Plants A to Z

How to Grow and Care for Parlor Palm

Indoor plants like the parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) have been around for a long time. This beautiful plant with dark green leaf was discovered in Central America and transferred to the United States, quickly becoming a favorite indoor palm. It grows in bunches with light-textured foliage that hides the slender trunks.

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Single-stalk examples are occasionally available, although the palms are usually cultivated in tiny clumps to mimic palm-like shrubs in attractive pots.

Because they may survive for up to 40 days after being plucked from the plant, the fronds are used in flower arrangements, Palm Sunday decorations, and wreaths. The parlor palm is a slow-growing plant that might take years to reach full maturity (2 to 6 feet indoors and 6 to 16 feet outdoors).

Palm Care in the Parlor

The parlor palm is one of the most popular interior palms in most temperate climates, because of its ability to adapt to low light and low temperatures. For the newbie, parlor palms are a fantastic place to start among all the palm trees.

The plants look best in 3-gallon pots (approximately 10 inches wide) in a northern exposure or foyer, where their fine-textured leaves may be appreciated. They are great candidates to be "loved to death," either through overwatering or too much direct sunshine, because they are tolerant of lower light settings and sensitive to too much water.


These plants are considered low-light, but not "no-light" plants. Bright, filtered sunlight is ideal for parlor palms. They often thrive in northern climates.

Any high-quality peat-based potting mix would suffice indoors. Make sure the mixture doesn't break down and become spongy. This palm will thrive in almost every soil type outside, including sand, loamy, and clay. It does not, however, survive salty soil.


Like many other palms, parlor palms are sensitive to overwatering and cannot stand being wet or resting in a saturated potting mix. Maintain an even amount of wetness. When the top 1 inch of soil seems dry, water it. The presence of yellow fronds indicates that the plant requires more water.

Humidity and Temperature

Room temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for the parlor palm. It can withstand temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but it will perish if exposed to frost. Keep it free from chilly draughts, such as those found near windows, vents, and exterior doors.

With average humidity, it will thrive. Cold draughts or lengthy dry spells are the most common causes of dry leaf edges and brown tips on your palm. Before overwatering, raise the humidity levels to correct the condition.


Feed with a light liquid fertilizer once or twice during the growth season, but not at all during the winter. These are low-feeding plants.

Parlor Palms Come in a Variety of Shapes and Sizes

  • The most common type of parlor palm is C. elegans. It's a Mexican and Central American native that's sometimes utilized in dish gardens.
  • C. erumpens is a bamboo palm that grows slightly larger and has more fan-like leaves than C. elegans. It grows significantly further south than C. elegans.
  • C. hooperiana is a newer cultivar with huge, dramatic palm-shaped leaves that mimic kentia palms. It's an easy-to-grow plant with a lot of energy.

Parlor Palm Propagation

Professional growers almost always propagate these plants from seed. It is possible to divide a clump into two smaller clumps successfully, however, this is not recommended because the plant and its roots will be overworked.

The plants do not naturally clump, but they are grown in clumps for aesthetic purposes. They can't be propagated by cutting the stems or leaves. In general, rather than attempting propagation, home growers should purchase a new plant.

Replanting and Potting

Because parlor palms have weak root systems and grow slowly, repotting them should be done with caution. The plants should keep a manageable size in general, so you shouldn't have to re-pot it more than every other year. To avoid root rot, repot if your potting material breaks down and turns mucky or sponge-like.

Common Plant Pests and Diseases

Pests that attack parlor palms include aphids, mealy bugs, scale, and whitefly. Identify the infection as soon as feasible, if at all possible. Moisture concerns, such as overwatering, can cause fungus leaf patches and root rot.

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Elissa Sanci
Elissa Sanci
Elissa Sanci, the owner of the website, and senior writer of New York Garden; graduated from Santa Barbara City College – a famous public school in California with many diverse training professions, and she majored in horticulture.