Kentia Palm

Botanical Name: Howea forsteriana

Over many years, a kentia palm tree can reach several feet in height, making it a striking, tropical floor plant. Give it some elbow room, too. Those elegant, arching fans can grow as much as 1 ft (30 cm) wide and 2 ft (60 cm) long.

All kentia palms grow from a single trunk, but growers typically plant several together for a lush, full appearance.

This is hands-down the most popular indoor palm tree, and it's easy to see why.

The palm family is large, but only a few kinds of palm trees are tolerant of average home conditions. This dramatic palm is one.

How to Care for Kentia Palm Indoors

Shed some light. Kentias tolerate shade better than some, but you'll get a healthier, greener plant by giving your palm bright, indirect light year-round. Take care not to put it in direct sunlight, which may cause brown scorch marks on its leaves.

Cleaning Tip

Wipe off leaves with a damp cloth every couple weeks or so to keep them dust-free.

Give it a shower. Keep the fronds dust-free by giving your palm a shower. This has the added benefit of flushing the soil of built-up fertilizer. Use a gentle flow of tepid water. Or stand the plant outdoors for a gentle summer (warm) rain shower. Remember to keep your palm out of direct sun.

Watch for scale insects. They look like brown oval bumps that tend to lurk on the undersides of the leaflets. Treat any infestation immediately.

Repot only when needed. Planting palm trees is only necessary every 3 years at the most. Kentias are slow-growing and don't like to be disturbed. Their roots are fragile, so handle them with care.

Kentia Palm Indoor Care

kentia palm Origin: Lord Howe Island (Northeast of Australia)

Height: Grows slowly, but can reach up to 8 ft (2.4 m) indoors

Light: Bright, indirect sunlight

Water: Keep soil evenly moist spring through fall; slightly drier in winter.

Humidity: Moderate to high humidity. Use a humidity tray or mist the foliage regularly. You may need to use a room humidifier, especially in the winter.

Temperature: Average room temperatures 60-75°F/16-24°C. It can tolerate a minimum of 55°F/13°C.

Soil: Peat moss-based potting mix with added sand for quick drainage.

Fertilizer: Feed monthly in spring and summer. This organic palm fertilizer contains the micronutrients this palm needs. Don't feed in fall and winter when growth has slowed.

Propagation: Seeds

Green Thumb Tip

Keep the humidity high by misting regularly. If the relative humidity drops below 40% in winter, use a room humidifier.

Buying Tip

Kentias are slow-growing so buy one the size you want. Otherwise, you'll wait years for a tall palm.

Sentry palm (Howea belmoreana) is a similar plant with slightly curled leaves.