With their low-maintenance needs and amazing benefits, parlor palms (Chamaedorea elegans) are fantastic indoor palm trees for your home. So when your parlor palm’s leaves start turning yellow, it can be frustrating. In this article, I’ll look at ten common reasons for yellowing leaves on parlor palms and how to fix them.

My Parlor Palm Leaves Turning Yellow

10 Common Reasons for Yellowing Leaves on Parlor Palm Plants:

1) Underwatering

The most common reason why parlor palm leaves turn yellow is due to underwatering. These plants like to stay slightly moist but also prefer to dry out a bit between waterings. However, they dry out more quickly in hotter, drier climates, especially during the summer.

The main symptoms of underwatering include drooping, yellowing leaves, and stunted growth. The soil may also be dry or cracked and will start pulling away from the edges of the pot. To combat underwatering, water parlor palms whenever the top 2 inches of soil feel dry to combat underwatering.

When watering, always use room-temperature water. These tropical indoor palms can suffer from severe shock if watered with cold water.

2) Overwatering

Parlor palm leaves may also turn yellow if the plant is watered too frequently. Overwatering harms healthy growth and can lead to problems like root rot. These palms like moist, well-draining soils and hate being waterlogged.

If your palm has drooping leaves or smelly, mushy roots, it’s probably suffering from overwatering. You may have to improve the drainage of the soil by adding some perlite or coarse sand. Avoid watering unless the top 2 inches of soil feel dry.

3) Wrong Temperature or Humidity

Although parlor palms are low-maintenance, they need specific temperatures and humidity levels to truly thrive. These palms like warm temperatures between 65 and 80ºF. Chamaedorea elegans plants also like moderate to high humidity levels between 40 and 70%.

They will struggle in cold temperatures and may suffer from yellowing leaves that drop off. In dry air, parlor palms will develop brown leaf tips and wilting leaves. Use humidifiers to increase ambient humidity and keep your palm away from cold or dry drafts.

4) Too Much Direct Sunlight

When exposed to too much direct sunlight, parlor palms may also suffer from yellowing leaves. These palms should receive four to six hours of bright, indirect light every morning. These adaptable indoor palms can also tolerate low-light conditions.

The leaves can burn or turn yellow when exposed to too much direct afternoon sunlight, especially during hot summers. As such, it’s best to position your parlor palm approximately 3 feet away from an east or south-facing window.

5) Not Enough Sunlight

Although parlor palms can tolerate low-light conditions, they will struggle if they don’t receive enough light. Plants that aren’t getting enough sunlight will develop yellow leaves. These plants may also suffer from leggy or stunted growth as they can’t photosynthesize properly.

If your palm has leggy growth, move it to a different position that provides more bright, indirect sunlight. Avoid placing parlor palms in north-facing rooms, as these areas may not provide enough light. East or south-facing rooms provide the ideal amount of light.

6) Poor Soil Drainage

Parlor palms may also develop yellow leaves if left growing in the wrong soil. These palm plants require loose, well-draining soils that still retain some moisture. However, they will struggle in dense soils with poor drainage and quickly become waterlogged.

If your parlor palm has yellow or drooping leaves and rotting roots, the soil probably isn’t providing enough drainage. Repot the plant into a looser soil mix. I find that a combination of houseplant potting mix or coco coir and some coarse sand or perlite works pretty well.

7) Nutrient Deficiency

A lack of essential nutrients can also cause parlor palm leaves to turn yellow. These palms need nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus to produce strong, healthy growth. Fertilizers can help replenish these nutrients as your palm grows.

Parlor palms that aren’t getting enough nutrients will have yellow leaves and stunted or weak growth. Fertilize once a month during the spring and summer. Use liquid fertilizers and dilute them according to the instructions on the packet.

8) Too Much Fertilizer

Although parlor palms need extra nutrition, too much fertilizer can actually damage these plants. Fertilizers are often made using powerful chemicals and salts. If left undiluted, these products can burn your palm. Fertilizer chemicals can also build up in the soil over time.

If your palm has yellow leaves with brown, crispy tips, you may be over-fertilizing it. Feed once a month during spring and summer. Always dilute fertilizers before applying them to the soil. Parlor palms need little or no fertilizer during the winter as they naturally go dormant.

9) Transplant Shock

Parlor palms grow fairly slowly, which means that repotting can be a stressful experience for them. After being repotted, the palm may exhibit wilting or yellowing leaves for a few weeks. This is a natural reaction as the plant acclimatizes to its new pot.

Repot every two to three years during the spring. After a month or so, remove any yellow leaves. However, if the leaves continue to turn yellow, there may be a problem. Examine your palm to determine the cause and take appropriate action.

10) Diseases or Pests

Parlor palm leaves may also turn yellow if the plant is afflicted with pests or diseases. Fungal diseases like root rot or leaf spot are most likely to turn palm leaves yellow or brown. Common pests include mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites.
Most fungal diseases can be treated using organic fungicides. Eliminate pests using horticultural oils or insecticidal soap. However, prevention is always the best cure, so provide your palm with optimal conditions to help it thrive.

Parlor Palm Yellow Leaves FAQs

How Do You Fix Yellow Parlor Palm Leaves?

To fix yellow parlor palm leaves, examine the plant to determine the cause. If the leaves are droopy and the soil is wet, overwatering is the problem. If the soil is dry, your palm isn’t getting enough water. Adjust your watering schedule to compensate and remove the yellow leaves.

Should I Cut Off Yellow Parlor Palm Leaves?

When the leaves of your parlor palm turn yellow, it’s best to cut them off. Once leaves have turned yellow, they won’t turn green again, even if you fix the original problem.

Why Is My Parlor Palm Turning Yellow and Brown?

If your palm has yellowing leaves with brown, crispy tips, it’s likely suffering from overwatering or underwatering. Brown leaf tips can also be caused by too much direct sunlight or too much fertilizer.

What Does An Overwatered Parlor Palm Look Like?

Parlor palms that are suffering from overwatering typically have yellowing, drooping leaves. Overwatering often causes root rot, so the roots may also be brown, mushy, and smelly.

Can Yellow Parlor Palm Leaves Turn Green Again?

Unfortunately, palm leaves won’t turn green again once they’ve turned yellow. As such, it’s best to remove them to help your plant recover and concentrate on healthier leaves.

Yellowing Leaves on Parlor Palms – Wrapping Up

Parlor palms can develop yellow leaves for several reasons. The most common causes are underwatering, overwatering, and exposure to too much direct sunlight. Parlor palm leaves can also turn yellow due to transplant shock or exposure to the wrong temperature or humidity.

Contributing Editor | Full Bio | + posts

Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.

Author Edward Hodsdon

Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.

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