Phoenix Robellini are browning

barb_2007January 15, 2007

I have 5 potted phoenix robellinis on my decks. 2 on east side, 3 on west. The ones on the east are looking brown from the tops down and are shriveled. I don't know if they are diseased or have I over/under watered them? I have a moisture tester and they show that they are wet, but when I let them go without water for a week+, they just looked worse.

What about fertilizer? what type should one use? I'm just sick about losing them. We are on the coast and 20 stories high.

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I was the world's worst about overwatering !
all my palms was looking brown and shriveled then i got a moisture meter in my opinion it was the best thing i have done. They work great !

My advise to you would be to let these robies dry out a little they do sound like their over watered to me..
if they are outside pull them underneath something to keep them from getting wet..

Good Luck !

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 11:05AM
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blondboy47(z6b(almost 7) ON,Canada)


If the meter is showing wet, then confirm by taking a stick, something like a 1/4 dowel would work and sticking that way down into the soil. Let is sit for a minute or so.

Then, take it out and see if it shows real moisture.

Point is, if it's wet, do not water it until it starts to dry out.

Robbies will fail with too much water.

Yyes, it may pout when it senses the difference, but while it will look poor for a while, once it stabilizes, it will bounce back again.

The browning, if the palms are wet, could be caused by the roots that feed those specific fronds, being unable to breath. The would eventually (if not already) rot out. Once they rot, the fronds fed by those rotten roots will die as well.

Also, as topher suggests, put them somewhere where they won't get wet all over again or put something over them. You should be in control of their water for a while until they get dry again, not mother nature. :)

Hope that helps.

Also, you state that you are 20 stories high. I'm wondering if the palms are also getting way too much wind up there? Something else to think about.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 1:04PM
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a picture would litterally be worth 1000 words in this thread. sounds like either too wet or wind dessication... which is usually easy to tell with a pic. also, imho its easier to get them dessicated by wind than it is to overwater them assuming they are in good soil....

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 1:28PM
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Are roebies salt water tolerant? I know of some palms that need to be situated a minimum of 1/4 mile from the coast to thrive which could be the case if phoenix species are not adaptable to large intakes of salt in the air.

Coming from Chicago, next to one of the largest sources of FRESH water in the World, I really don't know much about salt water other than it smells.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 1:57PM
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Here is a link....

Hope it helps !

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 11:18AM
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Roebellinis actually love water. They will tolerate flooding.

As with any indoor plant, too much water indoors will cause rot/root suffocation.

I will also add a vote to wind. I had lived on the 8th floor ocean side in SE Florida. I had a majesty palm in a large container, and had to pull it back from east side of balcony to protect it from the drying effects of a (CONSTANT) wind at that height. Always had to make sure the soil was moist (majesties love water more than roebellinis) on the west (leeward) side of balcony to reduce the tip and frond browing that'd occur if blasted by the wind.

Even my large bromeliads with water in their cups would have leaf tip borwning with moist soil if blasted in a wind for over 2-3 days would get browned tips and older leaves would brown quickly.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 11:40PM
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Have you considered the quality of the soil that your palm is in. If the soil is compacted sort of like mud then your plant will suffer. It is great to buy some type of soil with vermiculite. This keeps the soil from compacting. Also it is hard to over water soil with this ingredient.
When watering (with this type of soil), thoroughly drench the pot. It is ok to water it thoroughly several times. I have seen people water their plants with 1 cup of water. This is not enough water for their survival.

Soil is usually the problem.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 7:39PM
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i have a phoenix robellini on my decking. we brought it in doors for the winter , now have it back outside on our decking. it can be windy on there sometimes. the plant is starting to go brown. also can you advise me to wether or not i should clip the dead palm leaves off to allow the new to prosper

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 1:52PM
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