Why Does My Parlor Palm Have Yellow Leaves? (6 Causes)

The parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) is most known for being an easy, low-maintenance plant. It can tolerate low and bright light, along with skipping water throughout the week.

This plant also does not require much maintenance, and it is not picky about its soil as long as it is well drained.

Throughout the lifespan of your parlor palm plant, you will notice leaves yellowing at some point. So, why do the parlor palm’s leaves turn yellow?

While the drought-tolerant plant is great to own due to its simple needs, there are times that the parlor palm can be neglected. The main reasons why parlor palm leaves are yellow are due to overwatering, overfertilization, and too much sunlight.

Why Does My Parlor Palm Have Yellow Leaves?
Parlor Palm (Photo by Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0 US)

Throughout the article, we have listed the reasons and solutions to help you bring your parlor palm back to life.

Yellowing Leaves on a Parlor Palm

Once you have diagnosed your palm’s problem, you will need to fix the issue at hand.

We have listed in depth the reasons why your parlor palm’s leaves may be yellow along with the solutions.

1. Too Much Bright Sunlight

Right before the leaves get burnt and brown, the parlor palm leaves will turn light yellow. The discoloration is due to too much sun. This can be through direct or indirect sunlight.

If you have placed your parlor palm in a room that gets sun in multiple directions throughout the day, this could be the source of your problem.

This could also happen if your parlor palm is on a porch or outside.

Move Your Parlor Palm to a Shaded Area

If you notice the yellowing is from too much light, before the leaves get completely burnt, it is time you move your parlor palm.

This may be moving it to a room that only gets sun from the south or west, or placing it in a corner that only gets a little bit of light throughout the day.

Moving your parlor palm to a more appropriate place will help with any burning and discoloration.

2. Yellowing Leaves from Overwatering

If you are watering your parlor palm once a week or more, you may notice some discoloration. This is due to overwatering your plant.

When you overwater your parlor palm, you will notice that the soil is constantly wet and even water is sitting at the bottom of the pot. This is too much water that stands in the soil, causing root rot and damaged roots.

It is important to only water your parlor palm when the soil is completely dry.

The Solution to an Overwatered Parlor Palm

If you are facing root rot and unhealthy roots from overwatering, you can trim off the roots that are affected. This will allow the healthy roots to regrow.

However, before you put your plant back into its pot, make sure to put new, dry, and healthy soil in the pot when you repot it.

If you notice that there is no root rot, you can either change the soil or wait until the soil completely dries out before watering it again.

3. Overfertilization

If you have recently fertilized your parlor palm and the leaves are turning yellow, the cause of the problem is your fertilizer.

It is important to dilute all the fertilizer, leaving no fertilizer crystals behind. This will help your plant not become overfertilized.

When you are fertilizing your parlor palm, it is important not to fertilize it too much throughout the year. The palm itself does not require fertilizer like other plants.

So, if you do fertilize it, only do so once or twice in the growing period throughout spring and summer.

How to Fix Overfertilization

If you have overfertilized your parlor palm, you should replace the soil with new soil and not fertilize it again.

Wait until the next growing period, until it is time to fertilize your palm tree.

4. Nutrient Deficiency

If your parlor palm’s leaves are yellowing, this may be due to lack of its essential nutrients.

To help your parlor palm stay green, it is important to see if your plant has appropriate levels of nitrogen, manganese, and magnesium.

All of these chemicals and nutrients are found in fertilizer.

How to Fix Insufficient Nutrients

You can apply a small amount of diluted fertilizer in the spring or summer to fix the nutrient levels of your parlor palm. Only use 20-20-20 fertilizer to create well-balanced soil.

5. Pest Infestation

If you notice a pest infestation such as mealy bugs, spider mites, or scales, this is most likely the problem with yellowing leaves.

Use Insecticide

You can either find spray insecticide or insecticide soap to fix this issue. This will kill all the bugs that are infesting your plant.

It is also important to prune any parts of the plant that are infected immensely and other dead parts.

6. Fungal Disease

Fungal disease can infect your parlor palm’s fronds and create yellowing leaves. You will notice there are brown-looking spots throughout the leaves as well.

Use Fungicide

Fungicide will kill most of the fungus off of your parlor palm. While using fungicide, it is important to prune and throw away any infected leaves to stop the spread of the fungus.

Diagnosing Your Parlor Palm’s Yellow Leaves

There are several reasons why your parlor palm has yellow leaves. Finding the reason may be more difficult than the solution, so it is important to find out why before you mistreat your plant.

It is important to constantly inspect your plant for any problems before an issue is not fixed and it is too late for your plant.

When it comes to your parlor palm, the first indicator that something is wrong is by checking for discoloration in its leaves.

If your palm’s leaves are yellowing, there is most likely an issue in the soil, water, sun, or an infestation. To find out what is happening with your parlor palm, check for the following:

  • Do a soil test. This checks for any deficiencies in nutrients in the soil.
  • Test the pH of the soil. The pH of a parlor palm should be neutral to acidic, between 5.5 and 7.0. If the pH is off, you may have given it too much or too little fertilizer.
  • Check if the soil is too wet. Make sure there is no standing water at the bottom of the pot. You should also make sure the soil is completely dry before watering it.
  • Check for pest infestation. This would look like red or brown dots and white webbing.
  • Check for any fungal infections. This would look like yellow leaves with white or brown spots.
  • Check if it is getting too much sunlight. It must get indirect light through a window. However, if the palm is on your porch where light is bright and often, this may be your problem.

After checking why your parlor palm’s leaves are yellowing, you can properly treat your parlor palm so it can look bright and green once again.

Related: Parlor Palm & Brown Tips (Causes, Solutions)