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itsopenmikenight

Kerrodoxia elegans help!!!

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itsopenmikenight

Okay so I’m receiving a kerrodoxia elegans (white elephant palm) very soon and it’s my dream plant, I live in ny so it will not be spending much time outside. 
 

I have quite a bright sunroom and grow lights as well if needed. I’m a bit of a fish outta water here when it comes to this palm. 
 

Both plants are pretty juvenile still. Please hit me with some care tips and mistakes to avoid while taking care of this palm, or palms similar to it in general! 
 

 

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chad2468emr

I can’t recall who it was, but I saw a post from a while back with a user who grew one indoors to massive proportions, so it’s possible!

Well draining soil is a must for an indoor palm, since they won’t get a ton of heat to allow the soil to dry very fast. I recommend 50% VERY fine bark such as THIS, 33% small leca balls such as THESE, 10% perlite, and 7% peat soil. The reptile bark + leca are much smaller in size than the ones you’d get specific to plants, and they make for a much more homogenous soil mixture than you’d find even just a slightly courser bark or standard leca balls would provide in a small pot. I highly encourage using those specific products. Some UK palm folks use something similar to leca that is basically a ground up version (I can’t remember the name) and the only thing similar in the US is “Turface MVP” which is sold at irrigation stores. Those aren’t always easy to find so using those tiny leca balls is a good alternative. For most larger palms, I use larger, standard sized leca, but I’ve also used it in smaller potted palms and seen success. Uses those courser products in small pots is fine for the plant usually, but it’s a pain to keep the soil evenly mixed in a small pot with such course materials and it makes it hard to check soil dampness as well. Soil homogeneity is important because you need the reassurance that there aren’t and places in the pot that have more / less of one component and as such the moisture level is the same throughout. One corner of the pot staying more damp than the rest can lead to overwatering / root rot since you THINK the soil is all dry but one chunk of the roots is constantly soaking wet. 

Pot them in clay terra cotta pots which will absorb excess moisture, help the soil dry out faster, and allow for airflow THROUGH the pots to the roots.  The bark will stay just moist enough to keep the palms happy for a week or so unless your sun room gets real hot (they may need water more frequently than that), and the 7% peat soil assists on some moisture retention as well, without making the roots stay TOO wet. The bark, leca, and perlite will also ensure optimum air flow to the roots which make for happy potted palms that don't get root rot. Water only when the potting medium stops feeling damp to the touch. When I started using “soil” like this (can you really still call this soil? Haha) it was hard for me to understand when my palms needed water since it was so course, but as a rule of thumb, if you can stick your finger in to the knuckle on your hand and your skin feels damp at all when you pull it out, it doesn’t need water yet.

Fertilize with THIS once ever six months. There are a ton of palm-specific fertilizers out there, but they’re based on in-ground soil composition and a potted palm just needs a slow release (instant release washes out) fert with micronutrients and the one I linked to ticks those boxes. Follow the instructions, but since they’re indoors, use about 2/3rds the strength for outdoor palms. 

Give them as bright and as many hours per day as possible of indirect light as you can. A few feet from a SW facing window would be ideal. Once they arrive in the mail, keep them further from the window for a few days, and move them closer as they acclimate. Palms from the mail burn VERY easily in bright light because they were in the dark for so long. Eventually, maybe even try keeping against the window because these guys can handle a bit more direct sun than people expect, especially when inside. Mine (picture below) gets several hours of afternoon sun and hasn’t burnt at all. Excuse the lack of fans, I had to haul it north from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando along with several other large palms in the back of my truck, so there were some damaged that I’d cut off, plus it’s kind of crowded on my plant patio (lol) so I had to remove 2 or so extra to get it to fit better. Moving to a new place in a month though so she’ll have plenty of room to expand shortly! 

Other than that, good luck! K. elegans is a fav of mine as well, and they’re certainly a gorgeous species so I hope you see success. :) 
 

B0121B76-3736-49DB-8448-730E12002345.thumb.jpeg.8b27ef42715fae71ef8752bd7892104e.jpeg

Edited by chad2468emr
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chad2468emr

Found THE POST I was talking about. It’s 11 years old, but take a look at what you could have in a good bit of time: 

DSCN3951.jpg

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Merlyn

I have only one Kerriodoxa Elegans, and it has been pretty resilient outside in central Floriduh.  It took 28F with medium frost on Christmas night, then got dug out of the ground and transplanted (due to impending tree removal), and then 30-31F with heavy frost in early February.  It had about 50% leaf burn but is growing back quickly.  I'm not sure about keeping them inside, I've never tried it.  But it seems that if you avoid leaving it outside in any close-to-freezing or sub-freezing temperatures it should grow fine.

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realarch

That’s an astounding photo of a pot grown Kerriodoxa. Thank goodness Hilo is one giant greenhouse.

Tim

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