How do I take care of a palm tree?

On impulse, I purchased a 7 foot tall palm from the commissary. Hey, it was only $18.00, and it will look nice on my porch.

However, now that I’ve had it home for a few days, the tips of some of the fronds are starting to turn brown, and I’m worried that I’m not watering enough, or too much, or that’s it’s too cool in my air conditioned house, or something.

Anyone know anything about keeping palm trees nice and green?

I was always told that the palm tree growing (quite sadly, I might add) on the grounds of the College of William & Mary (Williamsburg, VA) was the “northernmost palm tree grown outdoors.” I also know that the palm trees inside the World Financial Center in NYC were carefully acclimitized to cool air from when they were seddlings (When one was killed by accident they were unable to replace it).

Now, IANAHorticulturalist, but based on this evidence, I think your AC is killing it.

According to my Ag.dept handout,browning of leaf tps can indicate pottasium deficiency,or (and probably most common) incorrect watering/drainage.Not surprisingly one of K’s functions is in supporting water transport and root health.Assuming your ac keeps your house in the 70’s,temp shouldn’t be a problem.Tho you may have the tree in a drafty area where the air outlet is hitting it dead on making it feel like zero.

Most palms sold in the states are hardy to something like 20 F.

I’d 1st repot the tree into a suitable sized container,making sure the bottom layer is porous (stones)then sand-then the soil.Soil should ideally make up abt.3/4 of the height in the pot and also have enough volume to completely cover the root ball.

I would also consider moving the tree outdoors thru the summer-nothing like natural light to keep’em green.

BTW-it’s natural for the older fronds to brown.My handbook tells me they grow abt.1 new one a month during their growing season.

Rules of thumb for most flowering plants:

If the leaves are turning brown and papery, then you might be underwateringor keeping it somewhere with too low humidity, or scorching it in direct sun.

If the leaves are turning brown and mushy, you’re overwatering it or subjecting it to too low temperatures or cold draughts.

Thanks for the advice, guys. I’m moving it out onto my porch today, and will be repotting it in the next couple of weeks. I don’t generally have much luck with plants, but I really like this tree, and I hope I can keep it alive.