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Recognizing Kentia palms, mountain palms and golden fruit palms or distinguishing between them is not very easy, because the different plants are very similar in appearance. However, for appropriate care, it is crucial to know which plant it is. Our tips will help you to know the differences and to be able to recognize the individual palm trees.
The Kentia palm is also known as the paradise palm and has the botanical name Howea forsteriana. It is particularly easy to care for and therefore ideal for anyone who does not yet have much experience in cultivating plants and does not have a green thumb. It is extremely popular as a houseplant as it requires little maintenance and grows slowly but can still reach an impressive size of up to three metres. In their areas of origin, the height is even up to 17 meters. In indoor culture, however, height growth is limited. The plant grows wide and lush.
The dark green leaves are arranged in fronds that are imparipinnate and lanceolate. They grow on long, smooth stalks and are evergreen. One of the clearly recognizable differences to other plants are the flowers. If the plant is successfully brought to flower in indoor culture, these appear as green, threefold flowers between June and August. Orange-colored berries then develop.
When caring for the paradise palm, attention should be paid to the following points:
- Location bright to semi-shady but no direct sun
- use special palm soil or a mixture of potting soil and sand in equal parts as a substrate
- high humidity
- ideal temperatures are between 18 and 20°C, in winter not below 15°C
- can stand outside during the summer, but not in the blazing sun
- moderate water requirement, low-lime, soft water is ideal
- Spray leaf fronds regularly with water
- Provide complete fertilizer once a week from spring to late summer
- Repotting is only necessary if the plant tub is rooted
The mountain palm or Chamaedorea elegans is native to Central America, where it can grow up to three meters in height and up to two meters in width. The individual leaf fronds can be up to 60 centimeters long, are lush green and pinnate.
The plant can flower within the first few years and shows yellow but very small and inconspicuous flowers. The plants of the same sex form only male or female flowers. Only the flowers of female plants exude an attractive scent.
Again, the plants can most easily be distinguished from other palm trees by their blossoms. In the case of Chamaedorea elegans, these are also quite common in indoor culture, provided the plant is overwintered properly.
When cultivating the Central American plant, the following factors should be considered:
- bright to semi-shady location without direct sun
- even in summer no more than 20°C at the location
- special palm soil, potting soil and sand mixed in equal parts or herbal soil as a substrate
- can be placed outdoors from around June
- high water requirement, therefore keep constantly moist and never let the soil dry out
- Due to the rather low nutrient requirement, no additional nutrient supply is necessary for young plants and in the first year after repotting
- For older plants and from the second year after repotting, give a small amount of liquid fertilizer or palm fertilizer every two to three weeks
- Repot only when the soil is rooted
golden fruit palm
The golden fruit palm is botanically referred to as Dypsis lutescens and is native to Madagascar. It has been extremely popular as a houseplant since the 19th century. It exhibits air-purifying properties and is relatively low-maintenance, making it also a great choice for novice growers. At its place of origin, the palm tree reaches a height of ten meters. As a houseplant, it grows comparatively slowly and usually only reaches a height of up to three meters. It is also practical that the plants need temperatures of around 20°C all year round - normal room temperatures are therefore ideal for them.
In addition to the pinnate leaf fronds and the eponymous gold-colored fruits, which do not form in a pure indoor culture, the gold fruit palms can be distinguished from other plants relatively easily by the yellow-black dots on the leaf spindles. In addition, the leaves appear airier and more delicate in distribution and shape.
There are also differences in the care of the golden fruit palm compared to mountain palms and Kentia palms. When cultivating, attention should be paid to the following factors:
- bright location but no direct sun
- Year-round temperatures around 20°C, less than 15°C can quickly lead to damage even in winter
- Uniform soil or hydroponic as substrate
- Always keep the substrate moist but urgently avoid waterlogging
- Hard tap water can also be used for watering.
- Apply liquid fertilizer once a week from spring to autumn, fertilize every three weeks in winter
- Repot young plants or replace soil every year, for older plants repotting every two to three years is sufficient
differences at a glance
The different plants show numerous similarities. For example, they should all be placed in a bright location, but not in direct sunlight. Even the similar appearances hardly reveal any differences at first glance. Nevertheless, it is possible to recognize the different plants by the following points:
Kentia palms have dark green leaves. The mountain palms are still a rich green, but are noticeably lighter in comparison. Golden fruit palms tend to have a fresh, light green color rather than leaf color.
2. Leaf shape and size
The leaf shape is very similar in all three palm species. They are linear to lanceolate. However, the leaves of the gold fruit palms are significantly narrower, shorter and more delicate than those of mountain and kentia palms. The stems can measure up to 60 centimeters.
What is striking about the Kentia palms is that the leaves are imparipinnate. On the other hand, the leaf fronds of mountain palms are very sweeping and wider.
3. leaf spindles
Golden fruit palms can be recognized relatively easily by the fact that the leaf spindles have yellow-black dots. These are not present in both Kentia and mountain palms.
The Kentia palm flowers green. The golden fruit and mountain palm blossoms yellow. It is striking that both the golden fruit palm and the kentia palm only rarely flower as indoor plants. Mountain palms, on the other hand, form flowers quite early on, which in the case of the female plants can also smell pleasant.
All three plants can be propagated by seed. However, since they rarely form flowers in indoor culture and therefore no seeds can form, it is difficult to obtain existing plants.
Nevertheless, the type of propagation can be used to differentiate. The mountain palm and the golden fruit palm form shoots or saplings. These can simply be cut off from the mother plant and used for propagation.
tip: If you cannot distinguish between the palm trees or recognize them with certainty despite the five clues, you should seek advice from a garden center or compare photos. The differences are usually more obvious.