How to Grow and Care for Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) Indoors


Kentia Palm, Howea forsteriana

Photo Credit: Crocus

Botanical name: Howea forsteriana
Synonym: Kentia forsteriana
Family: Arecaceae
Common names: Kentia Palm, Paradise Palm, Thatch Palm

Description

Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) also called Paradise Palm or Thatch Palm is a popular palm that has a high tolerance to shade, low humidity, infrequent watering and cool temperatures.

However, it is advisable to give Kentia Palm bright, indirect light to encourage more robust growth and appearance. In extremely low light, it becomes leggy and grows slowly.

Thatch Palm belongs to a group of palms (called feather palms) which produce fronds which are divided on either side of the midrib into leaflets, where the leaflets may be soft and drooping.

Paradise Palm has a thin, slender trunk with feather shaped drooping fronds which produce wide leaflets.

Size

The Kentia Palm is relatively slow-growing, eventually growing up to 8 ft under good indoor growing conditions.

The trunk is dark-green when young and turns brown as it ages. Its fronds are less drooping and is generally taller than its close relative Howea belmoreana (Sentry Palm) which grows to a height of 3-4 ft.

Origin

Howea forsteriana is native to Lord Howe Island off the Coast of Australia.

Where to Buy

Buy beautiful healthy Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) from Etsy.

Kentia Palm, Howea forsteriana

Photo Credit: House of Plants

Howea forsteriana Care Indoors

Kentia Palm grows best in bright, indirect light and consistently moist soil. It requires a humid environment, an average room temperature and monthly feeding in the growing season. The best soil for Thatch Palm is free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.

Paradise Palm requires regular pruning to keep it neat and tidy. Repotting is only necessary when it becomes pot-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Kentia Palm grows best in bright, indirect light but it can tolerate some shade. It can also grow under a grow light where the natural lighting is inadequate.

Direct sunlight can cause the Thatch Palm to develop a yellowish color instead of the usual beautiful green color on the drooping fronds.

Watering

Water Kentia Palm liberally and keep the soil moderately moist at all times during the growing season. Reduce watering during the cold season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Paradise Palm like all palms, is sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water. Therefore, water your Kentia Palm with chlorine-free water only.

Avoid getting the base of the palm wet as it can lead to rotting and eventual death.

Do not allow it to sit in soggy soil as it may lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the palm.


Temperature

Howea forsteriana thrives in average warmth with a minimum of 100C. If the temperature is comfortable for you it is ideal for the Palm. Protect it from cold draughts. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Kentia Palm requires a humid environment. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier in order to keep the fronds looking green and healthy. Occasionally clean the mature leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Kentia Palm with a liquid fertilizer, rich in micronutrients on monthly basis during the growing period. Withhold feeding during the cold season as the growth is minimal.

Take care not to overfeed Thatch Palm as it can lead to yellowing. To prevent fertilizer build up which is indicated by leaf burn and brown spots, water thoroughly until water comes out through the drainage hole

Repotting

Repot Kentia Palm only when it is extremely root-bound and take care not to damage the roots. Avoid repotting Thatch Palm too frequently as it is sensitive to root disturbance.

Use a pot 1-2 sizes larger than the current one. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the palm.

Soil

The best soil for Howea forsteriana should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients. Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for Paradise Palm.

Pruning

Pruning Kentia Palm is easy. Cut away the old brown and dry fronds near the soil surface to keep the plant neat and tidy. Cut away any flower stalk immediately to prevent Thatch Palm from wasting energy on developing the flowers.

Propagation

Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) can be propagated from seeds but this is difficult and the palm rarely produces seeds when grown indoors. It is advisable to buy a new plant from the breeders.

Kentia Palm, Howea forsteriana

Photo Credit: Plantshop.me

Howea forsteriana Problems Indoors

Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) problems indoors include brown leaf tips, browning leaves, yellow leaves, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.

Brown leaf tips

Kentia Palm brown leaf tips are due to four possible reasons. Trim off the brown tips with sterilized scissors.

One reason for Thatch Palm brown leaf tips is dry air. To raise humidity for your Kentia Palm, set the pot on a wet pebble tray. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

The second reason for Kentia Palm brown leaf tips is underwatering. Keep the soil moderately moist at all times during the growing season. Reduce watering during the cold season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

The third reason for Paradise Palm brown leaf tips is cold draughts. Protect the Palm from draughts to maintain an average warmth with a minimum of 120C.

The fourth reason for Kentia Palm brown leaf tips is damage by touching. Place the palm away from the line of traffic.

Yellowing leaves

Kentia Palm yellowing leaves are caused by underwatering. Keep the soil moderately moist at all times during the growing season and do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Brown leaf spots

Kentia Palm brown leaf spots are due to two possible causes. Remove the affected leaves and discard. One cause of brown leaf spots is overwatering. Keep the soil moderately moist at all times during the growing season but not soggy.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil. Read more on how to water houseplants.

The second causes of Paradise Palm brown leaf spots is sudden decrease of temperature due to cold draughts.

Protect it from draughts to maintain an average warmth with a minimum of 100C.

Brown leaves

Kentia Palm brown leaves are due to two possible reason. The lower leaves may turn brown and droop due to age; remove by cutting and not pulling.

If the browning is general and accompanied by rotting, the reason is root-rot disease due to soggy soil. Read more on how to deal with root-rot here.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil.

Drooping leaves and stems

Kentia Palm drooping leaves and stems are due to underwatering. Keep the soil slightly moist at all times and never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Pests

Kentia Palm pests; Red Spider Mite, Scales and Mealy Bugs. Regularly check underneath the leaves for these pests. Isolate the affected palm to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Is Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) toxic?

According to ASPCA, Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) is non-toxic to both humans and pets. It is safe to grow indoors.

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