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Seeking advice for my indoor coconut palm


Hydrangela
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Hi all! First time coconut owner here!

I’m based in “sunny” London, UK, and bought a potted coconut a few months ago. I repotted it in a mix of Seramis clay granules, LECA, and reptile bark. We had an unusually warm summer and my coconut loved being outside all day.

The temperature has now dropped dramatically (highs of around 17C/63F) and my coconut has been moved inside, my house is around 21C/70F. She’s currently next to my humidifier set at 60% by a west facing window.

Ever since I moved her indoors she doesn’t seem to be doing so well. I can’t tell if I am over or underwatering, and it’s been quite cloudy for the past few weeks so am thinking of purchasing some grow lights too. Any advice would be very much appreciated! Thank you!

First pic is when I first got the coconut, other pics were taken today.

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Is the pot sitting in a tray of water? Your coconut looks like it has root rot/damping off. Never let it sit in standing water. It needs good drainage. If you are still watering on the same schedule/quantity as when it was outdoors you may be overwatering it.

Coconuts are some of the most tropical, cold/cool sensitive palms and have care requirements that are quite difficult to meet in northern climates. They demand high temperatures (>25-30+C), high humidity (>80%) and sun/strong light. As I’ve said many times, northern houses are too cold, too dry and too dark for them to survive, much less thrive. I suggest you explore some of the systems members here have come with to meet the needs of tropical palms. They can be rewarding, if difficult, houseplants but you must do your research and be proactive to meet their needs.

Welcome

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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Hi @PalmatierMeg! Thanks so much for responding. No the coconut is not sitting in water, the soil mix I have is very well draining however I am watering it as frequently as I did when it was outside so I will dial it back.

I will set my humidifier to 80% and am looking at purchasing grow lights, I’ll have a browse of the forums to see what others are using!

Thanks again so much for your help!

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@Rickybobbyin Ontario, Canada, has devised systems to keep his tropicals warm, well lit and hydrated over winter. He just posted the following topic recently in this sub forum

Meg

Palms of Victory I shall wear

Cape Coral (It's Just Paradise)
Florida
Zone 10A on the Isabelle Canal
Elevation: 15 feet

I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade.

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2 hours ago, PalmatierMeg said:

@Rickybobbyin Ontario, Canada, has devised systems to keep his tropicals warm, well lit and hydrated over winter. He just posted the following topic recently in this sub forum

Thanks! Will take a look!

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@Hydrangela

I bought one at the size you had as well. So far so good, what I did: removed the original soil and replaced it with a 50 / 50 perlite - potting soil. Also increased the pot size from the tiny original pot to something a bit bigger (16-20L).

I never put it outside though, it has been inside the entire time (south facing window with no curtains) and I don't use a humidifier (although I got other plants nearby and I dry clothes in that room which acts as a humidifier).

A few days ago I removed the husk for extra space in the pot. Google "bonsai coconut" and you see most of those have stripped the husk/coir. You have to do it slowly and carefully. It didn't stress my plant so far.

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3 minutes ago, Zeni said:

@Hydrangela

and I don't use a humidifier (although I got other plants nearby and I dry clothes in that room which acts as a humidifier).

@Hydrangela

I live right next the a rather big canal, not sure if the air here is always more moist than normal. Perhaps that could be it... not sure.

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8 hours ago, Zeni said:

@Hydrangela

I bought one at the size you had as well. So far so good, what I did: removed the original soil and replaced it with a 50 / 50 perlite - potting soil. Also increased the pot size from the tiny original pot to something a bit bigger (16-20L).

I never put it outside though, it has been inside the entire time (south facing window with no curtains) and I don't use a humidifier (although I got other plants nearby and I dry clothes in that room which acts as a humidifier).

A few days ago I removed the husk for extra space in the pot. Google "bonsai coconut" and you see most of those have stripped the husk/coir. You have to do it slowly and carefully. It didn't stress my plant so far.

Thanks @Zeni! I’ve repotted my coconut and noticed a little bit of root rot, as PalmetierMeg suspected above. I’ve added a lot more perlite into the potting mix so hopefully that helps. I’m a little hesitant to do anything with the husk at this point in time as I’ve just repotted and probably stressed out the roots a bit, but if she survives it’s definitely something I will consider. Thanks so much for your response!

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Root rot for sure. I may water 3 times a week in dead summer but maybe once every two weeks indoors as the soil stays wetter longer from lack of sun wind and heat

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56 minutes ago, Rickybobby said:

Root rot for sure. I may water 3 times a week in dead summer but maybe once every two weeks indoors as the soil stays wetter longer from lack of sun wind and heat

Thanks @Rickybobby - I did take a look at the roots and saw root rot, I’ve repotted as the potting mix was quite soggy and will water a lot less frequently going forward, hopefully she is able to make a full recovery.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/2/2022 at 9:23 PM, Hydrangela said:

Thanks @Rickybobby - I did take a look at the roots and saw root rot, I’ve repotted as the potting mix was quite soggy and will water a lot less frequently going forward, hopefully she is able to make a full recovery.

How is it doing?

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@Hydrangela coconuts can tolerate wetter soil but only when the temperatures are high. I'm assuming that's one of the Dutch greenhouse coconuts which are not very hardy at all. I would give them high humidity and try to give them temperatures at least over 24c in the day. During the summer you can keep them outside. I have my Dutch coconut kept at 23-24c at night and 26-30c during the day with between 45-60© humidity.

Edited by Foxpalms
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On 10/21/2022 at 9:12 PM, ego said:

How is it doing?

@egoNot good :( despite my best efforts and the helpful advice of other forum members I think it was too far along to be revived. All the leaves are brown and dead, except for the youngest two leaves which also look like they are on their way out too. Will update with a picture once I get home.

Edited by Hydrangela
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1 minute ago, Hydrangela said:

@egoNot good :( despite my best efforts and the helpful advice of other forum members I think it was too far along to be revived. All the leaves are brown and dead, except for the youngest two leaves which also look like they are on their way out too. Will update with a picture once I get home.

I would try and grow one from seed or buy a pre germinated one and try and give it temperatures in the day 24c+ and higher humidity, then leave it outside in the summer. It should be a much hardier coconut. Unless you're just looking for the challenge of growing a coconut, I would buy a beccariophoenix alfredii since they look very similar. If you're in central London you could probably leave it outside all winter as well and since you're quite far above the ground. I doubt much cold air would be able to settle there during a radiational freeze.

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6 hours ago, Hydrangela said:

@egoNot good :( despite my best efforts and the helpful advice of other forum members I think it was too far along to be revived. All the leaves are brown and dead, except for the youngest two leaves which also look like they are on their way out too. Will update with a picture once I get home.

Try to grow one from seed. Perhaps you can find coconuts imported from India; those are supposedly among the hardest. 

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