Want to know more about indoor palm plant identification?
Adding an indoor palm tree can give your home a fresh and sophisticated look.
Many houseplants fit very well into our homes and are not always towering or extremely tall.
Palm trees originate from subtropical and tropical regions belonging to the Aceraceae family.
Depending on the type, they also grow to carry sizes and flower perennially.
Also, depending on the species, some might grow as climbers or shrubs, and some are tree-like.
There are 200 genera in the palm family and over 2,600 species.
The following article will give you some useful tips for identifying indoor palms.
Indoor Palm Plant Identification: 5 Essential Tips To Identify Palm
While recognizing a palm tree is simple, differentiating between them is tricky and requires knowledge of color, size, frond shapes, external covering of the trunk, etc.
Checking the shape of the fronds is one way to find out the kind of palm tree.
The feather-like fronds(pinnate) or fan-like fronds (palmate) are found on most kinds of palms, such as coconut palm, areca palm, date palm, and queen palm.
2. Differentiate Between Fronds
If the fronds on the palm are not feather-like, they are probably spread out like a fan.
These leaves grow from a single point.
These trees are also usually 8 feet tall.
If you identify a palm plant that looks like this, you can narrow it down further to the subfamily.
Some examples of palms that look like this are the Mexican fan palm, Bismarck palm, and windmill palm.
There are also fronds that resemble a fishtail and are easily identifiable owing to their unique frond shape.
3. Shape Of Trunk
Some of the palm trunks are sleek and tall, while the dwarf types have chunky, swollen trunks.
Check the number of trunks the palm tree has, too.
If the plant is mature, it will most likely have a single trunk, and if it has multiple trunks or is clustered, you can eliminate it from the species with a single trunk.
Some dwarf varieties lack trunks as their fronds grow directly from the soil.
4. Appearance Of The Trunk
Some of the trunks on palm trees are extremely smooth, while others have rings or are bumpy and gray-brown in color.
Some of the varieties also have trunks covered in husks and fibers that make the trunks appear scaly or pointy.
5. Palm Identification Apps
Popular applications such as Leafsnap and PlantNet can identify palm plants with just a photo.
There are also websites such as Palm ID Key that help to identify the plant, but it requires you to select the characteristics of the palm manually to identify rather than upload a picture correctly.
Apps To Use For Indoor Palm Plant Identification
Nowadays, it is far easier to use a mobile application to ID a plant than to memorize the features of thousands of species of plants.
Here are some apps that have made identifying plants fun and uncomplicated:
1. PlantNet Plant Identification
This app allows you to share images and retrieve photos of trees so that you can accurately identify any kind of tree you see.
PlantNet is free to use and can recognize plant species by photographs of trees you upload.
The botanical reference database can give plenty of information if it recognizes the picture of the plant.
LeafSnap was developed by the Smithsonian Institute, University of Maryland, and Columbia University, so that plant lovers could identify any tree they came across easily only by their leaves.
3. Garden Answers Plant Identification
This app revolutionized plant identification as it can correctly recognize over 20,000 plants and give information regarding plant conditions.
Among its perks is that this app will allow you to ask it any question about plants and give you expert advice.
15 Different Types Of Palm Varieties
In this section, let's learn more about some of the well-known varieties of palm plants.
1. Areca Palm
The botanical name of the Areca Palm is Dypsis lutescens.
It is also commonly known as the Golden Cane Palm, Yellow Palm, or Butterfly Palm.
This plant grows 4-12 feet indoors and 3-4 feet wide.
It is best known for its ability to reduce formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene.
To ensure it grows well, do not overwater this plant and give it enough humidity.
2. Chinese Fan Palm
Commonly known as Fountain Palm, the botanical name of this palm is Livistona Chinensis.
This indoor palm has different features than others of its variety.
It spouts large, fan-like leaves, grows up to 10 feet in height, and is 2-4 feet broad.
To enhance the growth of this palm, it needs to be fertilized during its growing season and watered when 50-75% of the topsoil is dry.
3. Parlor Palm
The botanical name of the plant is Chamaedorea elegant, otherwise called Neanthe Bella Palm.
This palm makes for a great indoor palm as it can adapt to low light and grows well under artificial light settings.
This palm needs to be watered regularly, but you should avoid overwatering.
Additionally, too much cold air can lead to the deterioration of plant growth.
4. Ponytail Palm
Beaucarnea recurvata is the botanical name of this plant.
It has other names, such as Elephant's Foot Palm and Bottle Palm.
This palm comes under the category of succulents, and it is a plant that fits nicely anywhere within one's home, especially in small corners.
The leaves of this palm are curly and springy, making it look like an elephant's foot.
One of the perks of keeping Ponytail Palm as an indoor plant is that it can survive without water for a while and is an excellent natural air purifier.
A low amount of sunlight, indirect sunlight, and intermittent watering is good enough for the growth of the palm.
5. European Fan Palm
Also called a Mediterranean Fan Palm and Dwarf Palm, its botanical name is Chamaerops humilis.
