Parlor Palm Sunburn: Symptoms, Remedies & Prevention Tips

Parlor Palm sunburn can happen more often than you would think, especially if you move an indoor Parlor Palm outside or to a new location with more direct sunlight.

Common symptoms include irregular spots on the leaves with brown centers and yellow halos, wilting leaves, and browning edges on the leaves. It’s easier to avoid sunburn in the first place as affected leaves will need to be removed as they will eventually die.

Keep reading to learn all about Parlor Palm sunburn, including what it actually is, how it affects the plant, and what you can do about it.

Can Plants Actually Get Sunburn?

Sunburn on plants, also known as leaf sunscald or scorch, occurs when plant leaves are exposed to excessive sunlight or abruptly subjected to bright light conditions. It is a common issue that can affect various types of plants from Hoyas to Christmas Cacti, including our beloved Parlor Palms.

Just like humans, plants can also suffer from sunburn when they receive too much sunlight. An increase in sunlight increases water loss from the leaves via transpiration, and if the roots are unable to supply water quickly enough to the leaves, then they will become scorched.

The affected leaves may exhibit light tan to white discoloration on their surfaces and, in some cases, even on the stems of the plant.

Sunburn can happen to both indoor and outdoor plants. For indoor plants, it can occur when we move them to a significantly brighter spot or when we bring them home from a greenhouse or plant shop with different lighting conditions.

In the case of outdoor plants, extended heatwaves with intense sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause sunburn, sometimes even in well-established plantings.

It’s essential that we take care of our plants and protect them from sunburn, as it can cause damage to their delicate leaves and affect their overall health.

In the following sections, we’ll learn how to identify the symptoms of sunburn in Parlor Palms, discuss some remedies, and share tips for preventing it in the future.

Identifying Parlor Palm Sunburn (Key Symptoms)

As Parlor Palm enthusiasts, we know how important it is to identify the signs of sunburn in our beloved plants early on.

Here are the most common symptoms of sunburn in Parlor Palms.

Yellow/Brown Spots

One of the first indicators of sunburn in Parlor Palms is the appearance of yellow or brown spots on their leaves.

Parlor Palm leaves up close
What Healthy Parlor Palm Leaves Should Look Like

These spots may initially be small and scattered but could become larger and more widespread if sun exposure continues. They usually have a brown center with a yellow halo, but as they develop the coloring can become disjointed.

Wilting Leaves

Parlor Palms thrive in low light environments and naturally prefer shaded areas. If exposed to too much direct sunlight, their leaves may begin to wilt and show signs of dehydration.

In some cases, the leaves may become more elongated and lose their natural shape.

Browning of Leaf Margins

Another common symptom of sunburn in Parlor Palms is the browning of leaf margins, which occurs when the edges of the leaves become crispy and discolored.

Remedies for Sunburned Parlor Palms

We understand that sunburn can be a real problem for your Parlor Palm, but don’t worry—we have some helpful tips for aiding its recovery.

Move To Shade

First and foremost, make sure to move your sunburned plant to a shaded, cooler location. This will protect it from further sun damage and allow it to focus on healing.

In addition to providing relief from the sun, it’s important to maintain the proper humidity levels.

Parlor Palms can tolerate a range of humidity levels, but higher humidity (around 60%) will help to reduce transpiration from the leaves, which will fight against the loss of moisture due to sunburn.

Watering Adjustments

Proper watering is absolutely essential for sunburned Parlor Palms.

Always make sure the soil is consistently moist but not soggy, as over-watering can lead to root rot. We recommend using the following watering routine:

  1. Check the soil moisture. Gently press your finger into the soil about an inch deep. If it feels dry, it’s time to water.
  2. Water thoroughly. Water the plant until the excess drains out the bottom of the pot, ensuring the roots are sufficiently hydrated.
  3. Allow the soil to dry slightly. Wait until the soil is somewhat dry before watering again to prevent root rot and the proliferation of other problems.

Watering thoroughly after sunburn helps to restore moisture to the leaves and slow down further damage that may occur.

Leaf Treatment

Leaves on your Parlor Palm that are affected by sunburn will have to be removed eventually, as they will die.

There are some arguments for letting the leaves drop off on their own, but the choice is yours. I prefer to prune mine away, but it’s a personal choice.

Preventing Sunburn On Parlor Palms

Any factor that affects the uptake of water to the leaves can potentially lead to sunburn or at least make it more likely to occur.

Obviously, sun exposure is also a major factor, so let’s take a look at the methods you can use to prevent sunburn from occurring in the first place.

Optimal Sun Exposure

To maintain the health of our parlor palms, it’s essential to provide them with the right amount of sun exposure. Parlor palms thrive in bright, indirect sunlight to shaded positions.

Some Parlor Palms, especially those grown outside that are mature, can deal with direct sunlight better, but there is always a risk of sun scorch.

Indoor Environmental Factors

In addition to optimal sun exposure, parlor palms will benefit from several indoor environmental factors. Some essential aspects for us to consider include the following:

  • Humidity: Parlor palms thrive in a medium to high-humidity environment. A great option to increase humidity is to place the potted plant on a tray filled with pebbles and water, ensuring the bottom of the pot doesn’t touch the water.
  • Temperature: Keep the temperature in a range between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoiding extreme temperature fluctuations will prevent any risk of sunburn or other damage to the leaves.
  • Watering: Maintain a consistent watering schedule for your parlor palms. It’s crucial to avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot. Water when the top 1 inch of soil feels dry, and make sure the container has proper drainage to prevent waterlogging.
  • Soil: Use a well-draining soil mix that maintains aeration for the roots even after a thorough soaking. If the soil doesn’t drain well enough, consider adding sand or perlite to improve drainability.

By considering these indoor environmental factors and providing our parlor palms with the right balance of sun exposure, we can successfully prevent sunburn and promote healthy, lush foliage.

Will A Sunburned Parlor Palm Die?

A sunburned parlor palm may not die immediately, but it can suffer long-term consequences if not treated properly. We encourage you to take prompt action when you notice the signs of sunburn on your parlor palm.

In many cases, sunburned parlor palms can recover and regain their beauty with proper care and attention; they will simply lose the leaves that were affected by sunburn and that’s about it.

When treating a sunburned parlor palm, our first tip is to move the plant to a shadier location, away from direct sunlight. Parlor palms prefer indirect light, so a spot near a north- or east-facing window is ideal. Once you’ve relocated your plant, trim away the severely sunburned leaves to allow the plant to focus its energy on new, healthy growth.

In addition to relocating and pruning your parlor palm, it is crucial to maintain consistent watering habits. Water your parlor palm when the top inch of soil feels dry, and be sure not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.

Maintaining proper humidity levels is also important; placing your plant near a humidifier or using a pebble tray filled with water can help increase humidity.

In Summary

If you think your Parlor Palm is being affected by sunburn, move it to a shadier location and water it thoroughly.

From there, prune any affected leaves and give it a week or two to see how your plant responds. If the remaining leaves are happy then find a more permanent place with bright, indirect sunlight and continue as normal.

In very severe cases sunburn can lead to death, but it takes a lot of neglect and this shouldn’t be the case if you watch over your plant closely.

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About Me

Hi, I'm Joe! I'm the head of SEO and content management at Bloom and Bumble. I'm a huge plant lover and over the years my home has become more like an indoor rainforest. It has taken a lot of trial and error to keep my plants healthy and so I'm here to share my knowledge to the rest of the world.

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