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Queen Palm Brown Tips

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017
The queen palm is tall and graceful.
Queen Palm Trees image by aharrison from Fotolia.com

The queen palm gets its name from its tall, stately and graceful appearance. It is the palm of choice in many southern Florida landscapes because it is fast-growing and can survive infrequent frosts that devastate some other tropical plants. Native to Brazil and Argentina, the queen palm can reach 50 feet in height or taller. With just a little knowledge, you can be assured that your queen palm has a long and healthy life.

Correct Soil and Conditions

To prevent plant diseases that can cause the queen palm’s fronds to develop brown tips, plant your tree in a sunny area with acidic, well-drained soil. If you grow it in alkaline soil, it will not have sufficient minerals for good health, and young leaves can become stunted. If you must grow a queen palm in alkaline soil, it will need periodic applications of manganese or iron to prevent leaf tip browning and other problems.

Over Fertilization

Fertilizer is important for the queen palm tree, but if you give it an excessive amount of chemical fertilizer, the tips of lower leaves can turn brown and die, according to Florida Palm Trees. Purchase plant food specially designed for palm trees, such as products available from the TreeHelp website. Follow label instructions for dosage and mixing details. In general, palm trees respond well to a slow-release fertilizer that you apply in early spring and mid summer. If you fertilize your queen palm later than mid summer, the nitrogen can cause excessive new growth that could fall victim to fall or winter frost.

Severe Pruning

The queen palm can develop distorted fronds that abort when they first appear and then turn brown and die after you prune too many of its mature fronds. The tree’s trunk is tender and can become injured, decayed or diseased if you allow turf grass to grow next to it or if you nick it while pruning.


About the Author


Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.