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Avatar for sandcastles
Oct 22, 2021 5:24 AM CST
UK
Hi guys,

Was hoping someone could help, I have a parlour palm which I have had for 1.5 years and its been thriving and growing, never had any problems with it. Half of the leaves have suddenly started going brown and dying.. it's weird because theres new leaves coming out but half of the plant is going brown. I haven't changed watering pattern (reduced a little for winter months ofc) and theres been no change in position.

It was kind of hard to get pictures but tried my best, it looks worse in real life. Some of the browning leaves also have what looks like dusty-white patches on them.

Weird because two huge new leaves were coming out as you can see and also another one sprouted from the soil so it was doing so well!

Hoping someone can help.

Thanks all
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Moved to the kitchen to get a better pic

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Last edited by sandcastles Oct 22, 2021 5:35 AM Icon for preview
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Oct 22, 2021 5:57 AM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
If you need to relax, grow plants!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
Your parlor palm appears to have a mite problem, a very serious mite problem. Most likely false spider mites but regular mites could also be present. This has been happening for several weeks. Populations do build up fairly quickly due to their short lifecycle.
These are piercing/sucking insects that cause a tremendous amount of damage. They thrive in a dry humidity environment. You may need to use a hand lens of 10 power just to see them.

The attack is so widespread that control now is going to be next to impossible. Sorry to be so pessimistic. If you tried to spray them with a miticide, take it outside and spray it all over, 100%!!! If you miss spots, the mites will keep thriving. Three sprays minimum, a week to ten days in between sprays. In my attempts to grow palms, they seem to be "scale magnets".
They make systemic cures which are taken into the plants tissue. Cures are more complete that way.
A regular insecticide will not work. It has to be blended for mites!
Good luck.
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
Last edited by BigBill Oct 22, 2021 5:58 AM Icon for preview
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Oct 22, 2021 7:33 PM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
Let's all play ukulele
Charter ATP Member Frogs and Toads Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland
Composter Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds
The pot seems small in relation the the plant size.. to me.
Plant it and they will come.
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Oct 22, 2021 10:45 PM CST

BigBill said:Your parlor palm appears to have a mite problem, a very serious mite problem. Most likely false spider mites but regular mites could also be present. This has been happening for several weeks. Populations do build up fairly quickly due to their short lifecycle.
These are piercing/sucking insects that cause a tremendous amount of damage. They thrive in a dry humidity environment. You may need to use a hand lens of 10 power just to see them.

The attack is so widespread that control now is going to be next to impossible. Sorry to be so pessimistic. If you tried to spray them with a miticide, take it outside and spray it all over, 100%!!! If you miss spots, the mites will keep thriving. Three sprays minimum, a week to ten days in between sprays. In my attempts to grow palms, they seem to be "scale magnets".
They make systemic cures which are taken into the plants tissue. Cures are more complete that way.
A regular insecticide will not work. It has to be blended for mites!
Good luck.


Great advice, thank you. I'm bad at ID.

Only things I can add are to make sure to get the undersides of the leaves, the soil surface, and to not give up. Plants are very strong.
Basically, don't be surprised if it dies but it has a good chance so do what you can!

Those leaves look bad and should be cut, but the basic structure of the plant looks healthy.
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Oct 22, 2021 10:53 PM CST

sallyg said:The pot seems small in relation the the plant size.. to me.


Even though they're not in the bamboo family I think they grow similarly.

They do fine root-bound to a certain point.
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Oct 22, 2021 11:43 PM CST
Name: Sue Taylor
Northumberland, UK
Amaryllis Region: United Kingdom Houseplants Frogs and Toads Foliage Fan I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Container Gardener Charter ATP Member Garden Photography Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Annuals Bee Lover
I agree with Bill, it looks like a severe mite infestation. Look on the undersides of the leaves for webbing, the mites are very tiny, but the dried out speckly look of the leaves is a giveaway.
TBH I would throw it out, treating something like that is very difficult.
Avatar for sandcastles
Oct 23, 2021 3:50 AM CST
UK
Humboldt said:

Great advice, thank you. I'm bad at ID.

Only things I can add are to make sure to get the undersides of the leaves, the soil surface, and to not give up. Plants are very strong.
Basically, don't be surprised if it dies but it has a good chance so do what you can!

Those leaves look bad and should be cut, but the basic structure of the plant looks healthy.


Thanks so much guys! I am going to have a go at saving it because why not!! I cut off some of he worse leaves yesterday and brought some miticide, gave it a good spray and will follow it up in 2 weeks! In the meantime do I water it as normal?

Really appreciate all the advice & help.
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Oct 23, 2021 4:14 AM CST
Name: Big Bill
Livonia Michigan (Zone 6a)
If you need to relax, grow plants!!
Bee Lover Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Region: Michigan Hostas Growing under artificial light
Echinacea Critters Allowed Cat Lover Butterflies Birds Region: United States of America
Yes, keep it watered as normal.
Orchid lecturer, teacher and judge. Retired Wildlife Biologist. Supervisor of a nature preserve up until I retired.
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Oct 23, 2021 9:20 PM CST

kniphofia said:
TBH I would throw it out, treating something like that is very difficult.


Close call but I'd probably go for the challenge and hopefully get some insight as to what does/doesn't work the next time it occurs.

I'd definitely try to isolate it if possible so they can't spread to other plants.

Most pesticides work very very quickly which is good.

What brand miticide did you use?
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Oct 23, 2021 9:28 PM CST

I've also seen recommendations of straight 70% rubbing alcohol, to 1/3-1/4 mix with water, applied gently with a paper towel.

Seems to be a well-regarded method.

I've had good luck just swabbing things right when they get going with rubbing alcohol and Q-tips.
Last edited by Humboldt Oct 23, 2021 9:32 PM Icon for preview
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Oct 24, 2021 6:23 AM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
Let's all play ukulele
Charter ATP Member Frogs and Toads Houseplants Keeper of Poultry Vegetable Grower Region: Maryland
Composter Native Plants and Wildflowers Organic Gardener Region: United States of America Cat Lover Birds
I would wrap the pot in a plastic bag so I could turn the pot any which way and wash the bejeezus out of the leaves with a hose, shower, tub of soapy water, something. Smiling
Plant it and they will come.
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