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How to Care for a Parlor Palm

palm plant image by Stephen Orsillo from

Parlor palms, or Neanthe Bella palms, are native to Guatemala and Mexico. They are small palm trees that are suitable for growing indoors. They can grow to about 4 feet tall, and are typically no wider than 36 inches. Some retailers advertise this as a water plant, but in all actuality, it is a terrestrial plant that does not do as well in high-moisture areas.

Step 1

Place the parlor palm in an area where there is filtered sun or otherwise filtered light. The parlor palm does not do well in full sun; it can dry out and damage the leaves and stems of the plant. The palm needs to be indoors during the cold months of the year, and it must have a warm, moist environment during the summer months to recover and prepare for the cold months.

Step 2

Check the parlor palm every few days to see if it needs water. These typically need to be watered only twice a week, sometimes less often. Stick your finger in the soil; if the top inch is dry, water the plant. Water evenly, making sure it reaches down to the plant's base. The soil should be completely moist, but do not overwater. If there is water sitting on top of the soil, it's too much. Water slowly and stop when it begins to rise above the soil.

Step 3

Feed the palm once or twice a month during summer months, and then once every two months during the cold months of the year. The parlor palm does best with a houseplant mixture, specified for palms. This will provide the plant with vital nutrients to the soil and help prevent underfeeding or overfeeding.

Step 4

Clip all dead leaves to keep this plant healthy. If you see a leaf that is beginning to yellow, turn brown or dry out at the end, trim that section off. The same goes for a series of leaves that look like they're drying out; trim the plant up to that point.

Step 5

Watch for spider mites, as they love this particular plant. They are little red insects that crawl on the leaves and stem and eat the plant. If your plant begins to look damaged—look at the underside of the leaves—spray it with a safe insecticide made for spider mites, following the manufacturer's label.

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