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House Plants/Indoor kentia palm dying



Kentia 2
Kentia 2  
Please help! From all of a sudden my kentia started turning brown!!! I've had him for about 6 months and he was always healthy and beautiful!! He grew a lot since I bought him and got really bushy! Since day one, he's been sitting in a corner of windows that are always covered with white curtains... so he gets a sufficient amount of indirect sunlight... which he seemed to really like, but now he's not looking happy! I haven't changed the way I take care of him. He gets watered once a week... about 1/2 a gallon of water each time. There's a couple times I skipped a week, but I generally take all my plants outside for an hour and water them. I bought him in a 5 gallon pot and has not been re-potted. My fiance looked at the bottom and thinks he might be root bound... but that shouldn't be turning him brown! Please look at the pics. I tried to take a bunch so you could see the color and condition.

1) The kentia and its location of indirect light 2) A fraund that is dying 3) A larger fraund turning brown 4) Leaves turning brown 5) Another pic of leaves turning color 6) Pic of the large fraund dying 7) baby shoots dying 8) A new shoot looks unhealthy 9) & 10) Pics of large dry fraunds I had to cut off.

Thanks for the advice in advance,

Hi Eva,

Overall, your Kentia looks pretty healthy. It is normal for any Palm to lose some of its lower fronds. It is best to cut off brown fronds at their base, as you have done.

Excessive frond die-back can be caused by inadequate light or improper watering. While it is true, Kentias need protection from direct sunlight, your curtains may be blocking out too much of the sun's rays, depending on the direction that the window is facing. If the window is facing north, open the curtains. If facing east, open them in the afternoon. When you take it outside even for short periods, be sure to protect it from direct sun at all times. Outdoor sun is much more intense than indoor light.

It is a good thing that you have not repotted your Kentia nor should you be considering it. Weekly watering is about right for a Kentia this size, but you must be careful of two things. First, make sure that you add enough water so that a small amount trickles through the drain holes of the inner nursery pot each time. On the other hand, you have to make sure that water does not collect between the two pots and stays there for more than 24 hours.

Kentias do not tolerate dryness, so even an occasional lapse in watering will result in frond die-back. I suspect that is what has happened with yours. The dying of the emerging frond is consistent with a short period of drought at a time when it was forming.

I have written articles on pruning and on Palm care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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