Parlor Palm

Botanical Name: Chamaedorea elegans

Parlor palm is a popular house plant and easy to care for. Although the palm family is large, only a few make good house plants. Chamaedorea elegans is one of those few, adapting beautifully to average indoor conditions.

It has elegant, green leaflets on arching fronds, giving this palm a feathery canopy shape.

Given enough light, a mature plant may produce sprays of small yellow flowers on tall stalks above the foliage. The flowers are followed by seeds that are rarely fertile and not worth saving, so just cut the flowers off when they begin to turn brown.

Although this palm will tolerate dry indoor air, it will be healthier with higher humidity. I mist mine a few times a week with room-temperature water. Misting also keeps its leaves clean and helps to prevent spider mites that love to attack this plant.

Do not prune: Parlor palm grows from a terminal bud. Pruning this single point of growth will cause it to stop growing. However, it's fine to trim off old fronds that have turned brown.

Repot in spring, only when the roots have filled the pot. Always use a pot with drainage holes to prevent soggy soil, which can cause root rot.

This is one of the few palms that grows well in low light. Its tolerance for lack of light and low humidity make it an ideal office plant.

Buying Tip

You'll commonly find this plant labeled as Neanthe bella. Slow-growing, they're usually sold as young plants around 1 ft (30 cm) tall.

Ideal for dish gardens and terrariums because they'll stay small for years and won't crowd other plants.

This Parlor Palm for sale (at left) is a beautiful addition to any room. It's already potted -- just slip it into a decorative cachepot.

Parlor Palm Care Tips

parlor palm, chamaedorea elegans, common house plants, palm house plants

Origin: Mexico

Height: Slow-growing. Fully mature plants may reach 3-4 ft (90 cm - 1.2 m).

Light: Low light to moderately bright light. If leaves are yellowish-green, it may be getting too much sun.

Water: Keep soil lightly moist. Provide good drainage.

Humidity: Mist the foliage regularly to increase humidity.

Temperature: Normal to warm room temperatures 65-80°F/18-27°C

Soil: 2 parts peat moss-based potting mix and 1 part sharp sand.

Fertilizer: Needs more fertilizer than most palms. Feed monthly in spring and summer with slow-release fertilizer.

Propagation: Seeds


Green Thumb Tips

Brown leaf tips can be caused by dry air or tap water that contains fluoride.

Increase humidity around the palm, if too dry. Use distilled or rain water.

Pale leaves may indicate it's suffering from iron deficiency.

You can revive it quickly with a foliar fertilizer spray that includes iron.

parlor palm

Breathe Easier

Parlor Palm is one of the top rated house plants for removing toxins such as formaldehyde and ammonia from indoor air.