The Kentia palm, also known as the thatch palm or court palm, is a popular indoor plant. These gorgeous palms gained popularity in the Victorian era and were considered a parlour plant. Kentia palms were particularly popular among the high class. The plant was often associated with royalty and was considered expensive.
Kentia palms have an aesthetic appeal. That’s why you’ll find them scattered in many hotels! Hotels like The Ritz Hotel in London and the Plaza Hotel in New York feature Kentia palms. Other first-class facilities, casinos, and shopping malls also feature Kentia palms in prominence, too.
Why did Kentia palm care remain so popular with these places and people? That’s because, overall, Kentia palm watering, care, and upkeep are considered easy. Make your house look fab and fancy with something that can easily thrive indoors. You also have a little peace of mind should you forget about your potted friends now and then. They’re tolerant plants. So read on and find out our top care tips when it comes to Kentia palm care!
Kentia Palm Care Tips
Kentia palm care is often deemed easy because it does well indoors and tolerates low-light conditions. It’ll flourish if you put it in bright, indirect light, but if you only have a spot in the corner for it, that’ll do just fine! Make sure you avoid putting it in direct sunlight, otherwise the leaves may burn.
Just how much water does Kentia palm need? Check the topsoil. If the topsoil looks a little dried out, give it some water and drain away any excess. Don’t overwater it! Slightly moist soil is preferred.
From spring to summer, weekly watering may be needed. A good way to tell is by checking the soil with your fingers. If the top soil is dry, then water your Kentia palm.
During winter, the Kentia palm goes into a “dormant” state. During this time, watering every couple of weeks is fine.
Kentia palms love humidity! Simply mist your palm every morning with a mister bottle. If you tend to forget to mist your plants, why not opt for a humidifier? Or, you can place your plant on top of a tray of pebbles topped up with water. Simply effort-free!
Regular misting helps it look green, vibrant, and fresh! If your Kentia palm develops brown leaves, the air may be too dry and will require higher humidity levels.
Liquid fertiliser is often the go-to for feeding your Kentia palm. Give it some nutrient-dense liquid fertiliser once a month during the growing season (from early spring to late summer) to help it grow.
A slow-release fertiliser with an NPK ratio of about 3-1-2 is perfect for Kentia palms. If you find a fertiliser blend made specifically for house plants or palms, perfect! Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions and if there aren’t any, use only a diluted mixture first to be on the safe side.
Soil Preferences and Repotting
Kentia palms prefer loamy or well-drained sandy soil. They can adapt to clay soils, but there has to be adequate drainage - otherwise, they don’t tend to grow very well. They tolerate neutral and slightly acidic pH but tend to thrive in acidic soil.
Kentia palms are slow growers. Sometimes, you won’t need to repot them for years! They also have delicate roots and repotting is only recommended when it’s absolutely essential (root bound, roots growing out of the drainage holes etc.). But when your plant gets too big, it’s best to take care of their roots!
To repot, avoid irritating and touching the roots. Delicately remove your Kentia palm out of its pot and place it in a pot that’s 2 inches wider in diameter. Also, don’t repot and plant your palm deeper than it was in its previous home. Give it space to grow on the soil below instead.
Cleaning Tips & Pruning
On top of Kentia palm watering and lighting, you also need to care for the leaves. As an indoor plant, your Kentia palm will have a tendency to accumulate dust. Just take a clean cloth and gently wipe the leaves until they look clean. After that, a fresh mist will make it look beautiful!
When pruning your Kentia palm, simply remove all the leaves that have turned fully brown. Yellowish or slightly brown leaves still photosynthesis and produce nutrients that your palm needs - so unless you really really really have to, leave the leaves alone!
Kentia palms are great indoor plants because they’re non-toxic to cats and dogs. That said, do teach your pets to keep their paws off this potentially pricey plant! Use your Kentia palm to introduce pets to their green friends and teach them how to peacefully live with them.
Pests & Common Diseases
In its natural environment, gusts of wind and rain will help keep the bugs away. As a house plant, Kentia palms tend to get spider mites or mealybug infestations. These pests are easily spotted. Spider mites make their home in cotton-like nests along the ridges of the under-leaf and mealybugs are little transparent bugs that wander around the plant.
When you have a spider mite or mealybug infestation, try spritzing them away with water either from a spray bottle or a garden hose. If that doesn’t work, you can opt for neem oil or wipe them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
Root rot is a common palm disease that’s caused by overwatering. This can be avoided by doing soil checks - either visually or by doing the finger check to feel if the soil is dry. Other common diseases are botrytis, leaf-spot disease, southern blight and powdery mildew.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do yellow leaves mean on my Kentia palm?
Yellowing leaves could mean that your plant is getting too little water. Another symptoms of underwatering is crispy and dry leaves, as well as slightly brittle. In extreme cases, your Kentia palm may even start to bend!
To avoid this, do regular leaves and soil checks to see if the soil is dry or the leaves start changing colour. If your plant is underwatered, make sure to give it small amounts of water every couple days to avoid it from drowning. If you’re a forgetful plant parent, try keeping to a watering schedule, regularly poke a finger into the soil and check the leaves.
Should I keep my Kentia palm indoors or outdoors?
That’s up to you! Kentia palms won’t reach their full size potential when kept indoors. Also, humidity plays a huge role in keeping Kentia palms happy indoors. If you can manage to find the humidity sweet spot as well as give your plant its basic light, potting, and soil requirements, then go indoors!
If you plan to take care of your Kentia palm outdoors, make sure to keep it away from direct sunlight. A spot with dappled light is perfect. It can tolerate cool temperatures and short spells of -5 °C, however, Kentia palms prefer to be kept in temperatures of 12.5 °C+. If you’re thinking of taking your plant outside, we recommend to do so in the summer and leave it in the pot so you can bring in indoors in the cooler months.
All in All
Some indoor Kentia palms are known to live for 50 years! If you’re doing a good job, your Kentia palm will stay green and vibrant. Just listen to what your plant is telling you. Small indicators like Kentia palm brown leaves mean that the air is too dry. Slightly burnt-looking leaves mean that it’s getting too much sun. Super soggy soil means that you’re overwatering your plant or there is improper drainage. Learn to make adjustments and you’ll have a potted plant friend for the rest of your life!
Remember, Kentia palm care is similar to keeping friends. Just listen to what they’re saying and give them love and care. In no time, you’ll find that this will help you and your Kentia palm grow!