How Long Do Parlor Palms Live? (Extending Lifespan Tips)

Parlor palms (Chamaedorea elegans) are great plants that are very forgiving even for beginning gardeners.

When grown as houseplants, they are pretty easy to care for in the right conditions, making them one of the most popular indoor plants in the USA.

Many times you will hear these palms called “indestructible” for the ease of growing and maintaining them.

How Long Do Parlor Palms Live?

Parlor palms can live up to a few decades or 20 years as an indoor plant in your home. If planted outside, they can live much longer.

Making certain that your indoor plant has the right conditions of light, soil and water will extend its life even further (more on that below).

Parlor palms grow very slowly but they are fabulous plants for an indoor environment, even for beginning gardeners, because they are quite easy to care for.

How Long Do Parlor Palms Live?
Photo by Pluume321, CC BY-SA 3.0

What Are Parlor Palms and How to Extend Their Life

Parlor palms are also commonly called Neanthe Bella palms and Neanthe palms and they are members of the Arecaceae family.

This plant is native to Guatemala and southern Mexico in environments that are always warm and humid.

If you mimic these same conditions, your parlor palm will live indoors for many years and they are quite forgiving plants for beginning gardeners as well.

What Are Parlor Palms and How to Extend Their Life
Photo by Bachelot Pierre J-P, CC BY-SA 3.0

We’ll share some tips with you on how to give your parlor palm the best care and how to make it last longer as well with the perfect growing conditions.

Soil

For the best growth habits and performance of your parlor palm, you should use a rich potting medium for indoor plants that drain well. If the soil is too heavy or it doesn’t drain well, you risk losing your lovely tropical plant because of root rot or “wet feet.”

You can use a commercial potting mix, but you should cut them with another ingredient with great drainage.

Potting soils that include a slow-release fertilizer is a great idea. They usually release the nutrients into the soil over a period of 3 months or so and it keeps you from having to remember to fertilize your plants.

You can create your own potting mix by mixing one part potting soil with one part coarse sand or one part potting soil, one part peat moss and one part coarse sand or one part compost, one part peat moss and one part perlite.

Any of these combinations will work well when you are growing a parlor palm as a houseplant.

Lighting Needs

Parlor palms thrive in lower light conditions than most houseplants, which makes them a forgiving plant for beginners. The best idea inside is to place your plant where it will get bright but indirect light.

You can move your potted plant outside when it warms up in the spring, as long as it is in indirect sunlight so the leaves don’t scorch.

It may do well in the shade under a tree outside, but remember to take your plants back inside before it starts to get chilly in the fall.

Best Temperatures for Parlor Palms

Your tropical plant comes from areas that are consistently warm and humid. It prefers an indoor temperature of 65 degrees to 80 degrees F. It pretty much prefers the same temperatures that humans do in their homes.

If you live in an area where you do get quite a bit of cold air in the winter, make sure and place your parlor palm away from windows and doors where it’s cooler.

If you are growing this plant in a pot outside, move the pot inside your home until the weather warms up in the spring.

Potted Parlor Palm Watering Needs

If you forget to water your parlor palm for some time, it is a much more forgiving plant than if you overwater it.

During the active growing season of spring through summer, you should water your indoor parlor palm about once a week or so. When it’s dormant in the other seasons, you only need to check it and apply water every two to three weeks.

To check the soil and see if your plant needs watering, stick your finger into the potting mix and then pull it out.

Observe the level on your finger that has soil on it. If the soil sticks to your finger at a depth of several inches, then your plant doesn’t need water. If no soil sticks to your finger for several inches, then your plant requires some water.

If your plant needs water, slowly add water to the pot until you see it start to run out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot and into the pot saucer.

Make sure you use only room temperature water and not cold water. If you have a water softener in your home, draw up some water in a gallon jug and let it sit out overnight before you water your plant.

This allows any chemicals in it to dissipate. You can instead use rainwater or distilled water to irrigate your parlor palm.

What Amount of Humidity Do Parlor Palms Like?

Parlor palms naturally grow in humid environments. If your plant is browning on the ends of the leaves, it most likely is too dry and needs more humid conditions.

You can increase humidity levels by using a humidifier or by using a pebble tray.

A pebble tray is basically made by putting pebbles into the pot saucer when the excess water drains out of the holes in the pot. The extra water sitting in the pebble tray will evaporate and create humidity around the plant.

Another idea is to place your parlor palm in the bathroom where water is used often and it creates a humid environment for your plant.

In the winter, be mindful of the area where your potted plant is. Don’t put it near a heating vent because there will not be enough humidity and your plant will suffer.

You can also spritz your parlor palm with water in a spray bottle daily in the winter to increase the humidity level and to keep the leaves clean and healthy as well.

Parlor Palm Fertilizer Needs

You should only fertilize your houseplants during the active growing season from the spring through the summer.

You can use a water-soluble fertilizer for houseplants every three to four weeks and mix it with the water that you irrigate your plant with.

Otherwise, you can use slow-release fertilizer granules and sprinkle them on top of the soil so that they slowly feed your plant over the course of three months or so.

How to Make Your Parlor Palm Grow Faster

For the best results in growing your parlor palm faster and extending its life, you only need to follow a few guidelines for success.

Make sure it has some humidity and the pot it’s planted in has drainage holes while not overwatering it.

A diluted plant fertilizer does help it to grow faster as it feeds the roots continuously. If you have brighter light in a room when you place your potted plant, remember that it will need more water than it does in lower lighting.