I recently bought a Brighamia insignis, also known as a Hawaiian palm or cabbage on a stick and I’m worried it’s going to die given it’s rapidly deteriorating condition. If anyone is able to help I would be so grateful!

The plant took 4 days to be shipped and initially looked healthy. However, the next day several leaves had turned yellow and dropped. I read online I should remove these, so I did. The next day, more leaves drooped and turned yellow.

It’s currently in a spot which gets bright, indirect light and I haven’t watered it yet as the pot still has moisture about 75% of the way down and the plant is meant to be quite drought tolerant.

I’m guessing the plant is in shock from being in the dark and moving to a new location, but I’m worried it will die.I want to know if I should stick to my guns and wait for it to improve or if I’m doing something seriously wrong with the care for this plant and I should change something up? As mentioned above, any help would be welcomed!

1 Answer 1


Given this plant's rarity your concern is appreciated and understood. Before taking any action get multiple opinions on what should be done if anything. Right now I think you are right, sit tight. Leaves will be lost as it adjusts to the new environment. The theory is right; it behaves much like a succulent or like a ponytail palm, storing moisture in its stem and leaves and only needs occasional watering. Try to recreate its natural environment (Hawaii) as much as possible (try for a relative humidity of 55-65% for example). One aspect that is hard to get a hold of is how and when to water - if you can, weigh it right away (pot and all) and note the total weight. Before adding water weigh it again and if it is almost the same weight as the original question why you think more water is needed.

  • Thank you very much for your advice! I have been reading lots of information on the plant to make sure I'm up to date on how to look after it. The weighing tip sounds like a good idea and will use this until it looks healthier and I'm better adjusted to the plant's needs. Thank you again! Commented May 16, 2020 at 13:24

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