Parlour Palm drying up, why?

ahyomSeptember 27, 2012

I just bought it a month ago from ikea.. I have it all purpose soil with a layer of pebbles for drainage. From what I read, I should not let the soil dry out, but keep it consistently moist without overdoing it. I've also been misting the leaves every couple days. It's getting some light, but is away from any windows.

So what does this dry branch mean? Another branch in the back right seems to be doing the same. Also, should I trim it off, and if so, where?

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Ahyom. First, I woudn't allow soil to stay wet..soil needs to dry a little between waterings. Morso if your palm is in lower light.

Check for Spider Mites. Look for webbing. Mites love wet soil, and dry air.

Yes, remove brown fronds as close to the soil line as possible. If by chance you find pests on/in-between leaves, wash scissors w/soap. Mites travel.

Keep us posted with results.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 1:46PM
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Fronds don't last forever so it's normal to see one now and then. If a LOT of them are doing it then there's a problem most likely.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 5:57PM
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Would you say overwatering would cause this type of dryness?
And the frond is now gone (new word added to vocabulary as well :p)

I've looked it over for spider mites or any other insects, but I don't see anything. However when I just brought it home, I did notice a house spider living close to the soil. I don't see it now, and wouldn't imagine it harming the plant, but I could be wrong..?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 9:48PM
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It's a Majesty palm actually, not a Parlour, I mixed the two up! If that makes any difference...

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 1:24AM
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Over watering is the single biggest killer of houseplants. To me it looks like normal frond death.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 6:18AM
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Tommy, I agree with you 100%; fronds don't live forever. But, because the entire leaf is brown, and now a second, would normal frond death take place so quick...within a month?

Ahyom. YIKES, a SPIDER!! Throw out the J/K. No, a house spider shouldn't cause problems, other than having babies and making webbs. Oh Lord! I detest spiders.

Over-watering would not cause fronds to brown..
Leaves would yellow if over-watered.

Remove brown fronds and stems. If possible, place your palm in the shower, 'in addition to misting,' every so often. I take showers w/my palms, lol.

LOL on the added word to your vocabulary. Toni

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 11:43AM
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It's alarming how quickly those two dried up. The picture is from two days ago, you can see the back frond still relatively green. Today I removed it as well because it was almost as withered as the first! I also found this site on majesty's:
Now I'm worried I won't know how to save it if it keeps going this way.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 6:25PM
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Ahyom..It's surprising people can grow any plants..

I read the site you posted, and a few others..Each differ. Some say Majesty Palm needs full sun vs can live in shade, lots of water vs allow soil to dry between, needs monthly fertilizing vs fertilize twice a year, difficult growing indoors, vs can be grown indoors. lol.

One site said, MP needs a large pot, water thoroughly but dry between, high humidity, and lots of sun. I agree.
MP grows in Madagascar, so apparently needs humidity. There's 17 Ravenea species, wonder if they need the same care?

Did you repot? If so, how much room was between rootball and inner container? Is soil well-draining?
I fertilize palms with time-release, '3-months' Palm fertilizer, called Palm-Tone. Think I found it on Ebay.

Palms need well-draining soil, but not too well-draining. If they're in a sunny location, and soil dries too much, it's natural fronds will brown. Makes sense.

Is your heat turned on yet? Toni

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 7:38PM
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The Ficus Wrangler

Agree that browning fronds are most probably "natural", due more to stress than anything - who knows what the poor thing has been through in the past few days, before you adopted it.You might lose one leaf for each stem before it settles down. Palms in general like to have a good watering, then allow the soil to dry fairly well before watering again. If you start to see brown tips on whole fronds, soil is too wet, let dry out more between watering. If a complete frond, older fronds that is, turn yellow then brown, soil is getting too dry. I think some people think overwatering causes leaves to yellow because that's what happens in extreme overwatering situations where the roots have been destroyed, hence no water absorption, hence no water to leaves, hence the appearance of underwatering. To be sure what's happening, best to pull soil up from deep in the pot with spoon or tester, and feel it. Then you'll know if its wet or dry

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 10:52PM
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Were up to five fronds that have dried and been removed, and still a couple more yellowing. I think the stress is coming from something I'm doing or not doing.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 11:28PM
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tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

