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HOWEA forsteriana

Image of Howea forsteriana

James Burghardt

Family

Arecaceae

Botanical Name

HOWEA forsteriana

Plant Common Name

Forster Sentry Palm, Kentia Palm

General Description

A common palm for home and tropical landscapes, Kentia palm is admired for its elegant, arching fronds. It originates from Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea, east of Australia. Overall, it is slow-growing. Landscape specimens become quite large and develop a classic palm look with a bare trunk supporting a crown of long, pinnate palm fronds, but indoor, container-grown plants maintain a manageable size.

The long fronds of Kentia palm are dark green and the slender trunk brown. As trees age, a mat of brown fibers will appear at the junction of the leaves and trunk. Mature specimens produce branched spikes of white flowers. Separate male and female flowers are produced on each spike. After pollination, the female blooms produce small, egg-shaped fruits.

Kentia palm is most often associated with shady or indoor environments, however this palm can be acclimated to nearly full sun if watered regularly and provided fertile, well-drained soil. Landscape specimens grow slowly but can become quite large with age.

If provided good space and bright light, this will become a spectacular specimen palm. Indoors, it will tolerate very low light conditions, low humidity and infrequent watering. Be aware that most nursery-grown Kentia palms are raised in shaded conditions. If planted outdoors, they may take one or two growing seasons to acclimate to a sunnier location.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Palm or Cycad

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    20'-30' / 6.1m - 9.1m

  • Width

    15'-20' / 4.6m - 6.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Australia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No