Parlor palms, also known as Neanthe Bella palms, are extremely popular for many good reasons. Their resistance to varying conditions makes them suitable for most homes, and their dense, lush leaves give off a tropical vibe. Although generally easy to maintain, there are common issues. This article will help you find out why your Parlor Palm is crashing and show you how to fix it.
Why is my living room palm hanging down? parlor palms (Chamaedorea elegans) usually sag or wilt due to over or under watering. Make sure this aspect of care is correct to avoid most problems. They can also drop due to heat stress, transplant shock, over-fertilization, or lighting issues.
If you want to prevent your parlor palm from falling, this article will discuss each of the causes, to help you pinpoint the problem with your plant and get it back to full health.
How can I see why my palm tree is hanging?
Many people mistakenly assume that a fallen parlor palm is because it got submerged and quickly reached the watering can. Although this is often the case, you can do your plant far more harm than good if you get it wrong.
Consider the following before taking steps to repair your plant. Each of these observations will help you identify the correct cause.
- Are you providing the correct lighting, humidity and temperature for your Parlor Palm?
- Are there hot or cold drafts?
- Is the soil dry or soggy?
- There is an unpleasant odor coming from the soil which may indicate root rot.
- Does the pot have drainage holes? (Should be).
- Is the pot the right size for your Parlor Palm? Pots that are too small or too big can cause problems.
- Look at the leaves. Are there other signs than dead leaves? Are there brown tips, brown leaves or curly leaves?
- Do you see any signs of parasites? Look carefully at both sides of the leaves.
Once you’ve gathered this information, it’s time to find out why your Parlor Palm is crashing. Let’s start with the most common cause and work our way down to the less common causes.
give too much water
Believe it or not, overwatering is a more common cause of your parlor palm tree drooping than overwatering. This is all due to root rot, which is the end result of a constantly overcrowded plant. Growing the parlor palm in constantly wet, swampy soil will deprive the roots of oxygen and make them susceptible to opportunistic infections.
Initially, the foliage of an overwatered plant will turn yellow. This often happens from the lower leaves, but will eventually affect the whole plant. When the roots begin to die, they can no longer water the plant and the plant begins to experience drought, even though the soil is wet. Your Parlor Palm’s leaves will start to wilt and it will look like it needs a good drink.
Examine your plant carefully, as you will usually find yellow, droopy foliage lacking the brown, crisp leaves you expect from an underwater plant. The soil will be moist and you can detect the unpleasant smell of root rot.
Overwatering is not only caused by watering too often, but also by other factors that cause the soil to stay moist longer. Plant a small plant in a large pot, or use poorly drained soil, or a pot without drainage holes this could mean that the soil takes a long time to dry out between waterings.
This helps to keep the roots of the Parlor palm in moist, poorly aerated soil for a long time, resulting in root rot.
The solution to this problem is to recognize it early and act quickly. You can follow these instructions to: fix your watered plantor for treat root rot†
Be sure to plant your living room palm in well-drained soil† A mixture of 60% peat moss, 30% perlite and 10% compost is a good choice. Choose a pot that is only a few inches wider than the plant and make sure the pot has plenty of drainage holes.
This problem is a little simpler than the previous one and much easier to identify. Parlor palms are quite drought tolerant, but when the soil dries out completely, your plant will wilt or bow. You will notice that the pot is quite light to the touch, the leaves are dry and crisp, and some may have turned brown.
The simple solution to this problem is to water your plant and make a schedule to check your plant every few days to see if it needs water. Make sure the soil has enough water and the plant has not become too entangled with the roots. A plant with strong root attachment will usually use up all the water it receives fairly quickly.
Keep in mind that the time of year will have a big impact on the likelihood of your living room palm toppling due to lack of water. In spring and summer the water requirement will be much higher, as the plant will grow strongly and the water will be depleted much faster due to the combination of more light and temperature.
