Howea Fosteriana, commonly known as the Kentia Palm, may be the world’s favorite and oldest documented houseplant. The elegant shape of these palms made it the perfect backdrop for photos in the Victorian era. The slow growing, easy to care for Kentia Palm has also become a favorite of interior designers in modern times .
Kentia Palm Care
In general, these palms are grown individually until they reach 4+ feet in height. At this time, they are re-potted into the containerized method most commonly seen at nurseries when they are sold as groupings. It can take up to 7 years to fully grow and re-pot a Kentia to make a grouping ready for sale as the common houseplant.
The Kentia Palm thrives in indirect sunlight. This picky palm will give you good indication of its “happiness” level by yielding additional frond growth. In low light situations you will find that your Kentia will yield only 6 or so fronds. In medium lighting, this number can double. The more indirect light, the better as you care for the Kentia Palm.
Because of its lack of tap root, re-potting should happen rarely to never. This plant can flourish, with many fronds, in a smaller pot. Choose a sand enriched potting soil with quick draining properties. When watering, be sure that the entire root ball is watered but do not over water. Allow the soil to dry to at least 1 inch in depth before watering again. Misting the leaves of the fronds once a month will promote the plant’s health, especially in drier environments as the Kentia is accustomed to a tropical environment.
Over / Under watering is the biggest hazard to this hearty palm. If over watered the plant’s fronds will become yellow and spotted. This most commonly happens through the winter months. Symptoms of an under watered Kentia include browning edges and fronds that sag instead of standing proud and tall.
Fertilizing / Fighting Disease
Generally, the Kentia Palm is a very proud, regal looking plant that is relatively easy to care for. There are very few diseases that affect this houseplant but it can be susceptible to root rot (over watering) and mealy bugs / mites. A simple treatment with Neem Oil can help combat this. Avoid fertilizing too much as this can cause the lower leaves to turn brown and wither.
Another cautionary tip is to be careful in your pruning of this plant. They generally require little to no pruning. If you must prune, take off only the leaves affected, not the entire frond. Undue cutting of this plant can result in damage to the trunk, ultimately leading to a slow death for your plant.
Popular, regal, beautiful. The Kentia Palm can be a welcome addition to your home or office for many years by following these simple tips. Even for a beginning houseplant owner, the Kentia is forgiving in nature and can be easily and simply cared for.