Parlor Palm Care: Easy Tips

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Parlor palm care is a breeze! Known for their lush green fronds and easygoing nature, parlor palms are a popular choice for beginner plant owners. They thrive in a variety of indoor settings and add a touch of the tropics to any space.

Parlor Palm Care: Easy Tips for Thriving Indoor Plants


Taking care of a parlor palm can be both relaxing and rewarding. This graceful, small plant has been a favorite in homes since the Victorian era.


It’s easy to care for, making it perfect for beginners.


Whether you live in an apartment or a house, you will find that the parlor palm fits right in with any decor.


A parlor palm sits in a bright, airy room. It is placed in a decorative pot and surrounded by other houseplants. Sunlight streams in through the window, casting a warm glow on the leaves
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One of the best things about parlor palms is that they thrive in low light and with minimal upkeep. They are also non-toxic to pets, so you don’t have to worry about furry friends getting sick if they decide to nibble on a leaf.


With the right care, your parlor palm can grow beautifully and even purify the air in your home.


When watering, make sure to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Use a pot with good drainage and a well-draining, peaty soil mix.


Place your palm in a spot with bright, indirect light for the best growth.


Proper care will help your parlor palm thrive and stay healthy for years to come.

Key Takeaways

  • Parlor palms are easy to care for and great for beginners.
  • Place in bright, indirect light and keep soil moist.
  • Non-toxic to pets and ideal for any home decor.
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What Is a Parlor Palm?


The parlor palm, also known as Chamaedorea elegans, is one of my favorite indoor plants. It’s popular because it’s easy to care for and adds a touch of greenery to any room.


This palm typically grows to about 4 feet tall. Its lush, green fronds provide a tropical feel that I love.


One reason I adore the parlor palm is that it can thrive in low light. This makes it perfect for my home, even in spots far from windows.

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Growth Requirements:

  • Light: Bright, indirect light.
  • Temperature: 65°F to 75°F.
  • Soil: Well-draining, peaty soil-based mix.
  • Water: Every 7-10 days, letting the soil dry between waterings.

I also appreciate that this plant is safe for pets. My cat likes to sniff around it, and I don’t have to worry.


If you’re looking for an easy-to-grow, attractive plant that fits well in various indoor environments, the parlor palm is a great choice.

Optimal Growing Conditions

For the parlor palm to thrive, it’s essential to focus on providing the right light, temperature, and humidity. These conditions will help ensure that the plant remains healthy and vibrant.

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Light Requirements

My parlor palm prefers bright, indirect light. Ideally, it’s best to place it near a north-facing window.

This kind of light is gentle and consistent, which is perfect for the parlor palm. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves and cause them to turn yellow.

If you don’t have a north-facing window, an east-facing one will work too.

Always shield the plant from harsh, direct sun with a sheer curtain. My plant also does well in low light, but it grows more slowly in these conditions.

Temperature Preferences

Keeping the parlor palm in a room where temperatures are between 65°F and 75°F is ideal. This range mimics the plant’s native tropical environment.

Avoid placing it near drafty windows or vents where the temperature can drop below 50°F.

When temperatures are consistent, the parlor palm feels cozy and grows best.

During winter, if the room gets too cold, consider moving the plant to a warmer spot. Remember, sudden temperature changes can stress the plant.

Ideal Humidity Levels

Parlor palms love a bit of humidity. Around 50% humidity is just right for them.

If you live in a dry area, you might need to increase humidity levels to keep your plant happy.

I usually place a humidifier nearby or set the pot on a tray with water and pebbles.

Regularly misting the leaves with water can also help.

In overly dry conditions, the leaf tips might turn brown.

Ensuring the right humidity not only keeps the leaves lush but also helps the plant stay healthy.

Planting and Repotting

Planting and repotting a parlor palm involves choosing the right soil, selecting an appropriate container, and carefully following repotting steps. These steps ensure the plant thrives in its new environment.

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Choosing the Right Soil

Choosing the right soil is crucial for the health of your parlor palm.

I prefer using a well-draining, peaty soil-based potting mix. This type of soil retains moisture without becoming waterlogged, which is important because parlor palms do not like sitting in soggy soil.

The pH should be between 6.0 and 7.8, which suits the palm’s preference for slightly acidic to neutral conditions.

Mixing in some perlite or sand can improve drainage. This helps prevent root rot, which is common in overwatered plants.

Adding a bit of organic matter, like compost, can also provide nutrients essential for growth.

Selecting a Container

Selecting the right container is just as important as soil choice.

I usually choose a container with good drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom.

The container should be only an inch or two larger than the plant’s root system to avoid excessive soil, which can retain too much moisture and harm the roots.

A heavy container, like ceramic or terracotta, can help stabilize tall palms and prevent tipping. If you want a lighter option, plastic pots are good, but be extra cautious about watering.

Repotting Steps

Repotting a parlor palm is best done in spring when the plant is actively growing.

