How to grow and care for Kentia Palm Indoors

Kentia Palm

Botanical name: Howea forsteriana
Synonym: Kentia forsteriana
Family: Arecaceae

Kentia Palm also called Paradise Palm or Thatch Palm is a popular Indoor Plam that has a high tolerance to shade, low humidity, infrequent watering and cool temperatures. However, it is advisable to give it bright indirect light to encourage more robust growth and appearance. In extremely low light, the Kentia palm becomes leggy and grows slowly. It is relatively slow-growing, eventually growing up to 8 ft under good indoor growing conditions. Kentia Palm is native to Lord Howe Island off the Coast of Australia and it 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.

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

How to Grow Kentia Palm

Light

Kentia Palm prefers bright, indirect light but it can tolerate some shade. Too much light will cause the palm to develop a yellowish color. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Water

Keep the soil moderately moist at all times for Kentia Palm during the growing season. Reduce watering in the cold season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Use chlorine-free water for watering; like all palms Kentia Palm, is sensitive to chlorine and other chemicsl dissolved in water. Avoid getting the base of the palm wet to prevent rotting. Do not allow the palm to sit in soggy soil as it may lead to root-rot and eventual death of the palm. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Average warmth with a minimum of 100C is ideal for Kentia Palm. If the temperature is comfortable for you it is suitable for the Kentia Palm. Protect the palm from cold draughts. Find out more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Kentia Palm requires a humid environment. Mist the leaves regularly or set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity 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.

Feeding

Feed Kentia Palm with a water-soluble fertilizer monthly during the growing period. Water thoroughly until the solution comes out through the drainage holes. Withhold feeding in the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Find out more on feeding houseplants.

Repotting

Avoid repotting Kentia Palm too frequently as is sensitive to root disturbance. Pot only when the palm is extremely root-bound and take care to not to damage the roots. Kentia Palm is highly adaptable to a variety of soil but it prefers sandy, free-draining potting soil.

Pruning

Pruning Kentia Plam is easy. Cut away the old brown and dry fronds near the soil surface to maintain your plant neat and tidy. Cut away any flower stalk immediately to prevent the plant from wasting energy on developing the flowers. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Kentia Palm

Kentia Palm 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.

Common Problems in Kentia Palm

  • Leaves with brown tips
  • Reasons for brown leaf tips in Kentia Palm are dry air, underwatering, cold draughts and damage by touching. Trim off the brown tips with sterilized scissors. Correct the faults by raising the humidity, watering correctly, protecting the plant from draughts and placing the palm away from traffic respectively.

  • Yellowing of leaves
  • Underwatering is the reason for yellow leaves in Kentia Palm. Keep the soil moderately moist at all times during the growing season. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

  • Leaves with brown spots
  • Overwatering or sudden decrease of temperature are the causes of brown spots in Kentia Palm. Remove the affected parts and improve the growing conditions by correct watering and maintaining the right temperature by protecting Kentia palm from cold draughts.

  • Brown leaves
  • The lower leaves of Kentia Palm may turn brown and droop due to age; remove by cutting and not pulling. If browning is general and accompanied by rotting the reason is root-rot disease due to waterlogging.

  • Drooping leaves and stems
  • Underwatering is the cause of drooping leaves and stems in Kentia Palm. Keep the soil slightly moist at all times and never allow the soil to dry out completely. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Kentia Palm are Red Spider Mites, Scales and Mealy Bugs. Regularly check underneath the leaves for these pests. Isolate the plant to prevent spread to other houseplants.

Toxicity

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

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