The Q&A Archives: pruning indoor royal palm

Question: I have an indoor Royal plam. The tree is growing new fronds all over the place. Can I prune the fronds off? How can i keep the fronds from growing into one another? Thanks.

Answer: Royal palm is Roystonea, a tall and wide palm (reaching 80' tall, 25' wide) with 36" fronds. It's not a particularly good indoor specimen because of its potential size, but you can certainly enjoy it indoors until it grows too large. You can prune the lower fronds off, clear back to where they attach on the trunk. You should allow the new fronds to fully develop, though, and cut them off only after they've begun to age and droop. The fronds will naturally grow into one another; there's really no way to stop your palm from growing in this fashion.

When your palm completely outgrows its indoor space, I'd recommend giving it to a friend with more room and replacing it with a smaller, slower growing palm. One that is more suitable for indoor growing such as Parlor Palms (Chamaedorea species): These graceful palms are frequently grown as houseplants. Parlor palms have thin stems and large, elegant feathered leaves. Their spread is quite wide, making them suitable for large spaces. These are the classic palms that graced Victorian parlors. They need a minimum winter temperature of 60 ? F. Parlor palms tolerate lower light levels well. They prefer high to moderate humidity, but are adaptable.

Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea erumpens): Tall plants form clumps of stems that are smooth, slender and green. The long, arching leaves are held in upright clusters on the stems. Individual leaflets are short, broad and curving. This palm has a narrow growth habit that is appropriate for most homes.

Parlor Palm or Neanthe Palm (Chamaedorea elegans): This is a small indoor palm, often with several single stems per pot that do not form clumps. The foliage is similar to that of bamboo palm.

Grass-leafed Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii): Their clustered, slender, cane-like stems with long narrow leaflets, grow to 8 to 10 feet tall.

Best wishes with your palm!

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