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Sick Kentia Palm?

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by riceisgood on March 05, 2005 07:20 AM
Hello all. Well I just bought a Kentia Palm. I'm glad I found this website and sorry my first post is that of needing help. Basically I repotted my palm in cactus/palm soil and three days later a whitish fungi is appearing at the base. Any ideas? Thanks!
by Jiffymouse on March 05, 2005 04:30 PM
ok, the question is, is the fungus on the plant or on the soil?

that makes a HUGE difference in how to handle it.

if it is on the soil, it could either be fungus or mineral salts from your watering habits.

the fungus on the soil would be from keeping the soil too moist and not allowing it to dry sufficiently between waterings.

the mineral build up would be from too much fertilizer and/or using tap/hard water to water the plant without letting it "set" overnight or so.

if it is on the plant itself, i'm sorry i don't know enough about them to help you. but, i do want to second your welcome and never be embarrassed for asking questions because the one you ask may be the one someone else was thinking!!
by riceisgood on March 06, 2005 06:44 AM
Thank you both for the warm welcome! I justed checked and the fungi has formed right where the soil meets the trunk, so both. That's bad, huh?
by Jiffymouse on March 06, 2005 04:11 PM
not necessarily... it could be the mineral build up still. or it could be letting the soil stay too moist too long. here is how i would handle it (conservative things that won't hurt, but could help).

first, check the soil to see how wet/soggy it feels. check your drain holes to make sure they are there and working. you'd be surprised at how many plants come stuck in pots without adequate drains.

if the soil is soggy, fix the drain situation and then repot in clean dry soil.

if the drains are good, and the soil isn't soggy, gently clean the fungus from the soil (i use a plastic spoon and "scoop/scrape" the top 1/4-1/2 inch off) in the affected areas. then, using safer soap or a mix of 1 tsp (dish)soap/1 tsp (cooking) oil/1 and 1/2 quart distilled water, dip a soft cloth in the mix and clean the fungus from the stems of the palm. this step will tell you if the palm itself is in any true danger. check for darkening/softening of the stem. if none is there, you are probably in good shape.

then, the next time you need to water the palm (when the top 1/2 inch or so of soil is dry, put the pot in the sink (or on the porch or in the bathtub, etc) and GENTLY run water through it for about 10-15 minutes. let it drain very well, and then resume normal watering habits the next time it needs water.

hope this helps, keep us posted and let us know.

oh, and one more thing, you should water the palm (or any plant for that matter) around the drip line (the outer edge of the leaves) if it is in a pot that the leaves do not overhang, and 1/2 way between the base of the plant and the edge of the pot if the leaves do overhang.

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