This European palm has an elegant appearance, with its large leaves spread up to 2 feet on 4 feet high stems.
To grow effectively, this plant needs filtered sunlight and moist soil.
Water the plant only when the first inch of the soil is dry.
6. Kentia Palm
The botanical name of this plant is Howea forsteriana.
It is also known as the Thatch palm and Paradise palm.
It is also supposedly one of the most popular plants in the Victorian Era.
If you fancy large plants in your house, this palm can give your home an elegant look as it towers to 10 feet.
Kentia Palm thrives in warm temperatures of 60 F and above and requires indirect sunlight.
7. Pygmy Date Palm
Phoenix Robellini is the botanical name of the date palm and is known as the Miniature Date, Palm.
According to NASA, this plant is a good air purifier and is one of the reasons it makes a good house plant.
Besides that, its leaves are exquisite and reedy, reaching up to 4-6 feet in height.
This is an average size for a houseplant, which makes it convenient to have it in your home.
Provided with plenty of sunshine and if kept in a warm room, the Pygmy Date Palm can produce small, edible dates.
Feeding this plant liquid fertilizer once a month from spring to autumn and giving it enough sunlight keeps the palm healthy.
8. Lady Palm
There are two types of Lady Palm known as Rhapis excelsa & Rhapis humilis in botanic terms.
Also, this palm has several different common names, such as Bamboo palm, Finger palm, Broadleaf palm, and Little Lady palm.
Both palms have long leaves that resemble fingers and have rare types of both green and variegated leaves.
For good growth, this palm needs moist soil but should not be over-watered and should be exposed to indirect sunlight.
9. Sago Palm
Sago Palm is called the Cycas Revoluta as its botanical name and is otherwise referred to as Cycas palm or sago palm.
The sago palm is not an authentic palm tree, but because its fronds are similar to one, it falls under the indoor palm plants category.
This plant grows two feet every five years as it has slow growth.
These prickly plants need to be grown with care and are relatively easy to maintain.
Soil that is dry and indirect sunlight is perfect for its healthy growth.
10. Fishtail Palm
Caryota Mitis is the botanical name of this plant, and its other names are Clustering Fishtail plant, Fishtail Plant, and Clumping Fishtail Plant.
It is named so because of its triangular-shaped leaves, which resemble a fishtail.
This is quite a beautiful plant that has an easy time adjusting to indoor spaces.
It grows up to six to eight feet indoors.
The plant needs a warm climate to thrive in, so the temperature it is kept in should not reduce before 60 F, and the soil should be kept moist.
11. Ruffled palm
Known as the Licuala grandis in botanical terms, the ruffled palm is also known as Palas Fan Palm and Vanuatu Fan Palm.
It is named after its shiny fronds that spread like a fan.
This palm requires very little maintenance and is perfect for a houseplant.
The height it grows up to is 6-8 feet.
For growth, this plant needs to be exposed to partial sunlight, and it requires humid conditions for its development, too.
12. Cat Palm
The Cat Palm's botanical name is Chamaedorea cataractarum.
It is otherwise known as Cascade palm and Cataract palm.
The leaves of this palm emerge from small shoots and are dark green.
This palm does not have a stem and grows up to 6 feet as an indoor plant.
You can restrict the growth by pruning as well.
For excellent growth conditions, keep the plant in a room where it can get indirect sunlight and moisten the soil without overwatering it.
The botanical name of this plant is Yucca elephantipes.
Its common names are stick yucca and spineless yucca.
While this tree grows extremely tall outdoors and indoors, it becomes a perfect house plant with its stunning looks and can be grown for several years until it reaches its peak height.
Exposing this plant to a couple of hours of direct sunlight will aid its growth and keep it in well-drained soil.
14. Sentry Palm
Called the Howea belmoreana in botanical terms, this palm resembles the Kentia Palm in appearance.
It is also called the Curly Palm and Belmore Palm.
If you want a palm that will bring vibrancy and life to a large room, this is the one, as it has large, curly fronds, which makes it even more appealing.
Its height is quite tall at 8 feet; however, pruning can restrict its growth to the height you like.
To effectively grow this plant, place it under partial or indirect sunlight.
It also needs humid temperatures to survive, so sprinkle water on the plant when it gets exceptionally dry.
15. Bamboo Palm
The Chamaedorea seifrizii is a NASA-approved air purifier and is also commonly referred to as the Reed palm.
You can spruce up your interior decor with this gorgeous palm.
Its height is 5-7 feet and 3-5 feet wide.
It is also known for its cleansing properties, making it a great plant to have in your bedroom.
This palm thrives under indirect sunlight and needs to be watered regularly during springs and summers but not during winters.
Benefits Of Having Indoor Palm Plants
Palm plants and trees have always been the top choice for cultivating and growing within the premises of one's home.
Usually grown and found outdoors, increasingly palm plants have seen themselves as a popular choice for indoor plants.
The popularity of palms is not only based on their unique and lush green appearance but also the ease of maintenance.
