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Many indoor palm plants can be very tricky to grow indoors. I’m always an advocate of growing plants that suit your conditions. Which is why Chamaedorea elegans, or the Neathe bella palm, is the only indoor palm that I will grow! Keep reading to find out why!
There are so many different kinds of indoor palms, many of which I haven’t grown. But I’ve grown enough to know that the Chamaedora elegans, or Parlor Palm, is by far the easiest one that you can grow!
Why make your life more difficult? Many indoor palm plants just don’t do well inside of the home. Sure they look great in the greenhouse or nursery and they can even be very cheap, and tempting to buy.
But many are awful indoor houseplants. Crispy brown leaf tips, dying palm fronds, etc.
So stick with Chamaedorea elegans! And let me tell you how to care for it so keep reading!
Parlor Palm Care
One of the reasons this makes such a wonderful indoor plant is that it is tolerant of low light. I’ve actually even grown this plant in a windowless office before.
It definitely is one of the plants that can take this type of treatment! Keep in mind though, I did have overhead lighting on. No plant can grow in the dark!
Although these will tolerate very low light, you will achieve the best growth if you do give your parlor palm brighter light. I have a specimen parlor palm that I’ve grown for several years and it has grown into quite a beautiful plant.
I have my oldest Chamaedorea elegans, growing in an Eastern exposure window. It receives some morning sun, and then bright indirect light for the rest of the day.
This palm will not do well if it receives sun all day, but 2-4 hours or so of direct sun indoors is perfectly fine, especially if it is gentler morning sun.
I have a couple other parlor palms that I have growing in a large bathroom and they are a few feet away from an Eastern exposure window, and they also do well.
This is a very versatile plant as far as growing locations indoors. Just be careful not to give them too much direct sun.
Northern exposure windows are perfect for these plants, as are Eastern windows. I would be careful with Western or Southern windows. You may want to diffuse excessive direct sun from the latter two exposure windows if applicable.
Keep in mind that parlor palms, like many palms, are fairly shallow rooted. Try and avoid using extra deep pots when you do repot.
As far as potting mixes go, I do like to use a very well-draining potting mix for parlor palm and you can get everything easily on Amazon.
I normally use a potting mix formulated for palms and citrus. I have gotten great results with this potting mix.
You can also use a good quality all-purpose houseplant potting mix and add some coarse sand and either larger sized perlite, or even better, pumice. This will give you excellent drainage that parlor palms love.
I find that I’m always adding either some perlite or pumice to any packaged potting mix that I buy. Your plants will love you for it.
It’s always fun to come up with your own custom mixes, and in the end, you need to do what works well for YOU!
Palms in general require excellent drainage, so it is imperative that your parlor palm never sits in water. As I would recommend for ANY houseplant, your parlor palm pot should always have a drainage hole.
I like to let the top inch or two of my parlor palm soil, depending on the size of the pot, dry out before I water again. Then go ahead and thoroughly water the entire potting medium and let the excess drain away.
Discard any excess water that collects in any trays that you may have under the pot.
Many times, I even take my plants to the sink so I don’t make a mess.
At the same time, palms also hate to have their soil completely dry out, especially for extended periods of time. If you do this, you may experience dry, brown tips on the fronds, and your lower fronds may turn yellow and eventually turn completely brown.
I like to fertilize my parlor palm at a diluted strength with every watering. This is the technique that I prefer using for all my houseplants. This way I don’t have to remember when I last fertilized!
I will fertilize with a good, balanced all-purpose fertilizer during the main growing season. Roughly, from February or March up until October or so.
I withhold fertilizer during the darker months of the year where growth almost comes to a halt and the days are short.
Be sure to check out my fertilizing blog post so you can read about all my favorite fertilizers and how I fertilize my houseplants.
Yes, parlor palms actually flower regularly indoors! This can be both a blessing and a curse though!
Once your plant is mature enough, you may be rewarded with a spray of yellow flowers. My specimen parlor palm often blooms for me several times throughout the year.
Although the sprays of flowers are pretty, the little yellow “balls” will often drop to the floor and cause a mess!
As a result, I will let them bloom for a bit, but once I notice some of the flowers start to drop, I will simply cut off the inflorescence spray to avoid a mess on my floors.
Keep in mind though that flowering will only occur if the plant has enough light. And the plant also must be mature enough before it flowers as well
Sometimes these plants are attacked by spider mites. Regularly cleaning your plant, either by regular misting or rinsing off in a sink or shower, will help keep these plants healthy and pest free.
