It is surprising that many palm enthusiasts don’t know how to tell if their palm is alive or dead after some type of insult such as severe cold. It’s simple to determine if the plant is alive and growing. Mark the central newest spear side by side while marking an adjacent fully extended leaf. See the photo. Then watch for the two moving apart. The line of the new spear moves upward while the adjacent mark on the full size leaf stays the same. Look at the difference movement of the new spear over time. You can also tell how fast it’s growing. During the growing season (when warm), most palms will show a quarter of an inch or more of vertical new spear growth per day. To confirm a serious problem, you’d note that there is no movement of the spear over several weeks. But, if the new leaf spear is green, don’t give up. Just give it an extended period of time and watch for movement. The photo shown here is of a marked spear on a 15 gallon Dypsis decaryi. Note the horizontal black permanent marker marks. The new spear is on the left in the photo.
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