Parlor Palm Tree Care Guide
a guide to caring for a parlor palm tree

Parlor Palm Tree Care Guide

Parlor Palm Tree Care Guide

The Parlor Palm Tree, scientifically known as the Chamaedorea elegans, is one of the most sought after indoor plants in the United States. It is native to Central America and was brought back to be adored by plant lovers across the country. This beloved plant grows in clumps of 8-inch delicately textured fronds.  The parlor palm is a favorite among house owners because of its low maintenance care and ability to survive in almost any environment. It’s stylish look and hardiness make it the perfect plant for any home or office. It will even purify the air, while you go about your daily routine. 


The parlor palm needs a moderate amount of water, yet they can still tolerate a drought. Due to its hardy nature, it will survive if you forget to water it for a day. In fact, it is better to underwater than overwater. Parlor palms are sensitive to overwatering and will not survive if their roots are waterlogged. To make sure you do not give your plant too much water, touch the soil to see how dry it is. If the surface soil seems dry, then it is time to water your plant. Putting 3 or 4 ice cubes in the soil is a great way to prevent overwatering. If the fonds are turning yellow, then your palm is not getting enough water. Every environment is different, so keep an eye on the soil to indicate when it is time to water. 

Light and Humidity 

The parlor palm tree flourishes in low light and shaded areas of homes. It is important to keep away from windows that receive ample amounts of sun.  In fact, direct sunlight will dry out your parlor palm and lead to many health problems. They prefer high humidity but can adapt to lower levels. If you live in an extremely dry environment, it can help to put a humidifier in the same room or group the parlor palm with other plants. Brown tips may develop if the humidity is too low. 

Soil and Fertilizer 

Plant your parlor palm in a nutrient-dense potting medium with good drainage. Dense potting soil with retain too much water and lead to root rot. Peat-based mixes are a great choice for potting soil. Standard liquid fertilizer should be applied monthly for a lush look. If you have slow releases soil fertilizer, then it should be applied every three months. 

Cleaning and Pruning 

Parlor palm fronds should be rinsed off every few weeks to prevent pests. Mist the fronds, then dry them off with a clean cloth. These plants do not need much pruning because they are naturally self-cleaning. This means fronds will occasionally dry up, turn brown, and fall off. You may think something is wrong when you see this happening, but it is completely normal and a sign of a healthy palm. During dormancy, you should remove the dead fronds. Remember that parlor palms are very slow growers, so over-pruning may halt growth altogether. 


Propagation of parlor palm trees is achieved through seeds. It is rare for parlor palm to go through a seed-bearing stage as a house plant. If it does and you want to propagate with the small black seeds, it can be a very difficult process. Propagation is not highly recommended.   


Since the parlor palm grows very slowly, repotting is not frequent. When the roots start coming through the drainage hole, choose a new container that is only one size bigger. Too large of a container will allow the soil to retain more water and cause the roots to rot. Fill the container ⅓ full with breathable soil. Water the soil to help it settle. Then gently remove the parlor palm and separate any roots that are clumped together. Place it into the new container at a similar depth to the old container. Fill in the remaining space with soil, and water your parlor palm thoroughly until water comes out of the drain hole. 

Conclusion and Problems 

This slow-growing, hardy palm tree is ideal for any foliage lover. The parlor palm is adaptable to most indoor conditions and is low maintenance for a palm species. Pests, like spider mites and mealybugs, can happen, but infestations are easily prevented with regular cleaning. They are even pet-friendly because they are non-toxic. With simple care, the parlor palm can be a welcomed addition to any family home.

Check out our Parlor Palm 

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Karen Page
Karen Page
1 year ago

I have several palms and I am glad I read this…very good info….as I didn’t know that they are slow growing…I love their shape and they look beautiful wherever you place them.

1 year ago

My daughter purchased a lovely plant at the local garden center. After a month the fron/leaves started turning gray. The plant seemed otherwise healthy. No wilt or lost leaves or infestation.
We moved it away from the window. It was getting indirect sun. So it was permanently in a bright room @ 67 degrees. Watered only if the soil appears dry. I think in the very beginning it may have been over watered.But that stopped quickly,as soon as the color changes were noticed.

Anyway.5 months later: No change. Appears to be growing….slowly.But Stll Gray
Why is it gray?

Kathleen James
Kathleen James
11 months ago

How tall will a Parlor Palm get?

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