Palms serve as a tropical emblem, exuding an enchanting mystique, yet retaining a sense of comforting familiarity, especially for us Queenslanders. In Brisbane, we’re graced with a warm, humid climate and abundant sunshine, conditions our vegetation thrives in. And when we’re indoors, there’s an innate desire to encapsulate a slice of that outdoor tranquillity to foster a positive, serene ambience – a commodity particularly appreciated within office environments.
However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the climate of an average office differs substantially from the outside environment that’s just an elevator ride away. So, prior to bringing those enticing outdoor palms into your workspace, take a pause. Familiarise yourself first with the varieties of palms best suited to office conditions to ensure they not only survive but also flourish by your desk.
Because the truth is, many palm species don’t do well indoors.
The climate in your office
Let’s think about the conditions of a typical office.
With air conditioning, not only is temperature affected, but so is the humidity in the air. There is no searing direct sunshine, only a bit of natural sunlight coming in through the windows. The remainder of the space is usually rather dim or lit with artificial lighting.
Given the variation in office conditions, it’s key to determine the locations you intend to place your palms. Pay attention to the light and other variables in each area. Plan based on the palms’ needs rather than purely aesthetic considerations. This will yield a reward of vibrant, enduring greenery.
Try one (or all) of these 3 palms for your office
Originating from Central America, the elegantly named Parlour palm is particularly resilient to low light and temperatures, making it a perfect fit for cool, air-conditioned offices. Though it’s not a natural cluster-forming palm, it’s frequently cultivated in groups to mimic the appearance of attractive shrubs.
As the Parlour palm is prone to overwatering and sunlight-induced burns, refrain from overly zealous care. Provide only filtered light. In terms of placement, this palm fares well in the least-lit parts of the office.
Being a slow-growing species, it generally remains under 1 metre in height indoors, although it can attain up to 3 metres outdoors.
Here’s a bonus decorative tip: Trimmed Parlour palm fronds can survive over a month in bouquets and floral arrangements, allowing your greenery to serve dual purposes when placed in water-filled vases.
Hailing from Australia’s own Lord Howe Island, the Kentia palm is a favoured choice for indoor foliage, thanks largely to its slow growth rate, which makes it ideal for office environments. While it can reach an impressive height of up to 10 meters outdoors, confinement in a pot significantly curtails its growth.
The Kentia palm is well adapted to office conditions, showing a high tolerance for stale air, low humidity, and indirect light. However, it is somewhat particular about its lighting requirements, preferring plenty of filtered light, as direct sunlight tends to scorch its leaves. And while it tolerates low humidity, misting the fronds with water will help it thrive.
Native to Taiwan and China, the Lady palm exhibits resilience to low humidity and dry conditions. Its uniquely fan-shaped fronds, which predominantly grow upwards rather than outwards, give it a striking silhouette, making it a great addition to an office without requiring too much surrounding space.
In an outdoor setting, this palm can attain a height of 4 meters. However, when grown indoors and in pots, it remains considerably smaller. Just like the Kentia palm, it is sensitive to direct sunlight, so it is best placed in areas of your office with filtered light to preserve its exotic beauty.
Caring for and limiting growth of your palms
As mentioned earlier, these palms can grow significantly if planted outdoors. However, when confined to a pot indoors, their growth is considerably limited.
While indoor palms require a certain degree of care, avoid the temptation to repot them too soon. They tend to adapt to their pot size and grow more swiftly as a result. Unless roots start peeking out of the drain holes or the pot appears to be on the brink of bursting, it’s best to let them be. This is because the extensive roots assist in better soil drainage and oxygen retention.
As the seasons change, be mindful where your palms are placed within the office. Keep them away from heat vents to prevent the leaves from drying out.
While all of these palms tolerate lower humidity, they are still living plants which benefit from regular water misting — along with ‘the Goldilocks-amount’ of watering and regular fertilising. Those broad attractive fronds can also gather dust, so make sure to give them an occasional wipe with a clean moist cloth.
Keep an eye on your palms and be prepared to move them to a different spot if they aren’t thriving.
While generally hardy, indoor palms can sometimes fall victim to insect infestations, such as spider mites or mealy bugs. To ward off these pests, consider using a gentle insecticidal soap or natural neem oil.
It’s advisable to designate a person to oversee the care of your office palms and other plants to ensure their vitality. The nurturing capacity of nature is unparalleled, and although these palms are relatively low-maintenance, they still require some level of care.
So if you cannot care for the palms yourself, consider hiring a plant hire and maintenance company to do this for you.
Utilising such a service comes with additional perks like the option to rotate out palms for the sake of variety or if they grow excessively large. Plus, you’ll have the assurance that someone is consistently tending to them, ensuring they continue to exude their calming charm.
So what are you waiting for?
It’s time to deck out your office with a few indoor palms. Get in touch with the friendly team at Prestigious Plantscapes and we’ll take care of your indoor plants and all their needs.