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Avatar for tettyfay
May 21, 2018 5:02 AM CST
Thread OP

Hi everyone,
I'm very new to house plants so please forgive my ignorance. Just over a month ago I bought a Kentia Palm from my local garden centre that was on sale as the root ball had come unpotted ( it was just sitting on top of the soil). I took it home and repotted it with a mix of John Innes 3 and the soil it came in and it seemed to be doing quite well until the last week or so. The biggest, tallest leaf has now started to turn brown and crispy ( when I bought it there was a little browning on a few of the sections but nothing major) and the stem is turning yellow. The other two smaller stems and leaves seem to be doing ok aside from a little browning of the tips.
Does anyone have any ideas what this might be? Have I underwatered it or placed it in too sunny a spot (it was in quite bright sunlight although about 10-12 feet away from the window. My cat as has also peed in it twice recently, could this be the reason? ( I have now covered the pot up with tin foil until I think of a better solution). Do I need to trim the browning leaf down or can it recover? I'm really disappointed I've managed to kill it already as I really love it!
Any tips on what to do next would be most appreciated , thank you!
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Last edited by tettyfay May 21, 2018 5:03 AM Icon for preview
May 21, 2018 2:21 PM CST
Name: Will Creed
Prof. plant consultant & educator
If the tall, brown frond is the newest stem or growing tip, then your Kentia will not make it. Most Palms have a single growing tip and when that dies or is damaged, then it is no longer able to produce new fronds and it will gradually die. If the brown stem is not the newest one, then your Kentia still has a chance.

Kentia Palms do not like to have their roots disturbed, so yours was off to a very bad start before you rescued it. The roots are very fragile and easily damaged when repotted. I think John Innes Seed Compost would have been preferable, but I think that is the least of the concerns and I don't recommend replacing the potting mix at this point.

Your Kentia is too far from the window. It should be within 2 feet of a north, east or west window and within 4-5 feet of a south window.

Cat urine is potentially toxic to the plant.

There is no one cause of your Kentia's problems, but the fact that is was unpotted in the first place is the most serious of the problems.

If you still have a viable growing tip, then improve the light and water very lightly and perhaps it will recover.

Good luck!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Avatar for tettyfay
May 25, 2018 2:16 PM CST
Thread OP

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply!
I will move it closer to the window and hope for the best then- I didn't realise the roots were so sensitive, otherwise I would've thought twice before trying to save it, but it was such a nice looking plant I couldn't resist. It's a shame but I'll try anyway.
Thanks again!
May 25, 2018 2:31 PM CST
Name: Cheryl
North of Houston TX (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Plumerias Ponds
Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
For further reference, pine cones on top of the soil will help keep your cat away. That is, unless your cat bats them out of the pot! Good luck! Keep us posted. Your palm likes to be misted. Welcome!
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Jun 1, 2018 1:09 AM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
See you in the funny papers!
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
Rescuing real plants is a great way to learn about them specifically, and plants in general, I feel Thumbs up
Plant it and they will come.
Avatar for Lfossil
Feb 9, 2020 3:54 AM CST
South east Kent
Did you save your plant?
Avatar for ceesoul
Nov 3, 2020 11:06 AM CST
Hi! I seem to have a problem with my Kentia Palm dying...

I got it in March and it was in great condition throughout the summer, the problems started sometime in September.

The newest and closest to the bottom leaves started browning, and the issue is progressing towards the top of the plant. I am not sure if I under- or over-water it...

One local shop suggested it might be a bacterial infection, but I would like a second opinion before I rescue my plant - any ideas appreciated!
I added a few pictures, of already dead leaves, one with browning progressing, a healthy leaf (the oldest and the tallest), as well as pic of the soil. It looks very dry, but I gave it just now 2 weeks break from watering, in case I overwatered it.

edit: just to add, my windows are south-east facing, and the plant stands about 3-4 feet away from the window so it doesn't get direct sunlight.

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Last edited by ceesoul Nov 3, 2020 11:08 AM Icon for preview
Avatar for Keds
Nov 8, 2020 4:51 AM CST

That looks like my palm. I notices white blotches and dying leaves. I couldn't save it. 3 bits had rotten stems, it hadn't been over watered it was as dry as anything. I wiped the underside of the leaves as it had new healthy leaves growing and a ruat colur came off. I wonder if there is some kind of tiny insect in it😳
Avatar for CPPgardener
Nov 11, 2020 3:44 PM CST
Name: John
Pomona/Riverside CA (Zone 9a)
Welcome! To the forum ceesoul!
You have the age of the leaves backwards. The smallest, lowest leaves are the oldest ones and turn brown when they are no longer needed — cut them off.

Welcome! to you as well Keds.
Do you have any pictures of your palm or is it already gone?
“That which is, is.That which happens, happens.” Douglas Adams
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