Neanthe Bella, or parlor palm, is a common indoor plant. It was grown extensively in the Victorian era and is a classic home addition. The palm is made up of graceful pinnate leaves that furl out from a central stem. Neanthe Bella is a deep green color with glossy leaves. The palm thrives in dappled light, but will produce a flower in sunny areas. It needs humid air and may need misting, and it also needs more fertilizing than most palms.
This little palm requires quite a bit of feeding. The plant will exhibit poor health and pale color if it needs fertilizer, and the best time to fertilize is late winter through early fall. Brown frond tips and edges can indicate a build up in soil of fertilizer salts. Thorough watering should avoid this problem. Water-soluble fertilizer should be given monthly in spring and summer. Winter and fall needs lower drastically, and fertilizing only needs to take place every six to eight weeks at half strength.
Neanthe Bella palms can be fertilized with a palm fertilizer diluted to the manufacturer's suggestions. You can also chose a balanced indoor plant fertilizer. A food in the range of 10-10-10 is sufficient. When in doubt, use less fertilizer than the maker's instructions to avoid overfeeding. Watch the plant's growth and color, and you will be able to tell if it needs more food.
The fertilizer can be liquid and watered into the roots, or it can be a systemic granular fertilizer. These are worked into the dirt manually and often have the advantage of being time-released. This will free you from remembering to fertilize each month, as the watering of the plant slowly releases the nutrients from the grains.
Fertilizer is made up of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which make up the N-P-K ratio that is listed on all plant foods. Nitrogen provides for leafy plant growth. Phosphorus promotes flower and fruit production, and potassium ensures a good root system. Since Neanthe Bella is not grown for its flowers but its glossy fronds, a fertilizer with a slightly higher nitrogen balance would be appropriate. Plants that are newly potted in fresh potting soil will not need fertilizer for a month or two. The potting soil will furnish all the plant's nutritional needs for that time, then you can begin a regular fertilizing schedule.