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Indoor palms

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2002
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by Kelli on August 31, 2002 10:20 PM
I just purchased some sort of indoor palm (no label). It came with about 5 stalks, and is about 5-5 1/2 feet tall. The "leaves" are long and skinny and branck off the stalk like a palm. They have the coloring of a spider plant, green, with a white stripe boarding the edges. I have transplanted using fresh soil. The leaves are gettin brown spots and then die. I haven't watered it too much, for fear of overwatering...Any suggestions??
Kelli :confused:
by Plant Doctor on September 12, 2002 04:53 PM
There are a few possibilities of what may be causing your problem.

1st off, it may be in shock from two things, one a new environment, and # 2 transplanting it. I never transplant a plant for at least 3 weeks after I bring one home. Plants need to become adjusted to their new surroundings ( humidity levels, temperatures, light, and how they are cared for. ) That way they can tolerate they transplanting better.
2nd palms take TONS of light inside a house. Is it getting enough light?
3rd Watering, palms are used to sandy well drained soils. Don't be afraid to water it, but just let it dry a little between waterings, as the roots need oxygen as well as moisture. This is a good rule of thumb for almost all plants.
4th Did you use any fertilizer within 2 weeks of transplanting? That is a very common mistake. The freshly torn roots of a transplanted plant send out new growth rapidly. If they come in contact with the salts in the fertilizer however they can be cauterized, and develop a callous at the tip. Slowing down the regeneration of the roots, also impairing it from absorbing water.
5th. It may have a fungi disease called leaf spot. You should go back to where you purchased the plant and find out exactly what type it is, then do a little research to see if they are prone to that disease, and what type of action you should take.

Hope this helps.


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by Will Creed on September 14, 2002 03:44 PM
Hi Kelli,

Palms are not variegated (green with white stripes), so it is unlikely that you have a palm. Based on the information you provided, my educated guess is that you may have a Dracaena (Pleomele reflexa or Warneckei, perhaps) or possibly a Pandanus. These plants have a palm-like appearance, but are not palms and have very different cultural requirements.

With a positive ID of your plant I can help diagnose the problem. Perhaps you can email a photo to me at or post a more detailed description of your plant so I can help you further.

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