Chamaedorea elegans or Parlor Palm is a small understory palm native to the rainforest regions of Guatemala and Mexico. The slender cane-like stem will reach about 6 feet (1.8 m) tall. It has dark green, pinnate leaves on a pale rachis with 11-20 pinnae. It is one of the best palms for indoor use. These palms are hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 10-11.
Blooming: Our specimens bloom yearly in late winter to early spring. The very small yellow flowers are followed by small black fruit.
Culture: Chamaedorea elegans need full shade to low interior lighting with a well-drained evenly moist soil. In the greenhouse, we grow ours under the shade of Raphis palms and banana plants. We use a soil mix consisting of 1 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. The plants are kept evenly moist during the growing season. They are fertilized every other week with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. The palms like a lot of humidity to keep the tips of leaves from browning (about 40-50%), so we mist the plants on a daily basis. Browning of the tips of leaves can also be due to too much sunlight hitting the leaves. During the winter months, water is somewhat restricted and fertilizer is withheld until new growth starts in the spring.
Propagation: Chamaedorea elegans is propagated by division or from seed.
Chamaedorea elegans was featured as Plant of the Week May 18-24, 2007.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.