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PlantFiles: Parlor Palm, Parlour Palm
Chamaedorea elegans

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Chamaedorea (kam-ee-DOR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: elegans (ELL-eh-ganz) (Info)

Synonym:Neanthe bella

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

26 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From leaf cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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10 positives
6 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive wormfood On Jan 17, 2015, wormfood from Lecanto, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

These little buggers { to 5'} grow great in 3's around my yard only protected from the strong sun. They grow in temps to the upper 20's, tolerating nematodes, bugs, wind . . .
Sprays of cool looking orange berries every year and hardly ever feed them.
These are the little guys you get in plant arrangements for tabletops.

Positive JoannCooper On Jan 30, 2013, JoannCooper from Bluffton, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

Kind of a no-brainer plant. Give it bright light, don't water too much, and give it a shower now and again to get the dust off. I grew mine as a house plant in Virginia for many years with summer vacations outside on a shaded patio. Now I live in South Carolina, zone 8B, and I leave it on my south facing screened porch year round. It has survived temps to 25 there with no injury - but keep in mind that my porch is enclosed on three sides and there is a concrete patio outside that collects heat during the day, keeping the porch a few degrees warmer than the outside temps at night. Also, our dips below freezing usually only last a few hours.

Every couple of years I pull it out of the pot (now in a 5 gallon planter), chop the root ball in half with a hatchet, dust the cuts with fungicide, repot half of the plant with fresh potting mix, and then pretty much ignore it for another couple of years. The extra half, unfortunately, goes in the trash bin because these things are common as dirt and you can't give them away.

Basically, I've decided that I don't care if it lives - consequently, it's thriving. :) I will say that mine makes a nice screen sitting just outside my glass dining room doors.

Only negative: every now and again it gets mealy bugs, but they are easy to treat if caught early enough. Giving the plant a bath now and again will prevent insect infestations.

Positive Fires_in_motion On Jan 27, 2011, Fires_in_motion from Vacherie, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I used one of these in the terrarium of my pair of Jackson's Chameleons back in '97/98. It did great in the medium lighting and fairly high humidity; I forgot what happened to it, but I plan on getting another one sometime soon as a houseplant. Well, saying "one" is an understatement, since when you buy even a tiny pot of this species, you're actually getting at least a dozen little individual plants.

View its puny size and slow growth rate as benefits rather than drawbacks, and you're halfway to appreciating this gem of a plant. And after being stabbed over and over by my big spiny palms, it's refreshing to have a nice little "pettable" species like this one. As an aficionado of the color green, I must say this is one of the most visually pleasing shades of green you'll ever come across. Would I recommend this species over the truly great Cat Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum)? Well, no... but why not get both?

Neutral jskyieeyes3 On Sep 28, 2010, jskyieeyes3 from Saint Cloud, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

bought a small bella palm almost 2 years ago, and it has been a battle to keep this little guy alive! at first, i didn't know what it was (the tag just said 'tropical foliage'); i had it in a spot where it was receiving partial (filtered) sun, and the fronds got a burned look to them..kind of sun-bleached almost. so i was able to track down what kind of palm it actually was/is, moved it to a shady spot, and as the sun-bleached fronds turned brown, i clipped them off. then as new fronds started to grow in (my first new fronds since i bought the plant!), one of my cats decided to treat herself to a buffet.. this plant is a very slow grower!! as i had mentioned before, i have had mine for almost 2 years, and it hasn't grown an inch in height. i have tried repotting and fertilizing, and nothing has worked. although, i do understand that this is a "dwarf" variety of palm, mine is only about 6 inches tall. i'm going to continue on with this plant and see what happens. i've come too far to give up on it now. in my opinion, this is a pretty fickle plant (or at least mine is). it doesn't like the full shade, but too much sun (even partial filtered) can burn the fronds. if you keep it too dry the fronds brown (sometimes just the edges, sometimes whole fronds), but if you overwater you get the same effect. it's hard to find a happy medium. perhaps this plant is called a 'parlor palm' for a

Positive rkwright85 On Jun 22, 2010, rkwright85 from Horton, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is one of my favorite house plants and does really well in a shady spot outdoors during the summer. It's been easy to grow and has responded well to occasional fertilizer (I just use miracle grow and use about half of what they recommend). I have no idea how to propagate this plant but heard it can be done by division. I've tried to grow them by seed in a greenhouse but lost patience (it can take up to 6-8 weeks for seeds to germinate). Just don't cut the stems. Small ones make a nice focal point in terrariums. I have one of these that has reached 2' tall...anyone know how big these can get?

Positive stephenp On Nov 14, 2009, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

A great plant usually sold as houseplants, because they are generally tender in the UK. Given some overhead cover however they can survive a winter with minimal damage. My C. elegans has seen -5C and just picked up slightest damage.

