Kentia Palm: Characteristics, Growing Conditions, and Care Guide
If you want to bring the tropical atmosphere into your own home, Kentia Palm should be included as your houseplant. This plant will look great on the corner of your living room or near the bedside table in your bedroom.
Kentia Palm is also known for having a natural elegance and high durability, so you can take that as an advantage.
Before sprucing up your interior with this palm plant, you need to know about the basic rules of growing Kentia Palm and taking care of it. This guide to plant and care for Kentia Palm can be something you rely on.
1. About Kentia Palm
Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) is originated from Lord Howe Island in the eastern coast of Australia. In its origin island, Kentia Palm trees are impressively tall and can reach the maximum height of 60 feet.
However, when they are turned into houseplants, the height only ranges between 5 to 12 feet. Because of this, they are included on the list of small indoor palm trees.
Claimed as one of the most popular palms, Kentia is called the sentry palm because it often guards the gate or entryway.
This plant is characterized by slim trunks and long arching leaves that are known as fronds. Kentia’s fronds have dark green colors and most of their parts are covered with soft feathers.
2. Varieties of Kentia Palm
Kentia Palm has several varieties, but the most popular ones are Thatch Palm (Howea forsteriana) and Curly Palm or Belmore Sentry Palm (Howea belmoreana). Thatch Palm is cultivated as an ornamental garden in addition to a houseplant.
It has extremely long fronds in which the maximum length can reach up to three meters. Because of this feature, Thatch Palm is often associated with coconut trees.
Meanwhile, Belmore has shorter leaves and straight leaflets. In the past, it is often used to decorate parlor in houses or castles. Queen Victoria even chose this palm variety as a decorative addition to all of her homes. Despite their slight differences, both varieties are popular for its elegant features.
3. Requirements for Growing Kentia Palm
Kentia Palm plant is highly durable. It is not only resistant to dust and heat, but also can tolerate light and humidity at a lower level. Despite this, you still need to provide the best growing environment, so that the plant can thrive at its best and last for a long time.
The following is some basic requirements that should be fulfilled when growing Kentia at home.
Kentia Palm prefers sandy soil, just like in its natural habitat. Choose for aerated soil or potting mix that can drain faster than the usual soil.
You don’t have to place the potted plant in the bright spot, because indirect sunlight from the window is enough to keep Kentia Palm happy. It can even survive in the area with low light. However, to have more foliage, the plant should receive more light during the daytime.
Kentia is actually a fan of warm temperature and climate. In spite of it, the plant still thrives in the winter and can bear lower temperature that ranges between 5 to 12 degrees Celsius. Therefore, you don’t need to worry too much about this point.
4. Kentia Palm Care Guide
Kentia Palm care procedure is quite easy. The plant does not need excessive watering or fertilizing, but should be kept under certain condition.
Kentia doesn’t require too much watering. You only need to water the plant when the top part of the soil looks dry out. In warmer seasons like summer, the plant needs to be watered on a weekly basis. It is also important to mist the leaves with mineral water every now and then.
Use an ample amount of water and avoid over watering to prevent the root from rotting. In addition, make sure that the pot has a good drainage system, so that it can drain the water quickly.
Kentia only needs to be fertilized in the spring and winter. Feed the plant once a month using palm fertilizer, liquid fertilizer, or slow-release pellets; choose one that you think is the most suitable for the plant and its growing situation.
Moreover, keep in mind that you shouldn’t give the palm excessive fertilizer, because too much plant food will cause the leaves to turn brown.
Cleaning the Foliage
As additional care, the palm foliage needs to be cleaned occasionally. The palm itself is actually resistant to dust, but it will not make a great decorative plant if the dust covers most of its leaves. Therefore, you can clean the leaves by spraying a small amount of water, and then dry them using a cloth or duster.
5. Repotting Kentia Palm
Kentia Palm tree needs to be moved into a new pot every three years or so, or when your palm is completely root-bound. Repotting is important to lower the risk of the plant dying as well as to slow the plant’s growth rate.
Because this process is done after the plant increases the size of its trunk, you should choose a new pot that has a larger size. While repotting, remember to treat the trunk carefully to keep its steadiness.
6. Some Problems with Kentia Palm
Several Kentia Palm problems are usually caused by improper care. One of the most common problems is the tip of the leaves that turn brown and die gradually. It can be caused by either too much fertilizer or lack of water. For that reason, remember to always feed and water the plant in a balanced portion.
Besides browning leaves, you also need to be aware of some pest attack. Kentia is quite susceptible to mites and mealy bugs. Although they are just tiny bugs, their attack may damage your lovely Kentia fronds. Insecticide or a natural substance like Neem oil can be used to deal with such a problem.
Once you’ve known some basic rules of its care and growing requirements, you can choose Kentia Palm as one of the decorative indoor palm trees. The presence of this palm will become an attractive addition to the room. Above all, it can create a tropical ambience that will make you feel more relaxed and refreshed.