Kentia Palm or Howea Forsteriana is among the easiest plants to care for. It is also a tolerant houseplant, giving your interior a beach feel as well as a focal point for everyone getting to the room. The Kentia Palm comes with a thin and slender trunk propping the feather-shaped and drooping fronds. When the conditions are right, you will get a beautiful flower between October and December.
To grow a Kentia Palm, water it once a week, keeping the soil moist but not soggy. It prefers warm temperatures between 65ºF(18.3ºC) and 85ºF(29.4ºC). Kentia Palm also thrives in rich and well-aerated soil that drains water efficiently to remain moist. Place your plant at a brightly lit spot but away from direct sunlight to avoid scorching the leaves.
Kentia palm is a tall, full, and majestic indoor plant with a tropical vibe from the lush fans of foliage. This slow grower also acts as an air purifier and will reward you with plush fronds when you pay attention to the conditions it requires to thrive.
Here is a detailed guide on the conditions you should provide to guarantee a beautiful and green Kentia Palm.
Basic Care and Growing Guidelines for a Kentia Palm
Water your Kentia palm once a week during the hot and dry summer. Ensure that the soil remains moist by only watering when you notice that the top 1-2 inches get dry. Remember, the soil and the pot used must support this frequent watering by providing adequate drainage.
As a tropical variety, Kentia palm requires soaking once in a while. Sprinkle water onto the pot until it begins dripping from the drainage holes at the bottom. Place the pot onto a drainage tray to allow the excess water to clear. Such flushing also helps to clear chemicals coming from fertilizers, pesticides, and fluoridated water, among other causes.
Use rain, filtered, or aged water to protect the leaves and the soil from damage by chemicals. You’ll begin to notice that the soil begins to turn white when the level of chemicals has exceeded the usual health standards. Nevertheless, flushing the soil using fluoridated water will not make any difference.
Too much watering and inadequate watering have different effects, but will both result in the loss of a plant that is difficult to rescue. Too much water and poor drainage leave the soil soggy, causing root rot. If the plant lacks enough water, the leaves begin to turn yellow and will eventually dry.
Root rot can only be reversed through repotting while yellowing leaves will require pruning early enough before you lose the entire plant.
Reduce the frequency of watering in winter, as well as the amount of water sprinkled on your Kentia palm. Allow the soil to get completely dry before watering again. Such practices help you to balance the low rate of growth and reduced water consumption.
Kentia palms love a too humid yet warm environment. In the Lord Howe Island in Australia, where the tree is a native, it is found inside the forest canopies and along the streams where humidity is at its highest. When humidity balances with warm temperatures, you’ll end up with plush dark-green foliage.
Misting is recommended to maintain the right moisture levels around the fronds. However, the high demand for moisture and prevailing conditions like wind and high temperatures will make regular misting a lot of work. An alternative would be to invest in an automated humidifier that will mist the plant automatically without demanding your attention.
A water tray at the base of the Kentia palm tree will help to maintain the right humidity level. Evaporation will guarantee perfect humidity around the plant as you monitor the level of water remaining on the tray for replenishing.
Temperature and drafts affect the level of humidity around the Kentia palm. Do not place your plant near air conditioning vents, doors, or leaking windows. You may also use grouping to increase humidity around the plant.
Kentia palms are sold in groups of three to five shoots. The shoots will grow when you bring the plant indoor. However, if you choose to group your plant, ensure that the other plant varieties also prefer similar humidity.
When grouped with plants that require less or more humidity, the other plants will harbor insects and diseases that will then spread to your Kentia palm.
The Kentia palm adapts to a wide range of soil, from loam to clay and alkaline to acidic. However, it grows well and thrives in porous, well-drained soil that is leaning towards the sandy side. The plant can also tolerate excessively dry soil as long as you do not turn the pot into a desert.
The potting mixture must hold sufficient fertility even as it drains the excess water. Potting soil is only good at the beginning. Over time, it begins to retain excessively more water than necessary. To improve the drainage quality of potting soil, add an equal portion of sandy soil.
A mixture of coarse sand, potting soil, and peat moss will also support your kentia palm’s growth. However, do not pay too much attention to drainage by adding sand at the expense of the plant’s need to retain the right amount of nutrients to support the lush green foliage that Kentia palm is known for producing.
The choice of a right potting mix is as important as maintaining the quality of that soil. Monitor the chemical composition of the water sprinkled on the plant, use liquid fertilizer instead of granular fertilizer, and occasionally flush the soil with water to keep it clean. Maintaining healthy soil will reduce the need for constant repotting.
Kentia palm requires bright but indirect light. However, the amount of light required will depend on the intensity it was acclimatized to as a seedling. If it was exposed to direct sun as a seedling, it should thrive under the same conditions once it grows.
Direct and prolonged direct exposure may result in scorched leaves. Inside the house, place the kentia palm near the window where it cannot get direct sunlight, especially the hot afternoon sun that scorches the leaves. The direct morning and late afternoon sun will not harm your kentia palm.
