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



March 30, 2016

How to divide and repot Kentia palms


If you have a potful of Kentia palms which have gotten so big for the pot that they're starting to splay out, it's time to repot them.

Keep in mind that Kentia palms don't grow with multiple heads, so if there's more than one trunk in the pot, there's more than one tree. I divided four today.

I put down an old shower curtain, even though I was working outside. That way I could dump onto the sheet, and then gather stuff up as I needed to.


The first thing to do is to get the plants out of the pot. The easiest way is to cut the pot. Kentias can live for a long time in their original pot, but these plants had really gotten too big for it.


As you can see, the roots were completely pot-bound. This isn't really so terrible for Kentia palms, which don't mind crowded roots, but these plants had gotten way too top heavy.


The idea is to gently tease the plants apart - don't cut the roots. Use your fingers to pull them apart. I cheated a little bit and used a dibble (which has nice round end) to help pull the plants apart.


Remember that you're planting a tree here, so be sure to stake it, and tie the trunk with some flexible plant tape. And when you replace the potting soil, add some new potting soil in, and be sure to completely push the soil in with your fingers, firming it around the roots.

I mixed in a little volcanic pumice, mostly for show, along the top. Then water in (be sure the pot has holes in the bottom, of course!), but don't water too much. I always add a little Super Thrive, although I don't really know if it does anything - I just like the label.


So, I moved the four plants into three pots. I had one big pot, and I put two in there. I will be resisting the urge to water them, but I will be misting the leaves with some distilled water. If you live somewhere that doesn't have hard water, you can just use ordinary water. Phoenix water is VERY hard, and it leaves unsightly spots on plants.

Before - it looked terrible!
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