Palm wilting?????

tropicalzone7(7b)October 17, 2010

Im not really sure what's happening with my betel nut palm. The trunk is getting pretty soft and it cant support itself anymore. Is it lack of water, too much water, transplant shock? Ive never had this problem with a palm.

Just to give a background on the palm.... I bought it less than a week ago and it was healthy. I have been bringing it in at night since I hear they dont like the cold and the last few nights have been in the mid to upper 40s. I only watered it a little since I didnt want it to rot. It was doing great until I took it outside in the sun today. It was windy and pretty warm (around 70F). The soil was a little dry, but it wasnt that warm so I didnt want to water it. I ended up soaking it figuring it was under-watered, but it hasnt improved within the past 7 or 8 hours, so I guess that wasnt the problem.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks in advance! Heres a pic!


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brooklyngreg(7a NYC coastal plain)

Hi Alex,

It looks like transplant or overwatering shock. Here are some questions that come to mind that may help. How come I see white at the base where soils should be?

Was the root ball kept inact and pot the right size. Nevertheless I would give her a prime space by a window to recover and not move her around until the patient stabilized. Palms can be fussy and she may or may not improve. Keep her away from heat sources or temp swings to low or high. Of course only water with warm ~78* water and not too much.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 10:20AM
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I don't know what your weather is like there, but you have to be really careful when putting a super-tropical palm outside on a windy day when the humidity is low, particularly one with large, wide leaves that will lose massive quantities of water through transpiration on a day like that. You can literally kill a palm in 1-2 hours that way. This palm undoubtedly has been in a high humidity greenhouse and has adapted to a situation with zero wind and about 80% humidity (or more?). But even if the humidity is not a problem, wind is a problem all on its own, and can bend or break palms easily, particularly if they have not been growing in an environment where there has been any sort of wind before (greenhouse fans hardly count as wind, either). As for water, this kind of palm would literally be impossible to overwater unless your soil was muck or something poorly draining. These palms live in situations where it sometimes rains feet, not inches, in weeks or even days. Rot might be a problem, but not of the roots I think (unless they get really cold, too), but of the crownshaft/bud of the palm (from the cold). These are very sensitive palms and do not like it cold. A cold snap into the 40s will not kill one or probably even hurt one at all, but an entire week of 40s could certainly do one in by allowing the bud to get infected. I have seen a lot of tropical palms die from Penicillium mold growing along the trunk from chronic cool, even in greenhouses that weren't kept warm enough.. and the first symptom is a bending palm. Though I sort of doubt your palm could be affected by Penicillium that quickly... unless it was already infected when you got it (impossible to tell, really).

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 10:20AM
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I agree with the Dr 100%

Better to keep new tropical palms that have been transplanted inside this time of year.

We had a high of 75f the other day with a dewpoint of 32f,the humidity was in the teens at best,can you imagige the wet bulb effect on the soil with high winds in those conditions?

Good luck Alex!


    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 12:11PM
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Thanks everyone! I guess the best thing to do now is keep it inside and put it by a nice window. I really dont think its going to make it since it looks just as bad today (maybe even a little worse!). I feel really terrible about it and I will be fighting with it until the day it dies!
I think the white part of the trunk was from a base of a leaf recently removed, but maybe Ill re pot it anyway. What I think I might do it down grade the pot a little bit and plant it a little deeper.
Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 3:27PM
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