Post a reply

Avatar for spaghettiShark
May 29, 2020 4:45 AM CST

I Inherited my Parlour Palm a little while ago and he's really important to me.
He has been quite sick for some time now and I'm really worried he's going to die.
He is about 4 years old and up until recently had been in the same pot the whole time.
About 2 weeks ago, I put him in a new pot with some fresh new soil that was recommended to me.
When I took him out of his old pot, I realised that his roots had grown through his drainage holes and were blocking them, causing his bottom soil to be very wet. I know that this is a big issue for plants.

I had hoped that putting him in a new pot would help him to heal and now he has better drainage and isn't being watered too frequently, but he seems to be getting much worse. Is any one able to help me?

His leaves are drooping, drying up and curling over. The tips of them become brown and I think his fronds are dying.
I also found this strange white spot on him. He also appears to be losing his colour, with one frond having lots of light spots covering it

I would appreciate any help and advice, thank you

Thumb of 2020-05-29/spaghettiShark/6cdc7d
Thumb of 2020-05-29/spaghettiShark/b38b06
Thumb of 2020-05-29/spaghettiShark/3b51bf
Thumb of 2020-05-29/spaghettiShark/8afa42
Thumb of 2020-05-29/spaghettiShark/188001
May 29, 2020 9:45 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Welcome! It is normal for the soil at the bottom of a potted plant to stay damp at all times. It is only the top inch or so of soil that needs to dry out. So the repotting was not necessary. Was the pot sitting in water before you repotted?

When you repotted it, how much of the original soil did you remove?

How do you decide when to water and how much do you provide?

How far is the nearest window?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
Contact me directly at
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Avatar for spaghettiShark
May 30, 2020 12:07 AM CST

Hi WillC

Thank you for responding to my post Smiling
Oh I didn't realise about the bottom soil - I guess that makes sense, thank you for letting me know.

I read that I should re pot after a few years and if the roots had grown through his drainage holes and given how sad he looked I thought that might be why.

I don't think I kept a lot of his original soil, mostly it is his new soil. I was worried his old soil was causing him to be sick thinking that he might have a fungal infection and just because of how old it was. But I've since read it's better to keep them with some of their old soil to prevent shock.
Do you think that's what is could be? He seemed fine for 1-1.5 weeks after re potting, so I thought he was ok.

I have changed his watering routine a few times trying to understand what he likes best.
For a long time I was watering him twice per week, 1-2 cups of water. I checked his top inch of soil and it always felt dry when I watered him.
But then I got worried about over watering and changed it to once per week, 1-2 cups (I mist him a few times a week as well).
Now I am just really confused about what to do, I'm terrified of over watering and underwatering.

He is right near a very big window - It's a big sliding door so he gets quite a bit of light. It has just turned to winter here and there hasn't been much sun the past week or so though. I did move him about 2 meters to the right of where he was, closer to the door so he could get more fresh air thinking that might be the problem as well.

Thanks again for your help- I really appreciate it Thank You!
May 30, 2020 7:41 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
Prof. plant consultant & educator
Most indoor plants are slow growers and don't need repotting even after several years or when roots are visible through the drain holes. Fungal infections are very rare outside of greenhouse environments. Removing the original soil tears away many of the vital tiny roothairs and that is what causes "shock." It often takes a month or more for symptoms of stress to show up. The longer it takes for symptoms to show, the less stress it has experienced. In the photo, yours appears to be ain pretty good shape.

Because everyone does their repotting differently, it is hard to provide accurate watering instructions. Remove any soil you added to the top of the original rootball when you repotted as that soil prevents oxygen from penetrating the root zone readily and makes it harder to determine when to water. The uppermost roots should be just barely covered with soil. Then, allow the top half-inch of the remaining soil to feel dry before watering.

The hard part is determining how much water to add at each watering. You want the top half-inch of the soil to get dry again in about a week so you will have to adjust the amount of water you add so that happens. It will take a bit of experimentation and careful monitoring on your part until you are able to make that determination of how much water it uses each week.

Parlor Palms are low light plants that need protection from the rays of the sun falling directly on them at any time during the day. Otherwise keep yours reasonably close to a window. Fresh air is fine as long as it is not cold.

Misting does no harm, but it provides nor benefits.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
Contact me directly at
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.
Member Login:

( No account? Join now! )

Today's site banner is by Mike and is called "Petunia 'Picasso'"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.