Some palm tree varieties grow well as indoor plants, while other common house and garden plants resemble the long fronds and scale trunk of a palm tree. Homeowners who would like to bring a touch of the tropic to their home or garden have a variety from which to choose, but most of these plants are tropical and may do better indoors. They also reach different sizes and grow at different rates.
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Parlour Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
Parlour palms (Chamaedorea elegans) feature shiny, bright-green foliage atop thin stalks that quickly grow when the plant is kept in ideal circumstances. The experts at The Garden Helper recommend keeping this plant in a warm area of your home that stays between 23.8 and 29.4 degrees C all year long to replicate the heat of its tropical origins. It requires good drainage, which can be accomplished by adding coarse sand or vermiculite to the potting soil. Daily misting will prevent the frond tips from browning if the humidity of the room becomes low.
Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana)
The kentia palm (Howea forsteriana) is a large indoor palm that is also commonly known as the thatch palm or hotel palm. The Floridata website notes that can reaches heights of 30 feet when mature, but it grows slowly, especially indoors. The fronds are long and drooping and the trunk features large scales. Unlike other indoor palms, the kentia palm is sensitive to sunlight and requires indirect or partial sunlight during the first 5 years of growth. After that time, the plant tolerates full sunlight. This makes them an optimal choice for a darker interior room. This plant prefers moist soil, but overwatering weakens the plant's trunk. Due to the cooler climate of its native home, the kentia palm does fine in rooms that drop to near freezing, as long as it is not exposed to frost.
Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
Lady palm (Rhapis excelsa) stays small and grows with a number of thin stalks in a tight group, topped with fan-shaped fronds, according to the Jungle Music Palms & Cycads website. At maturity, the lady palm reaches only 5 to 7 feet, making it an ideal choice for indoor locations with limited space. Although the kentia palm is popular for its lowlight requirements, the lady palm thrives in even darker rooms. Rich, well-drained soil improves the growth of this plant and it requires almost no fertiliser. Its slow growth may frustrate homeowners looking for a large palm plant.
Madagascar Dragon Tree (Dracaena marginata)
Unlike actual palms, the Madagascar dragon tree (Dracaena marginata) features a thin, scaly trunk and green frond-like foliage but does not require higher humidity or temperature levels, reports the Denver Plants website. The leaves of this plant usually point upward or may droop slightly to the floor, creating a very different look from the broad fronds of other house plants that resemble palm trees. It thrives in lowlight situations and needs little watering. Dragon trees can reach heights of 15 feet or more after years of good care, and some varieties feature taller trunks that closer resemble a typical palm tree.
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