Fishtail Palm Tree

Botanical Name: Caryota mitis

Fishtail palm tree gets its common name from the ragged-edged, ribbed texture of the dark-green leaflets that grow on upright stems. Its triangular leaflets are unique, and over time naturally split at the ends -- just like a fish tail.

Fishtail Palm Tree - Medium

Caryota mitis grows in a clump, with several stems rising from its base that can easily be divided.

Fishtail Palm tree is native to Southeast Asia, where it thrives in the warm temperatures and humidity of its tropical habitat.

This tropical palm is one of the easiest indoor palm plants to grow, requiring little care.

It is more tolerant of drier soil than wet. Put it in a container with a drainage hole. Water thoroughly then allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings. 

Repot only when roots grow out of the bottom of the drainage hole. Move it to a pot only slightly larger; this palm prefers to be slightly pot-bound.

Brown leaf tips are likely caused by dry soil or -- more likely -- dry air. Use any practical means to increase the humidity around this palm. A room humidifier works best.

Do not prune palm trees unless an old branch dies. Palm trees grow from the tip of the branch. If you prune or pinch off the newest frond where it is attached to the stem, it will stop all new growth.

Grown as an indoor palm tree, it can reach several feet tall indoors, therefore it needs some vertical space. This tree becomes more lush and attractive as it matures.

Fishtail Palm Tree Care

fishtail palm, palm house plants

Origin: Burma, Malaysia

Height: Around 6 ft (1.8 m) indoors

Light: Give your palm bright, indirect sunlight during the growing season. You can move it outdoors for the summer, just keep it out of direct sun.

Water: Water thoroughly then allow soil to dry slightly between waterings. Water less in winter when growth has slowed. Use filtered or distilled water because tap water may contain fluoride, chlorine and other chemicals that can damage palms.

Humidity: Average to moderate. If relative humidity drops below 50%, stand the pot on a humidity tray or use a room humidifier.

Temperature: Average to warm temperatures 65-85°F/18-29°C

Soil: Any good potting mix. Add a little sand to the potting soil to speed up drainage. Use a ratio of 3:1 potting mix to sand. Use horticultural sand, not the type from the beach, which contains salts and impurities  that can damage palms.

Fertilizer: Feed once in early summer with slow-release fertilizer.

Propagation: Sow seeds in spring or summer, keeping the soil warm and moist. Offsets can be carefully cut away from the plant and potted in separate containers.

  1. Home
  2. Houseplants A-Z
  3. Indoor Palms