Chamaedorea elegans (Parlor Palm, Neanthe Bella Palm, Dwarf Mountain Palm)

Common houseplants in offices and homes, Parlor Palms are highly shade tolerant palms that require little maintenance to grow. They do best when there are high humidity conditions, consistent soil moisture, and monthly fertilizer applications.

Chamaedore elegans (Parlor Palm, Neanthe Bella Palm, Dwarf Mountain Palm)
Family: Araceae
Subspecies: none
Native: central America, Guatemala
Hardiness Zones: 10-12
Height: to 1.8 meters tall at maturity (typically to 1.2 meters indoors)
Diameter: to 1 meter wide
Root System: fibrous, shallow
Growth Rate: slow (sending up only 2-3 leaves annually indoors)
Age: perennial, matures around 15 years of age
Deciduous: none
Monoecious/dioecious: dioecious
Monocot/dicot: monocot

Tolerates: low light conditions (grows in windowsills)
Problems (major): none
Problems (minor): scales, nematodes, spider mites, mealybugs
Poisonous: non-toxic
Soil requirements: prefers consistently moist (NOT WET), nutrient-rich, well-drained loams or sandy soils with neutral to slightly acidic soils (pH 5-8)
Air requirements: grows best in high humidity, tolerant of low humidity
Watering requirement: low to moderate (appreciates even, consistent moisture)
Sun requirement: partial shade to full shade (burns in full sun)
Leaves: deep to dark green, pinnate, leaflets alternate, no terminal leaflet, to 12 leaflets per frond, elliptical to lanceolate, max 20 centimeters long per leaflet
Flowers: yellow, spherical, on panicles, uncommon indoors, superficially resemble Whisk Fern (Psilophyta) sporangia
Fruits: black, round
Seeds require stratification: no
Seed dispersal: small mammals or birds
Form: compact, upright with arching leaves
Trunk: single, compromised almost entirely of remaining fronds, bright green
Notable characteristics:
These palms are well adapted to indoor life and can reliably acclimate to stable temperatures. These plants can tolerate low humidity, although high humidity improves their overall health.

These are common houseplants or shade plants where cold hardy.

Sources used:


Young Parlor Palm

Parlor Palm (same as above, 2 years later)

Mature Chamaedorea at the Missouri Botanical Garden

Young, compact specimen

Unopened flowers

All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that this article/online journal is appropriately cited first.


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