I have bought a kentia palm about a year ago and I live in a warm and relatively humid climate. Some of the leaf tips have gone brown here and there in the past year, but I have noticed that the outer leaves have started to go brown completely in the last weeks and the browning started to spread.


  1. The plant stays near a west window however it only gets minutes of
    direct daily sunlight.
  2. I have been watering the plant with commercial distilled water and distilled water from the washer-driver machine ( I make the water wait a couple of days to make sure it is odorless), and recently with tap and spring water.
  3. I only water the plant when the top 10 percent of the pot is dry (usually every week) and collect the excess water afterwards to avoid root rot.
  4. There are no signs of insects on the plant.

During the last year I have not fertilized the plant so I suspect it could be the cause of browning but I am not sure.

Any suggestions or feedback is extremely appreciated.

plant location

browning leaf green inner leaves browning leaf 2 browning leaf 3 enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • It is probably overwatering but to be sure can you include a close up of the underside of a dying leaf?
    – kevinskio
    Sep 26, 2018 at 10:33
  • looking at how the leaves are a yellowish-brownish i'd have to agree with kevinsky that it's overwatering.
    – Mihkel
    Sep 27, 2018 at 13:34
  • @kevinsky thank you I added some close up photos of the back of the browning leaves for your considerations. Sep 28, 2018 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


Kentia palms are a great plant for interiorscapes as they will tolerate low light and are slow growers. The thick fronds means the most common interior pests such as spider mites are not found on them.

Growers will propagate individual plants and then pot them up in one larger pot. Finish under shade cloth for a few months and you have a sale-able plant.

When you get a plant grown like this the root systems are not fully developed and will compete against each other.

Here are my recommendations:

  • do not fertilize yet. In low light the plant is unlikely to be deficient in anything after a year
  • the use of distilled water or water from the washer - dryer is not recommended. Distilled water will cause all loosely bonded ionic compounds to bind to it and, in effect, lower the levels of dissolved salts. Nitrogen, in particular can be easily leached out by using distilled water. I recommend water that has been filtered to remove chlorine and chloramine found in tap water
  • increase light levels if possible
  • I see little things on the underside of the leaves which may be a pest problem. Make a solution of 5 ml dish soap and one liter of water. Take a clean cloth and immerse in the solution. Wipe the underside of every frond and wait five minutes then rinse again with water to prevent soap build up. Repeat three times at five to six day intervals. This will control spider mites if they are present.
  • Water less frequently as the most common problem is over watering with an underdeveloped root system. Consider re potting in a clay pot or even a self watering pot.
  • You can consider fertilizing six months to a year from now. Dilute to half strength as the light levels are not enough for a lot of fertilizer to be usable.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.