Scientific name: Aracaceae
Most palms, as we all know, are outdoor plants in hot countries. Very few can survive indoors giving the extra elegance and beauty to their surroundings. They are not the easiest to look after, but can be done by following our instructions carefully. Since most type of palms need very similar care, we have grouped them together.
The easiest being the Chamaedorea, commonly known as parlor palm. Considered a dwarf palm, with bamboo like stems, originally from Central and South America.
The most elegant of indoor plants being the Howea Forsteriana, commonly known as Kentia. A bit towards the expensive side, but worthwhile. Originally from Lord Howe Island in the Pacific, of which Kentia is the capital. There are only two kinds of Kentia, Howea Forsteriana and Howea Belmoreana.
Chrysalidocarpus also known as Areca are from Mauritius. These palms are highly ornamental. The leaves are arching and have an unusual yellow tinge on them, making them sought after by plant lovers. Areca are more difficult compared to the first two.
Cycas Revoluta commonly known as Sago palm or Dragon food, is a palm that lives fully outdoors. Thus, it could live happily in a pot in the balcony, no matter how elevated your house is. These plants have separate gender of male and female. Males grow new layers of leaves all the time while females do not in order to make room for their seed cone. It grows best in sandy well drained soil. This palm is an easy one to look after.
Palms like strong bright light. As close as possible to the window, with a daily direct sunlight for a couple of hours, will give them a denser color.
As mentioned above Cycas needs to be outdoors all the time enjoying the full sunlight.
Palms being native of hot climates countries will enjoy the warm temperatures in any house (30 C to 35 C). These plants will also tolerate a moderate to normal room temperature.
These palms need to be watered well, to keep the potting mixture thoroughly moist, but neither allow the pot to stand in water nor completely dry out. Less water is needed in winter.
In the growing season (March to October) feed the plant every two weeks as recommended dosages labeled. Stop feeding totally in winter.
If you intend to keep the grape like flowers of some of the palms, feed them more often; every ten days.
Some palms will give flowers that look like miniature grapes, which will exhaust the plant. Cutting them off at its juvenile state will help the palm to regain its strength.
Be careful when repotting these plants since they are very sensitive to the chemical composition of the soil. Making sure the acidity and alkalinity to stay constant from one pot to another. Chemistry of soil can be disturbed when using different brands of peat moss or changing the composition of the compost. Hence, repotting should be done only in extreme needs in the months of April or September.