Botanical name: Howea forsteriana
Synonym: Kentia forsteriana
Common names: Kentia Palm, Paradise Palm, Thatch Palm
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.
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.
Howea forsteriana is native to Lord Howe Island off the Coast of Australia.
If you would like to add this palm to your collection, it is available at Etsy. Buy Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) online from Etsy.
Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) thrives in bright indirect light, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled monthly feeding in the growing season.
Howea forsteriana requires pruning to keep it neat and discourage pests and diseases infestation. Repotting is only needed when it becomes pot-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Kentia Palm grows best in bright, indirect light. it can tolerate some shade but it will grow much slower.
Keep it away from direct sunlight as it can cause the Thatch Palm to develop a yellowish color instead of the usual beautiful green color on the drooping fronds.
Water Kentia Palm liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.
Decrease watering during the cold season and maintain the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Paradise Palm like all palms, is sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water. Therefore, water it with chlorine-free water only.
Take care not to wet the base of the palm 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.
Howea forsteriana thrives in average warmth with a minimum of 100C. If the temperature is comfortable for you it is ideal for the palm. Keep it away from cold draughts as they can cause the palm to develop brown leaf tips and spots.
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.
Clean the mature leaves regularly by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust as well as discourage pests and diseases.
Feed Kentia Palm with a liquid fertilizer, rich in micronutrients on monthly basis during the growing period. Stop feeding during the cold season as the growth is reduced at this time.
Take care not to overfeed the Thatch Palm as it can lead to yellowing of the fronds.
To prevent fertilizer build up which is indicated by leaf burn and brown spots, regularly flush out the soil by running a stream of water through until the water comes out through the drainage hole.
Repot Kentia Palm only when it is extremely root-bound and take care not to damage the roots. Avoid too frequent repotting as it is sensitive to root disturbance.
Use a pot 1-2 sizes larger than the current one. Make sure 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.
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. A multi-purpose potting mix is ideal for Paradise Palm.
Pruning Kentia Palm is easy. Cut away the old brown and dry fronds near the soil surface to keep the plant neat and tidy as well as minimize pest and disease infestations. Cut away any flower stalk immediately to prevent the palm from wasting energy on developing the flowers.
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) 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 spots in Kentia Palm are due to two possible causes. Remove the affected leaves and discard to minimize spread to the rest of the plant.
One possible cause of brown leaf spots in Kentia Palm is overwatering. Keep the soil moderately moist during the growing season and slightly moist in the cold season but never soggy.
In addition, ascertain that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil.
The second possible cause of brown leaf spots in Paradise Palm is sudden drop of temperature due to cold draughts.
Keep the palm away from cold draughts and maintain an average warmth with a minimum of 100C.
Brown leaf tips in Kentia Palm are due to four possible reasons. Trim off the brown tips with sterilized scissors.
One possible reason for brown leaf tips in Thatch Palm is dry air (low humidity) as the palm thrives in a humid enviroment.
To increase humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or grow the palm in the bathroom or other moist areas in the home. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
The second possible reason for brown leaf tips in Kentia Palm is underwatering which means there is too little moisture in the soil for the plant to take up.
Maintain the soil moderately moist during the growing season. Reduce watering during the cold season but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
The third possible reason for brown leaf tips in Paradise Palm is cold drafts like windy doors and windows, cold air from air conditioning units among others.
Keep the palm away from draughts to maintain an average warmth with a minimum of 120C.
The fourth possible reason for brown leaf tips in Kentia Palm is damage by touching. Place the palm away from the line of traffic.
Brown leaves (fronds) in Kentia Palm are due to two possible reason. Naturally, the lower leaves may turn brown and droop due to age. Remove the brown leaves by cutting and not pulling to avoid unnecessary injuries.
If the browning is general and accompanied by rotting, the cause is root-rot disease which is promoted by soggy soil. Read more on how to treat root-rot in houseplants.
Always ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy.
Yellowing leaves in Kentia Palm are caused by underwatering. Keep the soil moderately moist during the growing period and slightly moist in the cold season but do not let the soil dry out completely.
Drooping leaves and stems in Kentia Palm are due to underwatering. Make sure that the soil is moderately moist through out the growing season and slightly moist in the cold period but never allow the soil to dry out completely.
Kentia Palm is prone to mealy bugs, spider mites and scale insects. Regularly check underneath the leaves for these pests. Isolate the affected palm to prevent spread to the other houseplants. Read on how to identify and treat pests in houseplants.
According to ASPCA, Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) is non-toxic to both humans and pets. It is safe to grow indoors.