How Do I Revive My Dying Indoor Palm Tree?

Last Updated on November 5, 2022 by Stephanie

A dying palm tree in the indoor environment is typically due to root rot caused by overwatering and inadequate drainage. This results in the leaves turning yellow and droop, looking dying. Dry soil and low humidity surrounding the roots ball cause the tips of the palm trees leaves to become brown and droop and appear to be dying.

Indoor palms should be grown in indirect, bright sunlight as their leaves could change from a scorching yellow to a brown when theyre exposed to too much direct light.

Indoor palms require soil that drains well and equally humid. The leaves may turn brown and yellow due to both dry soil as a result of the waters submersion and boggy soil that has been overwatered.

To revive an inside palm plant, its crucial that you recreate conditions similar to the palms natural habitat by increasing the humidity through regular misting of the leaves. Water the soil regularly every seven days, and placing your palm in indirect, bright sunlight instead of direct sunlight, and ensuring the temperature between 65oF and 75oF (18oC to 23oC).).

The most well-known indoor palm tree varieties ( Parlor palms, Areca palms, Kentia palms, Majesty Palms and Pony tail palms,etc.) come from tropical humid climates that require similar conditions as when they are grown indoors.

The lower leaves of palm trees that are indoors may turn brown or yellow as the plant grows older, even if the plant appears healthy.

Read on to learn how you can help save your dying indoor palm tree…

Indoor Palm Tree Leaf Tips Turning Brown

  • Symptoms. The tips of the leaves are becoming brown, dry out and crisp.
  • Causes. Low humidity, submerged high temperatures, low humidity, and excessive fertilizer.

The reason why the tips of palm trees in indoor areas becoming brown is due to the low humidity and the underwatering. Palm trees in indoor environments require that the soil be consistently and evenly humid and they prefer high humidity. The lower humidity drains moisture from the leaves faster than the roots may draw in water and cause the tips of the leaves to become brown.

The majority of indoor palm tree species originate from the tropical regions in which they thrive with the highest amounts of moisture.

The air inside is typically more dry, which drains moisture away from leaves, and causes the tips of the leaves to become brown, dry out and crisp.

Humidity may also decrease because of indoor heating and draughts caused by forced air or air conditioning, which result in the brown tips of leaves.

Plants that grow palms require an evenly moist, but well-draining pots to keep an attractive appearance and healthy leaves.

When the area around the roots ball starts drying out, it could be the reason for dry, dying, brown tips on the leaf.

Indoor palms typically require a regular soak every seven days during the summer and springtime when they are growing vigorously as well as every 10- 14 days during winter when the palms are in dormancy.

It is essential to give plenty of water to ensure that water drips through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, ensuring that the water is absorbed into the soil , and getting to the root at the point where it is needed.

indoor palm with white and wooden chair

If youre not watering as frequently, or you are watering too much, then this could be the reason for the palm leaves in your home becoming brown.

While indoor palms originate from tropical regions, their leaves may turn brown if they are placed close enough to an heating system in the indoor space, since high temperatures can increase the rate of evaporation and cause the soil in a way that is too fast so that the roots of the palm can absorb enough water and cause the tips of the leaves to become brown.

Sometimes, the combination of underwatering, high temperatures, and low humidity can cause pot soil to become hard and turn water-resistant (repels water) that allows water to drip across the surface of the soil across the sides of the pot, and out through the drainage holes , without absorption properly. This means the roots are unable to access the water they need.

This is a sure sign of stress from drought and is usually the reason behind the leaves of palms in indoor areas becoming brown at the ends.

Indoor palms are incredibly sensitive to excessive fertilizers that could cause the tips of the leaves to become brown..

While it is a good idea to apply a fertilizer for indoor palm trees however, it is essential to select an appropriate fertilizer for palm trees, (rather then a general fertilizer) because it is a particular product contains all the nutrients that an indoor palm trees require in the correct amount to ensure the health of the tree and to avoid the tips of the leaves becoming brown.

