· John Heider's Answer
· Hi Lana,
I believe your palm has a nutrient deficiency. Pygmy palms can have a manganese deficiency caused by alkaline soil or to wet a soil or both. I like to think of my plants as being somewhat like us in some respects. If their roots are sitting in to much water (soggy soil) this excessive water will block them from taking in nutrients and oxygen. Put our heads under water and we to can not take in nutrients or oxygen. Some times I think my wife would like to put my head under water because of the way I think of my plants. Make sure your soil drains well. You can dig down six inches or so into the soil and make sure it is moist not wet. Sometimes our pots don't drain well if sitting on a smooth surface that can block the drainage. I like to sit my pots on surface savers (Lowes-Home Depot or any good nursery) so that they drain well and allow oxygen to the roots.
The drying and curling at the base of your leaf looks like what is called "Frizzle Top". The scorching look up through the leaf would indicate this also. Palm fertilizer can be applied in late spring, summer and fall on an annual basis so now is a good time to give your palm a start with what it may be lacking. Most good nurseries will carry a Palm Fertilizer that will have a percentage of manganese also such as 8-2-12-4. The fourth number is the percent of manganese and probably won't be with the first three noted on front of the package. This eliment should be listed on the container. Some nurseries will also have fertilizer plant sticks for palms that you push into the pots soil that work well also. I have found that the fertilizer sticks for some reason contain more percentage of the manganese eliment. You may also find just a manganese suppliment also, but if you haven't fertilized your palm lately I would use a complete palm fertilizer. Some of the palm fertilizers are water soluble and can be mixed with water. Your plant is fairly small so you can fill a spray bottle and spray this mix over the leaves and crown of the palm along with adding to the soil. The fertilization instructions on the package will tell you the amount to use according to the size of your palms trunk. Make sure you cut off any leaves that are completely brown. Hopefully this one affected trunk will start putting out healthy leaves with the right amount of water and nutrients. Most multi-trunk Pygmy palms found in nurseries today are actually single trunk plants that have been planted close together to give that single multi-trunk plant appearance. Because of this the other trunks of you palm may not be affected as much by this deficiency, but will benefit from the fertilization also. It looks as though there may be some white patchy spots on the leaves also. I looked into this and found that palms, specifically pygmy date palms, get these structures called Scurf on younger leaves. So if you were wondering about this also it is nothing harmful. As the palm matures this will go away.)