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edd54

Very sick Kentia Palm - help please

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edd54

 I'm a novice palm owner and my Kentia, who's only been with me six weeks, is looking really unwell. I'd really appreciate your advice...

Essentially he looked great when he arrived from the garden centre.

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I thought I was careful not to over-water. Over the first couple of weeks, he slowly started to slump, with the different stems collapsing at different angles. I staked him as a result.

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At the same time, black spots began to appear on the leaves. Some leaves died entirely, and I cut them back. The black spots keep appearing though. They seem to appear within the fronds rather than at the tips. 

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He's indoors next to a window which gets reasonably direct light in the afternoon. It's a sixth floor flat which can get a little chilly, but is warming up in April.

He looks to me like he's dying, although there are a few fresher green fronds coming at the bottom. Could you help? I'm really sad about it!

Edited by edd54

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PalmatierMeg

Hard to tell from your photos but are your palms (Howea forsteriana is a solitary palm and you have 3 crammed in there) in a smaller pot set inside a larger pot? Does the smaller pot have numerous good-sized drainage holes? Does the outer pot have drainage holes? What kind of potting medium are the palms planted in? Is it loose and well draining or black and mucky? How often do you water? On your schedule or when the potting mix is dry in the top 3 cm? Does the inner pot drain into the outer pot?

I speculate that you have grossly overwatered those palms and they are now suffering root rot as a result. Howeas are not tropical swamp dwelling palms, rather are cool weather/temperate palms that resent sitting in water long term. If your outside pot doesn't drain then they have been sitting in fetid leftover drainage for weeks. You need to unpot them, discard and rinse off the potting mix. Examine the roots for signs of rot - healthy roots are white, dead/dying roots are black/brown. Trim off dead material and soak roots for an hour in 3% hydrogen peroxide (disinfects damaged tissue without harming healthy) Then repot in a new or disinfected pot with a loose, fast-draining potting mix (not cheap black potting soil). Make sure that pot has decent drain holes. Do not keep pot sitting in any container or tray of water.

Even if you do all that, I can't guarantee you will save all or any of those palm if the rot has really infected them. Cut off dead/dying fronds and keep your hopes up. Or go out and buy another potted trio and chalk this up as a learning experience.

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edd54

Thanks very much for the comprehensive reply Meg,

He's in a pot with holes, within a pot cover, with no stagnant water. The soil is quite loose. I didn't realize it was so many separate palms in one pot. I thought it was one with multiple shoots. 

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He's only been watered about four times total. I gave him a good glug of a bit less than a pint glass when he first arrived, then started reading up and have only since given him when he's felt dry poking my fingers into the soil. Indeed I've given him nothing for the last ten days, but the black leaves continue...

Maybe that first water was much too much. I may try and unpot him over the weekend as you say and inspect his roots....

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gtsteve

When you unpot it I would have 2 other pots ready. If they survive you will need to do that sometime and the smaller they are the easier it is.

Also is it possible that they have been sunburned? Your Howea (Kentia) will like full sun but only after being acclimatized, eased into it.

It looks like sunburn to me, it wasn't put outside recently was it? Where it is looks good but only if it didn't come from full shade.

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Allen

I would say it's the low humidity but I'm not a expert on Kentia.  Heated spaces indoors are bad for palms.  Your indoor humidity can be 30-40% where a palm likes 60+

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MelvinB

Are there any cold drafts in the room regularly? (Open windows/doors)

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Rickybobby

What’s the room temp and air movement like? I have indoor pots like yours and they only get watered when they need it. Not on schedule and sometimes can be every 6 weeks even with a room with lots of light and mid 70s

also I find getting them off a cold floor does wonders. So I have built tables to accommodate to help the warm air get to the pots. Second note what kind of tap water do you have?

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edd54
On 4/3/2019 at 11:01 PM, gtsteve said:

It looks like sunburn to me, it wasn't put outside recently was it? Where it is looks good but only if it didn't come from full shade.

3

Thanks :) It hasn't been outside, but it has come from a garden centre where I'm not sure if it was shady or more open. They appear to have chopped off a few fronds before it arrived...

On 4/4/2019 at 2:44 AM, Allen said:

I would say it's the low humidity but I'm not a expert on Kentia.  Heated spaces indoors are bad for palms.  Your indoor humidity can be 30-40% where a palm likes 60+

Thanks :) Ahh OK. This is very plausible. It's  a flat with a lot of windows which is cool to cold in the winter and hot in the summer. 

On 4/4/2019 at 9:23 AM, MelvinB said:

Are there any cold drafts in the room regularly? (Open windows/doors)

Thanks :) It is quite cool in here, but no, nothing open. Perhaps its a bit too chilly for its liking. 

1 hour ago, Rickybobby said:

What’s the room temp and air movement like? I have indoor pots like yours and they only get watered when they need it. Not on schedule and sometimes can be every 6 weeks even with a room with lots of light and mid 70s

also I find getting them off a cold floor does wonders. So I have built tables to accommodate to help the warm air get to the pots. Second note what kind of tap water do you have?

Thanks :) Yes, this may well be a problem as others say. It's a cool room and there's underfloor heating, although that's infrequently on.  Maybe it's too cold or when it is on, perhaps it heats up the roots too much, beyond their comfort level. Maybe a plant stand or table is a good idea? We're in London, so it's a hard water area (if I understand you right!). 

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Missi

Looks like root rot to me. Kentias are commonly kept indoors as interior decor/office plants because they do so well, but not in a window with direct sun. Odds are it was shade-raised. I let my own get extremely pot bound and dry and it doesn't skip a beat. The potting soil you have it in loots like straight peat. I'd repot in something with perlite, and something that doesn't look SO peaty. a palm/cactus specific potting soil.

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ActualTrachycarpus

Regardless of what the issue is, a really good idea for indoor palms is spraying them with water once a day for humidity, even if you live in a dry space spraying the plants will help tremendously 

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