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Neanthe Bella (Parlor) Palm

Question:

Hi!  I have a Neanthe Bella Palm that I am trying to save.  My friend got it in a floral arrangement for her husband’s funeral and she didn’t water it for about 6 weeks.  It’s very, very dry.  I re-potted it in a 6″ terra cotta pot, watered it thoroughly, and have it near a north facing window but not in direct sunlight.  I have not purchased fertilizer for it yet but I will.  What kind of fertilizer do you recommend?  And, my main Question: — do I need to do anything else to try to save this plant?  It’s still green but so very dry and brittle. Thank you for your help!

Answer:

It is hard to believe that your Parlor Palm is still alive after going six weeks without water! Any fronds that are dry and brittle will probably not recover. Each palm stem has a single growing tip at the top. If that tip remains green and produces new growth, then your plant will survive and gradually recover, eve as the lower fronds die back. But if that growing tip turns brown and dies, then that stem will not ever recover.

North window light is good for a Parlor Palm as long as the window is completely uncovered throughout the daylight hours. Allow the top half-inch of soil to dry before watering thoroughly. It is essential that the pot has drainage holes for any excess water to run through.

Fertilizer is not medicine and is intended for use only on healthy plants that are growing vigorously, so avoid using it on yours. Be very patient, because recovery will be very slow at best.