The Q&A Archives: Torbay Palm

Question: there is a yellowing of the leaves of my Torbay Palm. How can I solve this problem?

Answer: Yellow leaves can be caused by many things including lack of nitrogen, insufficient light, water-logged soil (plant roots need oxygen to thrive), dry soil, or iron deficiency. If the older bottom leaves are yellow, but new growth is green, it's usually a lack of nitrogen. If new leaves are yellow, with green veins, it's usually a lack of iron. (Lack of nitrogen is a more common problem than lack of iron.) Soil should be kept moderately moist (but not wet). Transplant shock can contribute to yellowing. If new growth shows up as green, that might be the problem.

Palms are susceptible to nutrient deficiencies including potassium and magnesium. You didn't mention if you fertilize, but a preventive fertilization program is helpful. Find a palm fertilizer or one that has 10-20 percent N, 5 percent phosphorus, 10-20 percent potassium, as well as micronutrients, 1-3% Mg., .5% Mn and Fe, and trace amounts of S, Zn, Cu and B. Try to isolate each of these possibilities one at a time to determine the problem.

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