Parlor Palm Care – How to Grow & Maintain Chamaedorea elegans

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This is a comprehensive step-by-step guide on parlor palm care. I will dive into some nuggets of information that will come in handy in growing parlor palm to a magnificent 4 feet tall, especially when grown indoors.

You will get invaluable guidelines on how to water, fertilize and solve any growing problems which may arise during your growing.

These steps will help you to finally enjoy a beautiful plant that has curved green pinnate leaves with narrow leaflets.

So, if you’re interested in the growing of parlor plants then this guide is for you and it is my conviction, you will find it more insightful. 

Let’s dive right in:

The basic traits of parlor palm plant

The most intriguing trait about the parlor palm plant that I love is that it is a very low-light plant with less growing demands. Even with limited space, you can still grow this beautiful plant.

I can assure you, provided you meet the minimum requirements like well-drained soil, water, monitored fertilizer regime, potting, and repotting then you will get to enjoy the beauty and ambiance brought about by the parlor palm plant.

Besides, the parlor palm plant has a great score of purifying air through the removal of benzene and trichloroethylene.

Parlor palm plant other names and origin

The parlor palm plant is scientifically known as Chamaedorea elegans.

Another common name is:  Neanthe Bella

Parlor palm plant is a native of the rainforest of Southern Mexico and Guatemala. In its native setting, this plant grows impressively to 10 feet tall. However, the length is more dependent on the location, when indoors it grows to 4 feet tall and on some occasions to 6 feet tall when grown right.

Parlor palm plant has long narrow leaves, with light red or yellow flowers during young stages, with a strong sense of fragrance.

However, parlor palm plants rarely get flowers when grown indoors. Parlor palm plant is famously grown in house parlors, offices, and other spaces given that it’s not toxic and has a great score in air purification.

Parlor Palm Care Requirements

Soil type

The type of soil is essential in the growth of any plant; some plants prefer acidic, while others prefer less acidic soils. However, for parlor palm, you should have well-drained, less acidic, and soil rich in organic matter in your pot, this is the most ideal soil type for the successful growth of the plant.

Please note a general pH of between 5-7.5 is recommended. The soil used should be able to retain water for a significant amount of time but watch out to avoid waterlogging though. Parlor palm does not grow well in saline soils, be mindful of the salinity of the soil.

Access to Light

The plant thrives low light but this does not mean you should deny parlor palm access to light entirely. You should ensure that the plant can access some light since this is important to help in the photosynthesis process.

Place your plant near the window so that it can get adequate light. Please note that too much light can burn the leaves of the plant. So, you should be careful not to expose the plant to extreme sunlight.

Watering is Necessary

Water is essential for the survival of the plant. For your parlor palm plant, please water when the soil is dry to avoid supplying excess water causing root rot and eventual damage to the plant.

 I have found watering when the soil starts to dry up effective because it allows the plant to get water whilst preventing the soil from being soggy.

I highly recommend that you water more during the summer since the plant requires more water then. The size of the pot also matters when watering your parlor plant; if your pot is smaller from 1-2 gallons then you will have to water more frequently but if you have planted your parlor palm in a larger pot then your watering scheduled should be monitored to avoid excess watering.

Learn how to water potted plants correctly.

Temperature and Humidity

Temperature between 50-80 degrees is ideal for the successful growth of parlor palm. You should constantly monitor your room temperature to enhance the relative growth of your plant.

The relative humidity is also important since it dictates plant water needs. Less humidity leads to the plant demanding more water while having a relatively high or moderate humidity should keep your watering minimal. You can use a humidifier to monitor humidity levels.

Fertilizer Application

Parlor palms are light feeders and you shouldn’t apply too much fertilizer since it’s harmful to the growth of your plant. Excessive fertilizer application makes the plant weak and vulnerable to pests and diseases.

Yellow leaves, wilting and stunted growth is a sign of overfeeding. I prefer light feeding of parlor palm plant accompanied with light watering, which enables the fertilizer to dissolve fast and be absorbed by the plant. You should do a fertilizer application only during the growing stages to stimulate the growth of your plant.

In case of over-fertilization, place your plant in a sink and flush it thoroughly to reduce the build-up of salt and toxicity.

Potting and Repotting

While it is tempting to grow your parlor palm plant in a larger pot, I strongly do not recommend this because this medium will hold too much water and as discussed earlier a lot of water can easily kill the plant.

Therefore, start with a small pot with at least a wider base and has a drainage hole at the bottom.

I recommend that you repot once parlor palm’s roots have filled the pot and for this to happen, it will take a longer time, therefore you should not worry about repotting soon enough.

However, once you have your plant in an eight-inch pot then you should not consider repotting it again at this stage. The best alternative would be to take out an inch of the top of your soil and add fresh soil and keep watering.

Pests, Diseases, and General growing problems

Common pests and diseases to monitor during parlor palm care are; mealybugs, spider mites, palm butterflies, and yellow leaves, and root rotting are also among the common growing challenges for parlor palm plants.


These can easily be spotted as white fluff, resembling mold. In case you spot these pests when purchasing the plant, I rather you avoid getting the plant. However, this can be treated through rubbing alcohol and this can be done repeatedly until the pests are eradicated.

Spider Mites

They can be red or white small spider mites difficult to spot with your naked eyes. The damage to the plant can be visible with silver-colored speckles on the leaves and eventual drying and withering of the leaves if not controlled.

These spider mites are common in conditions with low humidity; therefore, in addition to spraying soap water on the leaves without alcohol, please monitor humidity levels too, this way you will provide essential care to the plant.

Palm Butterflies

Palm butterflies were introduced in Europe from the importation of parlor palm from southern America. The hairy nature of the parlor palm’s trunk makes it easier for these pests to deposit their eggs.

They eat their way up through the trunk, making the holes and damages made on the leaves visible. Rubbing alcohol and spraying mild soap water will help you eradicate this problem.

Parlor palm yellowing the leaves

Yellowing on the leaves can be witnessed as a result of overwatering; this causes root rot and subsequent prevention of water and food transportation to the rest of the plant. The application of excess fertilizer can cause this challenge as well.

Exposure of parlor palm plants to too much light can be harmful to the plant, leading to yellowing of the leaves. Frost can also cause this problem.

Monitor your fertilizer regime as well as exposure to extreme light. Parlor palm does not need a lot of light to grow well, with just little light you are good to go.

During winter, please take care of your plant to avoid any exposure to frost since this also contributes to yellowing. I also recommend that you remove the yellow leaves after reversing the problem to allow healthy leaves to grow back.

Root rots

Root rotting is common in parlor palm plants when too much water is applied. Monitor your watering schedule to avoid overwatering the plant. Excess water, causes roots to rot affecting the growth of the plant, and eventually, this problem kills the plant.


You’ve just read through a detailed guide about parlor palm care.

I hope that you have learned a thing or two about growing and maintaining parlor palm. You are going to love growing this plant, not forgetting the refreshing ambiance you will gain from having parlor palm in your room.

With the tips in this post, you will grow a magnificent parlor palm plant successfully.

Let me know if you have any thoughts by leaving a comment.