The parlor palm, also known as the bamboo palm, is one of the most popular types of indoor palms. Its long trunks and delicate fronds add visual appeal, and its east-to-care-for nature makes it a breeze to keep alive. In addition, the parlor palm has many exciting uses and benefits!
- About Parlor Palms
- The Uses and Benefits of Parlor Palms
- Parlor Palm Benefits – The Final Word
About Parlor Palms
The parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) is also known as the bamboo palm. It is native to tropical forests in Central America, especially those in Mexico and Guatemala. The Chamaedorea genus contains numerous other types of palms.
The parlor palm has clumps of thin trunks that are topped with thin-leaved fronds. The plant can grow up to 15 feet tall in the wild, but it typically maxes out at six feet tall when grown indoors.
Although the plant is native to Central America, it is now kept as a houseplant throughout the world. Parlor palms can thrive indoors in warm areas with bright yet indirect light.
They like soil that is on the drier side and can suffer if they are watered too often. Therefore, they are perfect for slightly forgetful plant lovers.
The Uses and Benefits of Parlor Palms
1. Air Purifying Properties
Perhaps the most famous study involving plants’ abilities to purify the air is NASA’s clean air study. This study looked at 12 different plants and their ability to remove trichloroethylene, benzene, and formaldehyde from the air.
One of the plants in the study was the bamboo palm, aka the parlor palm. Results showed that the palm removed more formaldehyde than all of the other plants. It also removed substantial amounts of benzene and trichloroethylene.
This study suggests that the parlor palm may also be able to remove other toxins from the air. However, it is important to note that the NASA study occurred in sealed chambers. Therefore, large amounts of plants would be required to remove sizable air pollution from a room.
2. Use in Feng Shui
The parlor palm can be used in Feng Shui to bring good energy into the home. The plant’s placement will determine its exact impact.
By looking at the Bagua map, you can determine the impact of the plant’s placement. Placing a parlor palm in the southwest corner of a room (kun) can increase the health of relationships and marriage. And putting a palm on the north side (kan) can improve career opportunities.
It’s important to remember that dying plants will still bring bad energy. So make sure to keep your parlor palm healthy!
3. Easy to Grow
The parlor palm is an easy-to-grow plant that doesn’t require any special care. It can thrive in the indirect light found in many indoor spaces.
Regarding temperature and humidity, the parlor palm can typically grow just fine in an average house. If anything, it may require a small boost in humidity. However, this is easy to do with the help of a humidifier.
The plants like moist soil but can handle moderate swings in soil moisture. Your palm will likely be fine if you use a well-draining soil mix and water before the soil is completely dry. You’ll want to consider repotting every 2 to 3 years when your parlor palm has outgrown the current potting vessel.
4. May Reduce Stress
Numerous studies have shown that plants can help improve our mental health and reduce stress. One study had participants either repot a plant or complete a computer task. Results showed that the individuals who interacted with the plant had lower levels of physiological and psychological stress than those who worked on the computer.
However, you don’t necessarily have to touch your plant to experience a stress reduction. Another study looked at the role plants played in the stress levels of those in hospital waiting rooms. The results showed that simply looking at the plants helped reduce stress levels.
So if you’re feeling burnt out by work or looking to relax, consider placing a parlor plant in your home. Looking at its delicate fronds and caring for it may help reduce your stress levels.
5. No Flowers to Deal With
While flowering plants are beautiful, they also take work to care for. You need to encourage the plants to flower and then remove old flowers. Plus, the frustration you experience when a plant refuses to flower is real!
Parlor palms provide plenty of beauty without any flowers. Their gorgeous fronds are easy to enjoy, no flowers required. We will note that these plants can produce flowers, but they rarely do so when grown indoors.
6. Can Serve as a Statement Plant
There are all kinds of beautiful houseplants out there, and it can be challenging to choose between them. But if you’re looking for a big plant to fill an empty corner or make your home feel like a tropical oasis, the parlor palm is a good choice.
The plants can grow upwards of six feet tall indoors—as long as you provide the proper environment and care. Place it in a large ceramic pot, and you’ve got a true conversation piece!
Like with all plants, the better care you provide, the bigger the plant will grow.
7. May Improve Focus
We’ve all had trouble focusing at one time or another. You know what may help improve that focus? A parlor palm!
A 2014 study looked at the differences between office spaces that were relatively bare and those that had plants. Results showed that individuals in the offices with plants experienced better concentration as well as workplace satisfaction.
Another study examined the different impacts of no plants, photos of plants, and live plants. Results showed that live plants led to the best attention as well as overall positive mood.
Since parlor palms are larger houseplants, they provide lots of greenery. Therefore, they may provide a sizeable increase in focus and productivity.
8. May Help with Recovery
If you’re recovering from an illness or injury, placing a parlor palm in your home may help you get back to good health more quickly.
A 2009 study examined the impact that plants had on hospital patients that were recovering from thyroidectomy. The study participants were either placed left to recover in a barren room or in a room with plants and flowers.
Results showed that those in the room with plants reported lower levels of anxiety, consumed less pain medication, and shorter hospitalizations.
9. Safe for Pets
If you have dogs or cats at home, you likely know that many houseplants are toxic to our pets. However, you don’t have to worry about bringing a parlor palm into your pet filled home!
The ASPCA lists the parlor palm as non-toxic to both dogs and cats. While you should never encourage you pets to eat your houseplants, you don’t have to worry about their health if they nibble on a parlor palm frond.
10. Can Tolerate Various Light Conditions
While parlor palms prefer bright, indirect light, they can tolerate other types of light conditons. The only light they can’t tolerate is lots of direct sunlight or darkness.
Some locations where this plant can thrive include the interior of a bright room or near an east-facing window. They can also work well in front of a bright south-facing window as long as the light is filtered through a sheer curtain.
11. Beautiful Fronds
The beautiful fronds of the parlor palm plant are often used in Christan Palm Sunday celebrations. While parlor palms were probably not used during the original Palm Sunday, they work well in the modern age.
People cut the fronds and then use them either fresh or dried during celebrations. Sometimes, the fronds are woven into shapes such as crosses. Other times people wave them in the air during processions.
Parlor Palm Benefits – The Final Word
The parlor palm is a low-maintenance houseplant that provides many uses and benefits. It can improve air quality, reduce stress, and grow well in various conditions and locations.
Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.