I know we are talking about a different palm now, but I have a Parlor Palm and the fronds have been browning as well. A refresher to her is she was in a basket with other plants. There were two clumps of the plant and I planted them together in a pot. It did well. Then after about 2 months I repotted in a 5:1:1 mix and seperated the two clumps of plants. Since then, the little short fronds have been dying left and right. I am guessing It has gone into shock after two pottings and being seperated. The thicker fronds seem to be ok. Do you think the plant will make it? There is also new growth sprouting. Rookie mistake I guess potting then repotting so close together. Ugh.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:06PM
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I have one PP or MP and all the leaves in one moment turned brown. It was so wonderful but now I cut off the some branches and some only the leaves. It looks ugly but hoping that it will services. Can any body tell me what happened? The pot is well drained and the peat is not dry.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 12:24PM
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It can usually be a conbination of factors. Have you considered each of them?

Almost always first in the choice we make in 'mix'. If it is well draining and very porous, it should be fine. The 5.1.1 mix is perfect or something similar.

It has to be a mix that does not allow any salt build up at, allows you to water frequently, especially if you can with fresh water, rain in particular collected and saved.
Even faucet water can due sever damage over time if a mix colects the residue from that along with fertilizers.

Another factor can be a very 'dry' environment. Are you using a humifier or have it in a cooler room than the rest of the home?

Another factor can be over fertilizing it. Are you doing this? What do you use and how often?

Another factor can be direct sunlight and previous damage.

Another can be a re-pot! Oh yes, I have found that my palms do not take well to re-pots, especially a bareroot one. But they do make a full recovery with time if planted in a very good mix, especially done at the appropiate time of the year.

Are you providing bright indirect light?

There are other factors which can turn leaves brown, but you will be the best observer in this case, especially with Palms.


    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 3:25PM
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I love this plant! I've had one for about a year and I managed to keep it in perfect condition for most of the time; however, I moved recently and the conditions must be a little bit off because I'm experiencing the same issues you described and I'm now trying to adjust its environment to revive it back to its former glory.

I'll tell you about the environment mine thrived in which I'm trying to replicate as best as possible now. Maybe that will help you with yours (if you still have it). I had it in a really sunny spot where it got sunlight all day long. It was placed about a foot from a window where direct rays of light hit the leaves. I also only watered once every three or four days. When I did water, it was just enough to make the soil slightly moist on top. The temperature at my old place was usually pretty warm, but in the winter it could get pretty chilly and the plant didn't seem to mind one way or the other as long as it was getting a lot of light and a consistent watering schedule. Lately, I've been putting mine in the sunniest places I can find (even moving it from time to time to get it the most sunlight available) and getting back on the old watering schedule. So far no new brown areas are appearing. I've just pruned, so I should be able to tell for sure if browning has discontinued or not.

Good luck! Thanks for your post, it's been helpful for me as well!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 2:16PM
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The Ficus Wrangler

Without a picture, it's hard to tell what problems your palm is experiencing. However, 2 things come to mind as I read your account. First, watering "just enough" to make the top of the soil moist is probably not the best long-term practice, because the roots farther down in the pot may not be getting enough moisture to survive, and so the only viable roots are those at the top. Also, if you never water enough to have a run-off, you are not washing out the accumulated salts. In the year you've had it, have you fertilized? If you have, it is especially important to water till you get run-off. Even if you haven't fertilized, it's still important to water enough that water goes all the way through the soil/root mass.

Why don't you try watering more thoroughly, and using a tester - a kebob skewer works well - to learn when the soil all the way to the bottom of the pot has used all the moisture, before you add more. Here's a link that will tell you some more about watering
Let me know how it goes.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 9:27PM
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Majesty Palm, pic attached.

50% of the plant has dry green leaves, with brown stem.
other 50% is fine.

What can i do to save it?

The soil is not too wet, I did add fertilizer few weeks ago.

I live in Dubai, hence AC is always on. Watering every week, 250ml.

Any suggestion or help, please.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 12:42PM
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What size is the pot?

It looks about 8-inches..I doubt 250mg is enough water to saturate the entire root-ball.

A/C dries the air, lowers humidity.

Running a humidifer and a/c at the same time would defeat the purpose.