For more details on how to safely deal with spider mites in case you find them on your Chamaedora elegans, or any other plant, be sure not to miss my blog post on spider mites.
I talk about 3 safe ways that you can use to eradicate spider mites. These plants are pretty pest-free, but they can be prone to spider mites in the winter months when the air is very dry.
One of the reasons that I prefer this plant over all the other indoor palm plants is that I really believe that it is the most tolerant of indoor conditions.
Sure, it’s great to have higher humidity for this palm, but most indoor conditions will work just fine!
I have some very strong opinions on how to increase humidity for houseplants, so be sure to click on that link to find out more!
That’s it folks! That’s everything you need to know to grow Parlor Palm. It is a delightful indoor palm and can live for a very long time with proper care!
Looking to purchase a Parlor Palm? One of my favorite and most convenient one-stop-shops to buy practically any plant is Etsy. Check out the Parlor Palm selection (link to Etsy) today!
Do you have any Parlor Palms? Comment below with any questions!
Please do me a favor and share this post to social media because it will help me spread the Ohio Tropics houseplant care tips to the masses! Also, check out my shop on Amazon for all your houseplant care needs:
OHIO TROPICS PLANT CARE STOREFRONT
Wednesday 30th of November 2022
I really enjoy your website. Your articles have great insight; I find your criticisms particularly helpful, such as how candidly endorse parlor palms over other palms. I have not had much luck with this plant and I’ve tried several. All of them are plagued with fungal issues, especially leaf spot. I’ve tried many fungal treatments and I am mindful of avoiding moisture on the leaves, unless it’s the fungal treatment itself. Are these plants inherently more prone to leaf spot as compared to other common houseplants, like philodendrons ? I understand this is a solitary species, yet growers festoon several into a planter, which looks nice but I’m wondering if the density is causing an issue with too little airflow. It’s possible that every source I’ve purchased this plant from had fungal issues at their facilities. I don’t want to give up on this plant, as it is my favorite. Yet the antifungals I’ve tried, neem oil, copper fungicides, Bonide Recitalize, Arber…foliar sprays, soil drenches, baking soda…no luck. Thank you
Thursday 1st of December 2022
Hi John! Cramming in these plants, or any plants really, will definitely make the situation worse. If none of the treatments that you've mentioned worked, it could potentially be something else. Maybe keep an eye on the plant and if you do see anymore fronds with brown spots, promptly cut them off and monitor. If you want to try again, maybe try getting the palm at a different location. Normally they're pretty healthy plants (except they can be very prone to spider mites!)
Tuesday 9th of August 2022
This is my 1st parlor palm I have 2 ponytail palms which are really easy to grow and they're beautiful so, I thought I tried the parlor palm.. I have a question is the parlor palm like the ponytail palm as far as watering I only water the ponytail palms ones every week or 10 days and there in indirect light.. And they're doing beautiful..I use succulent mix in my ponytail palms.. They're doing good
Tuesday 9th of August 2022
Hi Carolyne! Just keep in mind that ponytail palms are not actually palms. Parlor Palms do not like to dry out completely, so try and avoid that. Just let the top inch or so dry out and then water. You'll get a lot of brown, dying fronds and brown tips if you let your Parlor Palm dry out completely.
Monday 27th of June 2022
My palm has a 3 foot thin stalk with only six fronds coming out of the top, though very healthy. Can I cut off the top and plant it? Will it take root?
Monday 27th of June 2022
Hi Pam! For palms, it's best to leave them alone. Other than pruning off dead fronds, that's really all you can do.
Saturday 25th of June 2022
I’ve had my large parlor palm for many years and finally decided to repot. I used miracle grow all purpose soil and now my fronds are drooping and turning yellow 😥😥 Do you recommend repotting again with a mix of cactus soil ? I think MG is way to moist..I will be upset to loose this plant after having it so many years.it was pot bound and I only went up maybe 2” larger pot. I’m afraid to even water it as the soil still feels too moist.
Saturday 25th of June 2022
How big was your old pot versus the new pot?
Thursday 19th of May 2022
I've had one now for about a month, so far I'm very pleased with it. I hesitated to try another palm, after having bought three discount Majesty Palms last year. They all died, despite my best efforts to keep them alive, they deteriorated so rapidly, though I suspect they nay all have had severe root rot before I bought them.