Brown tips on Palm Tree

(Question)

I have a large 8′ palm tree that seems healthy because new growth is evident but the ends of the leaves are starting to turn brown and are dry and curling. I bought it 3 months ago and planted it in a very large pot. I water it once a week with a small amount of fertilizer. It doesn’t have any direct light but is beside a 10’x6′ window that is south facing but with sheer curtains on it. Can you give me any suggestions.

(Answer)

There are so many types of palms that the first thing to do is figure out exactly what kind of palm that you have and investigate best care practices for that specific type.

Browning of leaves can indicate many things: too much or too little water, not enough humidity, insect infestations and possibly even lack of light. I suspect that it may be too much water, as you have mentioned that you water it each week. Palms require good soil drainage, should not sit in standing water and need to dry out between watering to ensure that they don’t get root rot. A water level monitor may assist you in knowing when the soil is sufficiently dry and the plant needs more water. It may not be every week, particularly in the winter months when light levels are lower.

Also you may want to consider ceasing the fertilizer application for the winter months and starting up again in the spring as over fertilization may be hurting the palm. If you have just turned your furnace on, perhaps the palm is suffering from lack of humidity and regular misting might help. Lack of humidity or air circulation may also cause insect infestations such as spider mites so check your plant thoroughly for bugs. But again different palms have different care needs so knowing what type you have would be a great place to start in understanding its specific needs.

Here are some sites which will help you identify your palm tree:

https://www.guide-to-houseplants.com/house-plants-encyclopedia-a-z.html

https://www.tree-identification.com/palm-tree-identification.html

https://www.dmoz.org/Science/Biology/Botany/Dendrology/Tree_Identification/

I wish your palm years of health!