Kentia Palm, Howea forsteriana - care and wintering

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Kentia palm - Howea forsteriana

The Kentia palm is a fairly slow-growing feather palm. It is one of the most easy-care palm trees and is originally based on the Lord Howe Islands near Australia. There, the palm can reach a height of 15 to 17 meters. As a houseplant it becomes about 2 meters high.
The botanist distinguishes between two varieties that are suitable for keeping as potted plants in the room. This is the Howea forsteriana and the howea belmoreana. For the layman, the difference with the eye is hardly recognizable. The leaves of Howea belmoreana are quite smooth at the bottom, while the Howea forsteriana has rough leaves undersides. It also gets wider fronds and makes strong plants. The palm derives its name from the Australian Lord Howe Island, whose capital is Kentia. Kentia palms are very old and reach a height of two to three meters. They are a purchase for life.


The Kentia palm prefers a half schady location. It does not like permanent direct sunlight, but it needs a lot of light. If it is too dark, it does not grow or only badly. In summer the Kentia likes to warm. Then you can put them outside, but not in the sun. Even in winter, the palm is rather warm. 15 ºC should not be undercut. In the room, the Kentia palm tree may also be slightly removed from the window. Only in winter do you move them close to the window.
In summer, it can be put into the room a little further, only in winter, a location near the window is advisable. When it's warm enough outside, Kentia palms can be put outdoors. Direct sunlight must be avoided, otherwise the leaves will turn brown or spotty. Frost temperatures do not tolerate the palms. They are wintered at 15 to 18 degrees, very young plants need a few degrees more.

plant substrate

The plant substrate Kentia should be permeable and slightly acidic. Cheap is nutrient-rich soil. A drainage layer on the bottom of the pot makes sense. So excess irrigation water can drain off. Coasters must be checked after pouring, so that no water stops. Every two to three years the palm is repotted. Palms have taproots and therefore feel most comfortable in a higher pot.


The water requirement of howea forsteriana is not high. The bale should be kept moderately moist, but very evenly. This palm also does not like calcareous water. In the long term, the plant enters. Dying also results if the plant is too wet. Standing water is absolutely harmful.
Brown leaf tips usually come from too little humidity. You can cut them off, but you must leave a narrow margin, otherwise you add a wound to the palm tree and the leaves keep turning brown. You can help by regular spraying with lime-free water. Withered leaves are cut off at the bottom of the stalk. About 1 cm petiole leaves you stand. Thus, over time, a proper trunk is formed.
  • Bright location without sunning
  • Put into the summer in the summer
  • Water a lot in the summer
  • Regular fertilizer
  • Repot every two to three years


In the main growing season, the Kentia is fertilized every 2 to 3 weeks with a fertilizer for flowering plants or green plants. It should be rich in nitrogen and potassium to promote the development of new shoots. Alternatively, long-term fertilizer can be used.


Kentia palm - Howea forsteriana

Hibernation is usually done in a living room. The plant gets along pretty well with dry heating air, if it is always sprayed. You use lime-free water, preferably rainwater. The plant should be at the window so that it gets enough light. Casting becomes more economical. The cooler the palm, the less you have to water. The plant bale should not dry out. Stagnant water must be avoided. During the winter you have to check the howea forsteriana regularly for pests. Spider mites, leaf and wool lice like to spread. The palm often reacts sensitively to chemical sprays. Better try it first with Absammeln and showering.

Remove from seed or buy finished

Seed cultivation is possible, but it takes a long time for the seeds to germinate and the first leaves to appear. Must be used very fresh seeds, which is best sourced from the gardening trade. Well suited for the cultivation is a cultivation bowl for the window sill. The seed is placed in special cultivation soil and germinates at sufficiently high temperatures. They should be at least 25 degrees Celsius.
It is easier to buy young Kentia palms. They are usually cheap and they grow over time to the magnificent plants. Of course, mature plants are also commercially available, but such specimens have their price.
A 50 to 60 cm high Kentia palm will cost between 10 and 15 euros. Often you also get large copies cheap to buy. But they are often driven unnaturally fast and show signs of displacement. You can better stand such plants. The plant must look fresh and strong. The leaf tips must not be withered.

Water regularly

Regular watering is very important. The plant bale should never completely dry out. In summer, it is often necessary to water in the morning and in the evening, but waterlogging should be avoided. Occasional immersion baths, where the pot is placed in a bucket of water for some time, ensure a good moisture penetration of the earth. To increase the humidity, the leaves are sprayed with water several times a week. But careful, too wet, the leaves should not be, so they do not discolor. Especially in winter, when the air is very dry due to central heating, spraying helps to keep the plant healthy. During the cold season, water is poured less, always adding only enough water to keep the plant bale dry.
For the Kentia palm to grow well, it is treated once each week in the summer months with fertilizer. Special fertilizer for palm trees is commercially available. During the winter months fertilization is not allowed, as the plant grows very little during this time and needs a rest. If the root ball is too big, repotting is announced. Every two to three years, the Kentia palm gets a new pot and new palm soil. The new pots should be very tall and always have two to three centimeters more diameter than the old pots. A good drainage in the soil prevents the roots from being waterlogged.

Kentia palm - Howea forsteriana

Unfortunately, the Kentia palm is often plagued by pests. Scale lice, mealybugs or spider mites are found mainly in non-ideal posture. A good location is therefore the best plant protection. Ensure good air circulation. If the plants are not too tight, the pests can not spread so fast. Strong plants are less damaged by the infestation than already weakened already. The Kentia palm is sensitive to pesticides. They may therefore be used only conditionally. To remove the pests, the leaves should be washed off easily. A shower with the shower head rinses off a large part of the pests. The gardener has to deal with the rest with a damp cloth. Dissolved core soap removes many pests, but it should be used sparingly so that the leaves do not suffer from the action. Especially with lice also helps the collection by hand.

Measures for pest infestation

  • Shower off the plant
  • Soak the leaves
  • Collect pests by hand
  • Use chemical pesticides only sparingly


  • Like many other palm trees, the Kentia palm does not need a lot of water.
  • The bale should only be kept moderately moist.
  • The earth must never dry out. Occasionally you can place the plant in a bucket of water so that it can properly suck.
  • Calcified water does not like the plants. In winter, only very sparingly. On hot summer days and in centrally heated winter rooms, you can spray the palm with boiled or distilled water (because of limescale).
  • Fertilization is from March to August once a week with liquid fertilizer.
  • Brown leaf tips can be cut away. However, one should be careful not to cut into healthy tissue. Withered leaves are cut off at the bottom of the stalk. About one centimeter from the petiole you can stand, so that over the years a proper trunk can form.
  • When repotting older plants you can prune the roots, then the palm grows slower. Every two to three years should be repotted.
  • The Kentia palm is increasingly being enriched with palm seeds. One should know that the seeds keep their germination ability only briefly. The seeds must be soaked in water for 2 days. The seed hopper should be kept warm, preferably at 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. It can take months for the seeds to germinate.
  • Leaf spots and brown leaf tips are usually caused by too low air temperature or by the proximity of the heater.
The Kentia palm is often plagued by scale insects. Against this vermin helps to sweep the underside of the leaf with a Spiritusgetränkten cotton swab until the animals are gone. In addition, spider mites, mealybugs and thrips can occur. The Kentia palm is sensitive to chemical sprays. You should first scrape it off and try to take a shower.

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