- Water Frequency
Both too much and too little water will damage palms and will lead to leaf yellowing, browning, and potentially plant death. Palms thrive in evenly moist soils that are neither dry nor wet and soggy.
Allow the soil surface to dry out before watering, use the finger test to see if additional water is required. Place your place 2”-3” into the soil. If the soil feels dry, water accordingly.
I recommend giving your Palm a good soaking every 2-3 weeks in a tub, sink our outside–weather permitting. Get the soil thoroughly wet allowing the water to flow freely out of the bottom of the pot. Always remember to empty the excess water that drains into the drip tray so the palm isn’t sitting in water–this can lead to root rot.
- Water Quality
Indoor palms can be extremely sensitive to chemicals in tap water and should be watered with filtered water or after the water sits uncovered for 24 hours. Keeping a pitcher full of water uncovered will allow the chlorine and fluoride to evaporate.
Fertilizer replenishes nutrients in the potting soil, but too much fertilizer causes leaf tips to brown and can lead to plant health decline. Fertilize Palms only when they are actively growing in the spring and summer months. Dormant Palms do not need additional fertilizer. Use a fertilizer formulated for palm trees at the rate recommended on the package. Remember: more fertilizer is not necessarily better.
- Cold Injury
Palms require warm temperatures to thrive. While indoor plants are usually kept warm, cold damage can still occur. Place plants in areas away from window and door drafts where cold air can cause leaf tip browning. Avoid setting plants right next to windows in winter, as leaves touching the glass can freeze and brown. In summer, don’t place directly in the path of an air-conditioning vent.
- Natural Browning
Palms replace their leaves throughout the growing season. As a palm tree leaf reaches the end of its natural life, it turns brown–beginning at the tip and continuing until the leaf completely browns and drops off. If only one or two leaves are browning and new foliage continues to grow in, the brown tips are natural and not a cause for concern.
Here’s how to properly trim your plant of any brown tips:
- Gather your supplies. You’ll need a pair of sharp scissors or pruning shears, some rubbing alcohol, and paper towel. (Alcohol wipes that come in a first-aid kit work great!)
- Wipe the blades of your sharp scissors or pruning shears with rubbing alcohol before you begin and between each snip. If you are just removing brown crispy leaves due to aging, lack of moisture, or sunburn spots; moisten the blades with water before cutting–this will help prevent healthy tissue damage.
- Cut leaves that are entirely brown or yellow at the base – near the stem or at the soil. Be sure not to tug the leaves, as this can damage healthy parts of the plant. If only part of the leaf is brown or yellow, remove only the affected area.
Important: Be careful not to remove more than 20% of the entire plant while pruning. You may need to prune in stages to avoid removing too many leaves at once.