Lounge Palm (Chamaedorea elegans)

Few palm trees are as popular as Chamaedorea elegans. Known as a living room palm tree, it is the typical one that is kept in a pot inside the house, for example in the living room next to the sofa. And it is not only beautiful, but also very economical (a specimen of just under one meter in height costs only about 4 euros) and easy to care for.

The question is: what kind of care do you need to be well, healthy and without problems? If you want to know, then I will solve these and other questions about its maintenance .

Origin and characteristics

Image – Wikimedia/ David J. Stang

Our protagonist is a unicaule * palm (with a single trunk) native to Mexico, Guatemala and Belize whose scientific name is Chamaedorea elegans, although popularly it is better known as a parlor, pacaya or camadorea palm. It grows to a maximum height of 3 meters, with a trunk a little less than 2cm thick, ringed and green in color.

The leaves are pinnate, composed of about 20 pairs of leaflets (pinnae) 15-20cm long by 2-2.5cm, and have a length of 2 meters. The flowers are grouped in highly branched inflorescences, up to 1 meter long, and can be female (of a yellow color that attracts a lot of attention) or male. The fruit is oval in shape, and measures 1cm.

* In nurseries and garden stores, pots full of seedlings or young seedlings that have grown together are sold to make them look more beautiful, but that does not mean that each of these specimens has only one trunk and that, therefore, they are independent of each other.

How to care for Chamaedorea elegans ?

If you want to have a copy, we recommend that you take care of it as follows:


It is a plant that can be grown both outdoors (in mild climates) and indoors, so that:

  • Indoor: it must be in a bright room, away from drafts and passageways. Do not put next to the window to avoid the magnifying glass effect.
  • Exterior: in semi-shade, under the branches of trees or other large palm trees. Never place in the sun as it burns fast.


It will depend on where it is planted:

  • Pot: from experience, it simply works well with a universal growing medium (you can get it here ) mixed with 30% perlite (like this one they sell here ), so you don’t need to complicate with other types of substrates.
  • Garden: grows on fertile soils, with good water filtration capacity. If yours is not like that, as the palm tree is rather small, make a hole of one 50cm x 50cm (better 1m x 1m), cover the sides and the base with shading mesh (like this one ) and fill it with the substrate mentioned before.


Image – Wikimedia/ JMK

The watering of the palm tree has to be moderate. During the summer you have to water very often, about 3 to 5 times a week, while the rest of the year with 1 or 2 waterings a week you can have more than enough. And I repeat: it can.

And is that if it is grown outdoors in areas where it rains little, the irrigation will have to be followed. On the contrary, if it is kept indoors, as the earth takes much longer to dry, the frequency will be less.

For this reason, it is important to check the humidity of the soil, either with a digital meter or by inserting a thin wooden stick (if when you remove it it comes out with a lot of soil attached, do not water).

Spray yes or no?

It is customary to spray/ spray the leaves of plants that are kept indoors with water, but that more than benefiting them harms them. Why? Because plants cannot absorb water directly from the leaves; in fact, when it rains, the pores on the surface of the blade of each leaf close, thus preventing them from drowning. And they do the same when they are sprayed.

The problem is that if they remain closed too long, they will have very serious problems, since their respiratory capacity is greatly reduced by being able to breathe only through the pores in the trunk and roots. So let’s not pulverize the leaves ; they will appreciate it .

If you live in an area with a dry environment, better buy a humidifier or place several glasses or other containers with water on your palm tree.

But be careful, don’t forget to remove the dust, with a brush for example. This way, it will look gorgeous.


Guano powder.

From the beginning of spring to the end of summer, it must be paid with a specific fertilizer for palm trees (like this one ) following the indications indicated on the packaging. It is highly recommended to also fertilize with organic fertilizers, such as guano ( here you have it in powder, and here liquid), but do not mix them: use one month one and the other the following month.


It multiplies by seeds in spring-summer. Let’s see how to proceed:

  1. The first thing you have to do is fill a pot with universal growing substrate mixed with 30% perlite.
  2. Then, water conscientiously.
  3. Next, place the seeds as far apart as possible on the surface, and cover them with a thin layer of substrate.
  4. Then, pulverize the most superficial soil a little.
  5. Finally, place the pot outside, in semi-shade, or indoors near a heat source.

Thus they will germinate in about 3 weeks at a temperature of 20-25ºC.

Planting or transplanting time

In spring. If it is potted, transplant every two years to a larger one.


In hot, dry environments, aphids, spider mites and mealybugs are common. All three feed on the sap of the plant, causing yellowing of the leaves. They are treated with potassium soap or diatomaceous earth. You can get the first here and the second here.

If grown outdoors, it is worth preventing it from Paysandisia archon and the red weevil ; especially the first (the weevil does not usually affect palm trees with such a thin trunk). In the links you have information about these pests and the treatments that currently exist to fight them.


Image – Wikimedia/ David J. Stang

Vulnerable to infection by fungi Phytopthora (causes neck rot) and Helminthosporium (of leaves). It is treated with fungicide, and watering less.


  • Leaves with dry tips: it may be because the environment is dry, or because it is exposed to air currents (or both).
  • Yellow leaves: thirsty.
  • Lower leaves brown: it depends. If the rest of the plant is fine, it may simply be that those leaves have reached the end of their life; and if not, it is because you are suffering from excess water.

Pruning the Chamaedorea elegans

It is not necessary. You just have to cut the dry, sick or weak leaves that you see, as well as the inflorescences.


From experience I can tell you that if it is sheltered, it supports well up to -2ºC, as long as they are specific and short-term frosts.

Where to buy Chamaedorea elegans ?

This palm tree is sold in any garden store, but if you can’t get it, here you go:

Chamaedorea elegans -…

€ 3.49

View deal

I hope you liked everything you have read about the living room palm tree .

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