How to Revive an Indoor Palm With Brown Leaf Tips

To revitalize a palm tree that has dying leaves, boost the humidity by regularly misting the plant. Provide the plant with a good irrigation, and keep the temperature between 65oF and 75oF (18oC to 23oC) and trim off dying brown leaves to encourage the growth of healthy green leaves.

  • Place the pot of your palm in a water basin for about 10 minutes and make sure your rootball is fully submerged. If you notice that water is dripping across the soil, and the palm of your home is constantly submerged, this is the most effective water to hydrate the soil, to allow the roots to get the water they require. After the soil has been properly soaked, it will be capable of absorbing water during the next watering , if youre consistently.
  • Make sure to water your palms indoors at least each day with an ample soak. A light soak only soaks up the top inch of soil, whereas the roots are further down in the soil, and are unable to access the water and therefore, you should water them until you notice excess water dripping from the bottom of the pot, to ensure that the soil is evenly damp. A daily watering schedule ensures the proper level of soil moisture is maintained to keep your palm well-hydrated and healthy, without risking root decay (water each 10-14 days during winter).
  • Mist the leaves once a day to boost humidity. Misting the leaves of the palm helps in creating a moist microclimate that mimics the humid conditions found in the palms natural habitat. This helps to reduce the loss of water from the leaves and keeps the leaves from becoming brown.
  • Maintain indoor palm trees in the temperature range between between 65 and 75oF (18oC up to 22oC) with around 10 degrees cooler in the evening. This is the typical temperature range for indoor palms, and the steady temperature will ensure that soil moisture remains constant. Keep indoor palms out of air circulation (from the air and from forced air) and from sources of heating in the indoor environment that could cause temperatures to fluctuate during the night.
  • If youve been applying fertilizer frequently or in excessive amounts, give your soil a good soak. The soil should be thoroughly soaked to dissolve any salts that accumulate due to excessive fertilizer. Dont apply any additional fertilizer until the next spring. Make sure to use a fertilizer specifically to plant indoor palms since they are able to provide all the nutrients the palm tree needs at the correct amount to keep your indoor palm leaves healthy . Also, beware of brown leaf tips.

Should I Cut Away Brown Palm Leaves?

Cut back any palm leaves that are brown back to green and healthy growth. The brown leaves dont change their appearance, and they change to green Therefore, cut back the brown leaves which aids in stimulating the growth of new healthy green leaves.

Indoor Palm Tree Leaves Turning Yellow

  • Symptoms. Leaves turn yellow and die to the back
  • Causes. The leaves that are on the bottom can become yellow due to aging. Insufficient or excessive watering, inadequate drainage, excessive direct sunlight, or low nutrition are all factors that can cause leaves to yellow.

The most frequent reason for the color of indoor palms turning yellow is due to overwatering and inadequate drainage. Palm trees in indoor areas require drainage-friendly soil and are not tolerant of an overly wet soil around their roots. The damp soil can cause for root rot. This makes the leaves of palm trees to yellow and a dying look.

The soil for indoor palms must be well draining, porous , and constantly moist but aerated.

If the soil in the potting area is not moist enough, it releases air from the soil. This hinders the roots respiration, which hinders the plants ability to soak in nutrients and moisture. If the plant is unable to absorb nutrients and water, the leaves will turn yellow , which is a indication of stress.

Be aware that excessive watering could not be the reason that the soil is damp (and consequently making the leaves yellow). The soil could be too moist due to:

  • The soil that is compacted drains slower, leading to the conditions to become boggy.
  • Pots that do not have drainage holes at the base, result in water accumulating around the palms root.
  • Trays, saucers and other decorative outside pots that are placed beneath the palm tree pot, can cause water to swell around the bottom of the pot, which makes the soil stay damp.

But if the soil surrounding the roots completely dry out in the course of active growth because of submersion, the roots are unable to absorb enough water to support the leaves. This also results in the leafs ability to change color to yellow (and brown, depending on the degree of drought stress as well as the kind that are in palm).

The palm trees that are typically planted indoors are tropical plants which are found in the lower level of the forest, shielded from direct sunlight by the canopy of trees overhead (indoor palms like direct, bright sunlight).