Kentia palm will still survive in low light if you find the right humidity balance. Low light during the autumn and winter seasons are healthy expectations that affect the rate of foliage growth. Ultimately, the quality of lighting must balance with temperature and humidity. The quality of foliage will reflect how much attention you paid to light.
Kentia Palm thrives in temperatures between 65ºF(18.3ºC) and 85ºF(29.4ºC). These are warm tropical conditions that are balanced with a lot of humidity. Such conditions are perfect during spring and summer, meaning that you have to adjust during the other seasons or if you live in an area where such conditions are impossible to provide.
Kentia palm can survive in colder and hotter circumstances. The temperature can go below 65ºF(18.3ºC) in the night or during winter but not lower than 25ºF(-4ºC). It is advisable to bring the plant indoors during winter.
For plant owners who live in hot areas, your kentia palm can tolerate temperatures as high as 100ºF(38ºC). However, you must still shield the plant from direct sun. Misting and humidifying are necessary to help the kentia palm thrive in hot weather conditions.
Exposing the kentia palm to high temperatures will result in the yellowing of leaves from scorching and dry soil. Once the leaves are damaged by the excessive sun, it won’t be easy rescuing them. This will affect the beauty of your palm as well as its growth potential.
Advanced Care for Kentia Palm (Howea Forsteriana)
Kentia palm can tolerate very high and extremely low temperatures, low light, dry soil, and humidity, among other factors. However, the conditions provided also affect the beauty of your palm.
Below are minor but crucial care points that will help you produce the most magnificent Kentia palm.
Beautiful dark green fronds on your kentia palm will only emerge if the plant has sufficient food. Apply fertilizer at least once a month in spring and summer. Because the kentia palm is a slow grower, do not overfeed it, else you risk scorching the roots.
Autumn and winter months are dormant, with the plant experiencing the slowest growth. The plant may require a single fertilizer application through these seasons. Too much fertilizer at any season causes the tips of the leaves to turn yellow and even drop.
Kentia palms prefer slow-releasing fertilizer because the plant is also slow-growing. Liquid fertilizer is the best compared to granules because it dissolves evenly into the soil. However, compost is the best source of food for the palms because it releases the nutrients slowly, enhances drainage, and will improve soil aeration.
Kentia palms love being admired and not touched. Thus, it makes pruning unnecessary unless you must do it. Pruning should, therefore, only target the overgrown fronds, yellowing leaves, or those with brown spots.
Kentia palms leaves take time to grow, meaning that you will rarely prune the plant to remove excess leaves. Use a sharp knife to cut the brown or yellowing leaves at the base. You can prune any time of the year, but spring and summer are the best seasons because the heat will stimulate faster healing.
The Kentia plant wants to be planted in a big pot where it can remain for years without repotting. The large pot will support the tree crown as well as its strong roots through the years. Repotting also slows down growth, making an already slow-growing plant to stagnate.
Repotting Kentia palm is only necessary if the soil is damaged by chemical buildup or root rot. Use a large pot and place the palm with minimum foliage in the middle. Pour the new potting mix, sprinkle some water, and place the repotted plant in a warm but shaded space. Reducing the leaves stimulates regeneration, protecting your flower from dying.
An average houseplant owner will find it difficult to propagate palms using seeds. They will require an average temperature of 80ºF(26.6ºC) and a lot of rooting hormones. Still, the palm rarely produces seeds when grown indoors because the conditions are not perfect.
Division is the other easy way you can propagate your kentia palm. Slice the young shoots emerging from the sides using a sharp knife to reduce shock. It is best done during spring and summer when warm temperatures can stimulate regrowth of roots. Rooting hormones might help to stimulate growth and reduce the resulting shock.
Kentia palms are reasonably resistant to pests and diseases. The most common problem is root rot, which results from poor drainage or too much water. If the area is too dry, you might see spider mites on the leaves, scales, and mealybugs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Kentia Palm (Howea Forsteriana)
Why do the leaves on kentia palms turn brown?
The soil is probably too dry. Early signs include the yellowing leaves that will eventually turn brown. The problem could also have emanated from root rot that causes the plant to wilt. Remember to arrest the situation fast before you lose the plant entirely.
Why are kentia palms so expensive?
Kentia palms are sophisticated indoor plants that everyone would desire to have. They are also easy to maintain, giving you a beautiful interior with little hustle.
This makes them among the most expensive houseplants you will find. Kentia palms are also difficult to propagate and grow slowly, making it challenging to find the palms easily. Luckily, the tropical beauty of kentia palms makes the price worthwhile.
Are kentia palms poisonous to dogs?
Kentia, like many other palms, is safe for pets in the house, including cats and dogs. Whether the pets ingest the leaves or come into contact with the sap, they will be safe.
Should I cut brown leaves off my palm?
Yes! It enhances the beauty of your palm and will prevent the damage from extending to the entire leaf or other leaves. It would help if you also addressed the cause of browning on your leaves.
What is wrong with my kentia palm?
The most common problems with kentia palms are yellowing and browning leaves. They result from root rot caused by soggy soil, too much direct sun, and dry soil.