Kentia Palm

8 Tips on How to Care for Your Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana Infographic)

Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana and Howea belmoreana) is a popular houseplant with beautiful cascading palm leaves. It is a slow-growing houseplant that can grow to 8-10 feet tall as an indoor palm. Kentia Palm is a humid-loving indoor palm that will do well in bathrooms. Here are tips on how to care for your Kentia Palm indoors.

Kentia Palm Houseplant Infographic

Kentia Palm Infographic
Kentia Palm Houseplant Infographic

8 Tips on How to Take Care of Your Kentia Palm

1. Your Kentia Palm is Happiest in Bright indirect light 

Kentia Palm will be happy in bright, indirect light indoors. You can keep it at a South, West, or East facing window but make sure to filter the light. Filter sunlight using sheer blinds or sheer curtains.

Kentia Palms should not be placed in full sun, the leaves will burn. It will tolerate shade but won’t grow vigorously. Occasionally, bring it outside to get some sun. Just don’t expose it to direct sunlight because the leaves will burn. 

2. Moderate Water is Best for Kentia Palm

Water your Kentia Palm when the soil feels dry. The best way to tell when it is time to water your Kentia Palm is to feel the soil. During the growing season, stick your finger in the soil 1 inch deep. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water your Kentia Palm.  Your Kentia Palm will need less watering in the winter but don’t let the soil dry up completely.

3. Get the Soil Right for Your Kentia Palm

Your Kentia Palm needs a well-draining, organic potting mix. 

4. Fertilize Your Kentia Palm

Your Kentia Palm should be fertilized at half strength once every 2 weeks in the Spring and Summer month. Don’t fertilize in the Fall and Winter.

5. Don’t forget to Repot Your Kentia Palm

Repot your Kentia Palm once every 2-3 years. Repot your Kentia Palm in a container with a diameter 4 inches larger than the current pot. 

6. Drainage is Essential for Your Kentia Palm

After watering your Kentia Palm and you see water draining out of the pot’s drainage holes, make sure you empty out the accumulated water in the saucer. Don’t let your Kentia Palm’s pot sit in this puddle of water. It will cause root rot!

7. Get the Temperature Right for Your Kentia Palm

Your Kentia Palm needs to have a daytime temperature of 65F to 75 Fahrenheit (18-24C). The nighttime temperature should be at 55-65 Fahrenheit (13-18 C). Your Kentia Palm likes cool nighttime temperatures. Don’t let the temperature drop below 50 F (10C).

8. Humidity is Vital for Your Kentia Palm 

Your Kentia Palm is a houseplant that requires humid conditions. You should increase indoor humidity. Mist your Kentia Palm a few times a week. Turn on the humidifier. Keep Kentia Palm in a saucer filled with water. But make sure the pot is elevated with pot feet or pebbles so your Kentia Palm is not sitting directly on the water. You can also keep your Kentia Palm in a room with high humidity such as a bathroom. 

Check out: Best Houseplants for Bathrooms

3 Common Kentia Palm Houseplant Problems

The common problems for Kentia Palm houseplants are brown leaf tips, root rot, and scale insects.

Why does your Kentia Palm Look Wilted even if the Soil is Wet?

Problem: Your Kentia Palm looks wilted even if the soil is wet. Check for root rot by pulling the plant out and examining the roots. If the roots of your Kentia Palm plant look mushy (healthy roots are firm) and the roots are gray to black in color, these are telltale signs of root rot. 

Root Rot
Root Rot

Cause: Root rot is caused by fungus and is a serious problem for your Kentia Palm. Root rot is a result of wet soil due to overwatering or poor drainage. 

Solution: When your Kentia Palm is afflicted with root rot the chance of survival is slim. Your best course of action is to throw your Kentia Palm out and start over with a new plant. This time don’t overwater your Kentia Palm and make sure there is good drainage in the pot.

Why are the Tip of Leaves of Your Kentia Palm Turning Brown?

Problem: The tips of the leaves of your Kentia Palm plant are turning brown. 

Cause: When the tips of the leaves of your Kentia Palm turn brown that is a result of not enough water or humidity. The tips of the leaves are turning brown because they are dying. 

Solution: Water your Kentia Palm and increase humidity. 

Why are there Many Small Brown Bumps on the Leaves of Your Kentia Palm?

Problem: If you see little brown bumps all over the leaves and stems of your Kentia Palm, that can be a sign of scale. Try picking the bumps off, if it’s easily removed then that’s a telltale sign of scale. The little bumps can also be gray, yellow, or black. 

Scale Insects
Scale Insects on Leaf (photo is not kentia palm)

Cause: Scale is common on houseplants and is caused by scale insects. 

Solution: You can get rid of scale by picking them off one by one. Or the easier way to get rid of scale is to spray your Kentia Palm with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.

Check out our article on how to make your own homemade pesticides using baby shampoo: How to Make Horticultural Oil and How to Make Insecticidal Soap

Kentia Palm Houseplant Facts

NameKentia Palm
Scientific NameHowea forsteriana and Howea belmoreana
LightBright indirect light
Daytime Temperature65 to 75F (18-24C)
Night Time Temperature55-65F (13-18C)
WaterModerate Water
HumidityHigh Humidity
PottingWell-draining, organic, all-purpose potting mix
FertilizerOnce every 2 weeks at half strength in the Spring and Summer. Don’t fertilize in the Fall and Winter.
Kentia Palm Houseplant Facts

Kentia Palm: Frequently Asked Questions

What are Common Names of Kentia Palm?

Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana and Howea belmoreana) is also called Sentry Palm, Thatch Palm, Paradise Palm, Belmore Sentry Palm, and Curly Palm.

How Can You Tell When It’s Time to Water Your Kentia Palm?

Water your Kentia Palm when the soil feels dry. The best way to tell when it’s time to water is by sticking your finger into the soil. Stick your finger in the soil 1 inch deep. If the soil feels dry, then it’s time to water your Kentia Palm. In the winter, water less frequently but don’t let the soil dry out completely.

Can You Use Cold Water When Watering Your Kentia Palm?

Kentia Palm can be watered with tap water but be mindful of the water temperature that you are using to water your Kentia Palm. Don’t use straight cold water from the tap to water your Kentia Palm. 

Kentia Palm prefers cool water that is not hot and not cold. When you turn on the cold water from the faucet add a little bit of warm water. You can also get to this ideal temperature by filling a watering can or pitcher with water and leaving it out overnight until the water is at room temperature. 

What Fertilizer Should You Use for Your Kentia Palm?

Use liquid or powder, organic fertilizer with a higher ratio of nitrogen on your Kentia Palm.

How Big Does Your Kentia Palm Get?

Kentia Palm is a large houseplant that can grow to 8-10 feet tall and 5-6 feet wide.

How Do You Propagate Your Kentia Palm?

Your Kentia Palm is propagated by seed. You can’t propagate it with stem cuttings or leaf cuttings.

You May Also Be Interested in Other Large Houseplants: Fiddle Leaf Fig and Monstera Plant

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