Say Hi to Bella (my parlor palm)

tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)September 25, 2012

This is Bella. She has two palm root balls in the same pot. Is this ok?

She is doing well except for sometimes she gets brown streaks on her leaves and sometimes I find the short stems with leaves (fronds???) have completely died off. The short ones do this not the tall ones.

I have other pictures of her boo boos. Is her pot too big?

And does she prefer only palm fertilizer as I have read?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

Here she is in her pot.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 5:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

And here are her boo boos

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 5:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Tiff..

Not too crazy about that pot. There's no drainage, and the present soil is staying Way too wet. I'm thinking you can keep it after changing over to the 5-1-1 but you would have to take the cover off the bottom and place a saucer underneath to catch excess water.. and there Will be excess water.. I'm still taking my plants to the sink to water, but I've always been heavy handed with it anyway..


    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 6:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tiff..the pot doesn't have drainage? Looks like an attached saucer on the bottom...

It's hard to say whether or not the pot is too big. Normally, my plants are potted in containers 1-2" larger than the root-ball.

I use Palm fertilizer, but any acid-loving fertilizers will work. Azalea/Rhododendron fertilizer is another option.

I don't know if you mist plants or not, but palms love a daily spray. During winter, when the house is dry, a weekly shower in the sink/tub increases humidity and cleans leaves from accumulated dust.

The brown streaks looks more like leaves were brushed against or leaning on a wall. Brown is indented in the leaves, right? Not bumpy?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 7:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Overall, your plants look healthy. It's good that you're not afraid of repotting. It's about impossible to keep every leaf perfect on every plant, though. If a leaf goes ugly, just remove it. Unless a plant isn't growing more new leaves, it's just something plants do - lose a leaf once in a while, or get an imperfection, maybe a bug takes a bite. Kind of like a person getting a scratch or a bruise. It's an excellent idea to ask about them all until you get to know what's the sign of a problem and what's just normal stuff that happens to the occasional leaf. If I see something on one leaf, I'm mildly curious. If I see it on 3 leaves, I investigate. Just depends on the scale of what's happening. For this one leaf, it looks fine, like just something normal. But since there's so many plants competing for space, it's likely that some might be squeezed out by the stronger, bigger ones. Each spot making a new leaf is an individual plant.

It looks like there's about 25 individual plants, maybe more, in that pot. It wouldn't hurt to think about spreading them out a bit in the spring. Below is what about a dozen plants look like after about 20 years, a little over 3 ft. wide, around 3.5 - 4 ft. tall with pot. It's easier to pick the dead stumps of old lost leaves off if there's some space between the trunks, which will eventually become quite stiff and inflexible.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 9:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

Hopeful: Yes I have to agree with you on the leaves being butted up against the wall. That is exactly what she is doing. The pot does have an attached saucer. The water does drain from it and I do empty it. But I would also be willing to remove the attached saucer and get a non sttached. It would be easier to empty the excess water. It is just kind of ugly to have that extra saucer sitting there.

Tiff: When I planted the palm, it appeared to me that there were two plants. Because there were only 2 rootballs. Know what I mean? So I thought it was two plants, not over 20. In seperating them, ohow would I do many would be planted together? I cant imagine a seperate pot for each trunk...which are no thicker than a pencil and some arent even that thick.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

As far as misting...I am scared to mist any of my plants after what happened to my rubber tree leaves.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I bought a few of those exact pots from Walmart a few years ago...remove the bottom attached saucer ASAP!!! I learned that the hard way. Every plant I put in them died from over watering, eventhough I hardly watered them... I finally gave away those pots to a neighbor that knows nothing about plants to use outside, and I warned her, but she didnt beleive me, and of course her plants died too....

Actually I didn't even checked to see if you can even remove the bottom saucers on those, hopefully you can. And I think the best thing for potting up is to go only 1/2 to one inch bigger then the last pot, atleast thats what I've been told and have had the best luck with.

Otherwise, your plant looks great.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 3:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Morning All,

Tiff, the saucer looks pretty tall. How many inches is it? From bottom of saucer to top??

I use pots w/attached saucers, but haven't any problems, as long as excess water doesn't build so much it soaks up through drainage holes. If you don't want them, I'll take the

Sorry, I haven't read about your F. Rubber Tree so don't know what happened.
My plants start looking sad when they're not misted. I spray 2-3 times a day using a mister w/hose..

