Why Parlor Palm Leaves Turning Brown – How to fix?

Parlor palm leaves turn brown due to low humidity, consistent watering, low levels of nutrients and high amount of chlorine in water. (1)

Trimming brown tips or edges may help to improve appearance of this houseplant, but you might see more drown and dry Parlor palm leaves if you don’t address the root cause.

Parlor palm also known as Chamaedora elegans are ornamental plants which thrive well in warmer seasons preferably in low light areas.

So, a little too much exposure to bright sunlight may scorch the leaves. When the plant is not getting the required amount of water you may witness parlor palm leaves turning brown.

It is a good practice to keep the air around the plant misted at all times. The plant likes a humid environment and moist soil. The plant however does not like the soil to be waterlogged.

Too much water may also cause the leaves of the Parlor Palm to turn brown.

So, Parlor Palm needs very less amounts of water, enough to just make the soil around the roots moist.

Sun, Water and Soil Requirements of Parlor Palm


Parlor Palm prefer low light conditions. They do like sunlight, but we could place them near areas or windows at our home which receive the early morning sunlight or late afternoon sunlight.

Though Parlor Palm like sunlight, a little too much sunlight may cause them sunburns. So, they can be planted in areas which don’t receive direct sunlight or in places where the plants can only feel the early morning sunlight and/or the late afternoon sunlight.


Parlor Palm need to be watered regularly, but too much water may give rise to a soggy soil and thus trigger root rot and many other diseases in the plant. So the plant takes very little water every day to live a happy and a beautiful life.

If the plant is placed in a pot, make sure the pot has a good water drainage system. Ensure that the pot has sufficient holes at the bottom for the water to drain.

However, the plant likes a warm and humid climate. So it is advisable to give a light misting to the air around the plant everyday in dry seasons.


Parlor Palm prefers loamy soils rather than sandy or clay soils.

  • Loamy soils are rich in nutrients, humus, moisture and are known to have a better drainage and infiltration of air and water.
  • Sandy soils have a tendency of draining water too quickly. This results in very low water retention ability in them and hence it is not suitable for the growth of parlor palm.
  • Clay rich soils have a tendency of retaining too much water in them and they have a very slow water draining ability.

This result in water-logging near the root of the plant which may lead to root rot and hence may not be suitable for its healthy growth.

Loamy soils are best suited for Parlor Palm as they have a very good water draining ability and also a very good water retention ability.

Why is Parlor Palm Leaves Turning Brown?

Parlor Palm is known as low-light palm. They cannot be actually called no-light palm however. They can thrive well in areas which receive bright filtered light and low-light as well.

Parlor Palm turning brown because of the stress it might be going through from:

  • Over-watering
  • Under-watering
  • Lighting Issues
  • Repotting
  • Pests
  • Quality and type of water
  • Temperature changes
  • Quality and quantity of fertilizers
  • Humidity

#1 Over-Watering Parlor Palm

Though Parlor Palm use more water in warm seasons, they don’t belong to the thirsty plants family.

So, over watering the plant may cause water-logging and the soil becomes soggy leading to root rot in the plant.

This may eventually kill the plant as the roots will start losing their ability and efficiency in absorbing all the essential nutrients and water from the soil.

There are several other symptoms of an over-watered Parlor Palm

  • Leaves and fronds start wilting.
  • You may start witnessing leaf discoloration in the plant i.e the leaves may start turning brown or yellow and start falling off before even drying.
  • Leaching of essential nutrients from the soil.
  • Younger leaves and newly growing leaves start turning brown.

Also Read: How Often to Water Peace Lily in Winter?

#2 Underwatering Parlor Palm Plant

The plant needs more water during summer and dry seasons. Below mentioned are symptoms parlor palm exhibit when they are under-watered namely:

  • Inefficient absorption of nutrients from the soil causing drooping of leaves.
  • Leaves turning yellow, pale green or brown.
  • You may start witnessing parlor palm brown crispy leaves.

Also Read: How Often to Water Angel Wing Begonia?

#3 Too Much Light or Low Light Causes Brown Leaves

Parlor Palm are slow growing plants even when kept under bright indirect sunlight. When they are allowed to grow under dim lights, their growth may be much slower.

If you are planning to grow the plant to only a certain height you may place the plant in a bright light area and then shift it to a low light area after it grows upto your desired height.

Well, the effects of lighting issues on the plant include:

  • Stunted growth
  • Browning tips
  • Direct sunlight may cause the leaves to scorch.

#4 Repotting Shock

The roots of the parlor palm are apparently small and weak. It is advisable not to repot the plant until the plants have developed strong roots that fill the whole pot.

While repotting, do not try to remove the old soil stuck in the roots of the plant.

Just remove the plant from its old pot gently, and then place it in another pot filled with enough new soil carefully. You may then cover the plant root with a little more soil on the top.

Generally, after repotting Parlor Palm develop brown tips. However, you may continue giving it the good care it needs, so that the plant soon recovers back to its normal health.

#5 Pests Can Turn Parlor Palm Leaves Brown

There are several symptoms that show the effects of pests on parlor palm.

A few of them are:

  • Sticky areas on the leaf
  • Deformed foliage
  • Spots on the leaf
  • Browning tips

Spider mites are the most common pests that come to reside in the dry, soily leaves and joints of the stem in Parlor Palm. Spider mites usually build a web on the leaves which eventually damages the foliage of the plant when not taken care with less harsh and less toxic pesticides.

