The Areca Palm, also known as Butterfly Palm, belongs to the family of Arecaceae (Palmaceae).
The s name is based on the feathery leaves or fronds that arch upward attached to the stems.
The are delightful plants with beautiful foliage that adds greenery and a tropical vibe to your house.
Table of Contents
Areca Palm Care
The Areca Palm prefers moist and well-drained soil with temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 Degrees Celsius). It grows effectively in partial sunlight and likes high humidity (50%-70%) for healthy growth. Areca Palms should be watered at a moderate rate about 2-3 times per week in the growing seasons.
The Areca Palm
Areca Palm’s origin lies in Madagascar, where the climate is warm. It grows in clusters looking like Bamboo plants.
The appearance of this Palm resembles golden trunks, which are seen on the stems of the Bamboo.
Areca Palm is also called Dypsis Lutescens, while its former scientific name was Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens.
They are not the average houseplant that one can just put in a pot and forget. This Palm requires great care as they don’t tolerate negligence.
Areca Palm Care
The Areca Palm plant loves moist and well-drained soil. The soil containing one part perlite to one part pine bark and one part coarse potting soil is a nutritious mixture that provides moisture retention and discards any extra water present in the soil.
If it is grown outdoors, the soil should be slightly acidic and have good drainage properties.
I also use peat moss and sand to maintain the soil’s pH and improve permeability. Areca Palm grows successfully in USDA Hardiness Zone 10-11.
If the soil becomes too heavy or clay-like, add builder’s sand to it. The ideal potting soil pH ranges in between acidic and neutral.
Avoid getting the soil soggy otherwise; it would fall prey to root rot.
The amount of water provided should be at a moderate level.
During fall and winter, the right way to water this beauty is to check if the soil is dry or not.
Gently touch the soil about 1-2 inches deep; if the soil is still moist, then do not water.
Provide a gap of 2-3 days before checking again. Areca Palm is prone to over-watering; if you end up overwatering, the plant will suffer and die.
Although moist soil is preferred for this Palm, the soil must not allow extra water retention.
The Areca Palm is also sensitive to fluoride, especially in tap water. So, it’s better to use distilled water instead. Rainwater is also sufficient.
In summer and spring, water 2-3 times a week, while in winter and fall, it’s better to water it 2-3 times a month.
This way your palm remains safe from being waterlogged.
In the growing seasons of summer and spring, they would require slightly more watering and provide breaks in between.
The Areca Palm needs a balanced amount of sunlight to grow as well as to maintain its overall health.
This is why they prefer bright sunlight, not low or direct sunlight. Bright sunlight doesn’t harm the foliage of the houseplant.
Low sunlight would turn the leaves yellow and wrinkle up, while exposure to the full sun would burn the foliage.
So the perfect balance exists when Areca Palm is provided bright sunlight that is present in the morning.
South or west-facing windows are convenient spots for bright sunlight for Areca Palm growth.
If your indoor plant receives direct sunlight during the day, make sure curtains or sheets cover the window to protect it from scorching.
The Areca Palm grows best in temperatures ranging from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 Degrees Celsius).
Avoid temperatures under 50 Degrees Fahrenheit (10 Degrees Celsius). This is mainly a concern if the plant is grown outdoors.
This plant must be kept away from the air conditioner, air drafts, and windows.
The sudden temperature change can profoundly affect the foliage, and brown spots would appear on the plant.
Areca Palm’s origin lies in warm climate zones, so it thrives in a high humidity environment. High humidity ranging from about 50%-70%, especially during the day, is a must.
Avoid placing near cold drafts or air conditioners that produce dry air; it would wrinkle away the leaves and change them into brown.
House humidity is perfect for Areca Palm but doesn’t expose them to dry air in your house.
I would use a humidifier to help maintain the moisture or even place the Areca Palm on a water and pebbles tray.
Misting is another good option. I would suggest misting the plant once a day.
