Kentia palms (Howea forsteriana) are admired for their elegant glossy green fronds, making them a favorite choice to grow indoors. But sometimes, your Kentia palm might drop its leaves. In this guide, let’s explore seven common reasons your Kentia palm might shed its leaves and how you can address them.
7 Common Reasons (and Cures) for Your Kentia Palms Dropping Leaves:
Even though it can be disappointing to see your Kentia palm shed its gorgeous fronds, it can be a natural process. As your Kentia palm matures, some of the older leaves near its base may naturally fall off. These leaves typically turn yellow before they drop. This shedding allows the palm to divert energy and nutrients to newer leaves. So, if you observe one or two yellow leaves dropping from the base, there’s no need to worry.
Exposing your Kentia palm to unsuitable temperatures can cause leaf drop. Native to Australia’s Lord Howe Island with its subtropical climate, these beloved palms flourish in warm temperatures. They thrive best between 60 and 80ºF and can grow outdoors year-round in USDA Zones 9 to 11. Although generally low-maintenance, they suffer in cold temperatures. If the temperature dips below 50ºF during the night, they might shed all their leaves. So, consider keeping them indoors if you’re in a colder region.
Low Humidity Levels
Your Kentia palm might also shed leaves if the humidity isn’t right. They prefer moderate humidity levels, between 50 and 60%. While they can endure higher humidity, they suffer when the air gets too dry, especially during hot summers or cold, arid winters. If they’re consistently in humidity levels below 40%, leaf drop might occur. I always use humidifiers or pebble trays to boost the surrounding humidity. Occasional misting can help, but it’s not a sustainable solution in my experience.
Watering your Kentia palm correctly is vital. You’ll find they grow best in loose, well-draining soil. But if left in dense, waterlogged soils – often due to overwatering – they can suffer from root rot, turning their fronds yellow and droopy. If you discover the roots of your palm are brown, mushy, or have an odor, trim them. Repot the plant into well-draining soil. As a rule of thumb, water when the top two inches of soil feel dry.
On the flip side, not giving your Kentia palm enough water can also cause leaf drop. A dehydrated palm may not produce new fronds, and existing leaves might droop, curl, or brown at the tips. Make sure to water your plant when the top two inches of soil are dry. In warmer conditions or when exposed to direct sunlight, it might need more frequent watering.
Lack of Nutrients
If your Kentia palm is lacking nutrients, it might drop leaves. These plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Without these, they struggle to grow fresh, healthy fronds. Ensure they’re planted in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. A diluted liquid fertilizer every two to three months during the growing season can boost nutrient levels.
Diseases or Pests
Pests or diseases might be another reason for your Kentia palm shedding leaves. Pests like aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites feed on the sap, stunting growth and causing leaf fall. Combat these pests with horticultural oils and insecticidal soap. If you suspect a fungal infection, use an organic copper fungicide. However, the best protection is providing them with the optimal growing environment.
Kentia Palms Dropping Leaves FAQs:
Why Are Leaves Falling Off My Kentia Palm?
Various factors might be causing this – overwatering, underwatering, or unsuitable temperature and humidity levels. Adjust your palm’s environment to prevent further leaf drop.
Is My Kentia Palm Dead If It Loses All Its Leaves?
Sadly, if your Kentia palm loses all its leaves, it’s unlikely to recover. If you see it shedding some leaves, monitor it closely and correct any care discrepancies.
Should I Trim Dying Kentia Palm Leaves?
Yes, if some fronds are turning yellow or brown, snip them off. This helps the palm focus its energy on healthier leaves.
There can be various reasons for your Kentia palm’s leaf drop – from natural aging to watering issues and unsuitable environmental conditions. If your palm starts losing leaves, observe it closely, pinpoint the cause, and adjust its care accordingly.
For more, see our in-depth guide to whether Kentia palms are pet-friendly.