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Howea forsteriana

Kentia Palm

The famous Kentia Palm from Lord Howe Island, off the east coast of Australia, hardly needs any introduction. It is considered by many to be the best house plant in the world. Tolerant of poor treatment and neglect, it will put up with low light better than almost any other palm. It is also an excellent landscaping plant that will do well in shade as well as full sun in most warm temperate/subtropical climates. It can take light freezes but does not like hot, tropical climates.

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germination comments by our visitors
For general germination instructions click here.

Also see plant cultivation comments below.

Seeds from this species ...

... are average to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
the palm trees are very beautiful they are growing slowly. seeds germination takes from several months in the ideal conditions normally start in 3 months . so you should be tolerant. The best way to germinate Kentia seed was by planting Kentia seed in individual boxes.most favorable for germinating Kentia seed is a mixture of 60% peat and 40% perlite or coco peat, a natural fibre made from coconut husks (coco-peat). after putting (dried) fresh seeds in the center of pot's cover them in 2inches height with same mix. keep them in sterile and clean place with the 26C ~ 28C centigrade temperature with more 70% moisture. in 21 or 26 day start to germinate. keep the kentia in deep pots.
Submitted on 01/06/2013 by Reza Salimpour

... are difficult to germinate and need up to 1 year to sprout.
Of 11 received seeds in early January 2011, 2 had fully germinated by mid-March, 2 months later. They were placed in moist peat/sand mix on top of water heater, status checked weekly. Though they have been slow to grow over the summer, they are sending up their 3rd spears now in October. The other 9 seeds though, have proved to be as slow as others have said. 9 seeds still sitting in their baggies on the water heater, with absolutely no signs of life yet.
Submitted on 18/10/2011 by Adam Polak

... are average to germinate and need up to 6 months to sprout.
Got 23 seed and took l month to germinate. All we need is rich soil, moister, and don't over water.
Submitted on 22/11/2007 by one of our visitors

... are easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I received these from RPS in Oct. 06. I placed them in a baggie with perlite and placed them on my aquarium light. They heat up during the day, when the light is on, to around 80 degrees farenheit. At night they cool to the upper 60's. Two of 12 germinated mid December. I've now added peat moss to the baggie to get a little more moisture to them. Thanks RPS
Submitted on 23/12/2006 by Patrick suringwi@aol.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I had seen a rather suprising comment upon my travels through your wonderful site about the apparent difficulty in germinating and breeding the Howea Forsteriana and thought it would be wrong of me not to mention that I have had no such troubles with this elegant Kentia at all. Whether it be the almost year round sunshine in my hometown of Bondi Beach (Sydney, Australia) or the well established raised bed in which I cultivate these palms I have more than 12 of these Kentia's all thriving, I have more seeds than I know what to do with and the babies never stop sprouting. In the last year alone I would have had to have given away at least 20 of the little ones (just under a metre tall). Anyway just thought I would let you all know that sometimes these little "Howies" thrive.
Submitted on 23/08/2005 by Paul Crisford pcrisford@hotmail.com

...not rated.
I collected 7 lbs of Howea seed and then tried to find information on how to germinate this seed. All I could find out is that the seed can take from 3 months to 3 years to germinate. In frustration I decided to crack one of trhe seed open with a pair of pliers. To my surprise I found the actual seed inside this very hard outer covering. I collected the seed in October of 2004 and found that the hard outer shell was in fact beginning to deteriorate on some of the older seeds.I was not able to find any of this information on the internet and the organizations to which I wrote.Now, what can you tell me about the germination of this seed?I will be germinating the seed (hopefully) with the warmth of heating mat. What do you know about this germination requirements? Who has germinated this seed already.
Submitted on 29/03/2005 by Michael greentoe@pacbell.net

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 year to sprout.
Quite deliberate in its habits. Required almost 9 months for 1st seed to germinate. Thereafter grows not rapidly, but takes on an adult-type appearance of leaves sooner than some other palms. Tough, handsome.
Submitted on 01/03/2003 by Steve Flynn sflynn22@mac.com

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

... are of excellent ornamental value
In Nth Island in New Zealand they need little care and grow normal.
I have Kentias growing quite happily outside in Frost Free positions in my Garden at the Southern end of the North Island of New Zealand Lat 40s down to -3c, good soil , plenty of Rain , part sun, not coastal
Submitted on 14/02/2006 by raptoure raptoure@slingshot.co.nz

win € 75 worth of seeds
by writing a plant cultivation comment about how to cultivate the plants of this species. Click here!

If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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