Thus, their leaves are extremely susceptible to sunlight direct, which could cause their leaves to turn brown and yellow.

The leaves of indoor palms can become yellow due to deficiency or soil nutrients. This is more common in larger palms that are in this same container for a lengthy period of time, as the roots drain the soil of nutrients when they are growing.

It is recommended to apply an appropriate fertilizer for palm trees every two years to avoid the leaves from turning pale due to the lack of nutrients.

For certain varieties of indoor palms, the lower leaves can become yellow due to aging. This means it is a sign that the plant has shifted its energy from supporting the larger lower leaves to forming new leaves on the top of the plant , which are more likely to get access to more sunlight.

It is a natural process that occurs as the palm tree grows older and is not a sign that the plant is dying.

How to Revivify Indoor Palm Trees with Yellow Leaves

The two most frequent causes of indoor palm trees becoming yellow. To determine if its an issue with water that has caused you palm trees to be able to sense the dirt up to about a fingers depth on high-end of your pot, and be able to feel the soil at the bottom of the pot via drain holes.

The soil should be evenly damp. If it is dry, drought stress is the reason for the leaves turning yellow, while when the soil is wet or boggy, then it is likely that overwatering causes the leaves to turn yellow.

If the soil is dry and making your palm tree change color, then:

  • Place the pot of the palm tree in a water basin over a period of 10 minutes making sure that the roots are submerged. This will ensure that water is absorbed into the soil, and then reaches the roots, where it is needed to ease the stress of drought.
  • Mist the leaves of the palm tree every other every day. Misting leaves creates an emulation of a humid micro-climate that mimics the humid tropical climate that the palm trees natural habitat. This can help counteract dry air, which can deplete moisture from the leaves.
  • Keep the palm away from directly in the path of air flow from the air conditioner and from sources of heating in the indoor that can dry out the leaves and the potting soil too fast. Palms like temperatures between 65oF and 75oF (18oC to 23oC) with a temperature of 10 degrees cooler in the evening. Air currents reduce humidity , which could cause the leaves to start changing color to yellow.
  • The palm tree should be watered every 7 days during growth, and every 10-14 days during Fall and Winter, with a good soak. Make sure to water thoroughly to ensure that water drips out from the bottom of the pot, ensuring that the water has soaked into the soil and reaches the roots, exactly where it is needed. This will help create the ideal equilibrium of moisture in the soil (evenly humid, however not soggy) that indoor palms require to remain healthy.

If you can correct the conditions of drought, to make them more suitable for the indoor palm then you will begin to see indications of improvement over the next few weeks. If you notice that some leaves change from brown, yellow and crisp, then cut them back to healthy growth using the sharpest pruners.

If your palm leaves in the indoors have begun to turn yellow because of the soil being boggy, then

  • Reduce the frequency of frequency of watering to once per week. If youre irrigation your palms in the indoors more frequently than once per week, that is likely the reason why your leaves are becoming yellow. It is recommended to water them every day during active growth , and every 10-14 days during winter.
  • In the event that your soil has become drained slowly and compacted it is time to change the potting soil. Indoor palms require porous, Aerated potting soil, not compacted soil, so get the plant from the container and amend it using about 30% horticultural grit or perlite to aid in re-creating the soil conditions that drain well that palm trees like in their natural habitat.
  • After removing the palm from its pot, examine the roots for signs of illness. The healthy root systems are clear and firm. If the roots are infected and are rotten, they will be brown with a rotten appearance , soft texture, and a unpleasant smell. If all of the roots are affected, the palm will not repopulate.
  • If just a few roots are decaying, then cut the roots that are diseased with the sharpness of a pair of pruners to allow healthy growth. Clean the blades of the pruners using a cloth that has been that has been soaked in disinfectant to stop spreading fungal pathogens from the roots that are diseased to otherwise healthy growth. Repot the palm with new pots (amended by grit to aid drainage) and then water the plant well.
  • Make sure your palm has been placed in a pot that has drainage holes at the base. Also, empty tray, saucers or outside pots regularly to avoid water from pooling around the pots potting and causing root rot.