Always remember not to water on a schedule. Check your Parlor Palm every few days and water once the top 1-2 inches of soil is dry. Water your Parlor Palm well each time, allowing water to flow freely from the drainage holes. Make sure all excess water has drained from the jar before returning your palm to its normal position. Check out my guide to watering houseplants for more information.
Parlor palms generally grow best between 18°C (65°F) and 27°C (80°F), but can withstand temperatures outside of this range down to 10°C (50°F). Below, your plant begins to experience stress and the roots may struggle to function properly. Although it can provide perfect conditions, failing roots can cause your Parlor palm to topple over.
Your home will likely provide reasonable temperatures for your Parlor Palm, but be careful of vents and drafts from windows, which can affect your plant’s health. If in doubt, place a digital thermometer next to your plant, ideally one that records daily high and low temperatures and ensures they are within recommended limits.
Also be careful if you take your Parlor Palm out in the summer. This can be very beneficial for your plant, but bringing your Parlor Palm indoors slowly as the cool fall nights arrive can expose your plant to temperatures well below 10°C. They aren’t sturdy, and sustained cold temperatures can cause your living room palm to tip over or worse.
Repotting is one of the most stressful times for your living room palm, and care is needed to ensure the roots are not damaged. However, even with careful attention, it may take a few weeks for your Parlor Palm to adjust to its new home. Sometimes your parlor palm sags, other times it may have brown tips or it may simply stop growing for a while.
If you recently transplanted your palm tree, provide optimal conditions to help your plant recover. Avoid too much light and allow the soil to dry out a little more than normal for the first few weeks after transplanting. Read this article to learn more about how to properly repot your houseplants.
Lighting issues can cause your living room palm to flip, but it usually happens in conjunction with another issue.
Insufficient light leads to slower growth and small, stunted leaves. The leaves often turn a darker green at first as the plant tries to produce more chlorophyll and organize it more efficiently into the leaves.
Eventually the plant will not be able to maintain all of its foliage in low light conditions, and some of the foliage, usually lower and older, will begin to yellow and die, and your Parlor Palm may droop and look pretty sad.
Low light can also lead to symptoms of overwatering, as the Parlor Palm’s water requirements are greatly reduced in low light conditions. Parlor Palms work best in bright, indirect light. It’s usually brighter than most people imagine, so Read this article to learn more†
If your Parlor Palm is showing signs of low light, move it closer to a window. Even 1-2 hours of direct sunlight per day is good. Do not place your Parlor Palm in a location where it receives more direct sunlight.
If your parlor palm falls due to over-fertilization, you should be able to fix it fairly quickly. Look for crusts/salt deposits on the soil and brown leaf tips. Think about how often and how much fertilizer you gave your plant.
I generally recommend fertilizing Parlor Palms about once a month during the growing season. However, a lot depends on the type of fertilizer you use. I like to use a water soluble generalbalanced fertilizer† I do this in water with half the strength recommended for outdoor plants and apply once a month.
Organic fertilizers are another great option for providing longer-acting nutrients to plants and generally reducing the risk of over-fertilization. Keep in mind that fertilizers are necessary to prevent a nutrient deficiency in your plants, and adding more will not make your plant healthier or grow faster. Read my guide to fertilizing houseplants for more information.
Excess nutrients in the soil of your plants will eventually lead to root toxicity and reduced root function, causing your Parlor Palm to sag.
If you think you have over-fertilized your parlor palm, flush the soil with plenty of water to remove excess soil salts. Bring your plant to the sink and let the water run over the soil for 5 minutes. Then let the plant drain well before returning it to its normal location. I typically wash the Parlor Palm twice a year as part of general care to prevent salt buildup.
I hope this article has helped you understand why your Parlor Palm is falling and your plant will be on the mend very soon. As with so many houseplant problems, a careful examination of your plant will often lead to the answer to the problem.
This is the approach I use with all my plants and it often helps me catch problems before they negatively affect my plants. If you want to easily understand what your houseplants need and spot problems early, check out my book, easy houseplants† I cover everything you need to know for more confidence, enjoyment and success in growing houseplants.