Your Handy Guide to Parlor Palm Plant Care: Palm Plants

[caption id="attachment_1047" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Parlor Palm Plant Garden Infographic Parlor Palm Plant Garden Infographic[/caption]

Parlor Palm is also called Chamadorea elegans or Neanthebella Plam. It is a versatile and almost no-maintenance plant that is capable to grow in every indoor & outdoor condition possible with little help and care from you. This dark green plant can be grown inside or outside, in a pot as a table plant or as a tree in your garden.  It is the perfect plant for your home and office that not only adds a touch of green to your premises but also purifies the air. The parlor palm has been included in the list of houseplants that purify the air of your home and office.  The best part is that plant doesn’t need anything specific and the optimum conditions to grow can be conditioned easily.

An Overview:

The family of palm is although large but a few palm plants make it at domestic front. As it is capable to thrive in apartment space and low light, it is your go-to option if you are living in crammed apartment and still want the dash of nature and green to your living space. Even if you could just place it near by the brightest window where the planter could create a shadow of its own, it can manage the rest of the day brightening up the dullest and darkest corner of your home. However, they aren’t much of an active grower and can take years to grow up to a meter.  These are closely related to bamboo plant and if you could take a trip down the memory lane, you could easily spot them in the movies or paintings of the Victorian Era. It is one plant that marks delicate and slender leaflets and hardiness, rolled into one.

The plants are said to be originated from Mexico and Guatemala’s dense rain forests where light hardly reaches and moisture levels are all-time high. The plant can do well in all sort of lights but fluorescent light conditions are the best for it. In today’s time, parlor palm plants have become the number one choice for offices and apartments in big cities where lighting and space is always a big problem. The plant can easily grow in the hardiness zone of 10 in the U.S. The green single stem produces slender leaves in a frond. Well-drained organic soil is the key to its well-being and if you are planning to plant it in an arid zone, spray the leaves and stem regularly. Parlor palm in outdoors make for wonderful tropical accent and can be planted in big containers. If your area receives frost and gets too chilly in winter, move it indoors as the winter approaches your region. Mulch the soil regularly to help it preserve the moisture and let it be evenly moist.

The parlor palm plants care don’t like bright sun much and hence, avoid it from noon sunlight and keep it under shade in summer.

The plant is sometimes called Bella Palm and is an easy going plant.  It is inexpensive too and well-suited for almost every type of climate. It stays upright and reaches up to a height of 4 feet and the diameter of 3 feet.  The leaves are slightly arched fronds and are slender. The arched fronds of leaves give the plants a shape of canopy. Since they grow slowly over the years, you can enjoy it from a generation to another. The plant loves filtered light but doesn’t do well in intense or direct light as the soil dry quickly and cause dehydration as well as wilting of the plant. Intense lighting condition can also cause pathogens and bug infestation in the plant.

In optimum conditions, a mature plant produces a spray of yellow flowers, which are small in size but grow on tall stalks. These flowers produce seeds that aren’t much useful because they are sterile and not capable of reproduction.  So, whenever you spot a flower that is wilting or turning brown, just cut it or pluck it off the stem.

Misting also works wonders for the leaves and prevents bug infestation. Keep misting your plant a few times in a week to clean the leaves as well. Since the plant grows from a terminal bud, you aren’t supposed to prune it from a single point of growth as it can be detrimental for the life and growth of the plant. Hence, prune only the parts that are dead and have turned brown. Repotting of a parlor palm plant should be done in spring, when the roots have spread to the pot thoroughly. A pot with drainage hole should be used to prevent rotting of the root due to wet soil. These can grow amazingly well in low light conditions and low humid ambience or at room temperature, which make the perfect indoor plant.

The soil of the plant should be evenly moist yet well-drained and hence, you need to water it regularly. Reduce the watering during the winter season.

Fertilizing of the palm plant care should be done monthly. A liquid fertilizer in 20:20:20 is the perfect dosage for the plant. You can also reduce the strength of fertilizer by the quarter and use it weekly when you are watering the plant lightly.  Other than pests like mealy bugs and spider mites, fungal leaf spots, stem cankers and root rot are the typical fungal and bacterial pathogen that can harm your parlor palm plants.  Apart from the fertilizers and mild soapy water, prevention is the best way to keep them at bay. Excessive watering can also become a cause of pathogen too whole fungi and bacterial infection can be caused and spread by wind, animals and plant shears. A cankerous infection can be spotted by the infection that is in the form of a wound or opening, which eventually prevents the nutrition to the diseased part. Pruning can be your best option here.  During the plant’s dormant period, take care of it by removing dead and diseased leaves or branches. If you think that the branches of your parlor palm plant could use some space and rubbing into each other, trim them as they can cause cuts. While trimming, make sure that you make small cuts so that the plant heals in shorter time period and effortlessly.


