Repotting Howea

17 posts in this topic

Hello everyone,

I'm new to the forum but I've been following your posts for some time.

I need your help please in repotting a Kentia palm, about 1.4 meters height plus a 23 cm pot, roots coming out through the bottom. Soil looks like a combination of bark and very light soil so very good drainage. I have it since I bought it so not sure about exact ingredients. I water about once a week in the summer and about once every two weeks in the winter. As you'll notice, there are 7-8 Howeas in one pot, a bit crowded, so my other question is: do I need to split them when repotting or should I just keep them as they are until growing larger? being conscious about palms in general not happy with disturbing the roots. 

Thanks a lot,

Kentia 1.jpg

Kentia 2.jpg

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The main problem with your nice looking palm(s) is that there are too many potted together. According to my experience with Howeas they don’t like root disturbances, so it would quite risky to separate them. I would repot them all together into a pot a little larger, maybe Ø28cm x H28cm. And as new potting mix you could add (as only one example) a mixture of Seramis + fine pine bark + coarse sand + LECA as bottom layer that I used for my Howea (which got shredded :rant: by the worst thunderstorm Ela on 10 June 2014) since germination in 2006 until its last home in a Ø28cm x H28cm pot. You can see on the last photo that the soil mix was well accepted by the roots.

5b475cee12a50_Howea2013-09-29IMG_7371.th

:violin::sick:

5b475cf586265_HoweaElaIMG_7951.thumb.jpg

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Thanks Pal! Your Kentia looks just amazing, sorry to hear you lost it, not sure if that will fit my living room actually :). Hope you'll start growing them again now that you remembered.

What ratio would do you recommend for the mix, if I decide to use something similar?  I suppose this mix will require a bit more watering since it's a very fast draining mix? I know it depends on the environment but currently I water mine every 7-10 days.

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To avoid overwatering (esp. during winter) I always used pots as small as possible combined with a fast draining soil mix. So I could water my palms daily or each other day or so. As an example you can see the pots I was using for that Howea: 8cm x 8cm x H9cm for the seedling and as next step Ø12cm x H12cm for the small palm. — I found 2 other photos of a pot with 3 Howea forsteriana, 5 years later still in the same small wooden pot.

5b476eb31fa23_Howeabelmoreana2007-09-26.

5b476eb939c53_Howea2011-01-02IMG_5396_2.

5b476ebf4a08a_Howea2011-06-16IMG_6337.th

5b476ec457a83_Howeaforsteriana19721977.t

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Makes sense Pal! It’s clear, these guys do well in small pots. What ratio do you reccomend for the mix?

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Something like this one I am using for larger Lytocaryum weddellianum:

5b478d966e09f_SoilMixP1040749.thumb.jpg.

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Looks good! Thank you. Sorry, I have too many questions.

How do you manage to keep your plants watered when you’re away for 2 weeks for example? Can this mix cope with it?

Do the self-watering Lechuza pots work?They seem to be very popular these days. 

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For your first question I am still seeking an answer, too …… or … :violin:

And the answer to your 2nd Q is: I don‘t know.

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Onum, my experience is different from Pals. I suspect that the different climate is the reason. Our thirty year old tree in the backyard produces hundreds of  self sown seedlings (weeds) every year. If they survive the weeding, (pulled out and thrown in the comopost), being walked on, having the hose dragged across them mercilessly and ignored for a year or so, I might pull it out and put it in any old pot with any old dirt to be given away when it looks a reasonable size. It will sit in the garden in the same pot neglected, unfertilized for another year perhaps.

So I have found them to be very tough with not fussy roots. When I find them rooted to the ground from the bottom of the pot I just pull it harder until the root breaks and I just drop it again with no inspection. This does not bother them, I find them hard to kill.

If you follow Pal's advice you are sure to get perfect specimens, but if you can't they will still probably live.

I really don't know how some of these have survived for so long.

P7130003.JPG.9865e192eda0268698a51fe87a4

These are in a walkway too and have bee stepped on numerous times.

P7130010.JPG.d7479e5475c8a6286337f173c22

 

P7130005.JPG.340ba350a27ce10c70942afff5e

Not all of our palms are as tolerant of neglect as the Howea's are. Actually we have tried very hard to keep that stupid Highland Dypsis happy.

P7130006.JPG.36338892b828d8be5b2bb11ab57

Pulled out or dug up roughly and potted for give away. Half of these have been walked on too.

P7130007.JPG.030074aca33f78f854e986013c9

So Onum, to address your initial concern, based on my experience, I would bet that if you pulled your Howeas all apart and potted them up you won't lose one.

Good luck. Steve.

 

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Thanks for your comment Steve! This is reassuring for sure. I'll asses the situation better when I actually do it, probably I'll wait for early spring to get good wind in my sails so to speak, since the situation is under control at the moment.

At this stage I'm thinking of splitting them in half, 4 per pot and not actually one per pot. It's great to see the little ones popping up everywhere, also observing the top of the soil substrate.

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Wait for spring, good idea, and when you separate them, a gentle way it do it is to remove the pot and soak in a bucket of water while you are teasing them apart, holding the stems and 'jiggling' them apart works well.

You hit on a very good point too regarding constancy of care. While they will grow well in small pots with fast draining medium, they do require a higher level of care. We go away camping for one or two or three weeks at a time, so we find that we have to put any of our potted plants in bigger pots and use a heavier slower draining potting mix than is usually recommended. Then they can tolerate the extended watering interval.

Also to maximize the water holding and equal distribution of water in the soil, about twice a year, we soak the pot s in a bigger bucket containing a commercial garden surfactant.This makes out potted plants really low maintenance.

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Thanks Steve, this is indeed interesting! Do you just put the fast draining pots into bigger pots without taking them out of the existing pots, with some potting soil added or do you actualy fully repot them?

And what do you when coming back from vacation? Repeat the process backwards or just leave them be? 

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I have never separated Howeas but I have done so with Chamaedorea metallica because I couldn't stand looking at 3-4 of them jammed into one pot. All survived. Soak the roots thoroughly, hose off potting medium, then sit down and meticulously untangle and tease their root systems apart. You will need patience and time. It is my understanding that Howeas are not particularly root sensitive if treated with care.

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I’ve never separated Howeas, but I have dealt with their roots while repotting them into 100% fresh soil. I didn’t have an issue, I just tried my best to keep their roots moist during the process.

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Onum, we actually don't have many pots, except for all of the outside seedlings, but everything is in cheap shop potting mix or homemade potting mix from the bottom of the compost bins. Not well draining enough for most plants that don't have the rest of their conditions and climate in their favour, but will hold water for 2 or 3 weeks.

The other thing that we have done, is to give a pot or two to a neighbour to babysit while we were away if it was of some value, when necessary.

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Onum: This my Howea forsteriana what we discussed earlier.

20180716_193947.jpg

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Those look great Cisco! Nice to get some fresh air. 

Thanks everyone! Really great info on this forum so much appreciated. I’ll keep you posted on outcome!

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