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What Is a Parlor Palm?

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  • Written By: Donn Saylor
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 04 December 2014
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A parlor palm is a common houseplant, native to the tropics and found throughout the world. In warmer climates, parlor palms can be planted outdoors, but they are more commonly utilized as indoor plants for their attractive appearance and ease of care. They have bright green, fanlike foliage and can produce bright yellow blooms in the spring and summer months. Parlor palms also are commonly known as "Good Luck Palms."

Like most houseplants, a parlor palm thrives in typical indoor temperatures and average to high levels of in-home humidity. Parlor palms, also known by the Latin names Chamaedorea elegans or Neanthe bella, are perennials that require little to no direct sunlight; though they enjoy light, it typically is not necessary for them to flourish. A parlor palm can grow with equal effortlessness in a bright, sunny home or a small, windowless office. As long as they are properly cared for, these potted plants can adapt to most indoor locations.

The popularity of the parlor palm is rooted in the relatively low level of care and attention they require. They need to be watered when the soil is dry to the touch, which generally occurs every five days. In winter months, parlor palms tend to grow at a much slower rate, so they do not require such frequent watering. Many plant owners water every 10 days during the winter.

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Any liquid, water-soluble fertilizer for houseplants can be used to feed a parlor palm. During the spring, summer, and fall months, parlor palms are typically fed just once a month. In winter, they require no fertilizer at all.

Parlor palms grow at a very slow rate. Their leaves are fanlike and deep green in color, and their trunks are squat and also green. The parlor palm has flowering branches, which have bold yellow blossoms that bloom from mid-spring to mid-summer.

These palms are not known to attract any major problems. They sometimes draw spider mites or other small insects, which enjoy nesting in the foliage. Brown tips can also be an annoyance. Both of these problems usually signify the plant needs a higher level of humidity.

A damp towel is often used to clean and maintain the fronds of the parlor palm. Dipping the towel in lukewarm water and lightly dabbing the palm fronds keeps them shiny and pleasant to the eye. The act of simply wiping the fronds every few days also ensures they remain free of dirt, dust, and any insects they may attract.

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