These slow-growing feather palms are native to Lord Howe Island in the South Pacific. They are the kentia palms of florists and are usually sold under the name Kentia. With age, leaves drop to show clean, green trunk ringed with leaf scars. When using these palms outdoors, plant them beneath another tree to provide cold protection (they are very sensitive to frost) and to shield them from strong winds. Give them well-drained soil high in organic matter. They do not tolerate salt.
Howeas are ideal potted plantsthe classic parlor palms. To minimize problems with spider mites, keep the fronds clean and free of dust. Feed with quarter-strength general-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer monthly from spring through fall.
H. belmoreana. SENTRY PALM. Less common than H. forsteriana; also smaller and more compact (to 25 ft. tall, 15 ft. wide), with overarching fronds 67 ft. long. Withstands some neglectcapricious watering, drafts, dust.
H. forsteriana. PARADISE PALM, FORSTER'S SENTRY PALM. Faster growing than H. belmoreana, to 60 ft. tall and 20 ft. wide. Fronds reach 9 ft. long, have long, drooping leaflets.