Parlor Palm Failing - Knowledgebase Question

Geneva, IL
Question by dianemaccioc
November 7, 1999
My Parlor Palm fronds are slowing one by one turning yellow and then completely brown. The plant is about 4ft. high and when I water it all drains out the bottom of the pot rather quickly. I leave the water in there and slowly it drinks it back up most of the time. If I touch the soil even a day or two later the top 3" is bone dry. Do you know if it has a disease? I don't notice any bugs. The plant is in med. light with very occasional direct sun.


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Answer from NGA
November 7, 1999

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Even though you're watering regularly, the soil in the container may be so dry that it's repelling water rather than absorbing it. A good defense for this very common problem is to immerse the pot in a container of water every few months, to drive out air pockets and thoroughly wet the soil. I put my houseplants in a sinkful or bathtub full of water and wait until the bubbling stops (bubbles indicate air is trapped near the roots). Then allow to drain thoroughly. Water the plant when the top of the soil begins to dry out. If the soil remains overly dry or you need to water very frequently, the plant may have outgrown its pot. If that's the case, choose a slightly larger container and repot, using fresh potting soil.

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