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

April 6, 2016

Caring for newly-transplanted Kentia palms

Three weeks ago my friend Kevin, the Kentia Palm Man, delivered four beautiful Kentia palms here. They were all in one pot, and needed to transplanted, which I did under his supervision. Actually, it was kind of fun - I used my phone and sent photos and text messages as I did it. It's great to have experts!

I followed his instructions very carefully. And the most important one had to do with not overwatering, which is soooooo tempting!

If you want to do everything you can to help your Kentia palms live through the transplant, here are some things I've learned;

• Water thoroughly on the day of the transplant, then stop. These plants are now entering their second week after the transplant and the moisture meter still says that the soil is wet. Yes, you need to get a moisture meter - you can get them at places like Home Depot, or Target. Stick them into the soil to where the rootball is, and read the meter. For the first few days the meter jumped waaaayyyy over to very wet. This morning I'm seeing the needle going back into just moist, and over the next day or two, with careful monitoring, I may water again. The reason that you don't want to water too much is that it literally drowns the plant, killing it "with kindness". Then the roots rot, and well, that's the end. So don't overwater. Use your moisture meter! If you're an expert like Kevin, you can gauge the moisture with your fingers, but I don't have that expertise.

• Spray the leaves. I live in an area with nasty hard water, so I went and got some distilled water for the sprayer. Hard water spots on a beautiful plant like this are just so wrong! And this is very important - don't spray when the leaves are in sunlight, it will burn them. I spray just before sunup, afternoon when the patio goes into shade, and then in the evening.

• Trim off leaves that have turned brown. Yeah, it's sad, but they're gone. Trim them off, they look ratty anyway, and they'll never come back. Look for new growth in the center of the plant - called the spear - it should be strong and tight and have a little bit of whitish powder on it. When you see the spear start to open up, you know that the plant is alive, and growing.

Kentia  palms
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