If you fear misting large leaf plants, instead of spraying, wash foliage down with a little/mild soapy water then rinse w/clean water. Dust particles accumulate on leaves, suffocating them by blocking pores. Once a month is fine. However, steer clear of Leaf Shines. They're horrible.

Can you move your palm away from the wall so fronds don't make contact? Some leaves are more sensitives than others, palms being on that is sensitive and will mar.

Otherwise, your Bella looks good.

Purple's analogy described it to a T. Plant leaves compared to scratches and bruising. Toni

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 9:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

FPT, I remove the bottoms of these pots too. In the winter I set the pots on there without snapping them back on, just in case they're not finished dripping when I put them back from watering. I don't think the pot is too big as long as you remove that death drip saucer. Although it won't tolerate water sitting in that saucer, this is one of my few plants I don't allow to dry completely, just mostly.

Tiff, trying to separate each individual plant would be difficult, and I wouldn't try it. But when you next repot, I would try to wiggle them loose a bit and try to put no more than a dozen in the same pot. Maybe start by separating the 2 distinct clumps you found, then more separating next time.

Here's the base of my plant, which is still probably too crowded but I like the wild, bushy look of it. The leaves don't have much breathing room in there, but it's outside most of the year, and I run the ceiling fans for at least an hour a day while plants are inside. Over the years, as its' pot has gotten bigger and bigger, I've put more space between them, and occasionally removed some of the individuals to give to other people. I like to be able to inspect for pests, especially scale, on the surface of each trunk.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Here's a tiny one that's a recent acquisition. When I got it a few months ago, the 5 individuals were much closer together. When I repotted it, I separated them and put them a little farther apart.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

When it (they) gets bigger, you might get some flowers, which look like yellow balls.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

If your plant is outside when it flowers, it may produce viable seeds. That's the only explanation I have for this little sprout that showed up in another pot.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

Wow! What a big help! To see those pictures helped me tremendously. Maybe when I repot this weekend in the new soil I will just seperate the two root balls for now and when we move this spring I will seperate them further. By seperating the two plants, what size pot do you recommend?

Thanks so much for the help with Bella!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just wanted to say that I remove all saucers from my pots and replace them with the clear plastic saucers, chinese takeout clear plastic lids, or anything that I find clear plastic. For hanging plants, I water them in a bucket (now that I've brought these inside for the winter)and let them drip a while in the bucket before rehanging.

I bought a lot of those plastic pot from Wal-Mart this past Spring and Summer. I can't say that I really liked them even after removing the saucer.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 12:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
The Ficus Wrangler

Neanthe Bellas are great little palms. There's a reason they've been so popular since Victorian times, and still so popular in the interior landscaping industry. They adapt to low light, resistant to bugs, and beautiful - what's not to love. I've taken care of hundreds, many for years at a time -- never once have I emptied a drainage saucer! How is this possible, you ask? I test the soil moisture, all the way to the bottom of the pot, and I don't water until the soil is almost dry. Then I water so there is 1/4" - 1/2" water left in the drainage liner, more if the plant is in higher light and I need it to go for 2 weeks. The plant uses that water up within a couple of days. The most important thing about bellas is to let the soil aerate 85-90% between watering. Ordinary, balanced fertilizer is all right too; we never use palm fertilizer on indoor palms. Hope you find this perspective from a professional interior horticulturist helpful.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 1:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tiff. If it was my palm, I'd pot palm sections 1-2" larger than root ball.

Here's one of my Un-Id'd palms before yellow-orange buds.

FicusWranger. You seem to know about plants. Perhaps you ID my palm. This pic was taken 2009, but would have to snap another pic..too
Actually, my camera batteries are charging.

