Best Indoor Palms – 5 Awesome Options

Palm plants are part of a group called the Arecaceae family, consisting of over 2500 different species of palm trees. This group of plants shows an incredible assortment of natural beauties, many of which make amazing houseplants. The best indoor palms will be those that can tolerate partial shade, since it’s not going to be sunny all the time. These include some of the more popular palms like yucca palms, golden cane palm and Areca palm, and my absolute favorite Chinese Fan Palms. I’m going to talk about my favorite types of indoor palm plants as well as everything you’ll need to know about indoor palm trees, including expert advice to help you find the best palm for your home. 

palm plant in brown pot white background

Contents of This Article 

wicker pot with palm plant beige wall

Best Indoor Palms

Best for Big Spaces – Chinese Fan Palm (Fountain Palm)

Chinese fan palm, also known as Livistona chinensis can grow indoors and outdoors. As an outdoor plant they are often used for landscaping, if you are lucky enough to live somewhere sunny then you can take this tropical palm outside. Luckily, for the rest of us who need good indoor plants, this palm is also our guy! They’re good as a houseplant because they are slow growing and so they don’t take over your space like some palms would. Their full mature size will be about 30-50 feet tall if they are in their natural environment, when grown indoors they tend to reach only 15 feet tall. If 15 feet sounds way too big and you’re wanting to avoid root pruning then consider checking out the dwarf cultivar of this palm. 

Quick Care Guide for This Palm Plant 

Light requirements: this plant does not tolerate low light well, they thrive in full sun or bright indirect light. These particular palm species will be happiest placed near a south facing window, though it is worth remembering that young plants need a little less light as they are more easily scorched. 

Watering Needs: Try to keep the soil moist, but not wet as this can lead to root rot and way worse, death! Just check that the top one or two inches with soil, you can use your finger or moisture meter for this. 

Plant Hardiness: USDA 9-11

Soil: Palms are pretty unfussy when it comes to soil, they are happy with most things, including clay or sand on the proviso that there is good drainage. If you’re planting your palm in a container then it is important to use a good potting soil. 

Best for Beginners – Parlor Palm

parlor palm in white pot and holder gray background

Credit: Leon and George

This is one for the beginner botanists out there, the parlor palm or Chamaedorea elegans is one of my go-to recommendations for houseplant lovers of any experience level. This palm is quite easy and can be placed in most spots around the home, hence the name, and is fine with most light conditions. 

Quick Care Guide for This Palm Plant 

Light requirements: parlor palms prefer less light than the Chinese fan palm, and will suffer if placed in direct sunlight. I personally keep mine in the bathroom, where I have a north facing window and high humidity levels, and it seems happy! As the fronds of the palm are pretty light green it should be easy to tell if the palm is getting overexposed to the sun, just keep an eye out for brown patches. 

Watering: Aim for consistently moist but not wet, realistically this means once or twice a week if you top water or three times a month (approximately) if you prefer bottom watering. In winter make sure you reduce how much you’re watering your plants, since it’s cold out the plant will lose much less water from photosynthesis so the soil stays wet for longer. 

Plant Hardiness: USDA 7-11

Soil: Parlor palms hate having soggy feet and can be a bit more susceptible to root rot so good drainage is key. Use a coarse potting mix and add in some perlite, be careful not to overwater and you’ll be fine!

Best for South Facing Spots – Majesty Palm

majesty palm in wicker basket

The Majesty Palm, or Ravenea rivularis, requires a little more looking after than the Parlor Palm, but its slow growth, shade tolerance, and need for constant moisture make it a great plant for in the bathroom. Despite the fact that the majesty palm grows relatively slowly, it will unfortunately outgrow any indoor space eventually, these plants just keep getting bigger and bigger over time. 

Quick Care Guide for This Palm Plant 

Light requirements: Majesty palms don’t do too well in direct sunlight, preferring bright and indirect light. The hard thing about these plants though is that they need bright, indirect light almost for the entire day. If you live somewhere where winter days are very short then you might need a grow light to supplement the plants light levels. 

Watering: Once or twice a week will probably be plenty for your majesty palms, though this will change depending on your environment. Increase watering as the weather improves and decrease when the temperatures drop and days shorten. Allow the top inch or two to dry out before rewatering your palm plants.

Plant Hardiness: USDA 9-11

Soil: Majesty palms do best in a light, coarse well draining soil. You can make your own mix from sand, compost, perlite and coco coir or buy a pre-mixed soil – just make sure it’s well-draining.

Best for Flower Enthusiasts – Kentia Palm

kentia palm in white pot white background

Credit: Leon and George

Kentia palm, or Howea forsteriana are a great choice for indoor jungles since they can tolerate a lower light level and are happy in containers. Not only will they be happy indoors but you’ll be happy to have them as they are an excellent air purifier. They are also pretty slow growers so you don’t need to repot them too often or worry about them over taking your space, plus they are one of the few flowering palm plants. 

Quick Care Guide for This Palm Plant 

Light requirements: Kentia palms are most suited to grow in bright, indirect sunlight, and can deal with some shade, think east or west facing windows or a south facing window with a sheer curtain. Don’t forget that bright indirect light means it should be bright enough that you would be able to read a book but not so bright that the sun is casting a distinct shadow on the plant. 

Watering: Water your palm plant just once a week, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings, during the winter months you can probably get away with watering your palm only twice a month.

Plant Hardiness: USDA 9-11

Soil: Kentia palms prefer a well-draining soil, and they love loam or sand based soil mixes with a neutral to slightly acidic pH. 

