Parlor Palms (Chamaedorea species): These graceful palms are frequently grown as houseplants. Parlor palms have thin stems and large, elegant feathered leaves. Their spread is quite wide, making them suitable for large spaces. These are the classic palms that graced Victorian parlors. They need a minimum winter temperature of 60 ° F. Parlor palms tolerate lower light levels well. They prefer high to moderate humidity, but are adaptable.
Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea erumpens): Tall plants form clumps of stems that are smooth, slender and green. The long, arching leaves are held in upright clusters on the stems. Individual leaflets are short, broad and curving. This palm has a narrow growth habit that is appropriate for most homes.
Parlor Palm or Neanthe Palm (Chamaedorea elegans): This is a small indoor palm, often with several single stems per pot that do not form clumps. The foliage is similar to that of bamboo palm.
Grass-leafed Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii): Their clustered, slender, cane-like stems with long narrow leaflets, grow to 8 to 10 feet tall.
Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelinii): The pygmy date palm is a miniature of the palm grown throughout the Middle East for its fruit. It can eventually become a 12-foot tree, but takes many years before it begins to form a trunk. The arching, feather-shaped fronds are quite fine in texture. They grow up to 3 feet long in a thick crown.
Pygmy date palms are adaptable and easy indoor plants. This palm grows best in bright indirect sunlight, ideally from an east window with morning sun. Keep the soil moist at all times, but do not let the pots stand in water.
European Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis): European fan palms are dependable palms for indoor use. Fan-shaped fronds are carried on 4-foot high stems. Each leaf is about 2 feet across, gray-green and deeply cut.
Fan palms need three to four hours of direct sunlight daily Normal room temperatures with a winter rest period at 55 to 60 ° F are preferred.
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens): This very popular palm grows 6 to 7 feet tall indoors. The fronds are long, feather-shaped, and arching with narrow leaflets. The light green fronds are borne on slender, clumping, yellow-orange stalks. Arecas grow 6 to 10 inches a year and often outgrow their alloted space. Give them plenty of room.
Areca palms do best in bright indirect sunlight. Place them near an east-west-or south-facing window. Temperatures at night of 65° to 70° and 75° to 85° during the day are ideal.
Kentia or Thatch Leaf Palms (Howea forsteriana): The kentia palm has a slender trunk and a graceful crown of dark-green, drooping, feather-shaped fronds. They will grow slowly in a tub for many years. This is one of the most tolerant and adaptable indoor palms.
Kentias will tolerate relatively low light and humidity, but they grow best with bright light and regular care. Water kentia palms abundantly in the summer but only when their potting mix is dry during winter.
Burmese Fishtail Palm (Caryota mitis): The large pinnate leaves have individual leaflets that are triangular with a wavy edge. They look very much like fishtails and give this palm a unique texture. This interesting palm grows 6 to 10 feet tall indoors and arches 3 to 6 feet wide. This palm grows 6 to 8 inches a year.
Fishtail palms do best in bright indirect sunlight. Plants need a minimum temperature of 60 ° F. Night temperatures of 65 to 70 °F and day temperatures of 75 to 85 °F are ideal. Keep their soil moist at all times. Fishtail palms are prone to spider mites, so watch carefully for them.
Lady Palms (Rhapis species): These multi-stemmed fan palms are quite adaptable and easy to grow, if given excellent care and good-quality water. Lady palms have large, thick, shiny leaves with blunt tips. Their sturdy clumping stems are covered with dark brown fiber that appears woven. This is the only palm species that has cultivars in green and variegated forms. The variegated Rhapis are slower-growing than green forms and need less fertilizer and lower light levels.
Most lady palms grow best in bright, indirect light near a window or skylight. Large lady palm is the most adaptable to low light areas. Thailand lady palm must be kept constantly moist. The other lady palms should be allowed to become somewhat dry between thorough waterings. Heavily and repeatedly drench lady palms with water twice a year to leach excess fertilizer salts from their potting mix.
A rich houseplant potting mix, such as an african violet mix, is ideal. Lady palms are slow-growing and need very little fertilizer. Scale insects are a major pest of lady palms. They may hide in the fibrous leaf bases, so inspect carefully for them.
If necessary, lady palms should be divided in spring or early summer when they are actively growing. Large lady palms can also be air-layered.
Large Lady Palm and Miniature Lady Palms (Rhapis excelsa): These are the most widely grown species of the lady palms. It easily adapts to most indoor situations and so is popular for its ease of care, durability, insect resistance and long life.
Rhapis excelsa is divided into two groups: the large lady palms and the highly refined miniature lady palms that are developed and prized by collectors.
Large lady palm has large, thick leaves on sturdy canes. They can grow to be more than 8 feet tall and as wide as they are tall.
The green and variegated miniature lady palms cultivars have unique leaf shapes and growth habits. Japanese hobbyists often artificially dwarf these plants by growing them as bonsai. Many are true dwarfs that will grow only 4 feet tall in several decades.
* ‘Zuikonishiki’ is popular, easy to grow and a prolific producer of offshoots.
* ‘Chiyodazuru’ has narrow stripes on green leaves. Intense sunlight and heat can fade leaves, and strong fertilizer can mask the stripes. For best color, this variety needs cool temperatures, medium light and medium fertilizer rates.
Thailand Lady Palm (Rhapis subtilis): Thailand lady palm is a small species, seldom more than 6 feet in height. The stems are narrow with a smooth, brown fiber covering. It is almost impossible to divide.
Thailand lady palm requires high humidity and abundant moisture. This species especially can be severely affected by spider mites. It prefers temperatures of 60 to 80° F. It can be difficult as a houseplant because of its need for humidity.