Parlor palm

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.

Parlor Palms like light, but direct sun isn’t necessary. Filtered or diffuse light is best. These plants will also survive in shady areas and so they are a great choice for not just the home, but the office as well.

To prevent fronds from dying back, keep the plant watered evenly. Check the potting mix every few days until you become comfortable with the plant’s requirements. Plants in small pots can be watered when the surface of the potting mix is dry. Larger specimens should be allowed to dry out half an inch to an inch down. Make sure that the potting mix is moistened well and allow any excess water to drain off. Humidity isn’t incredibly important to this plant, making it a good choice for drier environments.

Parlor Palms do not need much fertilizer, but some is definitely good. Use a water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the spring, summer and fall. None is needed during the winter when the plant’s growth will slow down. If a white crust builds up on the pot, around drainage holes or on the soil surface, the plant is likely receiving too much fertilizer. Cut back by half and flush the pot thoroughly with clear water at the next watering.

Propagation of Parlor Palms is usually done from seed, though division is sometimes done as well. The plant will experience shock if it is divided; many of the outer fronds may die back and it will recover slowly. Leaf cuttings are another reported way that this plant can be propagated, but from my experience with this plant I doubt that it has a very high success rate.

Occasionally, pests can be a problem. Scale, mealy bugs and spider mites all enjoy making a home on Parlor Palms. A quick check at every watering will ensure that you catch an infestation in its early stages, making it much easier to treat.

Parlor Palms grow extremely slowly. Keep that in mind when you are shopping for one. If you want a large specimen, buy a large specimen. Small plants will remain small for an incredibly long time, taking more than a decade to reach two or three feet tall. This fact makes Parlor Palms a great addition to terrariums, dish gardens and interiorscaping.

Care for Parlor Palm

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.


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