Palm care - Knowledgebase Question

Question by desertph
July 4, 2008
I frequently purchase indoor plants from Home Depot and it is very frustrating since there are never care instructions. I recently purchased an indoor palm plant and its fronds are turning brown. How much light does this plant need and water?
Thank you,
Patty Hoffman

Answer from NGA
July 4, 2008


Since your plant is new, it may simply be adjusting to life outside the perfect conditions it had in the greenhouse and showing some shock. However, there are some things to consider in trying to make it as happy as possible in its new home. Here are some general guidelines for growing palms indoors: Give average household to cool household temperatures, with a minimum of 50F in the winter. Most palms will thrive in moderate to low light conditions, and surprisingly, should be shaded from direct sunlight or they will sunburn. This may be what is happening to your palm. Palms require good drainage, meaning they do not like a soil that is sopping wet. However, do provide enough water to keep the soil moist during the spring and summer months, and allow the top of the soil to dry out slightly between waterings in the winter time. This would be the top half inch or so of the soil in a very large container. Also very important, your palm is probably suffering terribly from the dry indoor conditions we have during heating season. Misting may help, but it is more effective to run a humidifier nearby. Grouping plants together and setting them on a pebble tray (a tray full of pebbles with water added to just below the top of the pebbles, set the plant pot on the pebbles.) Palms are not heavy feeders, but appreciate one spring and one summer feeding with a half-strength solution of liquid fertilizer in place of regular watering. Palms are sensitive to mineral accumulation in the soil, so leach the salts out once or twice a year by watering slowly and deeply and let the water run out of the bottom of the pot for several minutes. Finally, keep the plant away from drafts, both hot and cold. You might also want to examine it very carefully for any signs of pests, either stippling of the foliage or fine webbing or anything else unusual. I hope this helps!

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