the palm with strong green fronds. If there is too little light, it loses its lower leaves very quickly. Since little light can generally penetrate to the lower leaves, the priest palm almost always sheds its lower leaves.
During the winter break in growth, the priest palm only needs to be watered moderately. Watering is only necessary when the upper layers of soil have dried off a little.
Hemp palms are native to the Near East and Asia. They have fan-shaped, round leaves with serrated stems. These palms are particularly suitable for housekeeping, where they can reach a size of 2.50 meters. Young leaves are covered with fine hairs. The umbrella-like fan leaves can be up to 60 cm wide. They are dark green on the top and bluish-gray-green on the underside. The trunk of the hemp palm is fibrous and unbranched.
- a few hours of sun exposure every day
- normal room temperature
Compost soil is well suited for hemp palms. You should repot them every two to three years in the spring.
The hemp palm needs regular water from spring to autumn. However, the upper layer of the earth is allowed to dry off a little between the individual waterings. The growth of the palm can be supported every 14 days with a complete fertilizer. With age, the tips of the fan beams split and change color in a hemp palm. This phenomenon is part of the normal leaf life cycle.
If hemp palms are kept at room temperature in winter, they do not take a dormant period. However, due to the lower incidence of light, their growth slows down. That’s why they need a little less water. At temperatures below 14 ° C it can happen that the plants stop growing completely.
Date palms are very decorative pinnate palms whose natural home is the desert oases of North Africa and West India. Their fronds are colored gray-green-blue.
The location of the date palm should be bright and sunny. The palm likes high temperatures, but can also be kept at room temperature (23 ° C).
The soil for the date palm should be slightly acidic and permeable. Vigorous watering is required from spring to autumn. However, the pot must not remain in the water. During this time, the plant can be watered every two weeks with commercially available liquid fertilizers.
Already at the beginning of the pause in growth, watering of the date palm can slowly be restricted. It can overwinter at temperatures between 10 and 13 ° C, but also at room temperature. During this time, it is sufficient to water it sparingly.
The Livistona is originally native to Asia and the Pacific region. It is a very beautiful umbrella palm with evenly growing, almost circular, medium-green fans. The trunk of the Livistona is fibrous and its petioles have thorns.
The Livistona prefers bright locations. However, exposure to the sun should not be too intense. The leaves can dry out quickly when exposed to sunlight and heated air. However, a humidity between 40 and 60 percent is sufficient for the Livistona. It can also be kept at normal room temperature. It acknowledges more warmth and high humidity with faster growth.
The soil for the Livistona should be permeable and slightly acidic. Your water requirement is rather less high. The root ball should not be too wet. The irrigation water must not be too calcareous. If the humidity is too low, regular spraying with water that is low in lime prevents brown leaf tips. You can fertilize every four weeks with commercially available liquid fertilizer or with fertilizer sticks.
During the winter, the Livistona can be kept at room temperature. During this time it does not need any fertilizer. The room temperature should only be below 20 ° C for a short time.
Indoor palm pests and diseases
If the heating air is too dry, indoor palms are prone to pest infestation. Scale insects and red spiders may appear, causing the leaves to turn yellow. Frequent showering of the plants can prevent this disease.