Fishtail Palm Tree

The Fishtail Palm tree (Caryota mitis) makes a great large indoor
houseplant as it can survive neglect and still remain beautiful.  As a houseplant the Caryota mitis grows lush and lovely with clusters of beautifully textured leaflets growing from several trunks that spread out gently at the top.

The fan-shaped leaves are a soft green color, ruffled at the ends and resemble fishtails.

Moreover, this unique indoor palm plant is one of the easiest palms to cultivate for the home or office.

Fishtail Palm with ruffled leaves

For decorative purposes, this exotic plant will make a wonderful focal point in any room. It originates from Southeast Asia and adds that tropical, relaxing  feeling.  It requires minimal care and adapts well to the indoor environment, in addition to being an excellent clean air plant.

Fishtail Palm Tree Care Tips

Light:  Provide very bright indirect light near an east or west-facing window. Avoid exposing plant to direct sunlight.

Water:  Water palm thoroughly, then allow the top 25% of the potting mix to dry out before watering again. Never allow the soil to completely dry out or sit in excess water as this will cause root rot and plant death. If you use tap water, leach the soil a few times a year to remove salt build-up which can cause the leaf edges turn brown. You can avoid this problem if you use distilled water.

Fertilizer:  Feed with a basic liquid houseplant fertilizer at 1/2 the recommended strength when the plant is actively growing, and never fertilize in the winter when plant goes dormant.

Temperature: These palms prefer temperatures between 75-85 degrees during the day and 60-70 degrees at night. Keep palm out of cold drafts and away from air conditioners and heating vents.

Humidity: A clustered palm thrives in high to average humidity (25% or more), whereas low humidity will cause yellowing of foliage and low growth rate. Mist trees each day with a spray bottle filled with tepid water to raise the relative humidity.  Even better, place a humidifier near the plant to increase the humidity and alleviate the need for misting.

Pests: Check carefully for spider mites on undersides of leaves, as they are the main problem. Spray plant appropriate pesticide or with a mild solution of warm soapy water a few times a month to get rid of spider mites.

Soil: plant in a potting mix that is fast-draining with porous soil containing a large amount of organic matter.

Pruning: Cut back the tallest stems all the way down to the potting mix to encourage new growth.  The new growth forms on the end of the stalk only.

Propagation: Propagate by seeds, offsets, or division.

WARNING: Fishtail Palm trees are considered poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. They produce a fruit that contains calcium oxalate crystals which causes severe mouth irritation if eaten. Read more to find the right diagnosis.

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