Need some help/tips with repotting parlour palm - Chamaedorea elegans

Discussion in 'Outdoor Tropicals' started by webweaver, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. webweaver

    webweaver Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    I inherited this parlour palm from a friend about 5 years ago and it's done very well so far. Virtually all the leaves you see have grown since I first got it. It regularly produces "flowers" (the seed-head thingies) and always has a new leaf spike on the way. The roots are quite strange, as you can see - they appear to die off after a while, leaving a knobbly protuberance, with new roots appearing beneath the old ones.

    I'm a bit concerned about it because you can almost see daylight between the roots and the soil now (see pic 3), it's developing quite a lean (the trunk almost looks too slender to support the weight of the leaves) and recently it's not been able to accept as much water in the pot as it used to without overflowing. Over the past couple of weeks the leaves have begun to look pretty dried-out too (not changed colour or anything, just a bit... flat and thirsty-looking).

    I'm thinking it's pretty much outgrown its pot (which is pretty tiny, as you can see) so I bought a new one today (see pic 2). But - the new pot is huge! Much bigger than I thought it would be in comparison to the old one - and I'm concerned that this large a jump in size will not be good for my palm.

    So I have a few questions - firstly - do you think it needs repotting? I've read that parlour palms like to be quite pot-bound, but I'm just getting the feeling that it really isn't getting as much water as it needs any more.

    Secondly - when should I repot it (what time of year?) and is this new pot too big for it?

    Thirdly - should I cover up the old root knobs by increasing the height of the soil when I repot, or might this rot the stem?

    Thanks so much. Hope you can help.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    5,306
    Likes Received:
    304
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
    I suggest you ease the tree out of the pot to have a look at the root system and repot if it's root bound. If necessary transplant to a pot one size up from the current one. The new pot appears to be much too big; the soil will stay wet for longer periods which will inhibit root growth, or worse, promote root rot. I have a tree not quite as big as yours growing in a 6" pot.

    I wouldn't worry about the time of year for the transplant. Being indoors, these trees never seem to stop growing. Don't cover up the knobby roots but do add enough soil to cover up the exposed, fleshy ones.

    You noted your tree is starting to lean over. This happened to my tree as well as it aged and became top-heavy. Not much you can do other than giving it some support, perhaps with a stake. I air-layered my tree when it reached an unsightly height. This palm will produce roots using this method. You'll end up with a lush but shorter tree - one which you wouldn't have to stake.
     
  3. webweaver

    webweaver Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Thanks so much Junglekeeper - that's exactly the info I need. I'm planning to take the huge pot back to the store and see if I can swap it for a smaller one which will suit my palm much better. I'll be staking it when I repot it I think - it really does look like it's about to topple over! Thanks also for the soil level info - that's very helpful.
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    5,306
    Likes Received:
    304
    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
    You're welcome. Just to clarify...you should be filling in the air pocket underneath the exposed roots rather than just covering it up.
     

Share This Page