However, spaying leaves on a daily basis, plus soaking in a sink/tub might prevent brown fronds. Toni

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 1:46PM
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Dry green leaves is usually a sign of too little water, or perhaps it got direct sun for a while. From the photo it looks like more than 50% of the fronds are affected. It looks like the newer fronds are okay. So soaking the pot was a good suggestion. The plant should get going again but the damaged fronds are finished.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 7:29PM
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Thanks for your response.

On various places I read, the palm should be kept under the indirect sunlight, hence I changed the place.

Can you please confirm, the green ry leaves is due to water and has nothing to do with Sun light?

Thanks again for your help.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 3:44AM
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The Ficus Wrangler

350ml of water is slightly more than what we would call 1 cup (8 oz). That would probably not be enough to sustain a plant of this size, which looks to be about 10". (You measure the diameter of the top of the pot, don't know what it would be in metric.)

Leaves that are turning greyish-brown generally indicate a plant that is slowly "starving" to death - it just never receives enough water. You can't water plants without testing the soil before each watering, water only when the soil in the bottom of the pot is only slightly damp (for palm, not all plants are the same), and watering until you get a runoff from the drainage holes.

The discussion in the posts just preceding yours on this thread talks more about watering.

You'll want to cut off the dead leaves, at the point where the leaf stem emerges from the main stem.

Also, you don't need to keep moving the palm around in your home. It will be much happier to be able to adjust to one place. A spot near a north or east window should be fine. A little sun during the day won't hurt - remember, the plants grow outside in nature.

Spraying, or misting, leaves to increase humidity doesn't really help the plant - you'd have to spray every 15 minutes to appreciably raise the humidity in the air. The good news is that these palms will live happily in whatever humidity is in your home.

Good luck. Let us know how your palm does.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 1:07PM
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Thanks for the writeup and help.

Recently learn the trick to water the plant till the water runs out of the drainage hole.

Now, how do I know, it is the time to re-water. Do I need to wait till the top soil is dry or semi moist?

Will surely update you all and thank you for the support.

Its more difficult to maintain a plant than to close a sale.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 3:08AM
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The Ficus Wrangler

Ha ha. Having attempted both the closing of sales and the care of plants, I think sales is MUCH harder. The trick is knowing how.

As you work with your plants, and learn some of these things, it will get much easier.

The trick of figuring out when to water again revolves around learning about the level of moisture in the soil.

To do this, you first need to FEEL the soil. I always test the soil all the way to the bottom of the pot, because that is where the roots are.

Stick something into the pot, as if you were testing a cake. You can use a thin wooden dowel, a kebob skewer, whatever you can find. Then you pull it up and run it between your fingers. It should feel very slightly damp to almost dry...that's when you can water again.

Some people will recommend feeling the top of the soil, or pushing your fingers into it to your first or second knuckle, and watering when it feels dry.

This doesn't always work, because some mixtures of soil can dry out on the top, but not below, where the roots are.

Here are a couple of videos that, I hope, will explain more about watering for you.

Keep up the good work.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 9:23AM
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Thank you for posting you tube videos. They are informative and I guess, it is you who owns them.

There are lot sod videos and right tips, I enjoyed viewing few of them.


I have lots of pants in my house, but not enough windows. In order to provide adequate sunlight effect, do you suggest Yellow or white light?

My concern are with a plant called - Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane). As it needs lot of light, but unfortunately I cannot plant it next to window.

Also, as mentioned I live in Dubai, where the temperature is very high, hence the AC are on 24/7. How do I maintain warm climate for the plants, any help or suggestion.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 1:15PM
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The Ficus Wrangler

Okay, VAMOSE, you raise some more good questions. About electric light - I'm not an expert in raising plants under electric light, perhaps someone else will have more suggestions. However, offices are usually lit with cool white fluorescent, and the common foliage plants do beautifully there.

Years ago I had a book that said plants do just as well under cool white fluorescent, with a little incandescent to add some red spectrum. (60w incan/2 cool white tubes, as I remember), as they do under fancy "grow lights."

Of course, lighting has changed a lot since then. You might want to do some research on this topic. I think you'll find that the question is not between "yellow" and "white" light, but the areas of the spectrum provided by the light.

All your plants may not need to be beside the windows. Even without extra electric light, if you can read, there will be enough light for those plants called "medium" light and "low" light.

