Why Are My Kentia Palm Leaves Turning Yellow? (And How to Fix It?)

Even though Kentia palms are easy to care for and are pretty low-maintenance plants, there are specific requirements you must take care of if you do not want the beautiful green foliage of your plant to turn yellow.

Common reasons your Kentia palm leaves turn yellow include overwatering, root rot, lack of sufficient watering and humidity, nitrogen deficiency, potassium deficiency, and imbalanced light conditions.

Kentia Palm: What You Need to Know

Howea forsteriana, or Kentia Palms, is one of the most beautiful indoor palms with which you can decorate your space. Their attractive foliage can immediately bring a tropical vibe to your interior d├ęcor.

Kentia palm is favored not only for its effortless beauty but also for its easily forgiving nature. These plants are very slow growing and can tolerate a little bit of neglect.

The trouble-free palm can sometimes lose the lush green color of its foliage. The Kentia palm turning yellow is a common problem of the plant, and its owner’s worst nightmare, as once the older fronds turn yellow, they will not change back to green. However, you can always make adjustments that will keep your elegant palm looking lush and leafy again in no time.

If you notice generalized yellowing or yellow spots on Kentia palm leaves, it can be due to one of the following conditions.

  • Overwatering
  • Root Rot
  • Lack of sufficient watering
  • Lack of Humidity
  • Nitrogen Deficiency
  • Potassium Deficiency
  • Imbalanced Light Conditions.

Kentia palm is a slow-growing plant in the US. While it may be discouraging for the plant owners to see the fully grown leaves lose their color, you must never give up and try to fix the suspected problem as soon as possible.


Watering problems are primarily suspected whenever the leaves of a plant start losing color. Kentia palm, like other houseplants, can become a victim of overwatering.

This tropical plant is native to Lord Howe Island and originates off the east coast of Australia. It enjoys a moderate watering balance and tolerates drought conditions. It is better to miss a watering session if you’re unsure whether your plant needs water rather than overwatering it.

Overwatering can be a primary reason for your Kentia palm leaves turning yellow. The soggy soil conditions and stagnant water in the pot invites all sort of trouble for your plant. Yellow spots on your plant leaves indicate that it is overwatered.

If such is the case, you must dry out the Kentia palm soil or wait for excessive moisture to drain before the next watering. The process can take up to a few weeks.

Water your Kentia palms only when the top few centimeters of soil have dried out, and reduce its watering frequency in autumn and winter.

Root Rot

Long-term standing of water may develop root rot, a condition caused by several fungi, which causes your Kentia palm to wilt and lose its vigor. This common disease frequently develops when the plant stands in waterlogged soil for too long.

Primary symptoms of root rot include stunted growth and deformed leaves. Your Kentia palm soil will start to give off an odd smell, and its roots will develop a brown-black and mushy appearance. The Kentia palm leaves turn yellow and eventually drop off. A well-drained and well-prepared soil are essential to avoid root rot.

If you suspect your Kentia palm has rotten roots, inspect its health below soil level by taking the plant out of its pot.

If the Kentia palm roots have a yellow tinge, it means the plant is safe, and the reason for its yellowing leaves is not root rot. However, if the roots feel mushy and brown-black, root rot must be immediately and adequately addressed.

Allow the moisture to air out, or repot the entire plant to change the rotten soil. Cut the yellow leaves at their base because they would not regain their former green color.

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Lack of Sufficient Watering

Kentia palms are also subject to underwatering most of the time. Underwatered plants have drooping leaves, and the whole plant looks lifeless.

Water is essential for a plant’s survival, as it helps transport minerals and nutrients from roots to leaves. The plant is adequately hydrated and protected from high-temperature stress and develops healthy growth.

Due to dehydration, Kentia palm leaves may show yellowing spots and dying older fronds. If such is the case, insert a finger and check the top half of the plant soil for signs of underwatering and dryness. If the soil feels dry, you must water it thoroughly till it is properly soaked and the excess water drains from the pot.

