Ask a Question forum: Brown and droopy leaves

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Milwaukee, Wi
Apr 5, 2018 7:16 PM CST
Hi all. Can anyone tell me what's wrong with my plant pictured here? Many of the leaves are turning brown and overall seem droopy and dull. Thanks in advance!
Thumb of 2018-04-06/1308olsona/c5c2a3

Name: Andrea Reagan
Astatula, Florida (Zone 9a)
I collect seeds
Apr 5, 2018 11:02 PM CST
Your Parlor Palm may be exposed to bright light or it may need more moisture. If it needs more moisture you can accomplish this by misting it or placing the container in a dish with water and pebbles. The pebbles will prevent water from touching the bottom of the container.
Name: Will Creed
Profess plant consultant & educator
Apr 7, 2018 8:27 AM CST
The mottled appearance on at least one of the fronds is a tell-tale sign of spider mites. Chances are they are on other fronds as well. Spray all leaf and stem surfaces thoroughly with a solution of water and liquid dish soap until the entire plant is dripping wet. Be sure to cover the bottoms and tops of the leaves with the spray solution.

Spider mites are often an indication of moisture stress around the roots. The moisture meter may be leading you astray. Water you Palm thoroughly as soon as the top surface of the soil is dry. Increasing the humidity is not a substitute for proper watering.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
Sunset Zone 15
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Apr 7, 2018 1:39 PM CST


That was my first impression, spider mites.
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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Apr 8, 2018 6:16 AM CST
Agree about spider mites. Insecticidal soap would be a much safer alternative than dish soap, which can contain detergents that are harmful to plants.

Regardless of pest issues, it's normal for palms to lose the older leaves, one at a time, as the trunk lignifies.

If it is a parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans,) it is not a diva about humidity and the nickname "parlor palm" comes from the Victorian era, from the fact that it would stay alive in the dry air in a parlor heated by a fireplace (compared to other palms that are divas about humidity.)
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Name: Will Creed
Profess plant consultant & educator
Apr 8, 2018 8:03 AM CST
I have used ordinary liquid dish soap for many years on many plant without any adverse effects. I do avoid antibacterial soaps and detergents intended for dishwasher use, however. I also have used insecticidal soap, but it is very drying to my skin and is a lot more expensive than ordinary dish soap.

To each his/her own. Smiling
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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