Howea Forsteriana growth rate
Light: Outside kentia palms grow best in 35% -80% of full sunlight, tolerating direct sun only after about five years old. Young kentia need protection from direct sunlight and grow best in shady to partly shady locations. Interior light for optimal growth of Kentia palm is in the range of 75-150 foot-candles, which is the approximate illumination level for casual reading. They are considered exceptional in their ability to withstand low interior light levels.
Moisture: This palm is only moderately drought tolerant, and should be watered before the soil completely dries. Indoor, potted kentias should not be over-watered. They may contract the fungus Phytophthora, if over-watered. In fact, over watering, and the associated plant weakening, is considered a number one enemy.
Propagation: Propagated by seeds. Kentia palm fruits mature very slowly, sometimes taking 3-4 years. It is difficult to determine when fruit and seeds are ripe, since the fruits change color slowly from dull orange to deep dull red as they mature. Even fresh seeds germinate erratically, with seedlings appearing as early as two months after planting and then sporadically over 1-3 years. Seeds seem to have maximum viability 8-16 weeks after maturing. Bottom heat and fungicide treatment have been shown to improve germination rates and seedling survival. (Floridata.com)
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Though not true beach plants, like 'Cocos nucifera ' Howeas do best near the ocean in Southern California. A drive though old neighborhoods in beach areas like Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, La Jolla and Imperial Beach will reveal hundreds of fine old specimens with their distinctive droopy feathered leaves in full sun. Full grown Howea forsteriana can reach more than 80 feet (17 m) tall, like the specimens near the Santa Barbara county courthouse in Santa Barbara.
They like the usual good soil, good drainage, plenty of water and protection from dyring winds. The further away from the ocean, the more they prefer shade over sun, though extra water helps a lot. Though not as splendid as their brethren near the beach, there are lovely plants in full sun in La Habra California, which is about 20 miles from the sea.
In general, the more water you give them, short of drowning, the better, and the faster they will grow.
Considered cold hardy in frostfree locations. Mature and established specimens can tolerate occasional temperatures down to 25ºF (-4ºC) without incurring significant damage to foliage. USDA hardiness zones: 9b.
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