Do you know its type? Thanks, Toni

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 5:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

Purple/Tiff: Ok so I understand here. I see the 5 plants you repotted. I have stems or trunks that look like that but I also have many thin stems coming up from the soil. Are these going to get bigger like the ones you have or will they just die off?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 9:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Tiff, Each little stem is a separate plant and will eventually need more room to expand if *you* want each one to be able to be the best it can be. It's not necessary to end up with a bodacious, big, beautiful plant, but if left packed so tightly together, these tiny trees just don't have room for them all to keep growing. Each will grow into its' own tree if it has room, and it's logical to assume they will do so faster if they're not compressed against other plants. Although parlor palm doesn't appreciate having sun shining directly on it, each individual plant can only grow as well and as fast as the available light and air will permit. It looks like they put a lot of seeds in the pot and they all sprouted. Have you ever done that with flower seeds in the yard, or in a flat? If too many come up in a too-small space, the weaker ones will get overcrowded by the stronger, bigger ones. So usually the gardener will try to separate them or just pull out the least vigorous ones to give the stronger plants the space they need to excel. The thought of culling little palm trees appalls me though, they're not Zinnias, but that's an opinion you may or may not share regarding this other option. At the end of the day, bottom line, final answer, it's your plant and you get to decide, now that you know there are options you could choose. As said above, if I were going to get into it, it's something that would be done gradually, starting in the spring, over the course of a few years and several repots. If it's not something that concerns you (and I'm sure many wouldn't care,) just blow the whole thing off as extraneous/irrelevant info. It's not a right/wrong thing.

FicusW, since I've stopped letting my plants sit in wet saucers, usually for much less than a couple days, they quit dying. So many other people have had the same experience as related recently in a thread about first plants, and it's considered the golden rule by many. When I moved this plant to this huge pot, I left the saucer attached because this plant was prone to drying out daily, and I thought this plant liked moisture enough to not be bothered. After about a year, it had gotten very pale, and had lost an ordinate amount of leaves compared to its' history. Once I removed the saucer and it got rained on a couple times, it turned back to its' normal color and leaf loss resumed to normal level (rarely.)

A newly replanted/potted-up plant as being discussed here is much more susceptible to rotting roots due to the increased volume of soil not yet occupied by roots which stays wet for a much longer time. A plant with roots packing the pot and crowding out of the drain holes may use saucer water within a timely manner, although I still wouldn't recommend making a practice of that. (A repot would be recommended, likely in conjunction with a larger pot.) I don't see any difference between water trapped by the plastic divider (or hole-less bottom rim) in a hanging pot, and...

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

PurpleTiff: I have decided to seperate the two seperate plants as suggested for now. The WHOLE plant is in a 9 inch pot so naturally assuming...when I seperate the two, I will put each in a 5 inch pot. Then next year I will seperate them further as you suggested. I might actually give half of Bella to a close friend. I am kind of nervous as my plants are like mini kids and I want them to survive so I feel snobby about giving them away....

Seems everyone hates these pots. Oh well. Like I said, I was in a hurry that day and they were cheap and I wasnt as schooled as I am now. I do know that all the plants in these pots are thriving well with the saucer on. Like I said before which I am not sure anyone caught...When I water the plants, I wait 15 minutes to 30 minutes and dump the excess water. Then I check and recheck until I am sure no more water is accumulating in the saucer. I dont know much, but I do know it isnt good for the plant to sit in water like that.

So for now, I will keep the pots unless they pose a problem after the soil change, maybe I will wait till we move to buy new pots where I can be more selective according to the plan personality and what he or she will look good in. ;)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

They don't hate the pots, just the saucers. The saucers should snap off, next time you have one empty, you can check it out. Some can be kind of tight, if you try removing a saucer with a plant in the pot, use 2 people so you don't send the plant flying across the room. I wish that wasn't the voice of experience! Hahaha! I keep the saucers to sit the pots in while they're inside, but I just don't snap them back on. You're right, it's not about the saucer's presence, it's about water sitting in it. Sounds like you've got that covered.

The root ball(s) should dictate the size of the pot for a baby plant like that. There should be some room for growth, but not enough that it doesn't dry out within a reasonable amount of time.

I would like to get nicer looking cache pots for my plants but there's so many plants in ugly pots and when I go to look at pots, I just end up with more plants. Last year I at least managed to keep it limited to green and terra-cotta colored pots on the front porch but that scheme is out the window this year. I'm in trouble since I broke my watering can. They put those really close to the plants...

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 5:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

HAHA, tiff

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
The Ficus Wrangler

Dear Purple, I do appreciate your experience, your love for plants, and you concern for helping others nurture their own passion.

