This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area

August 9, 2013

Bringing The Tropical Paradise indoors

This past February I was convinced by Kentia Palm expert +Kevin Williams to try growing a Kentia Palm indoors here at The Tropical Paradise. When I met with him, I had thought that I knew what a Kentia palm was, actually now I realize that I didn't even know at all.

It has become quite the successful experiment here! And like everything I've done successfully, it has been mostly a combination of happy accidents. I wish I could say that I knew what I was doing, but mostly I'm just learning. If you are tempted to get a Kentia palm, do so. Here is what I have learned:

• Place it where it will get some morning sun. It's 7:30 am in the photo and you can see that the plant gets some sun, but just a bit, for about an hour. From then on it gets indirect sunlight. I have visited people who have Kentia palms and have seen them looking very straggly and stretched, without any fullness towards the middle.

• Put it in a plastic urn-shaped container, kept in its original pot. This is my favorite happy accident. I found this plastic urn-shaped container at the Dollar General store for eight dollars. Just wanted to see how I liked it before I got the "real container". But I'm keeping it! It seems to be helping the plant get exactly the amount of water it needs, and no more. The original pot sits up several inches higher than the bottom of the plastic pot (I put some heavy rocks at the bottom of the urn to help keep it from tipping over). Any excess water drips down, so the plant never has its "feet wet".

• Water it weekly. I put a note on my Google calendar for every Sunday. I fill a small watering pot, add some water-soluble plant food, and pour it all in. Any excess water drips to the bottom, and is caught by the plastic, so it won't make mess on the carpet. By the way, don't spray or water the leaves. They don't need it, and you could leave some nasty hard water spots on them.

And last, but not least, be sure to have a wiener dog sleeping under it whenever possible. Luckily, I have that covered, too!
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