If your apartment or home doesn’t get much of natural light or there are corners that look dull and are deep inside, you can jazz them up and brighten the look of your ambience with a parlor palm. A parlor palm plant responds amazingly well in a bright filtered space though but don’t let this stop you from having this beautiful plant to pep up the look of spaces where light doesn’t reach much.


Like with every other plant, watering is the key to the life and lushness of a parlor palm plant. While overwatering can lead to the rotting of roots, you don’t want the plant to underwater as well because the plant can wilt and ultimately die. You need to focus on the surface soil and as it dries up to about 50%, it is time to water the plant. Water to an extent that surface is wet.  However, if you are keeping the plant in bright light, you might require to water it twice or thrice in a day.

If your plant is dying or turning yellow despite you watering it regularly then it could mainly because of the soil is dry and you need to increase the frequency of water. If the leaves and their tips are getting brown even when the plant isn’t getting much of sunlight, it could be the result of overwatering or too much fertilization. Chemical in water can also cause the plant to turn brown, and to avoid this, it is advised that you use treated water for the plant as well.

Small palms’ soil should be dried before giving water whereas you should wait for the 1 inch down the soil to dry before giving water. Also, look out for dry spots in the soil as it can cause the plant to wilt. So, make sure to water it all the way till the base.  It is better to plant them in a well-drained soil so that water seeps through and you can be sure of proper watering. However, you need to ensure that excess water should be drained from the saucer in an hour so that you could prevent the roots from rotting.


In winters and fall, fertilize it once in two months. For indoor parlor palm plant, you can maintain the same dosage in the summer as well. However, if it is in bright light, you can keep fertilizing it with half the recommended strength for a houseplant on a monthly basis.


The ideal temperature for the parlor palm is usually anywhere between 55 to 58F.


A parlor palm plant can sustain and survive amazingly well in normal humid condition.

Pest Control:

Bugs like spider mites and mealy bugs feed on the leaves of parlor palm plants. You can try spraying the leaves with warm and mild soapy water. However, more serious infestation would need professional insecticidal soap to debug the plant.

The web-like structure you see on the plants is due to spider mites. The mites can also cause pale color of leaves. Hence, as discussed, mild soap water should be sprayed on the leaves but refrain from using any solution that contains alcohol as a constituent because this can cause the plant to die. Parlor palm plants are very sensitive in nature and hence, don’t use anything that is working for some other plant.  However, if you see sticky white spots on the back of the leaves, these are the result of a house pest, mealy bugs. Clear the white powder with the help of Q-tip dipped in alcohol after this, spray the leaves with mild soap water.  This will help you to cease infestation. If you see any new growth or a young leaf curved up, make sure you have sprayed inside it.  You also need to be careful of stem coverings and don’t forget to spray inside them. Three treatments with the gap of 10 days should help you to get rid of the infestation.

However, if you could still see the infestations even after this, it is recommended that you consult your gardener or use a professional insecticidal soap.


The soil of the plant should remain wet but not drenched in water so as to prevent root rot. For this, you are advised to use soil, which is fast-draining, loose and potted with extra sand.

Size of the Pot:

Containers of diameters from 4” to 14” are ideal for the plant.

Pruning of the Plant:

Please note that pruning of a parlor palm plant is different from other household plants. If you observe any wilting leaf, just remove it and leave the stem as-it-is. The new leaves come from the main stem.

Care of Parlor Palm Plant: Potting and Propagation:

Seeds and offsets are used to propagate the parlor palm. In nurseries, the plant is propagated via seeds but that is usually not recommended because it is usually done by separating the plants at the roots, which is very painful and traumatic for them. A plant would take long time to recover from the cuts and trauma. Hence, it is better if you want to see more parlor palm plants in your garden or home, simply buy parlor palm as it doesn’t cost much.

Parlor palms are the slowest growing plants. Adequate drainage and evenly moist soil is the key for their proper well-being.


This indoor palm plant is non-toxic and absolutely safe for indoors as well as outdoors.

Hope this write-up gives you information on how to care for parlor palm plant. The plant is easy to take care for and with little efforts; you can leave a wonderful gift for the generations to come. Since the plant also purifies the air, it is very important that you have it in your home and office.