The Q&A Archives: Dying Office Palm

Question: We recently bought a couple of plants/trees for our office and one of them is not doing so good. It is called a "palm lady rhapis" and I am wondering what we are doing wrong to "him". The leaves are dry and they soil is hard and rocky, but we were told not to water it too often because they are succulent and do not need that much water, but that does not seem to be the case for this guy. Please advise.

Thank you,

Angela Gifford

Answer: Rhapis, the lady palm, is a slow-growing fan palm from 5'-12' tall. It is a popular houseplant, withstanding neglect and poor light, but responding quickly to better light, regular watering and fertilizing. Provide bright, indirect light indoors, and water throughly until the soil is saturated. Wait until the top 1" of soil begins to dry out before watering again. It's possible, if the soil is very dry, that there are air pockets around the roots. Try immersing the pot in a container of water until bubbling stops, then allow to drain. Water as often as necessary to keep the soil from drying out completely. When new growth begins, you can fertilize with a half-strength dilution of liquid fertilizer. I fertilize my indoor palm every 4 weeks with a half-strength dilution of liquid fertilizer to encourage growth all year around. Good luck with your palm!

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