skip to Main Content

Parlor Palm Care

Parlor Palm Care

*We may earn a commission for purchases made using our links. Please see disclosure to learn more. 

Parlor palm care is ideal for brown fingers or the forgetful-type of gardeners as growing this palm is both easy and rewarding. First, here’s some interesting background information about the parlor palm plant.

Parlor palm or the Chamaedorea elegans is a species of a small palm tree which naturally grows in the rainforests of the southern Mexico and Guatemala.

It’s one of the most commonly sold houseplant palms globally. It’s a woody and rhizomatous (root like subterreanean stemmed) plant with a slender green trunk.

As a houseplant, a full grown parlor palm plant can reach 6 feet in height, although it’s a slow grower. In most cases, you can buy it planted in batches of 5 to 30 seedlings.

It’s popular for countless of reasons, including its beautiful appearance, its ability to tolerate low light and humidity, and air purifying properties.

Although you can find single specimens, it’s mostly sold in clumps. Interestingly, its fronds are very commonly used in flower arrangements, decorations, and wreaths.

This is because they’re able to survive for up to 40 days after they’re cut away from the plant.

You can place it at home or in your office and you needn’t worry about it- it adapts to most surroundings quite well.

Without doubt, it’s a plant that many consider it brings some positive energy in the room, so you’ll rarely make a mistake choosing it for yourself or as a gift for a dear person in your life.

Good to Know:

An indoor parlor palm is also a great choice for people with cats and small children, as it’s not toxic in case of ingestion.

How to Care for an Indoor Parlor Palm


This plant will do fine in low light and direct sunlight can actually harm it. So, you needn’t place it near the brightest windows or doors.

Still, as most plants, it does like light-this could be a window that has brief morning or late afternoon sun.

When it’s away from a window, the plant will survive, but it won’t grow fast. This is because it’s a slow grower, even with more regular sunlight.


A parlor palm plant will grow happily in indoor temperatures ranging between 65 and 80 degrees F. Although it can do well in a temperature as low as 50 degrees F; it will die when subjected to frost.

Also, make sure it’s away from drafts near vents, windows, and outside doors.

Water & Humidity

The plant should be watered sparingly- it’s always better to under- than to over-water it. Wait for the soil to dry before you do it. In the wintertime, reduce the watering even more.

In terms of humidity, it will do just fine in average humidity. In case you notice dry leaf margins or browned tips, it’s probably exposed to drafts. Either move from the draft or elevate the humidity to avoid this. A wet pebble tray or a humidifier can help you to achieve this.


When grown indoors, this plant will do great in any quality potting mix. It’s pivotal not to allow the mixture to dissolve or to turn sponge-like.

If you keep it outdoors, for example, on a veranda, you can opt for any soil like clay, loam or sand. However, it dislikes a salty soil, so avoid it.


This plant isn’t a heavy feeder.

You can feed it with a liquid fertilizer, once or twice during the growth period in spring and summer. Pause the fertilizing in the winter time when the plant is dormant.


Because of their weak root system and slow growth, transplanting a parlor palm should be done carefully.

Generally speaking, this is plant that remains in a manageable size so repotting won’t be needed more than every other year.

If the potting media dissolves or becomes spongy, repot it to avert root rotting.

Parlor Plant Propagation

A parlor palm is propagated from seeds by professional growers. You may also be able to divide a clump into 2 smaller ones without a problem; however, this isn’t recommended.

They’re grown in clumps due to aesthetics; they’re not clumpy by nature. Leaf cutting and stem cutting propagation isn’t available.

In most cases, it’s always better for you to purchase a new plant rather than try to propagate it.

Best Parlor Palm Varieties

  1. elegans

This is the main parlor palm with a single-trunk palm and beautiful arching green pinnate leaves consisted of narrow leaflets.                                                                                                                                                   2. erumpens

This is a bit larger-in-size and related to the bamboo palm- it’s slightly larger than the elegans and has more fan-like foliage. It has short, broad, and curving leaflets.

3. hooperiana

This variety grows in a large group of slim green stems that can reach up to 13 and 17 ft in height. The foliage is dark green and leather-like. It’s one of the newest discovered- it’s not been classified before the 90s.

Other Tips

Pruning this plant isn’t recommended as it grows from a terminal bud.

Pruning it will cause this single growth point to stop. Still, it’s okay to cut off old fronds that have turned brown.

When its light requirements are fulfilled, a mature parlor palm may grow small, yellow flowers on stalks above the foliage.

Wash the palm in the shower or sink every several weeks to ensure they’re free of pests and their foliage is squeaky clean.

Trouble Shooting- Common Issues

Problem: red spider mites

Cause: This is a common pest in palms.

Solution: Shower it in the sink to remove the pests. And, increase the humidity to lower the risk from these pests appearing again.


Problem: parlor palm with brown tips on the leaves

Cause: The air is dry.

Solution: Move the plant to a place with a less dry air or mist it to boost its humidity.


Problem: yellow leaves

Cause:  Underwatering.

Solution: Although the plant doesn’t want to sit in water because of higher risk of root rot, it still needs sufficient water to have good-looking fronds and to grow happy and healthy.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this article on parlor palm care.


If so, then why not Pin it on Pinterest

Parlor Palm Plant

Christine Mattner

What started out as purely a desire to keep my indoor plants alive has turned into a full-blown passion for sharing what I have learned over the years about selecting, growing and caring for indoor plants with those who may be new to the wonderful world of houseplants.

Back To Top