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Why Are There Brown Tips On My Palm?

Sometimes the tips of the leaves of an indoor palm tree will turn brown. This can happen due to over-watering or under-watering or improper temperature or humidity.

A palm tree plant, also known as a Kentia palm, is perhaps the most popular indoor palm tree. A resilient and majestic palm tree that thrives in tropical climates when found in the wild, they are a beautiful tropical plant that will brighten up any home.

Why Is Your Indoor Palm Turning Brown?


When this indoor plant receives too much water, the leaves may start to rot, and the plant can begin to droop. The color of the leaves may change from yellow to brown. If you catch this early, you can cut off the brown portions, make changes to the watering, and save the plant.

Excessive watering of the plant can disrupt the air flowing to the root system, which leads to root rot. Your palm tree needs a pot with adequate drainage holes and well-draining soil.


Since palm trees like moist (but not soggy) soil, check the soil every few days. If the soil is dry about one inch down into the soil, it needs water.

Signs your plant is not getting enough water include crispy brown leaf tips, yellowing leaves, off-color or undersized palm tree leaves, and wilting or curling leaves.

Overwatering or underwatering are the main causes of brown palm tips.

Low Humidity

The palm tree plant prefers humidity between 40-50% for optimal growing. If the room you are keeping the plant in does not have this, consider adding a humidifier or pebble tray.

Incorrect Temperature

An indoor palm thrives in warm temperatures between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. If your palm tree is getting brown leaf tips in the winter, move it to a warmer location in your house and use a humidifier to keep it happy during the cold season. Always bring in outdoor potted palm plants in the winter to avoid cold injury.


Pest infestations, like spider mites, mealybugs, and scale can affect the health of your plant and cause brown palm leaves.

Should You Cut The Brown Tips Off A Palm Houseplant?

One basic, yet very important, aspect of palm plant care is pruning. When you prune a plant, you are trimming it back and removing any unhealthy or dead fronds from the palm. Pruning a palm tree plant requires either clean garden shears or a very sharp knife.

Starting at the bottom of the plant, cut off any palm fronds that are dead or dying. This means looking for brown spots, yellow portions, brown fronds, and other signs of damage. You can also trim back the plant to make room for new leaves to grow.

Avoid cutting your palm back to just one or two fronds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do Over-watered Palm Trees Look Like?

An overwatered palm tree can show many different symptoms. The leaves can have brown tips, black spots, yellow leaves, or mold on the surface of the plant.

If you catch the problem early, you can remedy it by letting the soil dry out and watering it less. If it has gone on longer, you may need to be more aggressive with your approach. Remove the plant from the pot so you expose the root ball, and remove any unhealthy roots. Replant the palm tree in appropriate soil, usually one made for palms, cacti, and citrus plants. Choose a pot that has drainage holes, and take care not to over-water it.

How Much Water Does a Palm Tree Need?

An indoor palm tree actually needs quite a bit of water. Water this plant about 2-3 times each week. Check the soil to be certain it needs water, however. The top 1-2 inches of soil should be dry before watering.

The majesty palm tree needs less water than some other variations. This one usually does best with once-a-week watering.

How Much Sun Does A Palm Houseplant Need?

Full, direct sun can result in burnt leaves on a palm tree. Generally speaking, they prefer bright, indirect sunlight.

However, it bears mention that some types of palm tree houseplants do prefer direct sunlight, which should not be surprising since that is how full-size palm trees thrive in their natural habitat.

Do Indoor Palms Need Fertilizer?

Avoid overfertilizing your palm tree plant. The best option is to choose a slow-release fertilizer made specifically for palm trees, as it will contain micronutrients such as iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. The palm tree only needs fertilizing a couple of times each year. Using the wrong type of fertilizer could result in a nutrient deficiency.

What Type of Soil Does My Palm Tree Need?

Whether you are potting or repotting a palm tree plant, choosing the right potting mix is important. Palms need a loose and porous mix of soil and sand. Combinations of peat moss and shredded bark are good examples of porous materials for your mix.

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