Its much more difficult to save an overwatered indoor palm than one that is underwater, especially when there is a extensive root decay.

However, indoor palms can recover from excessive watering so long as the roots remain in good shape and water drainage is improved.

Indoor palms may also become yellow because of excessive exposure to direct sunlight or due to the fact that the roots have depleted their soils of nutrients (which is normal during the spring and summer) In this case:

  • Find the palm tree in your home in a bright, indirect area avoid direct sunlight. Rooms that are brightly lit provide your palm tree sufficient energy to continue growing without burning the leaves in direct sunlight. Mist the leaves with water and mist every week. Then, new growth green will appear in the next few weeks. After that, you can cut back (with a sharp pruning tool) any areas of yellow on the palm that dont recover, which will encourage growth in the future so that the plant will recuperate.
  • Apply a specific fertilizer for palms once in the spring and summer to avoid leaves turning yellow because of low nutrients. If your palm has turned yellow and has been in the same pot for a lengthy period of time, then the lack of nutrients is likely to be the reason for the leaves turning yellow. A specific fertilizer for palm trees has all the nutrients that the palm needs at the appropriate amount. Palm trees that are indoors with leaves that are yellowing usually recover quickly after applications of fertilizer. The palm will recover quickly.

Indoor Palm Tree Leaves Turning Brown

  • Symptoms. The entire leaf turns brown and die. Sometimes, only the lower leaves change color, with the appearance of dying. The leaves can change from brown to yellow.
  • Causes. Insufficient sunlight or too much light dry conditions, and the palm leaves change color with an appearance of dying as the plant grows. The soil is damp and overwatered.

The indoor palm trees are typically tropical species that are found in the understory of the tree canopy being exposed to bright light however, they are protected from direct sunlight.

Thus, palm trees thrive by absorbing plenty of indirect, bright lighting when they are indoors.

If they do not get enough sunlight, the leaves may begin to change color. If the palm is exposed to too intense direct sunlight, the leaves will typically change color to yellow, but they can be able to turn brown, depending on the particular kind of palm.

If the only the lower leaves of the indoor palm have begun to turn brown, it is typically due to the natural process that occurs to this plant when it grows.

When the palm tree expands, it directs the energy, as well as resources to expanding the leaves at the top of the tree.

This is due to the fact that palm trees grow their leaf closer to its light source to have an advantage over other plants in its natural surroundings.

When the tree grows and becomes more affluent, it spends less energy in maintaining the lower leaves that typically receive less sunlight, which causes the dying leaves to change color.

If only the lower leaves turning brown, this is not a sign that the entire plant is dying. It is an normal aspect of the palms growth cycle.

Dry conditions brought on by extreme temperaturesas well as submerging and low levels of humidity can cause the tips of the leaves brown However, all of these factors could contribute to palms leaves becoming to brown, and then dying.

When the ground is too humid, it can create conditions for fungal diseases that could also make the leaves of indoor palms brown, with a the appearance of drooping and dying.

Boggy soil may be caused by excessive watering or poor drainage. Pots with drainage holes on the saucers and base and trays, or decorative pots that cause water to collect around the base of the pot.

How to Revivify an Indoor Palm with brown Leaves

  • Find the indoor palm of yours in a space that has bright indirect light that is not directly reflected by direct sunlight. A bright indirect lighting is an ideal balance for indoor palms to ensure they receive sufficient energy to grow and do not be burned from the sunlight. If your room is dim (due to a north-facing window) then you should move the palm into a brighter space.
  • Increase the amount of humidity by regular misting of the leaves, and water the soil daily in the period of active growth, and keep the temperature between 65oF-75oF (18oC up to 22oC) with a temperature of 10 degrees cooler at night. These factors help recreate the conditions in the native habitat of the palm tree to ease the strain which causes the leaves to brown.
  • If your lower leaves are becoming brown and dying, theres probably no issue in the palm you have indoors. As the palm tree grows it focuses on new growth instead of supporting the older leaves further down , which causes the leaves to brown.