Thorough watering of the Kentia palms is essential as it ensures that all areas of plant soil are soaked. Many indoor plant owners make the mistake of watering their plants with little sips throughout the week, which results in a small portion of the soil getting wet while the rest of the plant cries out for sufficient water.

Lack of Humidity

Kentia is a tropical palm that requires high humidity levels to maintain its lush green foliage. If the room where Kentia palm is placed has below 40% humidity, the dry air will develop brown leaf tips even on a healthy palm.

Proper growth of Kentia palms requires frequent misting of its foliage and the rest of the plant a few times a week. If the weather has grown hot, or the room where the plant is kept is warm and dry, place your Kentia palm on a moist pebble tray or use a cool-mist humidifier.

Kentia palms are drought tolerant, but that doesn’t mean they like dryness and dehydration. The room has overly dry air if the Kentia palm leaves turn weak yellow or brown.

Indoor Kentia palm likes frequent misting, which provides humidity to the plant and removes the dust build-up from its magnificent foliage.

Nitrogen Deficiency

Nitrogen is the most critical nutrient needed for the proper growth and development of all parts of a plant. It is an integral part of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plant leaves. Even though nitrogen deficiency is not very common in Kentia palms grown in the ground, potted plants are often victims of this nutrient deficiency.

Nitrogen is present in the chlorophyll molecule, which means it plays an important part in maintaining the green color of the leaves. A lack of this essential nutrient develops the yellowing of leaves and loss of chlorophyll, a condition known as chlorosis.

If your Kentia palms leaves turn yellow due to chlorosis, know that this condition is relatively reversible. As soon as the plant receives proper quantities of nitrogen, it will immediately absorb it, and the coloration of the leaves will gradually begin to improve. The leaves will turn from a sickly yellow to a healthy and lush green color in almost a week.

However, those Kentia palm leaves severely damaged due to nitrogen deficiency may or may not recover from it. Treating your yellowing Kentia palm with a fertilizer containing nitrogen will fix this problem.

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Potassium Deficiency

Potassium is another element in the plant which is present in excess quantities after nitrogen. This mobile element is rapidly translocated from older to younger tissues of the plant, which is why potassium deficiency is first evident on older fronds which progresses to younger fronds as the deficiency worsens.

The most common symptom of potassium deficiency in plants is the yellowing of leaves and the development of chlorosis along its leaves’ margins.

The potassium deficiency signs in Kentia palms appear as a tip or marginal necrosis on the leaves, which may or may not develop yellow spotting.

If you believe that the reason your Kentia palm leaves turn yellow is potassium deficiency, repot it using a high-quality potting mix. Alternatively, you can use a liquid fertilizer to ensure that your palm is getting the proper nutrients in the right amounts.

Imbalanced Light Conditions

Kentia palms tolerate drought-like conditions but prefer bright and indirect light that will not scorch the color and splendor of its beautiful leaves.

A potted Kentia palm kept indoors must be positioned to receive bright but indirect sunlight. Harsh sunlight can result in sunburn of the plant foliage, which is evident from the burning of the leaves.

Sunburnt leaves cannot be reversed, so their trimming is necessary after removing the plant from the intense sunlight.

On the flip side, too little sunlight can also result in the yellowing of Kentia palm leaves. Less sunlight will result in poor growth of this already slow-growing plant, and the Kentia palm will also become prone to fungal diseases and overwatering.

If your plant receives too little sunlight, its green leaves will start turning yellow until they eventually drop off the plant.

It is essential to place your plant in a range of a sunny window, but filter the light with a window film or sheer curtain so that the Kentia palm can receive adequate sunlight without burning its leaves.


If properly taken care of, Kentia palms can live up to 50 years indoors. If you take care of its needs and requirements, this magnificent palm will continue to add color and life to any room of your house and make your heart happy with its aesthetically pleasing appearance.

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