Palms are the very symbol of the tropics. They have both an alluring mystique and (to us in Queensland) a friendly familiarity. In Brisbane, we get to enjoy a warm, humid climate with plenty of sunshine. So does our vegetation. And when we go inside, we want to bring a bit of nature in to keep the good vibes flowing.
Because who doesn’t want a bit of stress-busting, serenity-promoting greenery around them – especially in their office?
But if you think about the climate of the average office, it’s totally different to the one just a lift ride away. So before you adopt some of those lovely, captivating palms for your office, stop. And first get to know what palms are suitable—choose only those with the best chance of surviving and thriving right there by your desk.
Because the truth is, many palm species don’t do well indoors.
The climate in your office
So 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.
But each office is different. So identify the areas you’d like to place your palms in and take note of the lighting and other conditions in each spot. Plan for the needs of the palms, not just what looks good where. You’ll be rewarded with lush, long-lasting greenery.
Try one (or all) of these 3 palms for your office
Native to Central America, the luxuriously-named Parlour palm is especially tolerant to lower light and temperatures. So it’s ideal for cool air-conditioned offices. And while it isn’t a naturally clumping palm, it is often grown in multiples to create the look of attractive shrubs.
Being sensitive to overwatering and burning from direct sunlight, be sure not to ‘over-love’ your Parlour palm, and give it only filtered light. When you’re planning what goes where, the Parlour palm will do well in the least-lit part of the office.
Being very slow-growing, expect it to remain under 1 metre in height, although when planted outside, it could grow up to 3 metres tall.
And here’s a decorative tip. When you trim back the Parlour palm fronds, they can survive for over a month in bouquets and flower arrangements. So you can make your greenery go further by placing it in vases with water.
Originating from Australia’s own Lord Howe Island, this is one of the most popular indoor palms. Being slow-growing, it is a good choice for your office. Kept potted, it won’t reach is full growth potential of up to 10 metres.
It’s well suited to the conditions of an office as it tolerates stale air, low humidity and indirect light. The Kentia palm is a tad picky about the light it needs—plenty, but filtered. Direct sunlight will tend to burn it. And while it tolerates low humidity, misting the fronds with water will help it thrive.
Originating in Taiwan and China, this palm will also tolerate low humidity and dryness. Its distinct fan-like fronds have a beautiful silhouette and tend to grow upright rather than out, so don’t need a whole lot of space around them.
Left to its own devices outdoors, they can reach 4 metres in height, but will remain much smaller when indoors and in pots. See more below about limiting palm growth.
Keep the Lady palm away from direct sunlight as it too has a tendency to burn. So keep it clear of sunny windows and enjoy their exoticism and beauty in filtered light areas around your office.
Caring for and limiting growth of your palms
As you read above, some of these palms have the potential to grow well above ceiling height if grown outdoors. But planted in a pot and placed in an indoors office environment, growth will be curbed.
And while they still require care and attention, don’t be too hasty with repotting your indoor palms—they will soon adapt to their pot size and grow quicker. So unless the roots are escaping through the drain holes or the pot is about to burst, leave them be. Because all those roots help the soil drain and retain oxygen better.
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 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 indoor palms tend to be quite resilient, they are sometimes prone to insect infestations such as spider mites or mealy bugs. To keep these bugs away, spray with a little insecticidal soap or natural neem oil.
A person should be nominated to care for your office palms and any other plants you have to keep them healthy. The power of nature cannot be replicated, and as low-maintenance as these palms are, none are no-maintenance.
So if you cannot care for the palms yourself, consider hiring a plant hire and maintenance company to do this for you.
You have the added benefit of them swapping out the palms for variety or if they grow too big. And you’ll know someone is always looking after them—so they can keep radiating their soothing best.
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.