Howea forsteriana (Kentia Palm) complete guide

In this guide you'll learn: How and where to buy the Howea forsteriana (Kentia Palm), how to care for your plant and answers to FAQs to keep your plant happy

The Howea forsteriana, also known as the Kentia Palm or Paradise Palm, is a stunning palm tree originally hailing from Lord Howe Island off the east coast of Australia. It is an ancient plant, having grown on the planet for centuries and in its natural habitat it is a graceful giant, growing up to 10 metres tall.

The Howea forsteriana is a graceful, largely slow-growing plant that captures attention with its stunning grace, graceful fronds and eye-catching light colour. It brings a stunning feature to any home or garden indoors or out and with its rarity, it is truly a special and beautiful addition to any space. With its stunning beauty, the Howea forsteriana, can bring a tropical feel indoors, or create a real oasis in your outdoor areas.

Here are some tips for nurturing your Howea forsteriana:


The Howea forsteriana is what is known as a ‘low-light’ plant which means that it naturally grows in semi-shade. It will be fine in lower light of 0-250 lucs, however, it will appreciate limited or filtered bright light or sun. If kept outdoors keep it away from direct sunlight, particularly during the hottest hours of the day.


The Howea forsteriana favours temperatures around the 12-25°C (53-77°F) range. Both higher and lower temperature extremes should be avoided. Soil Type and Drainage: The Howea forsteriana prefers a light and fast-draining-soil mixture with a slightly more acidic pH of around 5.6-6.6. This can be measured with PH testing strips.


The Howea forsteriana loves humidity. Aim for between 40-60% relative humidity for optimal flourishing.


In general you should water your Howea forsteriana well and then wait until it has dried out before watering again. During the winter months, reduce the water slightly (but don’t let it dry out completely). Do not let the Howea forsteriana sit in waterlogged soil as this may cause root rot.


The Howea forsteriana is not considered toxic to people or pets, but caution should be taken if children are in the home.


During the spring and summer months, you can use a liquid fertiliser for palms and ferns every other week. During Autumn and Winter months, you can use a slow-release fertiliser.

Troubleshooting Pests, Diseases and Common Problems:

The Howea forsteriana is relatively easy to care for, but watch out for signs of pesky bugs on the underside of leaves or at the base of the trunk. These can include mealybugs and scale insects. Treat these pests with a natural insecticide, or tap them off with a cotton bud soaked in rubbing alcohol. Watch out for yellowing and browning of the leaves, as this may be a sign that something is off, or that you may be over-watering the plant.


The Howea forsteriana cannot be grown from seeds as there is no viable way for the plant to reproduce naturally. To propagate by division, follow these steps:

1. Choose a healthy mature parent plant.

2. Once identified, using a sterilised knife, carefully cut off several fronds from the stem.

3. Separate the stem slices.

4. Carefully plant each stem slice in a pot of moist, well-draining soil.

5. Place the pots in indirect sunlight and keep soil moist; 6. Wait for roots to form and the Howea forsteriana will start to grow.

Final Thoughts

With its distinctive looks, slow-growing nature and beautiful fronds, the Howea forsteriana is truly a stunning plant to grace any home. Aim for bright, indirect light, moderate temperatures and moisture-rich soil, you can ensure your Howea forsteriana will not only survive but will thrive too. With a little effort and care, you can ensure you are giving the best home possible to this rare and special plant.

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About the Author

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Plant-lover with a life-goal to buy land across the UK to plant his own forest, James specialises in horticulture and botanical research, and has been growing and rewilding forests with trees, including endangered species, for over 15 years. He is an avid gardener, allotment owner, and aids in the running of a carbon neutral initiative in companies across the UK.

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