Lying back, watching the sun's rays filtering through the branches of the palm trees swaying in the sea breeze is enough to transport you to the beach and feel the warmth. If you miss that tropical aesthetic and want to recreate it in your home, you can buy a pair of Kentia palms. the best part? They're hard-wearing and easy to care for, plus they blend easily with different decorating styles
Whether you own a palm or after reading about how easy they are to care for, we've put together this Kentia palm care guide so you can learn all the keys to keeping them green, lush and radiant.
Get to know your Kentia palm
The scientific name of the Kentia palm is Howea Forsteriana. Although it looks very tropical, it is native to Australia, specifically the island of Lord Howe, from which it takes its name; for this reason it is the perfect palm species for those who do not live in tropical climates. It is a tree that can grow up to 12 metres, but if kept in a pot it will reach 3 metres at the most. It has a slender trunk, which can be up to 30 cm in diameter and which is green when the palm is young and turns brown with age. This trunk can sprout 3 to 10 palms with leaves. It is leafy, green and very beautiful.
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Being native to Australia, it is able to thrive in different types of climates. It can withstand temperatures between 38°C and -4°C. When it is small, the Kentia grows in the shelter of large trees and does not receive direct sunlight, this detail added to the fact that it is slow growing, makes it very well adapted to growing indoors even when the lighting conditions are not the most optimal.
Care of the Kentia palm indoors
With the Kentia palm, less is more. It is better to let it dry out a little than to water it too often and cause the roots to rot. Ideally, water a couple of times a week in summer and once or twice a month in winter. If you have it in a heated area, then water once a week.
It is advisable to spray it from time to time, as this will not only improve its humidity conditions, but will also remove dust from its leaves.
Kentias require a soil that facilitates drainage, it should even be a little sandy and have pebbles at the bottom. The best thing about these plants is that they are not at all fussy about watering or fertilising, although it is recommended to use a suitable fertiliser once a year at most.
Kentia palms sold in pots for indoor decoration are usually quite young, which is why they are very susceptible to direct sun. At this stage of their lives they are protected by foliage and other adult palms, so you should simulate these conditions at home: place them in a well-lit area, but out of direct sunlight. It can tolerate shady places, which is why it is popular in offices and enclosed spaces, although it is best placed near a window or light source.
Kentia is fairly resistant to pests and diseases, as long as you don't drown it as excess water will make it prone to fungus such as powdery mildew. Pay attention to the branches and leaves, as it can be attacked by the annoying mealy bugs and red spider mites, especially in the summer months. However, should this happen, you can apply any of these natural and homemade insecticides.
What NOT to do with your Kentia palm tree
Caring for Kentia palms is very simple, but sometimes we make mistakes by omission or because we do things that work well with other types of plants and which are counterproductive with this type of plant.
Overwatering will not make it green and lush, but will waterlog the roots and make it prone to fungus that can kill it. Instead of watering, spray water on the leaves to keep them moist.
- Placing it in direct sunlight
I know these are supposed to be tropical outdoor plants, but palms grown indoors are usually quite young and delicate, so direct sun will scorch their leaves. Even if you plan to leave them in the sun on a terrace, you should get them used to it gradually and avoid direct sun for the first few years.
- Change pots frequently
Kentia roots are quite delicate, so transplanting should only be done under controlled conditions and in extreme cases. These palms are slow-growing, so it is advisable to buy it in a large pot and change it only when strictly necessary. If you are one of those who change their decoration frequently, then use decorative pots.
- Touching the roots
In case you have to transplant it because the pot it came in is too small, because you are going to put it in the ground or for any other reason, avoid touching the roots. Transplant in the shade and remove the root ball from the soil very gently so that it remains intact. Do not shake it to 'give air to the roots', this can kill your palm.
Under no circumstances should palms be pruned, as this can cause irreparable damage to the trunk. The palms will dry and fall off on their own when they have completed their cycle and will only require a little tugging to remove them, but avoid doing so with too much force as this will cause wounds in the trunk that can rot.
Dedicated to creating an army of cacti, succulents, poodles and cats to help me conquer the world. In the little free time I have left, I play, write and dance.