Indoor plants


How much to irrigate Kentia

Kentia is the common name by which the Howea is known, an Australian palm which in nature is a tree that exceeds 20 meters in height. These are the most popular green plants in apartments because they are easy to grow and are beautiful and decorative. They can reach considerable dimensions and are used to decorate large spaces, because they create a tropical green corner wherever they are placed. They are plants that have no particular needs and exist in many species, very similar to each other. They are recognized because they have the shape of a miniature palm tree and as well as indoors they also look good in the garden or on the terrace. During the summer the Kentia should be watered just enough to keep the soil constantly moist, approximately a couple of times a week depending on the temperature. To avoid sudden changes in temperature in summer, it is advisable to administer lukewarm water both on the ground and sprayed on the leaves, avoiding in all ways that it stagnates on the roots. As with any tropical plant, it’s a good idea to saucer with a layer of stones with a little water for the roots to absorb moisture without getting wet.

Cultivating Kentia

Kentia needs a soil rich in sand and peat, so that the roots can breathe freely and every two or three years it must be repotted. When changing pots you have to be careful not to break the roots and it is not easy, because they grow quickly to the point that if you are not careful they become a compact mass that will not come out of the pot. Certainly rather than cutting them it is preferable to break the pot, because they are delicate and there is a risk that damaging them the plant will die. In addition to being watered sparingly while maintaining a constant level of humidity, the leaves should often be cleaned with a damp cloth, avoiding the use of foliar polishes that can cause them to dry out. These plants grow rather slowly and do well at a constant temperature between 20 and 25 degrees, avoiding the cold and drafts. They are the ideal plants to place on the stairs, because they have a lot of light all day but not direct sun and a constant temperature. They also vegetate well on the terrace or in the garden, as long as the temperature does not drop below 10 degrees and there is no frost or snow, which in all likelihood would make it dry.


During spring and summer it is sufficient to administer a balanced fertilizer for green plants every two weeks and completely suspend fertilization for the rest of the year. Green plants need a fertilizer with a high level of nitrogen compared to phosphorus and potassium, and also a good amount of microelements, particularly copper and iron for balanced root and leaf growth. Foliar fertilizer can also be administered by adding it to a little distilled water and sprinkling it on the leaves. In the apartment the Kentia can reach 3 meters in height and it may happen that in particular favorable conditions it also produces flowers and fruits, which are the norm in nature. You can use a natural fertilizer made with manure, however it is not a particularly demanding plant and does well also in universal or flower soil. When it is repotted, it is necessary to put new and fertilized soil, so that the roots take root well and can develop freely. Compared to the plant the roots are very small and when it reaches a certain height it is advisable to fix the pot by tying it or putting it inside a pot holder.

Diseases and problems

Kentia should not be pruned, but the older and drier lower leaves must be eliminated, also to prevent parasites and fungi from spreading. The red spider is the parasite that most commonly attacks palm trees, causing leaves to turn yellow and fall off. During the spring new leaves should sprout, very slowly, usually one or two a year and no more; if they do not sprout for long periods it means that there is not enough nourishment in the soil and it is necessary to provide with fertilizer. Dark spots on the underside of the foliage can mean a pest attack such as aphids or mealybugs, which are best seen using a magnifying glass. In this case it is essential to use a good broad spectrum insecticide, which can also be used at early spring as a prevention. The best known problem of all kenzies is yellow leaves that progressively dry out and fall off. One of the most frequent causes is incorrect irrigation, but it can also be a parasite attack. If the yellowing is uniform it is water: it is too much, too little or excessively calcareous.

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