Caryota mitis

Fishtail Palm, Burmese Fishtail Palm, Clustering Fishtail Palm

Few palms can evoke the tropical forests of Southeast Asia quite like Caryota mitis. The triangular fronds are held in a rather upright fashion, as if they are fish tails sliding back down into the water.

Each new frond emerges a fresh, light green before darkening to a pleasing emerald shade, and each new leaf is bigger than the last until they reach approximately 3 metres in length!

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Origin: Southeast Asia
Genus: Caryota
Species / Cultivar: mitis
Common Name: Fishtail Palm, Burmese Fishtail Palm, Clustering Fishtail Palm
Synonym: Caryota griffithii

Plant Biography

Caryota mitis originates in tropical areas of Asia but has been acclimatized to various other areas of the world, including Southern parts of the US. In the UK, the Fishtail palm is kept as an indoor plant.

Discovered in the late 18th century in Vietnam, this palm tree is a “gentle” one, as its specific epithet “mitis” calls it: it lacks the thorns on the stems that people were used to from Mediterranean areas.

The Fishtail palm a clustering palm, meaning that it will continue to produce new suckers at the base and over time will form a thick stand.

Caryota mitis
Soil: Indoor Potting Mix
Enjoys moist well drained soil with composted organics and some drainage material.
Temperature: 10-34°C°C
Temperature range at which this plant is healthiest and grows best.
Growth Rate: Slow
Expect to see quite small amounts of growth over the years.
Water Requirement: Regular Watering
Water when soil surface is dry to the touch. Water must draining easily away.
Humidity: Medium
Easygoing in regular home conditions, keep away from cold draughts and heat sources.
Maintenance: A little
Easy to care for, just keep an eye on any extra environmental needs such as humidity.
Situation: Full Sun to Full Shade
Tolerates the complete range of light levels, a very accommodating plant!
Eventual Height: 5m
The plant's ultimate height in typical growing conditions.
Eventual Spread: 1.5-3m
The plant's ultimate spread in typical growing conditions.
Care & Size Guidance

Care & Size Guidance

Well suited to most indoor situations, the Fishtail Palm is a rarely-seen plant that deserves a wider audience.

Although these plants can eventually get large, they are fairly slow growing so will not need to be potted up for several years.

Water regularly during the warmer months, but hold off a little in winter. Feed regularly with a palm fertiliser to encourage faster and healthier growth.

Expert Tip

To remove dust and sediment on the leaves, try placing the plant under a very cool shower once or twice a year.


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