Chamaedorea elegans

Common Name: parlor palm 
Type: Palm or Cycad
Family: Arecaceae
Native Range: Central America, Mexico
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 2.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Heavy Shade


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-12 where it is easily grown in rich, moist, well-drained soils in filtered sun/part shade to shade. Avoid direct sun. Best growth occurs in moist shady locations. Site in locations protected from strong winds. In cooler climates, this palm is an extremely popular container plant for homes, offices or malls. Plants adapt very well to the limited light and controlled temperatures which are often present in indoor locations. Protect indoor plants from full sun and dry air (especially if moving containers outside for summer). Use a peaty, soil based potting mix. Best in bright filtered light. Keep soils uniformly moist and fertilize once per month during the growing season. Reduce water applications and stop fertilization in winter. Do not prune unless removing an entire frond or stem.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Chamaedorea elegans, commonly called parlor palm or neanthe bella palm, is a small, compact, usually single-trunked palm that is native to rainforests from southeastern Mexico to northern Guatemala. Where winter hardy, it will rise to 5-6' tall in shady areas of the landscape. As a houseplant, this palm usually grows to 4' tall and is particularly noted for its dense, attractive foliage, compact shape and easy maintenance. Handsome, arching, green pinnate leaves, with 12 or more pairs of narrow leaflets per leaf, lend a tropical flair to indoor locations. Clusters of yellow flowers in loose spirals may bloom in spring if enough light is present. Plants are dioecious. Black fruit is attractive when it appears.

Genus name comes from the Greek words chamai meaning on the ground and dorea meaning a gift as the fruits are easily reached from the ground.

Specific epithet means elegant.


No serious insect or disease problems. Scale and nematodes. Watch for spider mites and mealybuga on indoor houseplants. For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants


Where winter hardy, it is grown as an accent for shady areas in frost free locations around the home. Container plant. Where not winter hardy, it is commonly grown as a houseplant. It survives indoors often with little exposure to natural light. Commonly placed in offices, homes and malls as a specimen or in small groups.