The Q&A Archives: Brown Lumps On Palm Leaves

Question: My brother in FL sent me a Sega or Seca ? palm tree a year ago. Last summer I put it on my patio for 4 months. It really did well outside as 6 new branches grew. After bringing it inside in the fall I noticed small brown hard lumps or bubbles on the undersides of the "leaves" of the palm branches. When I scratch them open they just flake off. The bottom set of branches are turning yellow on the palm tree also. Is this some kind of disease it could've picked up from being outside those summer months ?

Answer: Palms are subject to infestation by scale insects so this may be what you are finding; they do occasionally pick something up while they are outdoors for the summer. They can be controlled by gently scraping them off with your fingernail and by using an insecticidal soap when they are in the soft crawling stage (they will move!) With regard to the bottom yellowing, based on your description it may be the result of overwatering during the winter when the plant slows its growth in response to the lower light level and simply needs less water as a result. You might check to make sure that the soil is slightly moist but not overly wet. You might also look carefully for any signs of mites as these can cause the foliage to stipple and appear to be yellowing. These would also be controlled with insecticidal soap according to the label instructions.

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