Houseplants forum: Overwatered Majesty Palm - Do I have root rot? (Pics inside)

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Aug 19, 2017 5:00 AM CST
Hi there,

I think I overwatered my two Majesty Palms. (First of all, I'm not 100% sure that they're Majesty Palms. I got them from Ikea and looked up 'Ikea Plants' in Google images to find the name. So please correct me if I'm wrong.)

I think the leaves of the plants were already browning from under-watering. But then before I went on vacation for two weeks, I watered with, let's say, a little bit less than a liter of water then. Then I attached little fixtures like this http : / / amzn . eu / 8O5wfIl, to one liter bottles of water and put them into the plants before I left. There was a bit of a mishap when getting the bottles set up. The bottles started to leak right away so I had to tape them up in order to get them to work properly. Long story short: before I left the two plants got *a lot* of water.

I kept the plants away from direct light while I was away because the apartment gets a lot of light through it's east and west facing windows.

Two weeks later, there was a sour-ish smell in the apartment and several of the palms had yellowed or just looked straight dead. I have the plants in the pots they were purchased in; they're the kind of pots that have holes on the bottom so it drains. There wasn't any left over water, but the soil in the plant was still pretty damp. I cut most of the dead palms, and am planning on just letting the soil dry out a bit. I made some 'holes' in the top of the soil using my finger thinking that will give the plant a bit more 'breathing room'. But I'm worried that the at least one of the plants has root rot, (1) because of the yellow palms and (2) because of the smell that was initially in the apartment when I got back. Note: there was another overwatered plant that had a lot of standing water in its cache-pot that could've been the source of the smell. The smell is now gone.

Two other notes:
*I've never given any of my plants fertilizer. I just learned yesterday that that's something I need to be doing. D'Oh!
*I can see one or two 'strands' of root through the little holes in the bottom of the pot and those are white, but who knows how the rest are faring.

Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to include as much info as possible.

Oh, also, there've been these little copperish hair-like strands on the leaves of the plants. You can kind of see them on the 6th picture. I removed most of them a while ago but there's some that are still there. I dunno if they're good or bad for the plant.

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Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Aug 19, 2017 7:09 AM CST
Palm species are hard to distinguish. I am happy to say that yours does not appear to be a Majesty Palm. That is a good thing because Majesty Palms fare notoriously poorly indoors. Yours looks more like a Kentia Palm, a much better indoor species that does well in indirect sunlight protected from more than an hour or so of direct sun each day. A few feet back from an east window, but not in a corner or off to the side, would be best.

Overall, yours appears to be fairly healthy despite the irregular watering. I cannot determine from the photos what type of potting medium was used. The better quality Kentia Palms are grown in a very porous, volcanic cinder potting mix that makes watering much easier. It appears that yours is in a more standard potting mix. There is no need to repot and you are right to allow the top half-inch or so of the soil to get dry before adding just enough water so that a bit trickles through the drain holes.

Fertilizing is over promoted. Kentia Palms are slow growers and use little nutrients. Fertilize every other month at half strength, but no more.

Trim off any fronds as they start to discolor. Watch for the emergence of healthy new fronds to inform you as to whether your care is on the right track.

The brown netting at the base of the stems is a normal part of the plant and is best left alone.

Kentias are undemanding plants that do not require a lot of care. But they are slow growers and will require patience.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

Aug 20, 2017 5:11 AM CST
Hi Will !

Thank you very very very very much for you response! And thanks for helping identify the type of plant it is. Will take your advice regarding not repotting, fertilizing every other month and being patient.

(The potting medium was what it came with and I've added a little bit of this http: // amzn . eu/78qCmrm. Sorry it's in French.)

I'll trim off the rest of the discoloring fronds.

Thank you again !!!!

Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Aug 20, 2017 8:34 AM CST
Hi, Antonia - My high school French lessons did not prepare me for reading soil ingredient lists in French! Nonetheless, I can safely say that adding it serves no useful purpose. If you just added it on top of the original soil, then I suggest you simply remove it.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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