Parlor palm is a small palm tree (scientific name: Chamaedorea Elegans) that belongs to the family Arecaceae. Typically found in the tropical and subtropical regions, it’s native to Southern Mexico and Guatemala rainforests. Palm has 2600 species, small palm trees also include Pygmy date palm, Bottle palm, Sago palm, Spindle’s palm, but Parlor palm is the most heavily sold small palm tree houseplant.
Parlor palm is a single-trunk palm with slightly arched narrow and slender pinnate leaves of rich green color. It can attain a height of 4-8 feet and a width of 1-3 feet, depending upon conditions. It may bear yellowish flowers in the blooming season. Commonly desktop specimens can grow to a maximum height of 1-2 feet. This makes them appropriate for the kitchen and bathroom countertops.
Parlor palm is considered a low-light palm and generally requires low light to sustain. For best growth, medium-bright indirect light is recommended. Placing them near a window with a filtered light is ideal. They can even grow in fluorescent light, but it’s not advised. Direct and intense sunlight will cause brown spots on the leaves, and no light will cause the plant to die. It’s a long-living and slow-growing plant.
Watering completely depends upon conditions. In brighter areas, it requires more water, and in low light areas, lesser water. It should be watered sparingly indoors because under-watering is better than overwatering as it can cause root rot. The general ruling is to water the palm when the upper layer of soil dries out, and once every 2-3 weeks is ideal.
It can grow well at room temperature ranging from 15°C – 30°C. If one is comfortable, this small tree is also comfortable. Parlor palm can endure further warm temperatures, but it’s prone to a cooler environment. It’s advised not to place it near windows, vents, or doors with cold drafts to protect it from damage. Room temperature is optimum for ideal growth.
Native to rainforests, Parlor palms are used to thriving normal-higher levels of humidity. One has to be careful with humidity levels because it can cause issues in leaves. Excessive cold and intensive dry spells can cause the burning of leaf-tips. Therefore, it’s recommended to keep a check on the humidity level with a mist, humidifier, or pebble-tray.
An organic peat moss soil mixture is fertile enough for Parlor palm to transpire nutrients. It has simple requirements as a 20-20-20 weak liquified fertilizer feed is sufficient for ideal growth. It’s advised to feed a small dosage twice per active growth season and halt it all together during inactive growth months because excessive feeding will cause foliage burn.
Parlor palm is a non-toxic houseplant. If ingested, there’s no probable harm for children and pets. However, sometimes it grows berries on its trunk that can be poisonous. It will cause an itching allergy if these are touched. If one notices these growing berries, it’s advised to remove them using gloves instantly to prevent any fatal issue.
It’s an outstanding air-purifier and is known to eliminate volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particularly benzene and trichloroethylene. These VOCs are found in everyday items such as paper, carpets, electronics, and furniture. Parlor palm is extremely useful in removing air pollutants and regulating humidity.
Parlor palm is a slow-growing plant. Generally, it’s repotted every other year. Due consideration should be given to the size of the pot. The pot should be drainable and should be potted at the same depth as it was in the previous pot, otherwise, it would cause stress to the plant resulting in retarded growth.
Parlor palm is a plant of simple needs and requires necessary observation about light, temperature, watering, and humidity levels. One should be observant about soil conditions. It would help if you also avoided relocation as it exerts undue stress on the plant. Cold and hot drafts should also be avoided.
Following are the common issues,
- Brown and crispy tips
- Yellowing leaves and black stems
- Root rot
Following are the diseases of Parlor palm,
- Pest attack ( spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects)
- Fungal attack
- Bacterial attack
Parlor palm is an excellent small tree houseplant that’s moderately easier to keep indoors. Being a slow-grower, it doesn’t require much care. It’s a non-toxic mini purifier that not only purifies the air but also regulates humidity. Its desktop specimens add beauty to countertops and shelves.