My feelings are quite the same as yours, but my experience is different. What I've learned is that the critical factor in having healthy, beautiful plants is soil moisture/aeration cycles. Perhaps if anyone has found their plants doing better as soon as they ended the "wet saucer" practice, it was not so much that in itself, but other factors that were allowing the plant(s) to reach more favorable aeration levels between waterings. There are always many variables in operation.

What I do know is that by ascertaining the soil moisture throughout the medium in which the plant is growing (meaning all the way to the bottom of the pot), and by allowing the moisture/aeration ration to reach the optimum level for that particular variety of plant, you are taking the first, largest, and most important step in assuring a long and beautiful life for your plants. This is not "arcane anecdotes," but practice established over 50 years, by 1000's of people, and millions of plants.

I'm not saying what you, or anyone else, are doing is wrong. On the contrary, if your plants are thriving, if they make you happy and beautify your life, it is totally right. But don't you think people who are seeking advice should be able
to consider several possible approaches? What about very busy people; even if they feel they can spare no more than a few minutes a week on plants, shouldn't they be able to have plants if they are willing to spend those few minutes?

These are the people I'd like to encourage. Maybe some of them will get "bit by the bug," and end up with a thousand plants in their home ( the 1000 plant thing, as related in the 'first plant' thread, just blows my mind), using all sorts of culture methods - hydroponics, gritty mixes, tree bark, self-mixed soil recipes, exotics in environmentally-controlled cases the size of half a room. Who knows?

So, to address a few of the matters you bring up, from my point of view --
1) yes, newly potted-up plants are susceptible to rotted roots - all the more reason to get in there and make sure the soil has aerated thoroughly. (Also not-too-large pots, more porous medium, etc.)
2) it's not the roots growing through the drainage holes that "suck up" water in liners; the water actually moves back into the soil/root mass from the liner through those drainage holes, and spreads evenly throughout the pot volume, if the medium has a good particle/space ratio, where it is then available to the roots.
3) distinction between corporate and personal plants - (hoping I can shed some light on the interior landscape business here). First of all, it's a business, meaning it has to make a profit or it's out of business. Replacements are costly - therefore the technician must keep the plants looking beautiful (not just "clinging to life") as long as possible, or they cut into an already slim profit margin. Secondly, people are paying to have beautiful plants, and that is how they must be kept, or the customer find a new service. Thirdly, people get very attached to "their" plants - the people whose offices have plants, people who have plants near their desks, and the tech taking care of the plants. Fourth, corporate plants are not generally put into "adverse conditions" "at the limits of their endurance" "clinging to life" - no profit in it; contracts require that plants be placed in adequate light and protected conditions.
So it might not be like having some of grandma's plants, but folks still love the plants that help make the corporate world a little less cold.

I could go on and on. I'm sure everyone thinks I've already
gone on way too long as it is. So you disagree with me? Cool! I love to examine differing viewpoints from varied angles, to try and pick out the threads of insight that knit together seemingly opposing positions.

Oh yea, those nasty plastic disks in the bottom of some plants. I honestly don't know why they're so bad, they have holes and all and should just let water through, but they don't. I just know if you find them, you should take them out and throw them away.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 9:46PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Can anyone ID this tree?
It's about 8' tall, a normal 'tree shape'. We got it...
I believe this is a corn plant... it's blooming and very frangrant!
I recently acquired this house plant from someone that...
Who am I?
I was at WM and this fellow was on clearance and jumped...
Money tree problems
Hi, I'm having some trouble with my Money Tree. It...
How to introduce houseplants to outside and should i worry bout rodent
I got a lot of house plants in the last 9 months. I...
Sponsored Products
My Little Pony Bowl
$5.99 | zulily
Ophelia Chandelier by Quoizel
$269.99 | Lumens
Round Paper 10 Bulb String Lights
Cost Plus World Market
TRIBECCA HOME Andorra Olive Velvet Upholstered Dining Chair (Set of 2)
Cherry Tall Queen 12-drawer Captain's Platform Storage Bed
Bourgie Table Lamp by Kartell
$450.00 | Lumens
DENY Designs Gabi Azul Outdoor Throw Pillow - 15839-OTHRP18
$49.00 | Hayneedle
Robert Abbey Jonathan Adler Canaan Mini Modern Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™