Indoor palm is dying

Asked January 11, 2018, 5:07 PM EST

Hello, about six months ago I bought a medium sized palm from Home Depot for my office. I'm not sure what type it is. I potted it in a large pot and used transplanting fertilizer. I water it about once a week. I put enough water in it until I barely see it draining at the bottom. I don't think it's sitting in any water and currently the soil isn't that moist. It's been about a week since I watered. It's near a large south facing window and has a plan light directly above it about 2-3 feet away. It is turning brown on the ends. Even one of the new leaves that has not opened yet is brown on some parts. I don't know much about plants and I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong to kill it. I also notice there is a little spider living in the bottom and the leaves have some webs on them, which I try to dust and keep clean. My office stays around 70 degrees I think, though it can get colder. I have a very small humidifier across the room from the palm.

Washington County Oregon

2 Responses

Based on your picture, I think you have an areca palm tree. Interestingly enough, more houseplants have problems with too much water (too frequently and too much) which may be the case here. I found this comprehensive palm care article (the bulk of houseplant research at universities has more to do with indoor air quality, rather than care of the plants.) During the winter and fall you can water substantially less and should not be fertilizing at all. However, the pest problems could be resultant from low humidity so if you could move your humidifier close to the plant (or purchase a small one for the plant) that might help. Watch for new growth to start around March and at that point you could increase watering. It may be worthwhile to purchase an inexpensive moisture gauge to help you learn how wet the soil is. Relative to light, if the plant is getting direct light through the window, it may be getting too much light that can contribute to bleaching and browning.

Thank you! I am excited to get a little humidifier for it and I will move the light. Great article as well.