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The Pygmy Date Palm Leaves Are Turning Brown

Phoenix roebelenii, or pygmy date palm, is widely grown as an ornamental indoor or outdoor garden tree. Slow growers and small in size, pygmy dates originated in Southeast Asia and are relatively easy to care for in most environments.

Potassium Deficiency

Pygmy date palm trees are susceptible to a potassium deficiency, which will present as orange-brown coloured markings on the tips of the leaves. To replace the potassium in the soil, the website pygmy Palm recommends adding both magnesium and potassium sulphate.

Fungal Diseases

Five leaf spot fungal diseases are common in pygmy dates grown in wet conditions: pestalotiopsis, leaf skeletonizer, scale, stigmina leaf spot and graphiola false smut. All five may cause variations of discolouration on the leaves. Fungicide applications, raking and providing better drainage can help control and prevent future outbreaks. Copper fungicides will also help prevent bud rot, a more serious ailment that is fatal for pygmy dates.

Natural Growth Cycle

If only the tips of your pygmy date palm's leaves are brown, this may be a part of the tree's normal growth cycle, according to the website HousePlants.com. The website recommends cutting off the brown leaves to make room for new growth.

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About the Author

Leah Waldron is the head of Traveler Services at First Abroad, a gap year travel company based in Boston and London. As a travel, research and LGBT news writer, Waldron has publication credit on magazines and newspapers including "Curve Magazine," "USA Today," "The Sun Sentinel" and the "The Houston Chronicle." Waldron has a bachelor's and master's degree in creative writing from Florida State University.