If you love indoor palm plants but are getting tired of the usual ones like the Bamboo Palm or Parlor Palm, it’s time to try a Fishtail Palm. This unusual looking palm, native to Indonesia, Asia, and the South Pacific, is a large plant that grows well in a bright room, and is a member of the Arecaceae (Palmae) family.
Fishtail Palm Description and Varieties
A Fishtail Palm has large, arching, fan-shaped fronds (leaves) with bipinate, smaller leaflets about 6″ long and 4″ wide. The plant gets its name, Fishtail Palm, because the leaflets are jagged at the distal end and resemble the tail of a fish. As a houseplant, when properly cared for, a Fishtail Palm can reach a height 4ft-8ft (1.2m-2.4m). There are several types of Fishtail Palms such as the Caryota gigas (Giant Fishtail Palm), Clumping Fishtail palm, Toddy Fishtail Palm, that are too large to use indoors.
Although most Fishtail Palms have single trunks, Caryota mitis, the most popular variety used as a houseplant, is a suckering type. It produces several stems, growing near the base of the main stem and has numerous, ragged- edged leaflets. Caryota urens variety (Wine Fishtail Palm) has fewer, more triangular shaped leaflets.
Quick Care Tips for a Fishtail Palm
Leaf Tip burn – occurs when the plant is under watered, in the direct sun, or there are too many chemicals in the water
Bright, indirect light but no direct sun.
Keep the soil barely moist and never allow it to totally dry out
Fertilize spring, summer, and fall when plant actively growing
Warm temperatures and high humidity help the plant look better and grow faster
Spotted fronds and leaflets – try using a plant food with some magnesium and chelated iron
A Fishtail Palm produces poisonous red berries should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.
I’ve never seen a small Fishtail Palm for sale commercially. Fishtail Palms are large plants and usually come in grower’s pots that are 10” or bigger. These plants grow about 6-8 inches a year. Fishtail Palms are really for big homes or businesses that have lots of room and lots of light.
There could be several reasons: too much fertilizer (this usually affects the bottom leaves first), too much fluoride in the water, too little humidity, or allowing the soil to totally dry out. You’ll have to check them out one by one.
I don’t think so. The temperature in the room probably got too cold for a Fishtail Palm and damaged the leaves.
Sorry to say, you cannot cut a palm back to reduce its height. The palm will never grow again. Give it to a friend with higher ceilings.
No, but you will cause the tips of the leaves to turn brown. If the leaves look faded, you may be giving your Fishtail Palm too much light; if the leaves look blotchy, the plant may have spider mites.
If you don’t cut the flowers off, the entire stem of the Fishtail Palm will die back. The fruit of a Fishtail Palm contains oxalic acid which can burn your skin; so put on some plastic gloves when you remove the fruit.