Definitely worth a go where cover is available in a mild coastal area.

otherwise a lovely house plant!

Neutral atm1 On Jun 6, 2009, atm1 from Detroit, MI wrote:

Very pretty plant, but is it such a slow-grower? And what does new growth look like? Is it a skinny stem going up where two taller stems joint together?

Neutral holeth On May 20, 2009, holeth from Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

additional common name from alt classification: Bella Palm.

While I'm already posting:
Tolerates moderate light. Vulnerable to spider mite. Responded well to adding Soleirolia/Helxine as container companion. Blooming shortly. I'm about to discover if male or female!

Neutral tropicsofohio On Jan 19, 2008, tropicsofohio from Hilliard, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

be patient with these. i got mine in july and they re-established themselves around october. they are about to add their third frond and are growing many inflorescence. my tallest one has about one foot of trunk, a real bargin for 10 bucks. it also had 20 palms in the pot. with these, they either die or thrive, that was the case for me.

Positive berrygirl On Dec 21, 2005, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have had this for about 12-13 years but only today found out what it was. Got it unmarked when it was only about 3 inches high and now it is about 3 ft high. It is very easy to grow and has bloomed for me several times- little green ball clusters. Am told when they bloom they are very happy.

Positive handbright On Feb 18, 2005, handbright from Coral Springs, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I planted this little palm at the base of a tree four years ago, outside. It looks just wonderful in the garden with annuals. It has not grown more than 3 feet taller in the past four years it's been in this place--which is a real plus for us here in South Florida! A pretty little miniature for a shady spot in this zone.

4/2/05 ~just got two more--in the garden under an Australian tree fern and live oaks. I feel like I'm in a forest instead of a jungle. This palm needs nothing but a shady place to live and water in well-drained soil. Great house plant, too. I have two in a quiet guest room that I forget to water all the time, and they still look good. Tough little palm with a lot to recommend it.

Neutral Kylecawaza On Aug 22, 2004, Kylecawaza from Corte Madera, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This palm is very hardy. Some people have had it survive a few winters in Seattle. Some would still be alive if it weren't for the past winter when lows of -2 F occurred in a few areas. It is very cool weather tolerant, as well as shade tolerant.

Positive MrRedwood On Jun 19, 2004, MrRedwood from San Francisco, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I have a lot of affection for this plant, otherwise I probably would have trashed it during a recent infestation of scale. It lost three of it's four original stems, so I'm searching for info on propagation.

As a potted plant here in San Francisco, it seems pretty hardy and survived my earliest years as an apartment gardener. I'd say it isn't too tough to keep alive, although quite a bit harder to keep in prime condition.

Positive fredfour On Jun 10, 2004, fredfour from Fair Oaks, CA wrote:

This is a lot of green for very little 'green'. Great background or corner plant for the creative decorator. Just make sure there is adequate light. Doesn't need or want direct sun.

Positive ladyrowan On Apr 1, 2004, ladyrowan from Garberville, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I picked up a small Parlor Palm a few weeks back, and it is sitting happily in my window sill, receiveing bright, southern light in the earlier part of the day. I've been setting the bottom of the pot in a dish of water when it dries out, and it seems happy enough. I like this palm because it seems like it will be more full, and upright, unlike some that are thinner and more floppy, and take up a lot more floor space.

Neutral palmbob On Oct 16, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This palm is one of the most common palms in the US... it is in virtually all home and garden stores being sold as an indoor palm, and it performs excellently as one... in an indoor situation this palm needs almost no water or light (ALMOST) and still manages to look good. However, giving adequate water will make it even happier, as will giving it plenty of light (not direct sunlight, though).

C elegans is not a particularly interesting palm, however, and for outdoor use, there are hundreds of other species of Chamaedorea available that are much more attractive and interesting (more costly and harder to come across, of course). It is a moderately slow grower with 20 year old indoor plants establishing only 3-4' of stem (much faster outdoors with 20 year old plants about twice that tall). Maximum height is about 10'. It is a Central American native.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Berkeley, California
Brea, California
Fair Oaks, California
Fresno, California
Garberville, California
Huntington Beach, California
Livermore, California
Los Angeles, California
Merced, California
Rancho Cucamonga, California
Reseda, California
San Anselmo, California
San Marino, California
Santa Barbara, California
Simi Valley, California
Stockton, California
Tarzana, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Upland, California
Whittier, California
Apopka, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Miami, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Saint Cloud, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Braselton, Georgia
Hazlehurst, Georgia
Alden, New York
West Harrison, New York
Cary, North Carolina
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Broaddus, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Garland, Texas
Texarkana, Texas
Kalama, Washington
Puyallup, Washington

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