First, gently remove the plant from its old pot. If the roots are tangled, loosen them carefully.

Next, place some soil mix at the bottom of the new pot.

Position the palm in the center and fill around it with soil, pressing lightly to eliminate air pockets.

Water the palm thoroughly until water flows out of the drainage holes.

Place the pot in bright, indirect light and avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.

This process should be repeated every two to three years to ensure the palm has enough room to grow.

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Watering Your Parlor Palm

Parlor palms need proper watering to thrive. Finding the right balance in watering frequency and knowing the signs of overwatering are essential.

Watering Frequency

I water my parlor palm when the top inch of soil feels dry. This happens about once a week for me, but it might be different for you depending on your home’s humidity and temperature.

It’s helpful to use well-draining soil to prevent water from pooling.

I always check the soil with my finger before watering. If it feels damp, I wait a few more days.

Keeping a regular schedule helps, but adjust it as needed, especially in different seasons.

When I water, I make sure it’s thorough. I pour water until it starts draining out of the bottom of the pot. This ensures the roots get a good soak.

Over time, you’ll get a feel for your plant’s specific needs.

Signs of Overwatering

Overwatering is a common mistake with parlor palms.

I look for yellowing leaves, which often indicate too much water. If I see this, I cut back on watering.

Mushy or soft stems are another bad sign. This can mean the roots are sitting in water, leading to root rot.

I lift the plant from its pot to check the roots. Healthy roots are white and firm, while rotten ones are brown and mushy.

If I notice these signs, I let the soil dry out before watering again. Sometimes, it helps to repot the plant with fresh, well-draining soil.

Keeping an eye on these symptoms ensures my parlor palm stays healthy.

Feeding and Fertilization

Feeding your parlor palm correctly ensures it thrives. You need to know which fertilizers work best and how often to apply them.

Fertilizer Types

When it comes to fertilizing, you have a few options.

Most people use a balanced liquid fertilizer because it’s easy to apply. You mix it with water and pour it around the base of the palm. This type ensures the plant gets nutrients quickly.

Another choice is a slow-release fertilizer.

These come in granules or spikes that you place in the soil. They gradually release nutrients over time, which means less frequent feeding. These are great if you prefer a low-maintenance option.

Some folks also use organic fertilizers.

These are made from natural materials like compost or fish emulsion. They’re eco-friendly and can improve soil health in addition to feeding the plant.

Fertilizing Schedule

Your parlor palm’s needs change with the seasons.

In spring and summer, the plant is actively growing. During these times, it needs feeding every two to four weeks using a balanced liquid fertilizer. This helps it grow lush and green.

Come fall and winter, the growth slows down. You should reduce feeding to once every six to eight weeks. Using too much fertilizer in the dormant period can harm the plant.

Always remember to water the plant before you fertilize.

This ensures the soil is moist and helps the roots absorb the nutrients better.

Pour the diluted fertilizer around the base, but avoid getting it on the leaves to prevent damage.

Pruning and Maintenance

Taking care of a parlor palm involves proper pruning techniques and keeping the leaves clean to ensure it thrives. This helps in maintaining the plant’s health and appearance.

Pruning Techniques

When pruning a parlor palm, I start by looking for any damaged or diseased fronds.

It’s important to remove these to stop diseases from spreading.

I use clean pruning shears to cut away fronds with brown spots or holes. This keeps the plant healthy and looking neat.

I also prune any yellowing or dying fronds to help the plant focus its energy on new growth.

It’s crucial to cut as close to the base as possible, but be careful not to damage the main stem.

I always make clean cuts to avoid stressing the plant.

Another tip I follow is to prune the plant in spring when it’s actively growing. This gives it the best chance to recover quickly.

Cleaning the Leaves

To keep the leaves looking their best, I clean them regularly.

Dust and debris can block sunlight and make the leaves look dull.

I gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth, being careful not to tear them.

For stubborn dirt, occasional misting with water helps.

The leaves should dry completely to prevent mold.

I avoid using any harsh chemicals as they can damage the plant.

It’s also a good idea to inspect the leaves for pests while cleaning.

If I notice any, I treat the plant immediately to prevent infestations.

A light insecticidal soap usually does the trick, but always test it on a small area first.

Regular cleaning not only makes the plant look good but also helps it stay healthy and strong.

Pest and Disease Management

Parlor palms are pretty tough, but they can still get hit by pests and diseases.

Common pests include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. You’ll want to keep an eye out for these little critters.

  • Spider mites: Look for tiny webs on the leaves.
  • Mealybugs: These are white, cottony insects.
  • Scale insects: Small, oval bugs that stick to the leaves and stems.
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To get rid of pests, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Make sure to spray the solution on all sides of the leaves. Sometimes, wiping the leaves with a damp cloth can also help.

Diseases to watch out for include root rot and leaf spot.

Root rot is caused by overwatering and poor drainage.