Also Read: How Often to Water Anthurium?

#6 Water Quality

Parlor Palm are sensitive to mineralized water. If the water given to the parlor palm is rich in minerals added at the treatment plant, the leaves of the Parlor Palm may start turning brown.

#7 Temperature Impact on Parlor Palm Leaves

Parlor Palm need high temperatures for a uniform and fast germination of their seeds. They can survive quite well in cooler temperatures. However, they may perish in the frost.

#8 Low Levels of Nutrients in the Soil

As Parlor palm is known to grow and thrive well in warmer seasons, they will need more fertilization mostly during their growing season.

However, in cooler seasons you may rarely provide fertilization depending on the requirement as their growth process slows down.

In the winter season, when the intensity of light decreases, the plant growth slows down and hence the fertilizer needed will be a little less.

However, in the summer season, when the intensity of light increases, the plant growth becomes rapid and the need for fertilizer also increases.

If there is an excess of fertilizers added to the plant, the water in the soil becomes very salty and the roots of the plant get burnt gradually and there will be a whitish layer deposited on the surface of the medium the plant is growing at the rim of the container.

#9 Low Humidity

When low humidity levels are combined with less moisture content in the soil, the plant gradually becomes dry and develops brown tips.

Also Read: Why Are the Leaves Falling Off My Angel Wing Begonia?

How to Avoid Parlor Palm Leaf Tip Turning Brown & Dry?

How to avoid brown tips due to lighting issues?

  • In summers, if you are planning to keep your plant under the sun, make sure the plant gets enough shade as well. Just ensure that the plant is not exposed too much to the sunlight as it can scorch the leaves easily.
  • The plant can survive with a little sunlight everyday. It is better if the plant gets only the early morning sunlight or the feeble sunlight in the evening.

How to avoid brown tips due to overwatering?

  • Before watering the parlor palm, ensure that the topsoil near the roots of the plant is dry enough to accept watering.
  • You may do this by sticking your finger 1-2 inches into the soil near the roots of the plant.
  • If you find the soil to be still moist, wait for a day and then repeat the second step again.
  • Once you find the soil to be dry, you may water the plant again.

How to avoid brown tips due to underwatering?

  • You may start witnessing brown tips in the leaves of parlor palm due to dry soil and also if the air around the plant is quite dry as discussed earlier.
  • You could practice the manual way(shown in the previous section for overwatering) of checking the moisture content in the soil and watering the plant once you find the soil is ready to accept watering.
  • You could keep humidifying the air around the plant with a spray bottle to give a moist or a more humid environment to encourage the healthy growth of the plant as it is a tropical plant.
  • Generally, tropical plants prefer warm and humid climates to live a healthy and a happy life and to keep smiling always.

How to avoid brown tips due to repotting?

  • It is advisable to re-pot at the beginning of the growing season.
  • Even when repotting make sure the pot is just one size more than its previous one. If the pot is bigger, the moisture retention will be more and hence may lead to brown tips. So pot size needs to be big enough to just fit the root ball comfortably inside the pot.
  • Do not try to change the soil composition and be gentle with the soil stuck to the roots from the old pot.
  • You may just keep the bottom ready with some fresh soil and also you may add some fresh soil on the sides of the root after placing the plant in the new pot.

How to avoid brown tips due to pests?

  • If small plants are infested with pests, they can be immersed in a low toxic and safe horticultural soap solution.
  • If the plant is big enough to immerse in a soap solution, the plant can be sprayed with the solution thoroughly to reach all the parts of the plant. Repeating this process once a week for a month will bring your plant out of infestation.

Also Read: Why My Pieris Leaves Turning Yellow?

How to avoid brown tips due to quality and type of water?

  • If tips are turning brown for unexplainable reasons, then try switching over to filtered water, distilled water or rain water.
  • As the water from the water board may contain chlorine or chloramine, it may cause the plant to develop brown tips.

How to avoid brown tips due to temperature changes?

The plant likes to live in a warm daytime temperature and prefers to cool down by night.

It prefers temperatures between 290C and 320C during day time.

How to avoid brown tips due to quality and quantity of fertilizers?

  • It is advisable to use a diluted mixture of fertilizer, in case you are using a liquid fertilizer.
  • It is a good practice to use organic fertilizers. Even if they are accidentally feeded more to the plant, they are less likely to damage the plant.
  • Fertilizers can be added twice to the plant during summers.
  • Fertilizers rich in nitrogen work well on the growth of parlor palm.

How to avoid brown tips due to humidity?

Parlor palm like humid air.

If the air surrounding the plant is humidified provided the soil is watered thoroughly and regularly, there are low chances of parlor palm tips turning brown.

Important Tips

  • If you do not like the looks of the brown tips of the parlor palm, you may cut the brown tip off. You need not cut too much into the green region of the frond as this may cause the brown tips to recur. You may cut as much as you can leave a brown border on the frond.
  • It is advisable to wait until the frond is turning completely brown, as the plant may be still getting energy from the fronds turning brown. Once the fronds have turned completely brown, you may chop the entire frond off.


There are various factors that may cause browning and drying of parlor palm plant leaves.

Consider checking its watering frequency, growing medium, lightening requirements and temperature.

Reach the root cause and get rid of it to revive parlor palm plant leaves.