Palms that require low light?

mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)December 6, 2012

Hi. I have a Parlor palm which is the lowest light req. palm I know of. I also have Cataractarum Palm which has a low light req. as well. Are there others that require very low light? Thanks in advanced.

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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

If you are looking for houseplants, you might try Howea forsteriana. While there are many palms that tolerate low light, especially when small, they are not all suitable for growing indoors. Many have tropical requirements and might be grown in a heated greenhouse, if you have one.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 1:58PM
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I agree that Howea (Kentia Palm) is a good indoor/low light palm, as is any Chamaedorea. You might also consider Raphis palms--not cheap but they will not die unless you forget to water.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 3:06PM
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mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)

Wow! I think that palm is drop dead freaking gorgess. I should try and invest in it.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 3:28PM
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Which one? Both Raphis and Howeas tend to be on the more expensive side. Raphis have the advantage of suckering vigorously, so easy to propagate. But if you put any of these outside in the growing season, they will burn badly with any direct sun until acclimated and even then prefer some shade.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 4:31PM
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mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)

The Howea. But now that you mention it, maybe I should invest in Raphis since I can separate it. Oh, by the way, How and when should I divide my Chamaedorea Cataractarum? It's a clump with about 10 or 15 stems and I want to separate one of them so I can get a whole separate clump. Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 8:10AM
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It's more a matter of tolerating low light rather than requiring it. Understorey palms in rainforests like bright light but will often tolerate less. Howea forsteriana grows in full sun although not in the tropics. But it will still take low light.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 5:10PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Another genus would be Licuala with many to choose from
If you can keep them away from the cold might make an excellant house plant?? gary

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 4:02AM
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I agree that we are talking about tolerance of lower light rather than requiring it. How low a light level are we talking about? I used to have a city apartment with knee to ceiling windows facing an unobstructed, due north exposure--no sun, but bright enough to grow most commonly available palms. I have a lot of the more tropical palms in the basement which gets some natural sun but more florescent lights and they do fine--even a coconut and Cuban Royal. But they go outside for several months of the year.

I would also add another low light tolerant palm--Caryota mitis (fishtail palm). Gorgeous palm, just don't let it get too dry.

Have not had luck with Licuala--maybe will give it another try.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 3:03PM
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Licualas do great in low light situations but pretty much all of them hate being indoors so that might not be the best palm in low light situations indoors. Raphis is probably your best bet for an indoor palm. They are incredibly hardy in any situation. They can handle having little natural light (especially if given artificial light like a brightly lit room) and they are pretty hardy in other aspects like cold tolerance (handling into the low teens briefly) and handling drought or flooding for brief durations.
Spindle palms have proven to do well for me indoors but I dont think they would do well indoors long term, they do fine indoors 5 months out of the year for me though, they rarely get dry tips like other palms do indoors.
Most of the chamaedorea species should do well for you indoors. Chamaedorea seifrizii does better indoors for me than it does outdoors!

I hear fishtail palms are good indoors and they are definitely beautiful so they should be given a try!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 5:14PM
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The problem with Caryota mitis is they grow tall pretty fast. Here they're listed as an invasive, birds spread the seeds. So I have lots of small ones coming up everywhere. One Caryota I've recently got is C. zebrina. Not tall, and I've seen older (still small) in botanic gardens in fairly deep shade. Not sure how they'd go in dry household air, but they are beautiful.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 8:04PM
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There are hundreds of excellent understory palms for low light situations, but few do well as house plants. the problem with the house is lack of humidity (primarily)and poor water quality issues and salts building up in pots (lack of air movement also is a problem). Only a few dozen palms do excellently as house plants and another 20-30 do 'OK' as house plants. Some do notoriously poorly, but there are those that make them survive and even do well by giving them plenty of 'outside' time (eg. Majesty Palms). Keeping an indoor palm outdoors when it's warm (and often humid) can increase your number of acceptable indoor palms quite a bit. One palm that surprisingly does very well in very low light AND low humidity (therefore making an excellent house plant) is Cryosophila species. These are also extremely resistant to spider mites (another problem with indoor palms thanks to lack of air movement).

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 4:48AM
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I've got Cryosophila warscewiczii, beautiful palm but very slow growing. I guess that's what you want in a potted plant.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:26AM
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mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)

I have a pygmy date palm cluster of 3 that I only had outside for maybe a few days to about a week this season. I have it in barely any light. The only problem is it's growing so slow, that it doesn't look like it's growing at all. But it isn't declining in health at either. Does that mean that it is also a perfect indoor palm? I can still see growth, but it's growing extremely slow thanks to the low light conditions.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 8:14AM
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ericthehurdler(NOR CAL 9a)

in my experience pygmy date palms are terrible indoor palms. Any plant will grow slower given less light, does not mean its a perfect low light plant. Pygmy date palms grow relatively fast, some cases of them pushing 40 new leaves a year. So if your palm is barely growing that means it is suffering from lack of light.
if you want palms that thrives invest in the more expensive howeas, Rhaphis, chamaedorea , etc. These plants are adapted to low light situations.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 1:11PM
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Some people think that Pygmy palms are great indoors, I personally have had a lot of trouble with them like Eric has. Majesty palms and coconut palms have grown much better for me indoors than pygmy palms and those palms are notorious for being hard to grow indoors.
Dont be disappointed if your pygmy palm begins to decline in health, but it can definitely do well indoors if given enough care (I have a lot of plants so sometimes my plants have to suffer from bad care since I have a lot to water).

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 9:25AM
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If you keep a pygmy date indoors don't put it where you might brush up against it. I gave up pruning the old dead fronds off mine, couldn't stand the torture- 'death by a thousand spikes.'

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 4:20AM
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Yeah I agree, the spines on Phoenix palms in general are pretty painful! Just getting touched by it hurts, I hear that the tips of the spines have a mild toxin that makes them more painful than they look like they are. But the spines are pretty easy to avoid on a normal day basis, but pruning fronds on pygmy palms can be a little painful sometimes!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 8:48PM
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