About Different Types of Palm Trees
Palms are not only beautiful trees but also help clean the air of toxins. Some palms make great shade trees as well. It’s no wonder these tropical beauties have captured our hearts!
In fact, there are over 2,500 kinds of palm trees, and 202 different genera around the world. They come in all shapes and sizes and grow in some of the most diverse climates on earth These palm trees grow best in tropical and subtropical regions.
Many people assume that only tropical palms can live indoors, but the truth is many smaller cold hardy palms can be grown indoors. Palm trees are the most popular indoor trees, making them ideal for growing indoors because they are so versatile and adaptable.
Despite their diversity, they all share some common traits. All palms have a central stem with large leaves that sprout out from the top. On the underside of each leaf is a network of fibers called a ‘leaf skirt’. This leaf skirt wraps around the stem to help protect it from injury or disease.
In this article, we will help you to know more about indoor palm trees.
Cultivation of Palm Trees
Depending on which type of palm you have, the rules of how to grow them indoors can vary. However, everything starts with choosing a proper spot, so here are our tips on how to care for indoor palms.
When it comes to growing palm houseplants, there are two ways you can propagate them. The first is by seed, and the second is by separating offshoots or suckers from the base of the plant. Seeds are usually viable for only a short time, and they take months to germinate. For these reasons, most people opt for the easier method of separation.
Some palms separate easily; others require more work. One way to separate a palm is to wait until the sucker has developed its root system, then cut it away from the main plant with a sharp, clean knife. You can also dig up the entire plant and separate it that way.
Either way, make sure each “new” plant has several offshoots of its own before you remove it from the parent plant.
Care of Palm Tree
Palm plants may vary in size and shape based on their type. However, the general instructions are similar for all types of palm plants while growing indoors. Let’s check out how to care for palm houseplants indoors.
- Light: One of the reasons palm plants are so popular as houseplants are their ability to adapt to low-light conditions. Most palms withstand (or prefer) shade and may not thrive if exposed to too much direct sunlight. Low-light palms prefer bright indirect light but can tolerate less light, particularly during the winter months.
- Soil: A loose, porous mixture, such as peat moss, leaf mold, and shredded bark, is ideal for palm plants. You can buy a cactus or palm soil mixture designed specifically for growing palm plants, but they will grow just fine in a general-purpose commercial potting soil. If you’re prone to forgetting to water your plants, mix some peat moss or vermiculite into the general-purpose potting soil to aid in moisture retention.
- Water: A healthy palm plant requires adequate drainage. Palms do not enjoy being wet simply because they live in warm (sometimes tropical) climates. Many palms thrive in slightly sandy soils with good drainage. Never let a palm’s root ball sit in water and let the soil dry out between waterings. You can also plant your palm in a terracotta or clay vessel to help wick excess moisture from the soil.
- Humidity and temperature: Few palms thrive in extreme cold, and some, like the coconut palm, cannot tolerate any cold at all. The parlor palm and kentia palm are cold-hardy palms, which explains why they are among the most popular indoor palms. It can handle even the most extreme temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-9).
- Fertilizer: Feed your palm regularly during the growing season. Choose a palm fertilizer that contains all of the micronutrients required for a healthy palm, as well as extra potassium and manganese if possible. Potassium deficiency is particularly common in palms, causing yellowing or brownish fronds.2 If you notice your palm turning yellow or brownish, it may be time to increase your feedings.
Pest & Disease Control
Palm trees are the easiest plants to grow indoors, thanks to their low lighting and watering requirements, but they do have some pests and diseases that can threaten your plant. Here are a few of the most common indoor palm tree problems and how to treat them.
- Fusarium: Fusarium wilt is caused by a fungus that is present in the soil. The fungus enters the plant through the roots, and will eventually clog the vascular system of the plant, causing it to wilt and die. The treatment is to remove the plant from its pot, clean off all the soil and wash any roots that are still white. If there are more than 5 percent of brown roots, the plant should be destroyed. For healthy plants, dip all roots in a fungicide solution.
- Spider mites: They are tiny insects that spin tiny webs on leaves, stems, and branches. Their feeding removes chlorophyll from leaves, leaving them with yellow or white spots. You can tell if spider mites are present by shaking a leaf over a white piece of paper; if they are present, you will see tiny moving dots on the paper. Mites can be controlled by washing their webs off with warm water or by spraying with insecticidal soap.
- Mealybugs: They look like small balls of cotton on stems and leaves. They can be controlled by rubbing them off with your fingers or applying an alcohol-soaked cotton swab.