Caryota mitis - “Fishtail Palm”

Caryota or “Fishtail '' palms are fantastic plants whose tall arching stems are covered in slightly tattered leaflets that resemble a fish’s tail. Leaves will show a little wear over time, which is part of their nature.

Light: The Caryota mitis needs bright, indirect light to survive, usually near an east or west facing window or directly in an expansive north facing window. A part day of softer sun rays is also a perfect position for this plant.

Water: Water thoroughly and freely as long as the water has a place to drain; these palms prefer even moisture and well draining soil. You will likely need to water less frequently in the winter. If possible, water with distilled water or rain water, or allow your tap water to sit out overnight before using it as the leaves can sometimes be sensitive to water quality..

Environment: Caryota mitis thrives best in a warm and humid environment. Peat- or coir-based potting material is best, and adding extra material like bark or perlite to the mix can provide more drainage capability and will help the plant to thrive. A standard potting soil is always suitable provided it has adequate porosity.  

Toxicity: While palms are typically non-toxic, the fishtail and other Caryota palms do container compounds in the leaves that are very unpleasant if ingested or chewed and therefore may be considered somewhat toxic.

Of note: 

  • Do not prune palm trees unless a leaf dies. Then prune off at the stem.

*When planting in a pot without a drainage hole, avoid over watering by estimating 25% of the container’s overall volume, with appropriate drainage materials incorporated when planting.