If dry or low light circumstances have led to your palms in the indoor environment to become brown, after youve improved the conditions inside to mimic certain characteristics of the native palm trees environment (high humidity and evenly moist soil, etc.) the leaves of your palm tree should cease to turn brown.

Brown leaves dont change color So, cut off any brown palm tree leaves to enhance its appearance as well as to encourage new growth.

If the inside palm is becoming brown because of damp soil , it is caused by fungal diseases and at that point it will be extremely challenging to rescue your palm indoors:

  • Reduce the amount of watering. Indoor palms require well-drained, moist soil instead of saturated soil. It is recommended to water every day in the active growth period of the summer and spring, and every 10-14 days in the Winter and Fall.
  • Indoor palm plants can be planted in normal potting soil , which has been amended by perlite or grit to increase drainage. This will help restore the drainage-friendly soil conditions found in the palm trees native habitat and reduces the possibility of root decay.
  • Pots for indoor plants that have drainage holes at the base, and empty saucers and trays, or decorative pots that are regularly used to avoid water pooling around the bottom and the bottom.

The healthy roots appear white and have an even texture. If the majority of root are dark brown and soft, with a smell of decay and a foul odor, then this is a sign of fungal disease. It isnt easy for the tree to be saved, especially when all the leaves are turning brown.

If there is minor root damage, then cut back any roots that look damaged, and restore them to healthy growth using the sharpest pruners.

Make use of a cloth that has been soaked in disinfectant to clean the pruner blades after each cutting to avoid spreading pathogens of fungal diseases from a root that is diseased to healthy roots.

Repot the palm tree with new soil, ranging from 2/3s pot soil, 1/3 perlite or grit. make sure to water the palm well and mist the leaves frequently and the palm could recover dependent on the severity of the damage to the root.

Indoor Palm Tree Drooping

  • Symptoms. The leaves of the palms in the indoor environment are drooping or turning wilting. Leaves may change color, turning yellow or brown.
  • Causes. Overwatering, underwatering, low light, too cold or hot, or low humidity.

The most frequent causes for indoor palms dropping are due to drought stress caused by underwatering or low humidity, or both. Drooping leaves are the initial sign that the soil around the roots is dry or that the humidity is causing that the plant to shed too much water that causes an appearance of wilting, drooping.

If the tips of the leaves are also becoming brown and have an overall appearance of drooping, it is an indication of low humidity that drains excessive moisture from the leaves at a greater rate. The roots could absorb water.

Indoor palm trees also need that the ground be equally humid. If the soil begins drying around roots, the first indication of stress is the drooping leaves. If the soil is drying completely, then the leaves will become brown and out, as well as becoming wilted.

The ideal temperatures for palms in the indoor environment is between 65oF and 75oF (18oC up to 22oC) with 10 degrees cooler in the evening. If temperatures are significantly higher than 75oF, the soil will dry out too fast, and the roots are unable to absorb the necessary water to stop the leaves from falling.

The majority of the varieties of indoor palm trees originate from tropical regions. Extremely cold temperatures can strain the indoor palm, resulting in a look of drooping.

When the soil becomes overly saturated or is too compacted. This can block oxygen from the soil , thereby preventing the root from respiration, which hinders the ability of roots to soak in nutrients and moisture. This causes drooping leaves which may turn brown or yellow.

Boggy soil can also create circumstances for fungal diseases like root rot and causes leaves to drop.

Indoor palms require bright, indirect light. If the lighting is too dim for an indoor palm tree, it doesnt have sufficient energy for supporting the leaf and stems, resulting in an appearance of drooping.

How to Revive a Drooping Indoor Palm Tree

To revive an indoor palm, make sure the soil for potting is evenly moist. Mist on the leaf to boost the humidity, and keep the temperature that is between 65oF and 75oF (18oC up to 22oC) and place your palm under bright sunlight and the leaves will recover.

