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Parlor Palm Care Guide

The Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) has long been considered one of the best beginner palms due to its easy care, and slow growth. This gives the palm the reputation of being an easy foliage housemate, with a hardy nature that can withstand low light conditions, rare pruning, and a non toxic option for a safe plant to bring indoors.

The palm is known for its large fronds and regal stature once fully matured. It takes time, but a healthy, thriving plant will grow anywhere from 2-6 feet in height when living indoors. It makes a beautiful addition to a home or office looking for a tropical vibe with its thin trunks, elongated leaves, and light green coloring.

parlor palm
parlor palms are slow growers and make beautiful additions to hallways and large living spaces

Why the Parlor Palm stands out as a housemate favorite

This palm is known for being a low maintenance plant, and makes a beautiful focal piece without growing to an intrusive size. The growth can be controlled by the size of container that it lives in, since palms will only grow as large are their pots will allow.

The parlor palm will grow in very pleasant indoor temperatures, and don’t require high humidity that humans find uncomfortable. It thrives in bright, indirect sunlight but can adapt very well to lower light conditions. We love how easy this palm care is, and we know you will too!

The Parlor Palm can be confused with some of its sister palms

The palm family has many varieties, and some of them look very similar which can make it challenging to identify which one you are looking at. The Bamboo Palm, Majesty Palm, and Cat Palm are commonly mis-identified. Be careful when you are shopping for palms, and make sure you are going to a reputable and knowledgeable source. We have found that even plant nurseries can mis-identify young palms.

Anytime you can shop local we encourage you to do so. Look for nurseries and local sellers that help educate you on the specific plant you are looking to purchase, as well as the care that will be best suited for that plant.

If shopping local isn’t an option for you, Etsy is another great source. There are many plant shops to choose from, just make sure you do your research and read the reviews to make sure they know their plants.

Shopping Etsy can help support small shops and independent businesses.
Click here to shop Etsy for palms.

Parlor Palm care is very beginner friendly

Parlor Palms can live indoors for a decade or more when given the proper care. Fortunately, it is a relatively easy plant to care for. It is also a wonderful non-toxic housemate if you have pets or young children.

Light + Sun ExposureBright, indirect light is preferred, but it will adapt to low light environments with slower growth
Soil Type + PHIndoors, use a peaty soil-based potting mix with an acidic to neutral PH level
ContainerA well draining pot that is at least 2″ wider and deeper than the root system
WateringWater when the soil is dry 1″ down, but err on the side of caution as palms are sensitive to over watering and root rot
Temp + HumidityThey thrive in 65-80 degrees F and only need average humidity levels
FertilizerThey are light feeders, only requiring a liquid fertilizer once or twice during spring and summer
Full MaturationParlor Palms are slow growers taking years to reach their full size of potentially 2-6′ feet in height, and 2-3′ in width

The risk of over watering is the most challenging aspect of care for the Parlor Palm

Palms are sensitive to over watering and root rot, but at the same time they do need constant moisture. This can be a tricky balance to find if you are new to palms, and until your palm becomes established in the environment you have given it.

It’s best to take the time and effort of giving your palm the best container, soil, and watering schedule to prevent the risk of over watering before issues arise.

Look for these common signs of over watering and other stresses on your palm

  • Browning leaves-This usually points to either too much exposure to direct sunlight, or an over watering problem. Adjust the watering schedule and move the plant to a northern facing area.
  • Yellowing leaves-Can be an early sign of too much sun exposure or over watering.
  • Root Rot-This is a sure sign of over watering. Cut off the affected sickly roots and repot your plant quickly and carefully. Adjust the watering schedule and be sure the soil and container are allowing for adequate drainage.

Knowing the early signs of stress or damage on your plant will save you lots of time, effort, and most importantly, the life of the plant itself. It’s important to regularly inspect the leaves, soil, and trunk of your palm in order to treat any potential threats quickly.

Parlor Palms can be susceptible to common pests

This is another reason why regular inspection of the leaves and soil is very important, and a worthwhile use of your time when it comes to palm care. Parlor Palms can be over taken by aphids, mealybugs, scale, and white flys most commonly. Your palm will benefit from close inspection as some of these, like scale, can be difficult to see without close inspection.

If you do see signs of infestation it is very important to take action at once. Disinfecting the area, quarantine of the palm, repotting, and proper disposal of the infected leaves and roots are all necessary steps when working to eradicate pests.

When will I need to repot my Parlor Palm?

These palms have a reputation for being slow growers with rather weak root systems, which means the need for repotting will be infrequent compared to other houseplants. The only time a healthy Parlor Palm will need to be repotted is when they have outgrown their current container. The container should be roughly 2″ wider and 2″ deeper than the current root system.

Repotting will need to be done carefully and very gently due to their fragile roots. We have a few posts that will walk you through the steps for successfully repotting your palms. We also have a video tutorial that you can watch for a step by step guide.

Pruning is another very rare need with this palm care routine, only needed when there are sickly or browning leaves. Be sure not to prune this palm as it will inhibit growth and can stress the plant.

Can I propagate my Parlor Palm?

No, this palm can only be successfully propagated by professional growers. These palms have a reputation of being extremely difficult to propagate through division and cuttings because they have such delicate root systems. Because of this, seed growth is necessary which proves to be a lengthy and challenging process for these plants.

It is not recommended that home growers attempt to propagate the Parlor Palm due to the low success rate. If you would like to add another to your collection, purchasing a new one is best.

Here are some more palms for you to consider

The Parlor Palm is a fantastic option for beginners because it is a very forgiving plant that grows slowly and requires very little attention. This palm is a safe plant to have around young children and pets as a non toxic option. If you would like to learn more about some of its sister palms, here are some of our favorites that we have featured.

The Parlor Palm is well loved by plant enthusiasts who enjoy the tropical appearance and simple nature of the plant. It can provide a gorgeous focal point to any well lit living space or hallway, and requires only basic care and attention.

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