These tropical trees come with several benefits, such as:
- Air Quality: Palm trees and plants are known for removing Volatile Organic Compounds, pollutants, and carbon monoxide from the air as they have natural air-purifying properties like other houseplants.
- Feng Shui: Palm trees are also said to bring positive vibes and energy into the space it is placed in, thereby balancing the negativity.
Top 10 Palm Varieties For Your Home
There are several hundreds of palm varieties, but only a very few are suitable for indoor growth.
Here are ten popular palm plants that would brighten up your home:
1. Chinese Fan Palm (Livistona Chinensis)
This is a lovely emerald-green plant with leaves in the shape of a fan.
Having this palm as a houseplant in the living room would add liveliness and color to your interior decor.
If the plant you buy is young, it will do well in a shady room, but if it's a mature plant, it will need plenty of sunlight to grow.
2. Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
This lush-looking plant needs low maintenance, low light levels, and infrequent watering, making it a houseplant one must-have.
Its yellow-green stems and soft green leaves make it a lovely addition to your office or bedroom.
3. Majestic Palm (Ravenea rivularis)
Native to Madagascar, this palm's fronds reach upwards instead of being droopy.
This is a palm that has not achieved popularity for being an indoor plant, but it is definitely starting, owing to its majestic look!
4. Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
This easy-to-look-after plant is the most popular among palm plants as it is compact and fits well with any kind of decor.
Originating from the Guatemalan and Southern Mexican rainforest, this plant is non-toxic to humans and animals.
5. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
The curly leaves of this palm add to its exquisite appearance and have made the Ponytail palm an attractive choice for houseplants.
Its long leaves flow from the top of the trunk, resembling a ponytail, hence the quirky name.
However, this is not an authentic palm, as it belongs to the Asparagus family.
6. Sago Palm (Cycas Revoluta)
Native to southern Japan, this palm is not classified as a "real" palm, but it makes a list because of its ever-growing popularity as an indoor house plant.
The trunk of this palm resembles that of a pineapple, and it is a fashionable-looking plant that would elevate one's interiors.
7. Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana)
While this plant is quite similar-looking to the Sentry Palm, the Sentry palm leaves droop more than the Kentia Palm.
This palm originated in Australia, and its magnificent fronds make it a well-loved indoor plant.
8. Cascade Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum)
If you want to add a palm that looks unique and different from regular palm plants, this is the one for you.
The Cascade palm has a bushy look, a small trunk, and dark green foliage.
9. Yucca Palm (Yucca elephantipes)
Most of the alms on the list are shrub-like and compact, but if you fancy a palm that is tree-like, the Yucca palm is the best choice.
This palm has a long trunk with delicate green fronds and is very easy to look after.
10. Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)
The Miniature Date Palm, as it is generally called, is a palm that originated in Southern China.
As its name suggests, this palm is cultivated to be much smaller than other palms that can grow up to almost 75 ft outdoors.
Guide To Planting An Indoor Palm
- The size of the pot you plant your palm in should be the right size. The pot you choose should have drainage holes and not be bigger than one-third of the root ball of the palm.
- Research and buy the soil that is best suited for the particular plant you own. The soil you place the plant in should be well-draining and be able to retain moisture.
- Transferring the plant from one pot to another should be done carefully.
- Once the plant is safely placed, ensure that the soil covers the area around the root ball.
- You should water the plant well once it is planted.
Additionally, when you plant a palm well at home, ensure that you have the following products already:
- Pruning shears or cutting scissors - if your scissors do not cut well due to bluntness, this can affect plant growth.
- Moisture meter - this can accurately tell you how moist the soil is without guessing.
- Spray for plants that prefer humid conditions so that you can mist them when the weather gets too warm or dry.
There is no one particular plant that can be named as the best from the list of palm plants.
If you prefer a stylish plant with low maintenance, there is plenty of choice for that, but if you want a palm that does not grow more than 4 feet, you will find many options for such a palm, too.
It is all about the effort you are willing to devote to the palm's maintenance.
Palms are one of the best houseplants, as they can grow without proper maintenance.
However, if you want your plant to thrive, you will need to ensure it receives regular care.
Palms quickly adapt to growing indoors, and you will not face any problems with growing a palm indoors.
Palm plants have distinctive fronds and trunks, which are easily identifiable.
If you are unsure about the kind of palm you see, use an app that allows you to upload a picture so that you can ID the plant quickly.
If this does not work, ask a palm plant owner or expert gardener for indoor palm plant identification.
Firstly, choose a palm that you know grows well indoors.
Then, place the palm plant in a room with partial sunlight.
Water this plant infrequently and feed it fertilizer during its growing months.
If you do not want the plant to grow too much, prune it to restrict its growth.
This is just a general rundown of how to care for a palm.
You will most likely need to do more research on the kind of plant you own so that you can give it the best care possible.
Over To You
And that's all there is to the indoor palm plant identification process!
I hope the above guide makes your identification process easier.
If you still have more questions, you can ask them in the comments below.
Also, please share this guide with your friends and family.
I'm sure they will learn a thing or two about the identification of indoor plants like Palms.
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