Thursday, April 23, 2015

Elegance Plus: The Kentia Palm

Someone asked me today how to take care of a Kentia palm. I thought that I didn't have a picture of one to use in writing about it, then I remembered that I do have a snapshot of one from "The Indoor Garden", the TV series I made in the 1990's. These very elegant palms need a lot of space but are bound to be a strong, calming presence wherever they are placed. Their graceful fronds are lovely shade of deep olive green.

They are easy to keep but need a devoted owner. They are not very forgiving of neglect so if they have a set-back it will be awhile before a new frond unfolds. I had one for years and finally had to give it away because it became too big for my house. Kentia palms are slow growers but can become taller than most ceiling heights, eventually.

The key is to develop a good sense about when to water them. I had one in a 14" (35 cm) diameter pot and it took a gallon of water about every three weeks. I stress about because what really counts is how much the soil is dried out. You simply have to wait until the top of the soil is very dry and then water it.  So once you get a handle on how fast your palm will dry out, you can make a mental note to check it, close to that time. It's an easy habit to form and mine lived beautifully for years. There is some wiggle room on watering it, but don't let it dry out completely.

The Kentia palm, is botanically known as Howeia forsteriana as it was discovered on Lord Howe Island, east of Australia's New South Wales. Seeds were exported to Europe beginning in the 1870's and it has a become a favored palm for indoor use.  

Care Instructions--
  • Bright indirect light or some morning sun. Full afternoon sun is too much. Tolerates low light quite well.
  • Water a plant in a 10" (25 cm) diameter or larger sized pot when it is quite dry on the soil surface or up to an inch or 2 (2.5-5 cm)  below the soil surface. 
  • Water with up to 2 quarts ( 2 liters of water) for a 10" (25 cm) diameter pot
  • Water with up to 1 gallon (almost 4 liters) of water for a plant in a 14"(35 cm) diameter pot, when necessary.
  • Soil moisture meters are helpful for some and available at many garden centers and online
  • Fertilize regularly.
  • Dust the leaves when necessary
  • It's not crucial with this palm, but some extra humidity would be appreciated. A daily misting would be helpful.


***Click here to see the YouTube video on the Kentia Palm: How to Care for a Kentia Palm 
**To see more plants on this blog, click here:   The Indoor Garden blog
***To watch short video clips from my 90's TV series, click below:


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