The dieffenbachia is one of those medium light plants; if you can place it where there is enough light for you to read, it should have enough light to live. If you want to add a little extra light, one of those simple clamp-on reading lights, with the light shining on the plant, might be enough.

Now, as to AC and temperature. I live in Florida, where it is also warm all the time, and our homes are air conditioned. Also, offices, hotels, etc, are AC'd everywhere. Foliage plants fill all these places. In other words, don't worry about the AC - if it's not too cold for you, it won't be too cold for the plants.

Plants are ADAPTABLE. That means that, even if their natural homes are tropical jungles, they can easily adapt to lower temperatures and humidities. As long as the temperature doesn't go below 40 F (about 4.5 C), the plants will be fine.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 10:39AM
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Thanks you again.

I have made a list of plants I have, the names are pulled out with the help of google image search.

Can you please refer to the attached list and validate my findings please and feel free to edit where required.

Also: Do you have any video which educates on Propogation technique and methods?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 3:38AM
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Thanks you again.

I have made a list of plants I have, the names are pulled out with the help of google image search.

Can you please refer to the attached list and validate my findings please and feel free to edit where required.

Also: Do you have any video which educates on Propogation technique and methods?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 3:43AM
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The Ficus Wrangler

How wonderfully organized you are! No, I don't have any videos on propagation. I'm hoping to do some more videos soon, and that's a good idea for one or two.

Now, I would add a couple of things to your chart. Considering light, the usual convention is to divide light into low, medium, and high descriptions. Low is a place where there is ambient light so that you can read, but it's not very comfortable; medium is general working light, like what you find in an office, where you can read comfortably, also a few feet from a north or east window; high is light close to a north or east window, or a few feet from a south or west window.

These are broad designations, meant only to give you a general idea. For instance, a south window may have only medium light if the glass is heavily tinted.

Secondly, when to water. I would put this heading something like " water when the soil near the bottom of the pot feels..."

Temperature. Tropical foliage plants are going to be all right down to 40 F, and some of them quite a bit below that.

Fertilizer. For all plants, you should use a fertilizer mixed into water, 1/2 to 1/4 the strength recommended on the package. I think (people have many differing opinions about fertilizer, so this is mine) the best formulations are those with a 3-1-2 ratio with a range of micronutrients; if you can't get one of those, use a balanced ratio, 3-3-3, again with microelements. Avoid time release fertilizers. Don't fertilize too often - once or twice a year for low light, 3 or 4 times for med light, 6 or 8 times for high light unless otherwise noted. And always allow water to run all the way through the plants to rinse out accumulated salts.

AC. You don't want any plant close enough to AC to chill the leaves. Hold your hand there, if you start to feel a chill, that's too close. But several feet away is usually okay.

Dieff - can take high light, but is usually considered a medium to low light plant. Water when soil (near bottom of pot) feels - for low to med light, almost dry, for med to high light, slightly damp. Some people are allergic to this plant.

D. massangeana (Mass cane) - best in medium light, can survive in low light, can also take high light, but leaves may fade. Water when soil feels - for low light, almost dry; for medium light very slightly damp. Don't worry about the "once a week" - water when soil reaches desired level. Fertilize only once a year, any light.

Bamboo palm - best used in medium light. Water when soil is almost dry. Lowest temp around 35 F. Fertilize as stated above.

D. janet craig - basically the same as mass cane.

Anthurium - medium light. Water when soil is still damp, but water doesn't squeeze out of it if you squeeze some between your fingers. Not as easy as some others of your plants.

Crotons.- high light. Water when soil feels damp. Don't allow to dry out. Watch out for spider mites. Not a reliable houseplant.

Stromanthe - medium to high light. Water when soil feels slightly damp. Not an easy houseplant because of need for high humidity. Might try it in terrarium,

Kentia palm - high light. Water when soil is slightly damp.
Don't fertiize with soapy water (Guessing that was a mistake) Actually, you can use the soapy water to spray it, then wipe each leaflet between your fingers (use a towel, too) to control spider mites.

So there you are. This turned out to be a really long post, but you seem interested, so I hope all this is helpful to you.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 3:08PM
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Wow, thank you for putting in so much effort and detailing to the minutest details.

I have never been guided so much and never knew there are so many conditions to be aware of when growing a plant.

I will surely keep you informed and update you on the progress.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 10:14PM
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