BOTANICAL NAME: Howea forsteriana
COMMON NAME: Kentia Palm
DESCRIPTION: Single stemmed with dark green, arching, flat-topped fronds cut almost to the midrib, many leaflets, 2-4cm wide and 45-60cm long. Can grow to 2.5m tall.
LIGHT/POSITION: Medium to high light is ideal but plant tolerates low light conditions well if watering is controlled. Fronds will eventually spread and droop with age. Does not appreciate cold positions.
WATERING: Uniformly moist in good light and in growing season. In lower light, allow top 2/3rds of soil to dry out between watering. Grow pot should never be allowed to sit in water for longer than a couple of days.
CLEANING: Use neem soap routinely to remove dust and control insects. Older fronds will tolerate the occasional wipe with weak white oil mix to revitalise appearance. Extreme care should be taken to avoid oil on the undersides of the leaflets.
PESTS: Palm scale and Red Spidermite are the most common pests. Preventative action is necessary – spray regularly with neem soap. Cleaning away dead stems and old fibre from the trunk will ensure there are no easy breeding sites.
DISEASES: Enviromental diseases due to poor watering techniques and practices such as rotting of the trunk base and roots.
FERTILISING: Weak liquid fertiliser during the growing season is helpful in maintaining vigour and colour in older plants and general plant resistance to pest attack. Foliage sprays are recommended where practicable.
PRUNING: Not generally necessary. Removal of foliage that protrudes into the workspace. Marked or damaged fronds should be removed entirely. Protect the growth tip of new fronds from accidental damage.
PRESENTATION: An excellent floor specimen. Width should be 50% of overall height. Large specimens available for atrium use.
GENERAL INFORMATION: Named after Lord Howe, as was Lord Howe island where the species originates. The species name forsteriana was named after William Forster who was a N.S.W. Senator.