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If the hemp palm gets yellow leaves or brown leaf tips, then something is wrong in the care. The wrong location can also be the cause of the discoloration of the leaves. The cause of the discoloration and why the plant does not feel well must now be found out so that effective countermeasures can be taken and Trachycarpus does not suffer any further damage. The following article explains why brown leaf tips and yellow leaves develop and how to proceed.


If the hemp palm suddenly turns brown at the leaf tips or even shows yellow discolored leaves throughout, then the cause must be found as soon as possible. Because it is always due to a care error, the wrong location or a pest infestation. Therefore, an immediate inspection of the plant for the following possible causes should be made:

  • enough light
  • frost damage
  • too dry
  • too wet
  • nutrient deficiency
  • pest infestation

If one or even more of these causes for the discoloration of the leaves are identified, the appropriate measures must be taken immediately.

Wrong location

If it is quite shady to dark at the location of the hemp palm, this can be a possible cause. In winter in particular, when the days are getting shorter, there is a problem with insufficient brightness. Because Trachycarpus needs a lot of light so that the leaf retains its typically rich green color. Since the palm trees are hardy from the age of four to five years, they can even remain outside in a sheltered place in winter. Here they are offered enough light even in the dark season. The ideal location is therefore as follows:

  • at least two to three hours of direct sunlight daily
  • on a south-facing balcony or terrace
  • on a south window
  • A bright conservatory is also ideal
  • alternatively set up a plant lamp for several hours a day

frost damage

Even if the hemp palm is hardy from a certain age, the younger plants only tolerate minus temperatures down to -10° Celsius. If it gets colder, this can also lead to brown leaves. Because in such a case, they are simply frozen and the plant has suffered frost damage. To prevent this from happening, you should take the following precautions before winter:

  • mulch soil
  • Put on brushwood mats
  • wrap brushwood mats around the trunk
  • wrap plant fleece around the crown of the palm
  • only when really low temperatures are announced

If a frosty winter is predicted, then a wooden construction can also be made that is covered with plant fleece. This can then simply be placed over the hemp palm tree, which is protected from severe frost underneath, but still receives enough light. As soon as the cold period is over, the plant fleece is removed again.

Wrong watering

If the hemp palm is watered incorrectly, this can cause a lot of damage and the leaves either turn yellow or brown at the leaf tips because the plant is too dry or under it waterlogging could suffer. A little finesse is therefore required when pouring. However, if the watering was incorrect, the following appropriate rescue measures should be initiated immediately:

waterlogging as the cause

  • dig up a palm tree
  • remove all soil from root ball
  • cut any damaged and rotten roots
  • let dry completely
  • insert into new, fresh, dry substrate

Root ball too dry

  • water thoroughly immediately
  • however, avoid waterlogging as a result
  • only ever use rainwater

For the time that follows, care must be taken to ensure correct watering in both cases. Water whenever the surface of the soil has dried a few inches deep. You should always pour off excess water on the drainage plate about half an hour after watering. Alternatively, a moisture meter can help to find out the right time to pour.

nutrient deficiency

It is relatively rare for the hemp palm to suffer from a nutrient deficiency. But like other potted plants, the added nutrients are washed out more quickly with the irrigation water. Therefore, if the leaf tips are turning brown or the leaves have turned yellow, you should think about repotting the hemp palm. This should be done as follows:

  • Lay drainage on the drain hole
  • Use soil for potted plants from the trade
  • has enough nutrients for the next few months
  • Remove the plant from the old container
  • remove old soil from the roots
  • if necessary, cut them if they are damaged
  • place in the new vessel
  • water moderately

After you have repotted the plant, it only needs fertilizing again after about three months. For this you use liquid fertilizer for green plants from the trade. For the amount and frequency of fertilizer application, pay attention to the manufacturer's information. The palm tree should only be repotted in spring.

pest infestation

In winter, pests such as spider mites like to settle on the plants. This usually happens when the hemp palms are in the wrong location in winter, it is too dry and too warm here. Because the hemp palms always prefer high humidity, in winter the environment should not be too warm. The following can be used to prevent pests on the plant in winter and to take action in the event of an infestation:

  • Spray palm regularly from above
  • alternatively place bowls of water around the plant
  • Set up a humidifier
  • wash off pests
  • Spray the plant with a mixture of soap and vinegar water
  • shower for several days in a row
  • use rainwater for spraying and showering
  • otherwise unsightly limescale stains will appear
Spider mite infestation

Remove yellow or brown leaves

Once you have found and eliminated the cause, the discolored leaves are still on the plant. However, in order for the palm tree to turn green again, you need to remove the damaged leaves. To do this, proceed as follows:

  • brown leaf tips
  • simply cut off the tip of the leaf in a straight cut
  • yellow or brown leaf
  • cut off only when completely dry
  • then leave a rest of about four centimeters
  • never cut the top of a hemp palm tree
  • from here the plant drives out the new shoots
  • always use sharp and disinfected cutting tools
  • normal pruning shears are ideal here

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