When and How to Repot a Parlor Palm (Essential Tips)

Parlor Palms (aka Chamaedorea elegans) make excellent ornamental houseplants in the home or office and, for the most part, are generally easy to care for. For these indoor palms to continue to thrive, you’ll need to consider repotting every two to three years. This guide will go through everything you need to know about when and how to repot your Parlor Palm plant at home.

When and How to Repot a Parlor Palm (Essential Tips)

Repotting Parlor Palms – the Essentials

Smaller Parlor Palms require repotting once every 18 months in early spring, while older plants only need repotting every three years, depending on their growth rate. Choose a new pot large enough to accommodate the plant’s size and growth rate. Repot into well-draining soil and water after repotting.

Why Repotting Parlor Palm Plants is Necessary

Why Repotting Parlor Palm Plants is Necessary

Repotting may seem like another care task to tick off the list, but the process is essential for your plant’s health and continued growth. 

There are many reasons why repotting is necessary, but these three are the most important:


Plants are not designed to grow in containers. Roots continue to grow and extend over time to help the plant grow. Once they have taken up all the available space in a pot, they have nowhere else to go.

Parlor Palms that are root bound will have roots circling around the bottom of the pot or growing through the drainage holes. After a while, the plant will stop growing altogether.

Repotting gives your Parlor Palm the boost of growth it needs to reach its full potential.


As roots take up more and more space in the soil and use up all the available nutrients, soil quality begins to degrade. The structure slowly breaks down, unable to hold enough moisture or nutrients to feed the plant or hold the roots in place.

If you’ve kept your Parlor Palm in the same pot for a while, it will eventually need a soil refresh.

Pests & Diseases

Repotting is not usually an urgent activity, but it can be in the case of pest and disease problems.

Many pests and diseases are soil-borne and hide out around your plant’s roots, causing havoc. The quickest and most effective way to remove them from the soil is to repot.

How Often Do Parlor Palm Plants Need Repotting? 

How Often Do Parlor Palm Plants Need Repotting? 

While Parlor Palms will appreciate more space in their pots, they are not fond of changes in the environment and often go into shock when repotted. Rather than religiously repotting older plants each year, it’s best to wait until they really need it.

Parlor Palms are often happy to remain in their current potting vessel for several years once they reach a stage of maturity when grown indoors. That’s why we recommend only considering repotting every two to three years once the roots have maxed out the available space in their current pot. 

A good option in the interim periods is to consider replenishing the topsoil with fresh potting mix and working into the container. Simply remove the top two or three inches of topsoil and add in your new mix. 

When you see your palm’s roots begin to stick out of the bottom drainage holes of their current container, it is a clear indicator that it needs to be repotted. If the soil around your palm tree looks sticky, it is also an indicator that the palm tree needs to be repotted. As noted, this is typically every two to three years for mature plants. 

Best Times of Year to Consider Repotting

Repot your Parlor Palm in early spring, just as the growing season kicks off. Repotting can cause shock, so the quicker your plant can recover from any potential damage, the better.

You can repot any time of year if you need to repot urgently due to stunted growth or pest and disease issues. In these cases, repotting will be better for the plant’s health than waiting. However, make sure you do so carefully to limit growth issues later on.

The Best Soil Mix When Repotting Parlor Palm Plants

The Best Soil Mix When Repotting Parlor Palm Plants

Soil is the foundation of good growth. Incorrect soil mixes can cause various issues with your plants, some of them irreparable. Your soil mix must be suitable for your plants.

Parlor Palms need a soil mix that is airy and well-draining. A slightly acidic pH between 5.5 and 7 is preferred, but the drainage properties of your soil are far more essential to consider.

Specialized houseplant soil is available to purchase at your local nursery or online and should be suitable for Parlor Palms. However, these mixes can be pretty pricey. Depending on the size of your plant, you will likely need a lot of soil when repotting.

A far more cost-effective option is to make your own soil mix. Not only is it cheaper in the long run (you can use the same components when repotting other houseplants), but it also allows you to tailor your soil mix perfectly to the needs of the plant and the environmental conditions in your home.

Houseplant soil mixes are typically a combination of these components:

  • Peat moss: Retains moisture and lightens mixture.
  • Coconut coir: A sustainable alternative to peat moss with the same properties.
  • Perlite: White rocks of expanded volcanic glass that improve drainage by increasing the spaces between soil particles.
  • Bark: Larger pieces that also improve drainage and soil structure.

If you’d like to make your own parlor palm potting soil, you’ll only need three components: peat moss, perlite, and sand.

The peat moss will help hold water and nutrients while also lowering the pH. Both the perlite and sand will help with drainage and aeration.

To make the mix, combine the following:

  • Two parts peat moss
  • One part perlite
  • One part sand

Make sure to thoroughly combine the components before adding the mix to a pot.

The Best Pre-Mixed Soils for Parlor Palms

When looking for pre-mixed soil for your parlor palm, you’ll want to look for a peat moss or coco coir-based mix. You’ll also want to check that the soil contains materials that allow excess water to drain.

