CPS --- Collapsing Petiole Syndrome in Palms


Staff member
Okay, so I made up the name. :) What is the real reason this occurs on palms? I have heard everything from too much shade, too much wind, and all different kinds of nutrient deficiencies.

I have two palms that otherwise look healthy with collapsing petioles. One is a Dypsis cross. I believe it to be a D. madagascarensis/lutescens hybrid. I have three of these palms, and two are healthy with no bent petioles on any of the trunks. The second affected palm is a D. lanceolata. Again i have others that are fine.

The first pic is of a healthy D. madagascarensis/lutescens to show the overall habit and lack of collapsed petioles. And the subsequent pics are close ups of the affected palms. They both receive similar exposure to sun and wind, and receive the same fertilizing regimen.


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The second affected palm, a single trunked D. lanceolata, is an otherwise healthy looking flowering palm, but with weak petioles. Here's some pics. Anyone have any theories on this phenomenon?
Before anyone mentions weak petioles due to lack of light and "stretching," both these palms are in full sun with others of the same type doing fine with similar exposure.


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Wierd that your otherwise heathy palms are doing this. I have a Howea forsteriana in a pot that kept doing this. It was extremely rootbound and would dry out way too much. I just assumed that this was the problem and potted it up which also keeps it from drying out. It's not had another collapsed frond but as you know they're slow so it's not really pushing fronds out left and right so I can see if it does it again either. Could your perfect drainage be allowing these plants to dry out too much so that it's essentially wilting and then collapsing? Maybe the high humidity keeps the leaves from burning even though it's starved for water. I can't imaging that's it with a large root system like these guys. Just wierd. CPS man CPS.
Well, that's as good a theory as any. I'll pay a little extra attention to keeping it wet for a few months and see what happens. That is one explanation I never really thought of. I guess it takes an old pro to come up with stuff like that.
Hi Dean
Had the same problem on a 2 foxtails. one i pulled out and the root ball was very small, made some inquieries and did the following, drenched it 4 times with fungicide, built up the spil level and mulched around the trunk, used seaweed extract, did not let the soil dry out, used osmocate exact regularly, did not use blood and bone The next growing season it improved, used fungicide over that period, now it id double the size with very healthy roots and everything is fine, hope this is of some help
Hi Dean - Just found this thread, I had several Howea's with the same problem as MattyB described, and essential used the same cure, up-potted them to 15s and added additional water, that was more than a year ago and the problem has not reoccurred. I also had a D. Lutescens doing the same thing that was in-ground, I added additional H2O and fungicide that was a few months ago, I have not had a new frond collapse ( keeping my fingers crossed).


Thanks for reminding me. I was going to take and post some pics.

I have been more careful about giving extra water to these plants, and " lo and behold" the problem seems to have gone away.

I'll try and get some pics here soon.
My gulubia costata has been doing the same thing for over a year now. I water it every second day and it is mulched heavily, so I doubt that it is lack of water. It has been grown in pots for years before that though. The smaller one next to it, never has the problem. It receive the same treatment as the first one. Although, we do have very strong wind here.

Regards, Ari :)