If you notice yellowing leaves and a bad smell from the soil, you might have root rot.

To avoid this, always check that the pot has drainage holes and don’t water too often.

Leaf spot can show up as brown or black spots on the leaves.

This is usually due to fungus, which thrives in humid conditions.

To prevent leaf spot, ensure good air circulation around the plant and avoid getting the leaves wet when you water.

Propagation Methods

To propagate a parlor palm, you can use seeds or division. Each method has specific requirements and steps to ensure success.

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Seed Propagation

Seed propagation starts with acquiring viable seeds.

I recommend purchasing them from a reputable nursery.

Once you have the seeds, fill a small pot with well-draining potting soil.

Place two or three seeds on top of the soil surface. Lightly cover them with a thin layer of soil.

Water the soil using a spray bottle to keep it moist but not soggy.

Place the pot in a warm location, such as near a radiator or use a heat mat for consistent warmth.

Germination can take several weeks, so patience is key.

Monitor the soil moisture and avoid letting it dry out completely.

Division Propagation

Division propagation involves separating an existing plant into smaller sections.

First, remove the parlor palm from its pot and gently shake off excess soil. Look for natural divisions where the plant has multiple stems.

Using a clean, sharp knife, carefully cut the plant into sections, making sure each has roots attached.

Immediately replant each section in its own pot with fresh, well-draining potting mix.

Water the newly potted divisions thoroughly and place them in a location with medium light.

Keep an eye on the moisture levels and provide humidity by misting the plants or using a humidity tray.

This method can be quicker than seed propagation and usually results in faster growth.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

There are a few common issues you might run into with parlor palms.

Yellowing Leaves
Yellow leaves can be a sign of overwatering.

I make sure the soil is well-drained and I let the top inch of soil dry out before watering again.

Another cause could be too little light, so I try to place my palm in bright, indirect light.

Brown Tips
Brown tips often mean the plant isn’t getting enough water.

I increase the humidity around my palm by misting it regularly.

If that doesn’t help, it might be due to overfertilization, so I cut back on plant food.

Drooping Fronds
Drooping can indicate improper watering.

If the soil is too dry, I give the palm a good soak.

If the soil is waterlogged, I check for root rot and improve drainage.

It’s a balancing act, but it’s key for a healthy palm.

Fungal Spots
Freckles or black spots usually mean fungal infections.

I isolate the affected plant and use a fungicide.

I also avoid spraying water directly on the leaves and ensure good air circulation around the plant.

If I notice pests like spider mites or mealybugs, I treat my palm with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

I also move the plant outside for a bit if weather allows, as natural predators and rainfall can help control pests.

Cold Damage
Red or brown leaf areas can be due to cold exposure.

I keep my palm away from drafts and cold windows.

The ideal temperature range is between 65°F and 75°F to avoid this issue (source).

Parlor Palm Care: Easy Elegance for Your Home

We’ve covered everything you need to know to keep your parlor palm thriving indoors! From finding the perfect spot with bright, indirect light to mastering the art of watering and keeping it pest-free, this guide has equipped you with the knowledge to become a parlor palm pro.

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Do you have a parlor palm gracing your home with its lush greenery? Share your parlor palm pics and any questions you may have in the comments below!

Thanks for reading! Now, go forth and cultivate your own little indoor jungle paradise.

Frequently Asked Questions

Caring for a parlor palm involves understanding its watering needs, light preferences, and how to handle common issues like yellow or brown leaves.

How often should you water a parlor palm?
I water my parlor palm once the top inch of soil feels dry.

It’s important not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.

Generally, once a week is a good guideline, but this can vary depending on the humidity and temperature in your home.

What are the best practices for indoor parlor palm care?
I place my parlor palm in a north-facing window where it gets bright, indirect light.

The temperature should be between 65° and 85° Fahrenheit.

Keeping the humidity high helps too, so I mist the leaves occasionally or use a humidity tray.

How can I encourage my parlor palm to grow faster?
To help my parlor palm grow faster, I ensure it gets enough light and is not in direct sunlight, which can scorch its leaves.

I also feed it with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season (spring and summer).

What should I do if my parlor palm has yellow leaves?
Yellow leaves often mean overwatering.

I check the soil to make sure it’s not soggy and adjust my watering schedule.

If the roots are waterlogged, I may need to repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil.

Trimming off yellow leaves can also help improve its appearance.

What is the typical lifespan of a parlor palm?
A parlor palm can live for many years with the right care.

Some can thrive for decades as long as they are kept in the proper conditions.

Regular care, including proper watering, light, and occasional feeding, will help keep it healthy.

Why are the leaves on my parlor palm turning brown and crispy?
Brown and crispy leaves usually mean the air is too dry or the plant isn’t getting enough water.

I try increasing the humidity around the plant by misting it or placing a humidifier nearby.

Ensuring regular watering while avoiding letting the soil become waterlogged also helps.

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