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Did I kill my palm plant?

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by David31 on July 04, 2006 04:47 PM
I'm very new to gardening of any kind, so please bear with me.... I have a palm plant, and it really wasn't doing well. Almost everytime a new frond (is that the right word?) opened up, the previous one would be getting brown and crinkly. The plant kept growing, but it looked ridiculous because I had this tall stalk with practically nothing on it (since I kept having to cut off the crinkled, brown fronds.)

So, first question is-- Does anyone know what causes this to happen to a palm plant? It was really thriving in its previous home, but ever since I got it, its been doing lousy, with its leaves getting brown very quickly. I give it a good watering every week, complete with plant food, and it gets a decent amount of light in my living room.

Second question-- out of desperation, and under the assumption that the plant was a goner anyway, I took a chance and followed the advice of a friend: I chopped off the whole top of the palm plant, so I am now left with just a little stalk sticking up out of the soil. Did I just kill my plant, or will it start growing again (as my friend said it might) assuming I keep watering it?

Thank you very much for any help you can offer!
by badplanter on July 04, 2006 05:59 PM
hey david, I'm from Staten Island! um.. maybe if you transport the plant into a bigger pot, that would help...maybe if there is a noticable climate or humidity change from its previous home would affect the plant...maybe the transport put the plant into shock, but i'm not sure. cutting off the top might not have been the BEST thing to do, but keep watering it, and see what happens to it. try a variety of things...give it more light, less light, more water, less water, etc, etc, but do this slowly, over a period of time to see the responses. As long as the roots are still intact, the plant should be all right, but it may take a while to have the plant grow back to its former size, depending on the size of it before you cut it. Hope this helps, and i'll be seeing you around the forum!!!

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 -  - "I don't want no more of army life, gee mom, I wanna go, but they won't let me go, gee mom, I wanna go home!" My PB!
by Tonya on July 05, 2006 12:41 AM
David31- Not sure what is going on with your plant, but knowing a little more info may help us help you. How often do you water? Does the plant sit near/in a window? How much sun does it get? Do you have pics we could see?
For now...I would suggest letting it dry out a bit and STOP feeding may be over feeding. I have a split-leaf Philo that is perfectly happy with absolutely NO plant food since I have had it (3 years).  -

For now...let it dry out a bit, and possibly call the previous owner and ask them what you are doing differently. Best of luck, keep us posted!

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 - Bote and Babe's World
by DowntoEarth on July 05, 2006 06:50 AM
Personally, I wouldn't have cut it, that can kill palms, ok, with that said....

Many indoor palms do well in bright indirect light. hot intense sun can burn the fronds. Dapple light would be great!

Not sure what is causing frinds to brown, maybe the move to another location, needs time to adjust some, hard-water use can cause browning as well as watering wrong and over-feeding. I would check for pest like spidermites and get the correct watering & light level down.

The soil should be on the semi moist side at all times, so, when the top inch feels almost or close to dry (not dried out completely) it's time to water again. Water it thoroughly letting it come out the drain holes and get rid of any excess.

Make sure the pot is only an inch larger than the root-ball, or all that extra soil can keep the roots too wet for too long and will cause rot.The soil should have good drainage as well.

Stop fertilizing if you are for a few months. That only works if the plant is healthy and thriving. Use less than half strength when you do and only in the spring and summer months, none in winter.

by David31 on July 06, 2006 02:02 AM
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

In answer to Tonya's questions-- I've been watering it about once a week (sometimes a week and a half if the soil still felt wet after just a week.) It used to sit right next to a window, where it got VERY intense sun in the mornings. I assumed the sun may be burning it, so I eventually moved it away from the window, and it now get indirect light (still bright, but not intense.) Unfortunately, the frond that opened after I moved it turned brown and crinkled within about a week, just like all the other fronds.

Susan-- I figured cutting the plant might kill it, but it was looking so bad already, there wasn't much to lose. If I DID kill it, I'll keep your suggestions in mind for when I get a replacement plant. Thanks. (I can't tell yet if it's dead-- the little stump of a stalk that's left still looks the same as it did when I cut it, no better or worse, but I cut it just a few days ago.)
by Tonya on July 06, 2006 02:09 AM
David31- I really hope it comes back for ya! I would keep watering( when needed!) and see what happens. Was it neara vent for AC by any chance- my split leaf HATED that and would turn yellow and brown...maybe! Good luck to ya!

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 - Bote and Babe's World
by David31 on July 06, 2006 03:52 PM
Thanks, Tonya! Yeah, it was pretty close to an AC vent, but I very rarely used that AC. Interesting thought, though, and not something I had considered before (hey, like I said, I'm a total beginner with this stuff!) Well, I'll be sure to let you know if this palm ever regrows after its amputation.
by Tonya on July 06, 2006 04:17 PM
I am fairly new myself, David31...I wish you the best of luck and Please let us know if it regrows! [thumb]

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 - Bote and Babe's World

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