The Q&A Archives: Indoor palm tree yellowing

Question: I bought a palm tree house plant and repotted it in Miracle Grow soil. Within a week, several branches had yellowed. I went back to the store and bought palm/cactus soil and repotted it in that. The yellowing slowed, but more branches are drying out. How often should I water it? Is it possible to save the plant? It's in semi-bright room, out of direct sunlight. Does it need more sun?

Answer: I'm not sure the original symptoms were due to the potting soil or the repotting you did when you first brought your palm home. Indoor palms are generally grown in a greenhouse with perfect temperatures and humidity and light. When the palms are shipped to a garden center they go through some stress and when you bring them home and put them into completely different temperatures, humidity and light levels they show their stress by developing yellow leaves. Eventually they adjust but in the meantime they can exhibit yellow leaves. Repotting with palm/cactus soil was a good move. This type potting soil drains really well which is important to palms. Most indoor plants are killed by over watering than by anything else. At this point, just allow your palm to get used to the growing conditions in your home. Keep it out of drafts and direct sunlight and don't feed it. Do water the soil thoroughly, though and then allow the top inch to dry out before watering again. You will see new growth when the palm finally adjust and you can prune off the dead foliage and begin feeding your palm. Use a half strength dilution of water soluable fertilizer and feed every 3-4 weeks during the growing season. Good luck with your palm!

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