January 2019: Kentia Palm Houseplant of the Month

January 2019- Kentia Palm Houseplant of the Month
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The story of Kentia Palm 

Kentia Palm (Howea forsteriana) is a plant with a relatively small base from which slender stems grow upwards bearing soft, elegant green palm leaves. It’s one of the few palms that thrives on little light, low humidity and cool rooms. Kentia Palm is also an attractive feature in the home: the light passes very attractively through the elegant leaves. 

Origin 

Kentia Palm is a member of the Palm family, and grows on Lord Howe Island east of Australia beneath the foliage of larger trees. This means that it’s used to getting little sunlight. In the wild the palm can reach a height of 18 metres and a width of 6 metres, with 3 metre long leaves. The cultivated variety sticks to a more modest scale. 

Low energy consumption 

The palm trees are propagated from seed, and all the seed is still imported from Lord Howe Island so that authenticity is guaranteed. High temperatures are required to be able to interrupt the dormancy, up to 35-40°C. The entire process takes at least 30 weeks. The plant itself grows slowly – the cultivation time depends on the size and density of the plant. The denser a Kentia Palm is, the more seed has been used. The taller the plant, the older a Kentia Palm is. Even the smallest pot size is already almost a year old before it becomes available, whilst the larger specimens can easily take seven years to grow. This partly explains the relatively high price of Kentia Palms. One advantage is that the plant is grown as sustainably as possible, with a relatively low energy consumption, which is something that increasingly appeals to consumers. 

Care tips

  • Kentia Palm is one of the few palms that can tolerate relatively little light. If the leaves turn pale green to yellow, it’s getting too much light. If few new shoots develop, the Kentia Palm’s position is too dark. 
  • The palm tree does best with slightly damp soil, but at the same time it shouldn’t be so wet that there’s water in the bottom of the pot. 
  • Taking it into the shower or placing it outside in a light rain shower will refresh the plant nicely and prevent red spider mite.
  • Yellow, old or ugly leaves can be cut off. 
  • Kentia Palm likes to be at room temperature; below 10°C is too cold.
  • Give some plant food once a fortnight between April and September to encourage growth. Kentia Palm does not grow in winter and does not need feeding then. 

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