Best for Unique Plant Lovers – Fishtail Palm

Credit: Leon and George

These houseplants are a fun addition to your collection, with their name deriving from the similarities between their foliage and a fish’s tail. They are pretty easy to grow as long as you know the light and water requirements for them you should have no troubles at all! 

Quick Care Guide for this Palm Plant 

Light requirements: Fishtail palms will enjoy a nice southeast window, with plenty of bright light but no direct light which can scorch the delicate fronds of the plant. 

Watering: Once a week in the summer, once a fortnight in the winter should be plenty, but make sure to pay attention to the signs your plant is showing you to check if it’s getting the right amount of water.

Plant Hardiness: USDA 8-11 

Soil: As always the key thing is drainage, I like to add my own ingredients into a standard potting mix for an easy but effective growing medium.

Buyer’s Guide for Choosing Your New Indoor Palm!

There’s More Benefits to Owning Palms 

black wicker basket with palm plant

During the Victorian times palm plants were displayed as a sign of superiority and wealth, they loved them so much they invented and built entire greenhouse structures to grow their palms! Palms are also a symbol of life and fertility, their long fronds signify longevity and good luck. In the practice of Feng Shui (which stipulates we are deeply affected by our environment and should aim to understand our relationship with objects and nature in order to create harmony) indoor palm plants help to balance out negative space by bringing a rejuvenating energy.

Choosing The Right Palm Is About Size, Light, & Toxicity 

There are three things you need to consider when choosing which palm to buy: 

#1 Size 

brown wicker basket with palm plant

You’ve got to remember that some of these palms can grow to extraordinary sizes when given some TLC, and occasionally they might just be too big for your home. 

Here are the expected mature sizes for the palms if grown indoors: 

  • Chinese fan palm can grow to up to 6 to 7 feet tall in a container inside 
  • Parlor Palm is a little smaller and reaches a height of 2 to 6 feet indoors 
  • Majesty Palms can reach 15 to 20 feet tall even when grown indoors
  • Kentia Palm is a nice variety that grows to around 4 to 6 feet tall 
  • Fishtail Palms can grow up to 10 feet tall but usually stop at around 6 feet 

#2 Light Requirements 

decorative indoor palm plants

Depending on your home and where you live geographically you’ll get very different levels of light, I’ve ordered the plants from most to least light intensive so you can see which will be happiest with you.

  • Most: Fountain Palm/ Chinese Fan Palm 
  • Then: Majesty and Fishtail palm 
  • Least: Parlor and Kentia palm 

#3 Toxicity 

palm plant leaves on white background

If you have an animal or child in your home you can’t neglect the possibility of a secret leafy snack now and then so you’ve got to consider whether this plant is safe to have around. Here are a few palm types you should be aware of: 

  • Chinese fan palm: completely non toxic and safe for pets and people 
  • Parlor Palm: considered non-toxic and pet safe
  • Majesty Palm: 100% non toxic and safe for cats, dogs and humans 
  • Kentia Palm: Non toxic 
  • Fishtail Palm: This palm should be kept away from pets and children and is considered toxic as the plant contains calcium oxalate which causes an intense pain if consumed.  

Even if you believe you have a non-toxic plant, err on the side of caution as palms are often confused and mislabelled as other varieties.

tea pots with palm plants in the background


What is the easiest indoor palm to grow?

While the palm that’s easiest for you depends on your home and experience, the palm that’s easiest for most people is the parlor palm as it does so well in average room temperatures and indoor light.

Are palms good indoor plants?

As long as they’re staying moist and getting the right amount of sunlight, palms are excellent indoor plants! They can tolerate a bit of neglect and brighten up any spot in your home.

Which palm tree will get the biggest?

Most indoor palm trees can grow to about 6-8 feet tall, however none grow quite like the aptly named majesty palm, which when mature can reach heights of up to 15 feet if well taken care of.

Are palms safe to have around children and pets?

While most palm plants are fine, there are some such as the sago palm which are toxic to cats if ingested. It is also important to remember that they can have sharp fronds which could be a hazard to little hands or paws.

How long can palms live for?

Palms can live for a really long time. On the lower end of the spectrum the Areca palm will live for about 40 years, whereas date palms can get to 100. On average most palms, if properly cared for, can live for about 70 years.

Ultimately, You Can’t Go Wrong

If you are aiming to bring some joy and greenery to your home, nearly any palm plant sold as a houseplant will do the trick! The Fishtail Palm has a special place in my heart but nothing beats the gorgeous Chinese Fan Palm, they just look so good in any spot! I’ve listed my top choices for you here as well as what you need to know about them but if you have a different favorite please let me know in the comment below, I’m always looking for new plant suggestions. 

Looking for More Advice on Which Plants You’ll Love? 

Check out this comprehensive guide on 7 Indoor Plants You Can’t Kill to find other houseplant possibilities that aren’t just palms, there’s so many options out there to explore.

Let us know what you think, we always love your thoughts and feedback. As always, Happy Growing! 

Photo of author
Katie Riggs
Katie’s love of plants began at a young age, in fact it was the first time she went camping and discovered the medicinal wonders of a dock leaf that the fascination with all things botanical took hold. Spending time in nature and frequently visiting the Kew Gardens, she became obsessed with the diversity of plants you could grow at home. Her favorite things to grow are herbs and vegetables outdoors as well as her prized fiddle leaf fig and calathea orbifolia. Hundreds of mistakes later she has become well versed in how not to kill a houseplant. Her passions now involve sharing her love of nature and all things green to help other people keep their plants happy and healthy.

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