  • Mist the leaves once a day to boost the humidity. Palm trees in the indoor environment are native to tropical climates with humid conditions and therefore misting them regularly can help to create a humid micro-climate that mimics the environment of the palms native. This reduces the loss of water from the leaves and eases the stress of drought which has led to the leaves to drop.
  • If the soil seems dry, put the indoor palm in a basin filled with water and let it sit for about 10 mins, making sure that the root ball is completely submerged. Potting soil is often baked hard and then become water-resistant (repels water) when it is dried out. Therefore, it is recommended to let the roots soak for a period of time to make sure the water is absorbed correctly. Make sure to water your palms indoors at least each day in Summer and Spring, as well as every 10- 14 days during winter to maintain a dry soil and to prevent it from the soil from drooping because of drought stress.
  • Indoor palms like temperatures ranging from 65 to 75oF (18oC to 23oC) and 10 degrees cooler in the evening to avoid the tree from drooping. Make sure your palm tree is away from indoor heat sources and away from direct air flow from forced air, air conditioning or draughty areas that could take moisture away from the leaves and create unfavorable temperature fluctuations.
  • Find indoor palms that are bright, indirect (rather than low-light areas). A room that is brighter replicates the typical lighting levels of the forests understory, and is being shielded from direct sunlight, yet sufficient in brightness, so that the palm is able to have enough energy to continue growing and remains healthy. The palm that is drooping in the indoor space will begin to grow once the lighting conditions are better.

Indoor palm trees generally recover quickly from drought stress , and the leaf drop should improve over the next few days provided that the conditions are adjusted to suit the preferences for the palm trees in indoor environments.

  • If the soil is feeling saturated, it is likely to be the reason behind the falling leaves. Check the soil of your palm to about a fingers depth, and also the soil at the bottom of the pot by the drainage holes at the base to determine if the soil is boggy instead of being uniformly damp. When the soil drains slowly because of compaction, remove the palm off from the container and clean the soil using approximately 1/3 horticultural grit or perlite to improve drainage.
  • Reduce the amount of watering. Make sure to water your palms indoors at least seven days in the summer and spring months with an adequate soak, and every 10-14 days during Fall and winter. This will ensure the proper balance of drainage and moisture to ensure that the roots perform properly, which reduces the strain that causes the leaves to drop.
  • Make sure the indoor palm is placed in a pot that has drainage holes at the base. Also, empty tray, saucers or decorative pots of water in excess to ensure that the water is able to drain without accumulating around the pots base (which results in the soil to remain in a state of saturation).

After you have improved your drainage and hydrated the indoor palm with an environment that replicates typical moisture levels in the palms natural environment , then the palm will be capable of regaining its look of drooping.

If the indoor palm is drooping, yellowing or brown leaves, then fungal or root rot could be serious and it could become difficult for the palm tree.

Key Takeaways:

  • The reason for a declining indoor palm tree is typically due to low humidity dry soil, dry and hot temperatures that result in the leaves turning brown, with a drooping and looking droopy. Palm trees in the indoor area can be described as tropical trees that require humid conditions with a moist, even soil and temperatures between 65oF and 75oF in order to remain alive.
  • The reason that the leaves of palm trees in indoor spaces turning yellow is due to excessive direct sunlight, excessive watering and poor drainage , or because of soil that is not nutrient-rich. Palm trees in indoor areas require direct light that is bright and well-draining drainage soil. The soil that is damp causes root rot that turns leaves yellow and drooping.
  • The reason palm leaf tips change color is due to low humidity caused by the air conditioning or heating in the indoors. Palm trees that are indoors are native to tropical humid climates. The low humidity inside saps moisture off the leaves, causing their tips to dry out and then turn brown.
  • The leaves of indoor palm trees change color from yellow to brown with the appearance of dying, drooping due to overwatering and inadequate drainage. Palm trees in the indoor environment require drainage that is good. When the soil becomes saturated, it causes root rot, which causes leaves to turn yellow and brown, and then droop.


Went from an inexperienced gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. I cover anything from general indoor plant guides and lawn care, to succulents and flowers. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)