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How to Care for Parlor Palm

Parlor palm, also known as Neanthe bella or Chamaedorea elegans, is a palm tree native to the rain forests of Mexico and Guatemala. In the United States, the plant is typically grown indoors, as it cannot tolerate cold temperatures. Gardeners prize slow-growing parlor palm for its ease of care, tolerance of low light and graceful fronds that look similar to bamboo foliage. Commonly grown in office buildings, shopping malls and other places that receive little natural light, the parlor palm adapts well to indoor growing conditions and requires only minimal care to thrive.

Keep parlor palm in a location that receives low amounts of indirect sunlight throughout the day. Never place the plant in direct sunlight. Maintain a consistent temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.

Water the tree when the surface of the soil feels dry to the touch, about once every five days. Drain away excess moisture afterward to prevent root rot. Reduce the frequency of watering to once every 10 days during winter, when the plant grows less actively.

Clean parlor palm fronds with a damp cloth once every three to four days to keep them glossy, attractive and free of pests. Soak the cloth in lukewarm water to minimize shock and wipe the leaves gently to avoid causing damage.

Feed from late winter to early autumn using an all-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer. Water the plant both before and after fertilizing to release the nutrients into the soil and reduce the risk of root burn. Apply following the directions on the product label.

Re-pot parlor palm during late spring or early summer to allow more room for growth. Increase the size of the container by 3 to 4 inches to provide plenty of room for the root system. Use a well-drained, organic potting soil for the best results.


Grow parlor palm outdoors in zones 10 through 11 only. Plant in a shaded location with well-drained soil, water once every two weeks and feed bimonthly with a balanced fertilizer for the best results. In all other zones, treat the palm as a houseplant.

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