Chamaedorea Species, 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)


Tropicals and Tender Perennials


Water Requirements:

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

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Light Green


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Berkeley, California

Brea, California

Fair Oaks, California

Fresno, California


Huntington Beach, California

Lakewood, 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

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Jupiter, 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

Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes

Broaddus, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Garland, Texas

Texarkana, Texas

Kalama, Washington

Puyallup, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 23, 2016, johnny26 from Fall River, MA wrote:

Last year I put my parlor palm outdoors on the west side of my porch It had full shade all morning with a couple hours of direct afternoon sunlight I fertilize the palm 3-4 times that season with palm fertilizer. It grew a lot of new spears, during the winter it is In my north facing window in my bedroom and its still growing. Surly taking the plant outside is benifical to the palm. I water the palm once the soil is dry down several inches in winter, in spring/summer I keep the soil damp to moist. I'm planning on vacationing my parlor palm outdoors on my porch again this spring/summer but this year I'm gonna leave it outside till our first sign of frost is in the forcast below 35 degrees ill be bringing it back indoors. I'll let you guys know on how the plant made out this year at the end... read more


On Jul 11, 2015, David_Sweden from Gothenburg,
Sweden (Zone 7a) wrote:

I mainly want to comment on the height "15-30cm" more like 200cm, and "partial to full shade" I think should say just "full shade" (with comment that light shade migh be ok, but "partial shade" I assume is the same as dappled light and that is too much). Very common indoors and I've kept one (or rather 20 palms in one pot, about 40cm above soil) in a bookshelf with no sunlight, just two 12W CFLs, it really likes my bookshelf.


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.


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 cut... read more


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... read more


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 nothin... read more


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?


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!


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?


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!


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.


On Dec 21, 2005, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 8a) 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 ... read more