Plant Care  |  March 21, 2023

Kentia Palm Care


PRO TIP: Occasionally wipe down your Kentia palm's leaves with a damp cloth or sponge. Dust and debris can accumulate on the leaves, which can hinder the plant's ability to photosynthesize and grow properly. Wiping down the leaves can also help prevent pests such as spider mites from infesting the plant.

If you're looking for a stylish and elegant way to add some greenery to your home, a Kentia palm (Howea forsteriana) can be an excellent choice. These graceful and low-maintenance plants can thrive in a range of indoor environments, but proper placement is key to ensure they grow healthy and strong. 

Your best choice is a spot with indirect or filtered light: Kentia palms are tolerant of low light conditions, but they will grow best in bright, indirect light, albeit slowly. Direct sunlight can scorch their leaves, so it's best to place them near a window with a sheer curtain or in a spot with filtered light. Additionally, spots with too low of light can cause this plant to look very leggy over time. If you are unsure about the lighting conditions in your home or office, read our guide for how to measure light in your space.

In general, you'll want to avoid placing your Kentia palm near cold drafts: These plants don't do well in cold, drafty spots, so keep them away from doors or windows that are frequently opened. If you live in a particularly cold climate, you may want to consider adding a humidifier to the room where the plant is located to help create a more comfortable environment. Also remember that Kentia palms are native to tropical climates, so they thrive in warmth and humidity. If your home is particularly dry, you can increase the humidity around your plant by using a humidifier in the room.

Kentia palm frond close-up

Kentia palms have been a popular indoor plant since the Victorian era. In fact, they were often used as a status symbol in the homes of the wealthy and were a staple in many royal and aristocratic residences.

Routine Maintenance

PRO TIP: It is advisable to give Kentias bright indirect light to encourage growth and a more robust appearance

Always be sure to assess your plant’s watering needs upon receiving it. Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first to ensure it isn’t moist right beneath the surface. A soil probe is a very handy tool for both checking the soil moisture deep within a planter and can also be used to aerate overly wet soil. 

Kentia palms are known for their low-maintenance nature, but they do require some routine care to keep them healthy and looking their best. Kentia palms prefer to be kept on the drier side, so it's important not to overwater them. Wait until the top inch of soil is dry before watering the plant thoroughly, making sure that any excess water drains out of the bottom of the pot. If the fronds become dry and crispy and flake off of the plant easily, it's usually a sign they've been under-watered. 

Pruning is an essential part of keeping your Kentia palm happy and thriving. Removing yellowed or damaged fronds can help improve the plant's appearance and overall health. Use clean, sharp pruning shears to make clean cuts near the base of the frond stem, being careful not to damage the trunk of the plant. Regularly dusting the leaves can help improve its appearance and prevent pests. Use a soft, damp cloth or sponge to wipe down the leaves, being careful not to damage them. Like all palms, Kentias are susceptible to spider mites, so always be on the lookout for any webbing developing between the fronds.

By following these routine maintenance tasks, your Kentia palm should thrive and remain healthy and beautiful for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions


Are Kentia palms toxic to pets?

  • No, Kentia palms are non-toxic to pets, making them a safe choice for households with cats, dogs, or other pets.


How often should I fertilize my Kentia palm?

  • Kentia palms benefit from regular fertilization, especially during the growing season (spring and summer). Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer and apply it to the plant according to the instructions every 2-3 weeks. During the winter months, you can reduce the frequency of fertilizing.


Can Kentia palms be grown outdoors?

  • Yes, Kentia palms can be grown outdoors in tropical or subtropical climates. However, they are more commonly grown indoors as houseplants in other regions.


My plant is developing brown tips on the leaves, what’s going on?

  • Browning tips can be caused by over or underwatering. Feel the soil to see if it's lightly moist. If it's dry further down than the top 2", increase your watering frequency. If it's still wet, allow the soil to become dry to the touch before giving it more water.

Why are the fronds on my Kentia palm turning yellow?

  • Yellowing fronds on a Kentia palm can be a sign of overwatering, under-watering, or nutrient deficiencies. Check the soil moisture and adjust watering as needed, and make sure the plant is receiving adequate fertilization.

Can Kentia palms be grown in direct sunlight?

  • While Kentia palms can tolerate low light conditions, they should not be grown in direct sunlight. Too much sun can burn the leaves of the plant and cause damage.

Standard Planter Instructions

All of our Standard Planters include a removable drainage plug to give our customers the option of drainage. While no drainage is sometimes preferred for its aesthetic simplicity, we don't recommend this option for beginners as watering mistakes can be hard to rectify.

Whether you choose to use drainage or not, we always recommend using a layer of drainage (such as our Aeration Stones) at the base of the planter. A drainage layer allows the plant's roots access to oxygen in the pockets between the drainage medium, and a lack of drainage can cause anaerobic damage to your plant.

If you decide to utilize the drainage hole for your pot, make sure to include a Plant Saucer beneath your pot to collect excess water. For most plants in standard planters, we recommend watering about once a week. Water the soil mass until water begins pooling in your Plant Saucer.

With no drainage hole, you will need to be more precise in your watering. While we would love to give you a specific measurement of water to provide for your plant, the reality is that a plant's water requirements vary wildly depending on factors such as light exposure and the overall health of the plant. You will need to learn to tell when the plant is thirsty based on how its foliage looks. Droopy foliage is usually the first sign: when your plant looks a little slumped over that's usually a visual indicator that it's thirsty.

The best solution for checking your plant's moisture level, drainage hole of not, is to use a Soil Probe to determine the moisture content of the soil at the bottom of the planter.

Self Watering Planter Instructions

The Self-Watering Planters require a deep and thorough watering of the topsoil after they are first planted. This is important because the roots of the plants first need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Water your plant from the top for two to four weeks before using the reservoir. During the dormant seasons, or for plants that have slower growing habits, consider top watering for longer.

TEST: After the initial top water period, fill the bottom water reservoir. If the water in the reservoir is absorbed into the planter, it means the plant is ready for regular reservoir servicing. If not, be sure to continue top watering for a few more weeks until the plant has started drinking from the reservoir.

RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the reservoir empties on its own, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, most plants require a drying out period. Allow for the reservoir to empty all the way between watering. All plants are different in their needs so the amount of time the reservoir sits empty will need to be determined, but know that for most plants this period is between 1-3 days. 

From here on out, you should rarely topwater the plant while using the reservoir system. Watering from below allows the plant to drink at its own pace, and can help combat certain issues like fungus gnats by allowing the top layer of soil to dry out more. Please note that if your plant's soil dries out too much, it can impair the wicking ability of the Aeration Stones in your planter. If your soil becomes too dry, we recommend giving it a thorough watering.

For more information on our Self Watering Planters include planting instructions, visit our blog post on How to Use Our Self-Watering Pots.

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