How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Anna Your Own Question
Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 11540
Experience:  Great research skills, variety of work experiences, teaching experience.
Type Your Question Here...
Anna is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a madasgar palm that is not doing well. When I got

Resolved Question:

I have a madasgar palm that is not doing well. When I got it it was beautiful I don't know what I have done wrong. I live n San Felipe Baja CA. We get lots of sun. What do you suggest? How much water? Plant food what kind?how often? Shade? It has. Full sun and afternoon shade. Help me save my palm
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. Some additional information will help me figure out what might be wrong.

How long have you had the palm? Is it in a pot or in the ground?

Exactly what is happening to the leaves - spots, discoloring, curled edges, falling off, black and mushy, etc.? The more detail you can give the better.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Have had. It a little over a year. It is in a big pot looked good but luaves started falling off until it looked like cactus. Now has slumped over I am hoping there is some like & can be saved. It gets full morning sun with afternoon shade. It is located in San Felipe baja so it is hot. Maybe I watered too much

If you need more info let me know. Not sure what else to add.
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Thank you. That information will help, but can you tell me what happens to the leaves before they fall off. Do they turn yellow? Do they get yellow or brown spots on them? Do they turn yellow only near the veins?

Are all the leaves gone at this point?

Use your fingernail or an implement of some kind to scrape off a bit of bark. what color is the trunk/stem underneath?

Sorry for all the questions, but this information will be a big help.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am not sure what color the leaves turned. We have someone that watches the house when not there. When we got it it had beautiful green leaves. When I saw it in march all leaves were gone it only had the stem. I was hoping it would start growing leaves again. I saw it this last weekend and it has slumped over. I asked the caretaker about it and he said he had been watering it but nothing happens. It looks dead but I am hoping there is something left that can be revived if I only knew what to do. I have asked the caretaker to see what color under bark. I am not sure if you can troubleshoot. If not tell me what I need to know to keep one healthy if I get another one. Plant food, watering, sun etc. thanks
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. I’m working on your answer and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. Please don’t respond to this post as that can lock me out of the question. I’ll be back shortly.

Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for waiting. I had hoped to find out what happened with the leaves because it can be normal for this species to lose its leaves in the winter. However, if that were the case, there should be new growth by now. It is also not normal for the stem to droop, and that is often a sign the plant si dead. If you find green, living plant tissue after scraping off the bark, there may be hope. In that case, cut off the trunk and wait to see of new growth sprouts from the stump. I suspect you won't find green tissue, and that means the plant is dead. The species is not really a palm, but is a succulent, requiring little water. The most common cause of problems for it is over watering. That will cause the roots to rot, followed by leaves dying, and the trunk/stem going limp.

The Madagascar palm needs a well-drained soil, and should only be watered when the top several inches are dry. In the winter, it needs even less. Many horticulturists recommend no water at all in the winter. It also requires full sun to stay healthy, so your site with afternoon shade is not ideal. As for feeding, a good all-purpose liquid fertilizer should be applied at half-strength in the spring. Dilute it with water to get half-strength. No fertilizer should be used in the winter. Here's a website where you can confirm this information:

I suspect that your tree began normal leaf shedding in the fall, and in hopes of saving it, the caretaker watered it. Since the plant doesn't need much water in the winter, it probably developed root rot.

If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I'm sorry that you lost a beautiful plant, and I wish you success with the next one.

Anna and 36 other General Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Very helpful thanks. I think it got overwatered.