Palms for Interior Plantscapes

Palms for Interior Landscapes

Image: A stately palm from Interior Plantscapes

The best palms for indoors are the ones that are slow growing. The three main palms traditionally used are the Bamboo Palm, the Lady Finger Palm, and the Kentia Palm.

Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii): Characterized by its bamboo-like stems, Bamboo palms have an advantage as an office plant because it grows tall and not wide.

They thrive in shady indoor spaces and may produce flowers and small berries. It is also a clean air plant – excelling at removing both benzene and trichloroethylene. Bamboo palms also remove formaldehyde.

Lady Finger Palms (Rhapis species): Lady Finger palms are slow growers indoors, and have a rough burlap-looking surface on their stems. Their leaves are so deeply divided that leaflets appear to be separate entities. They look like slender fingers, hence the name "Lady Finger".

Kentia (Howea forsteriana): Kentia palms are extremely slow growing, and extend their branches out in graceful arches. Because they spread out so wide, Kentia palms are not for small spaces. Kentia palms are often used as the major focal point in interior landscapes.

Kentias have been cultivated in heated greenhouses since Victorian times. They were featured in the finest hotels and homes.

Image credit: KRSEVideos at YouTube

Palms and Water

Image credit: KRSEVideos at YouTube

According to Alan Stevens of Kansas State Research and Extension, It’s not good to keep watering palms a little bit at a time. The best way to water them is:

  • Totally saturate them – so that all the soil in the pot, from top to bottom, is moist. Remove any excess.
  • Don’t water again until the soil has dried down significantly. (if you dig your finger down into the soil, and it feels moist, don’t water it.)

Small in Stature – The Dwarf Neanthe Bella Palm

Alan Stevens also recommends the dwarf Neanthe Bella Palm as an office plant. In contrast to the more majestic palms, It’s a smaller palm. It is a favorite because it can grow quite well in an office without windows.