How to Grow a Parlor Palm

The Parlor Palm  (Chamaedora elegans), sometimes referred to as the Bella Palm, is a relatively easy houseplant to grow. It’s a fairly inexpensive palm that is very well suited to indoor life. The Parlor Palm is an upright plant that rarely reaches over 4 foot in height, or 3 foot in width. The compact growth and easy care makes it an ideal houseplant.

Light Requirements:

The Parlor Palm will flourish and grow much better in filtered light. With this plant you actually don’t need to guess about adequate lighting. If the palm is sitting in an area where there is enough light for it to cast a shadow, it’s getting enough light! And, it will do well in both natural sunlight or artificial lighting.

Parlor Palm  (Chamaedora elegans)

Parlor Palm

Water Requirements:

The amount of water the Parlor Palm needs will depend on how much light it receives. A brighter light means more water, while lower lighting means less water. On small palms, the surface of the soil should be dry before giving it more water. On larger palms, the soil should be dry at least one inch down in the soil before adding water.

This houseplant should be watered all the way around the base of the plant  to avoid “dry spots”. Dry spots left in the soil could result in a drastic loss of fronds. If the pot has drainage holes, water the plant until some of the water seeps through the holes. Any excess water in the saucer should be emptied within an hour to prevent the roots from rotting.

Fertilizing Indoor Palms:

Indoor palms don’t like a lot of fertilizer. You can fertilize the Parlor Palm on a monthly basis through the spring and summer. In the fall and winter, the palm only needs fertilized every two or three months. You can  use any good quality water soluble food that is designed specifically for houseplants.

Parlor Palms and Propagation:

While Parlor Palms are grown from seed at nursery’s  you can propagate the plant, but it’s not recommended. Propagation is done by separating the plant at the roots. This can be very traumatic to the palm and will result in a heavy loss of fronds. It will also take the sections of the plant a long time to recover. Because they are usually not very expensive, it’s better to just purchase another plant.

Written by Connie Corder, Copyright 2010


  1. Blaine
    Jun 29, 2011


    Never had much success with the parlour palm in my apartment. It always died back slowly over a year or so (have made 3 or 4 attemps over a 10 year period).

    Would the plant survive in an office under fluorescent lighting? At a desk with no natural light (not in a window but on a work desk)? If so, would try it because really love this plant.


    • Anon
      Feb 15, 2012

      I have a parlor palm on my desk in an office with no windows, just fluorescent overhead lights. The plant has flourished since I got it at home depot for less than $3. I would say go for it 🙂


  2. Eva
    Apr 22, 2012

    Thank you for all that information. My parlor palm seems to be struggling. Its edges are getting brown. Could it be that it wasn’t watered enough?

  3. bonnie
    Jun 23, 2012

    What about pot size ? Have 4 separate palm in a 5 in. pot bought at Lowe’s.

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