Coconut Palm Indoor Care: Everything You Need To Know

Want to grow a coconut palm? Don’t expect coconuts any time soon, but you can enjoy the dramatic ambience of the warm tropics in your home.

A palm tree growing from a potted coconut
(Image credit: petrenkod / Getty Images)

Growing a coconut palm indoors can be done! Coconut palms are grand trees that can achieve 100 feet (30 m) in height. This fact makes it seem impossible for coconut palm indoor plant use. Indoor coconut palms are widely available houseplants but don’t expect them to get any fruit. The seedlings can often be found in the indoor plant section of nurseries. An indoor coconut tree may not be Cocos nucifera, but a palm in one of many other genera, such as Washingtonia or Phoenix.

Can You Grow a Coconut Tree Indoors?

A coconut palm tree indoor plant is probably not a true coconut. However, they are available. A coconut palm houseplant is fairly slow-growing. Outdoors they do not reach maturity until they are around 8 years old, which is when they begin fruiting. Plants in the landscape can live up to 100 years. However indoor coconut palm plants are short-lived and limited in their height by the container in which they are grown.

Coconut Palm Indoor Care

Coconut seedlings are a bit fussy and do need proper light and plenty of water. Mimicking the conditions they enjoy outside in their tropical ranges can be tricky in the home interior. But a few tips will make your little indoor palm tree happy and healthy.


In this plant’s native range, it receives plenty of sunlight. Indoor coconut palms should be near a southern or western window. Give them as much sunlight as possible, ideally 8 hours or more. If your home is a bit dim, invest in a good plant light to supplement their light supply. Potted palms may be moved outdoors in summer, just be sure to move them back indoors before cold temperatures threaten.


Cocos nucifera lives in areas with hot, humid weather. The fruits contain a great deal of coconut water, so as you might suspect, they need plenty of moisture. In the home, especially in winter when central heating is on, the plant needs to be kept moist but not soggy. Use your fingers to see if the soil is moist a few inches (7.62 cm) deep. Water the plant deeply but do not let it sit in a saucer of water or the roots could get a rotting disease.

Temperature & Humidity

Coconut palms are tropical plants and are not frost hardy. They will grow best at temperatures of at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 C). As mentioned, these palms live naturally where there is plenty of tropical humidity, a condition that can be hard to duplicate in the home. Set the plant on a saucer filled with pebbles and water; this will keep the roots out of the water but provide ambient humidity. Mist the plant frequently to moisten its leaves.


Indoor coconut palms will grow just fine in a good potting soil with ⅓ sand or other grit mixed in. The key is to have well draining soil. Alternatively, use 2 parts peat free compost with 2 parts grit.


Container bound plants will appreciate feeding. Coconut palms are prone to nutrient deficiencies, especially with phosphorus and nitrogen. A liquid all purpose plant food should be applied from April to mid September every 2 weeks. You might also seek out palm tree food made especially for these types of plants.

Problems, Pests & Diseases

Providing proper lighting is a common problem indoors. If necessary, keep the container on coasters so you can move it to the brightest areas of the home. Plants that go outdoors for summer may get scale, aphids, or palm leaf skeletonizer. They are also susceptible to lethal yellowing, a disease transmitted by leafhopper insects.

How to Plant an Indoor Coconut Palm

Purchased seedlings can be planted at any time of year. Select a 3 gallon (11 L) pot for young plants. The root system is not extensive initially, but the plant will need to be moved to a container double or more after 6 months.


Removed dead or damaged leaves at any time. The older leaves will tend to die over time and can be pulled off.


Purchased coconuts may not achieve germination due to processing considerations. If you can get a fresh nut you can grow a little seedling. Make sure you can hear the water in the fruit. Soak the fruit for a couple of days. Then plant it pointed side down in well draining potting soil. Leave the top 3 inches (7.5 cm) of the fruit out of the soil. Water it enough to keep the soil moist but not boggy. Place the container where temperatures are at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 C) if not higher.


Coconut palms will require repotting every couple of years. Increase the container size as needed. Ideally, use a soil with little to no peat and a bit of grit. Make sure the container has plenty of drainage holes.


Bring plants that have been moved outdoors for the summer, inside before temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 C). In warm regions, cover the plant with frost barrier fabric if a light frost occurs. Remove it during the day when the temperatures warm.

Indoor Coconut Palm Varieties

Plants sold as coconut palms could be in very different genus. Washingtonia, Chamaedorea, Howea, Rhapis, and Chrysalidocarpus are a few possibilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are the Leaves on My Coconut Palm Turning Brown?

Discoloring leaves may be the result of sunburn if the plant is too close to a bright window. Move the plant back a bit. It may also occur due to several nutrient deficiencies, especially potassium. When the plant lacks potassium, yellow spots appear on the leaves, darkening to reddish brown. Eventually, the whole leaf looks brown and dry. The problem could also occur if the plant isn’t receiving enough humidity.

How Long Do Coconut Palms Live?

Expect a container grown coconut palm to live for 5-10 years. While outdoor plants can live to 100, container bound specimens will be stunted and will not receive all the elements necessary for such a lifespan.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.