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Plant Diseases/Rhaphis palm drooping


Have purchased 4- 14" large rhaphis palm they are in tall planters with bright light not direct sun. Watered them well when I placed them in there decorative pots not direct planted they are still in there nursery pots. A week later I'm finding the plant drooping and some leaves are yellowing and some are just brown and crisp . I checked for spider mite and other things and the soil is moist not soggy . Help I paid a lot of money for these and can not return them.

Dear Diane, I am sorry you are having trouble with your rhaphis palms.  The most likely cause for these symptoms, especially since you have checked for spider mites (which wouldn't cause them to go bad this quickly), is a water problem.  I am very familiar with the practice of placing the nursery pots inside a decorative plantar for houseplants, and I think it is a great way to go.  The main trouble comes when you water them.  Make sure that the palms have well drained soil, and that when you water the plants, the water moistens the soil well, and drains out the holes in the pot.  Let the plants drain well, and then make sure that you remove any water remaining in the pot with them.  Rhaphis palms are especially sensitive to this issue, so make sure that the plantar stays dry.  Other than that, make sure that the nursery pot doesn't have any white salt buildup inside the pot.  If it does, be sure to scrub it off, and then flush the pot with a lot of water to help the salt buildup to run out of the pot.  If you have hard water, with a lot of salt and minerals in it, you might want to water these plants with bottled distilled water.  Be sure to fertilize lightly and infrequently because they grow slowly.  I hope this information helps your situation, but if by some chance it doesn't, please be sure to write back as I know what a valuable and beautiful investment these rhaphis palms can be.  By the way, I used to work in a four-star hotel that had thousands of plants, many rhaphis and when we had to trim the edges of the leaves that might brown, we did it with pinking shears to get the zigzag effect.  Good luck, Melissa

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Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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