How to cultivate Kentia
Kentia (or Kenzia) is a plant species belonging to the Palmae family and to the genus Howea; it is a plant native to the tropical boreal areas. Since it was imported at the beginning of the 19th century in Europe it is appreciated as an ornamental plant both for interiors and exteriors.
In this sheet we will see the essential aspects of this species and how to cultivate Kentia both in the apartment and outside. Kentia (Howea forsteriana (F.Muell.) Becc.) Is the most popular of the two most widespread species, the other is the Palma Riccia (Howea belmoreana (C.Moore & F.Muell.) Becc). This plant in its habitat can reach even 18 or 20 meters in height; in our apartments we can satisfy a maximum of 3 meters, as it will be difficult to see it bloom and fruit. In our environments both the Howea forsteriana and the Howea belmoreana are very slow growing, quantifiable in maximum two new leaves per year.
To grow Kentia in our apartments we must avoid direct sunlight, especially in summer. Regarding the temperatures; in the winter the two species can tolerate temperatures even slightly below 10 ° C while they endure the summer fall of your apartment on condition that it is dry and with little internal windiness.
As for the substrate to be used, this must be slightly peaty but above all sandy. Moreover, if possible, you can add mature manure (if grown outdoors) or compost or earthworm humus if grown in the apartment. As for the nature of the vessel where to place Kentia, let us remember that this has a radical apparatus that tends to go in depth rather than in width so the vase must have a consequential shape; it is also a good rule to repot every 2-3 years to be carried out in the spring period and taking care to use, if possible, a slightly larger vase and to renew the substrate taking care to touch the root system as little as possible. As for Kentia grown outdoors, there are very few ideal conditions to develop; an area protected from direct sunlight, excessive winds and cold in winter is preferable.
As for watering, these must be regular, waiting between one and the other that the soil dries, without wetting the plant anywhere. Obviously avoid any stagnation (which causes yellowing of the leaves, rot and, in severe cases, death of the plant). The only permitted and useful operation is to spray demineralized water periodically on the leaves with cadences ranging from once every ten days of winter to once every three days of summer. For fertilization it is good, as all the houseplants use the specific liquid fertilizers but only in the summer; however, consider that the true nutritional substratum is that which you create or recreate at each transfer. As for the pruning of Kentia, this has the sole purpose of eliminating the dry or yellowed leaves; it is carried out exclusively for an aesthetic purpose. For reproduction, however, it is good to overhear; in the conditions of our environments, reproduction by head may even be lethal for the mother plant and that for seed is more a utopia. The Kenties are simply bought from the nurseries.
Finally the adversities of this plant; these are mainly represented by the red spider that causes leaf yellowing, and attacks of cochineals. Nettle macerates and natural white oils can be used against these two. Avoid acaricides and insecticides that you would then breathe too. Definitely worth more than one, though beautiful, Kentia.