Here are a few mixes that will work well for parlor palms:

(Editors Note: Petal Republic participates in partnership programs with Amazon and other merchants to help connect readers with relevant products and services we may recommend).

What Tools Will I Need When Repotting a Parlor Palm Plant

Depending on the size of your Parlor Palm, repotting can be tricky. Make sure you have these tools prepared before you get started:

  • Enough soil mix to fill the entire pot.
  • Floor covering to gather the old soil and prevent mess.
  • A new pot with plenty of drainage holes.
  • A friend to help you lift the tree if it is too large or heavy.

Size & Types of Potting Vessel Considerations

Size & Types of Potting Vessel Considerations

Container Size

The general rule for houseplant repotting is to choose a container one to two sizes up at most. This prevents the excess soil from holding too much moisture and rotting the roots. Some plants also grow best when they’re cramped, so a smaller pot size can improve growth.

However, Parlor Palms are accustomed to growing several feet tall, these plants grow relatively quickly and have extensive root systems, so you can be a little generous with your next potting vessel. 

Like other houseplants, they don’t mind being slightly root-bound. However, if you want them to reach the towering heights they often do indoors, they will need tons of space in the pot to expand.

The size of your new pot will depend on your plant’s current size and growth rate. If you are repotting every two years, choose a new pot that will accommodate this growth rate. Don’t go far too large, but make sure it is large enough to give the roots enough space to expand.


Parlor Palms will be happiest in a material that drains well, such as terra cotta, stone, or granite.

Make sure your container has enough drainage holes to prevent root rot. You can use containers without drainage holes as pot covers, but larger Parlor Palms can be tricky to remove for watering and become more of a hassle than they’re worth.

How to Repot Your Parlor Palm Plant

How to Repot Your Parlor Palm Plant
  1. Lay down newspaper or plastic sheeting to keep the floor clean. You may need to lay larger trees on their side, so make sure you have enough space around you.
  2. Gently squeeze the sides of the pot to loosen the soil and release the plant.
  3. Tipping the container on its side, gently pull the plant out from the base. Do not pull from the top branches as this can damage the leaves and doesn’t provide enough leverage. If your tree is several feet tall, ask a friend to help.
  4. Prepare the new container by filling the bottom layer with soil. You can use the empty old pot to measure how high the soil should be at the bottom to meet the roots.
  5. Tease the roots of your Parlor Palm gently to release them and lower the plant into the pot. Holding it steady and straight up, fill around the gaps with the remaining soil mix. If you want to support any branches with a stake, install it now.
  6. Fill the pot to a few inches below the rim. This ensures no soil spills out when watering. Press down gently around the base to anchor the plant in place and eliminate large air pockets.

Post Repotting Care 

Always water your Parlor Palm immediately after repotting to limit shock and encourage new root growth. Place the plant back in the same spot it was in initially to prevent any further stress due to changes in conditions. Parlor Palms thrive best in warm and moderately humid locations and receive plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. In suitable climates, these also make excellent potted palm trees for outdoor areas.

Any signs of stress, such as yellowing or wilting leaves, should fix themselves after a few weeks. Don’t change your care routine during this time, as it will only further the problem. After about a month, if it has not resolved itself, look for the cause and rectify it. It’s also prudent to lay off fertilizing your plant for a few months so it can settle naturally into its new potting vessel. 

For more, see our in-depth guide on where to position Parlor palms in the home for optimal care and Feng Shui benefits.

Repotting Parlor Palms FAQs:

Should I soak my Parlor Palm before repotting?

Some houseplants benefit from soaking before repotting to make the roots more pliable. However, it’s better to hold off on watering for a few days before when it comes to Parlor Palms. This makes the plant easier to remove from the pot and allows you to remove the old soil quickly.

Should you water Parlor Palms immediately after repotting?

Watering immediately is vital, especially if your soil is not pre-moistened. Plant roots do not like being exposed to the air, and this watering will limit the stress of repotting, encouraging new growth.

Do Palor Palm plants like big pots?

Choose a pot one or two sizes up at most when repotting. Parlor Palms generally prefer a snug fit in their potting vessel.

Why is my Parlor Palm limp after repotting?

Repotting can result in shock, which may cause the leaves and stems to turn limp. If the plant is in the same conditions and has enough water, there is no need to worry. It should return to normal after the period of adjustment.

Should I mist my Parlor Palm after repotting?

Misting is not required after repotting, but it may help clean up the leaves and remove any debris. The excess moisture can also help relieve the plant after exposure to the air, but regular watering will also do the trick.

Wrap Up

Any Parlor Palm owner will need to repot their beloved plant at some point. But it doesn’t have to be the tedious task some make it out to be. With a new pot, a fresh soil mix, and a few minutes of time, your plant will be far happier in its new pot home.

If you’re looking for your next Parlor Palm plant, see our in-depth guide to the best plant shops delivering Parlor Palms nationwide.

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