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Does this Chinese Fan Palm look over or under watered?

  • Does the container have drainage holes ? – blacksmith37 Aug 29 '19 at 14:51
  • The soil is wet or dry? How do you water it? – Giacomo Catenazzi Aug 29 '19 at 15:24
  • Yes it has drainage holes. I water I via a drip line for 30 minutes every 3 days. We have very hot and dry summers here. – mxcolin Aug 29 '19 at 20:33
  • Looks under watered to me if it's in full sun and hot and dry climate – kevinskio Aug 30 '19 at 15:01

Well it is tempting to say that the growing tip looks healthy so the dying of the lower leaves might just be natural die off as the plant steals what nutrients needed and not supplied by the root ball. But there is too much die off for that simple explanation. In addition the amount of healthy green top growth compared to the size of the pot is unbalanced - the top should be more voluminous if that amount of root ball is doing its job. So how can we get more info ... if possible you could pull the root ball from the pot and inspect. Maybe by tipping the pot on one side and pulling the crown out part way. We would expect to see healthy (light coloured, not dark) roots from top to bottom of the root area. In particular where fibrous and chunky root medium/soil is used verify that the inside of the drainage holes is not blocked by stones or thick chunks of bark. While the root is exposed see if your nose can detect any distinctly distasteful odours.

Depending on what you find you might want to reduce watering since the amount of green actually transpiring is declining. If root rot is detected then you might be into a major operation on the roots.

  • Thanks, the container and plant are extremely heavy so it's not practical for me to remove it and look at the roots. It's definitely draining as I have a tray beneath it that gets filled up each time I water. There is definitely more growth coming from the center of the plant. I'll check to see how moist the bottom of the container is. – mxcolin Aug 30 '19 at 16:38
  • OK I tried to see how moist the bottom of the plant is and it looks like it's bone dry. I pushed a wooden stick into the container on multiple sides and it came back out completely dry each time, not a hint of moisture even though I watered last night. – mxcolin Aug 30 '19 at 16:54
  • Interesting. This reminds me of what can happen to fleshy rooted plants where roots expand so much that they displace any soil in the pot, so that when watering happens the water just flows through the network of roots wetting the root surface and out the bottom leaving the plant growing in fresh air. – Colin Beckingham Aug 30 '19 at 17:08
  • I gave it a good soaking and will increase the water. Do you think this explains the yellowing/browning of the leaves? – mxcolin Aug 31 '19 at 15:36
  • Don't know. Until you can get more information about the state of the root your speculation is as good as anyone else's. If you repeat your test for dry root in say 24 hours and you get a different result that would be a positive sign. But at some point you may need to think through a strategy to manipulate the container safely and effectively. – Colin Beckingham Aug 31 '19 at 16:28

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