The Q&A Archives: Fan Palm in trouble

Question: I have had a Chinese fan palm for about two weeks that is in trouble. Yellowing of some fronds, yellowing leaves. Some leaves were brown-tipping. Gets plenty of indirect light from a west window. Watered thoroughly when the top inch of soil is dry and not allowed to stand in the water. I found some spider mites and treated with very weak alcohol/water mist. Some of the new growth at the bottom of the plant seems to be dying. I have never fertilized. A cat palm at a north window gets the same treatment and seems to be fine. Any ideas?

Answer: Shane,

Very strange. Your description of your plant's care pretty much eliminates the likely causes of such symptoms on a palm. There is always the possibility of some unusual disease, but I doubt that seriously as your area is obviously not filled with palms which would support such a problem.

Something seems wrong in the roots. Perhaps if it was transplanted, this could be a temporary setback. That palm would like a medium to bright light and so I'm not sure what else to recommend but time and moderate soil moisture. Fertilize the plant with a soluble plant food at the label rate once a week to see if it just needs a little more nutrients such as nitrogen.

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