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I bought a coconut plant 4 days ago. It was kind of healthy when I bought it. But today I noticed that the leaves are brown and it seems something is wrong with it.

  • I have watered it once yesterday (0,8 liter).
  • I have sprayed neem oil on the leaves yesterday.
  • I mist it regularly.
  • During the daytime I kept it on the balcony with direct sun exposure with temperatures above 20 degrees. We had 43% humidity (Germany). Before sunset I moved it inside with humidity above 40% and temperature above 20.

Can the long sun exposure be the problem?
Do I need to water it more? (note that the soil is still wet)
Did the neem oil with sun cause this issue ?

Note that I bought 3 coconut plants in total and the other two are also turning brown, but slower. Any help to save it would be appreciated. Also want to know what’s wrong to avoid the same issue with the other two plants.

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  • Just for clarification, you bought the plant, probably from a garden center or store where I assume it was indoors and placed it outside in direct sunlight and you moved it twice a day?
    – Stephie
    Sep 14 at 18:01
  • Yes. I bought it from a supermarket they kept it inside without much light. I kept it outside during daylight to get direct sunlight as advised by almost everybody on Youtube (mistake I guess) And move it inside in the evening. Now as a precaution I dont expose them to direct sunlight. They did not recover but they status is stable.
    – iOSGeek
    Sep 15 at 18:00
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I suspect two main issues (and one thing that probably doesn’t show up as fast as in your case):

First, sunburn. Yes, coconut palms need a lot of light and full sun, but every plant that has spent a certain time indoors will need a few days of hardening off before they can withstand the sun. Think of it as the equivalent of flying to the tropics after a long German winter. No matter how well you usually tolerate sun, you need at least a few days of sunscreen.

Second, temperature. Coconut palms are notoriously fickle and won’t tolerate temperatures below 20°C. (Their definition of „comfortable“ is around 27°C.) Not sure whether your location exceeded that threshold reliably, mine (also Germany) certainly didn’t.

And finally, humidity can be a factor, leading to browning leaves. Although I think that’s less likely than the other two.

In any case, the damage is done and the leaves can’t revert to fully green. If you can give them suitable conditions, the new growth will be fine. But be patient, especially young coconut palms (yours isn’t much more than a seedling) grow very slowly. If you want to keep your plants happy, a general recommendation is to give them a significantly deeper pot, as they want to grow a taproot. The bad news is that you probably won’t ever get a mature palm and no coconuts - especially as you probably won’t have a heated greenhouse that can house a 20m tree with 7m fronds - but nevertheless, with good care you should be able to enjoy the young plants for quite some time.

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  • Thank you so much. I really appreciate your detailed answer.
    – iOSGeek
    Sep 28 at 20:37

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