Selective growth of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) synthesized at low temperature by electroless plating Ni was proposed for the first time in this study. After electroless plating, Ni nanoparticles were selectively deposited on the prepatterned amorphous silicon (a-Si) thin films. After plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition, well-aligned CNTs were observed only on the Ni-coated a-Si islands. The diameter, density, and the field emission of CNTs could be controlled easily by the Ni plating time. The achievement of controlling the site density and growth area is significant for applications of carbon nanotubes as field emission devices, nanoelectrode arrays, etc.