Areca Palm is a heavy feeder, especially in the growing season of summer and early spring, so feed them a liquid fertilizer.
In fall and winter, avoid fertilizing as the plant is dormant.
Water-soluble fertilizers would help Areca Palm to grow faster, and they should be applied monthly in the growing season.
This palm requires magnesium and iron to prevent its foliage from turning yellow.
However, this plant is vulnerable to the over-dose of minerals. It’s better to check the fertilizer before feeding carefully.
Areca Palm prefers to be root-bounded in cramped pots. The cramped pot keeps the plant in check of its growth, and it doesn’t have any adverse effect on the plant.
But I would suggest repotting the Areca Palm every three years to avoid accumulating minerals in the soil, severely affecting the leaves and the stems.
Make sure to change the soil and upgrade the pot size. Use a pot about 1 inch bigger than the former.
It’s okay if the plant still fits in the same pot but changes the soil to a fresh well-potting mixture of soil with effective draining properties.
It’s better not to disturb the root ball and bury the root ball at the same depth as in the previous pot.
Pruning is not a necessary task. If you want to prune, then do it on the brown leaf tips or the stems as they put a halt to the plant’s growth.
Otherwise, pruning the fronds would discourage new leaves, and sometimes the plant does not bloom.
I would differentiate the new and old growth and then carry out pruning. The new growth of fronds should not be touched. It’s better to use wet, sterilized scissors to carry out pruning.
The Areca Palm can be propagated from 2 primary methods.
- Make sure the Areca Palm is fully grown and has stems divided along with the roots.
- Dividing the plant in spring is best. Water the plant so that the soil becomes loose around the roots. This allows you to separate the roots easily.
- Carefully take the Palm tree out without disturbing the root ball.
- Identify the roots that are attached to different stems.
- Cut off at least 4-5 stems for the Areca Palm from the parent plant.
- Make sure to keep the roots preserved and cut them short.
- Bury the small offspring into the separate pot in a soil mixture of the standard potting mix to sand with the ratio of 2:1.
- Water the offspring so that the sand would be lightly moist and refrain from over-watering it.
- Refrain from fertilizing as well for at least three
- The new growth would appear after three
- It is challenging to find Palm seeds, but if you do find them start germinating them. The seeds are in green color or orange color.
- Place them in a seed-starting mixture.
- The seeds should be completely buried in the soil.
- Water the seeds lightly and make sure the soil is evenly moist for the initial 1-2 months.
- Place the pot in bright, direct sunlight, and the temperature should be 70-85 Degrees Fahrenheit (21-29 Degrees Celsius).
- Seeds will start sprouting in 3-4 weeks (1 month).
Not much is known about the blooms except that they are present in bright yellow, and Areca Palm rarely blooms indoor.
The flowers are then transformed into greenish-yellow fruits, which are about 1 inch in size.
The fruit then matures and changes into yellow-orange. These fruits are not edible.
The Areca Palm is a slow to moderate growing plant which roughly takes about ten years to fully mature.
It grows a maximum of about 20 feet (6 meters) outdoors, but indoors, it grows 6-9 ft (1.8 – 2.7m). It also spreads up to 8-10 feet.
The stems are mostly clustered, and the fronds appear like feathers consisting of thin-yellow leaflets.
The fronds are composed of 40-60 leaflets that have a lifespan of 3-4 years. The fronds are about 7-10 inches (17cm – 25cm) long and pinnate.
Common Problems for Areca Palm
Mealybugs are sap-sucking enemies of all the plants, including Areca Palm. They are very tiny and appear as a snowy-white mass on the surface and protect themselves with a waxy material. They resemble small clouds on leaves.
They suck on the Palm tree sap and produce honeydew, a sugary substance leading to sooty mold production. If left untreated, they will soon take over the Areca Palm.
The Areca Palm’s foliage would have a dull appearance and start to become yellow after mealybugs infection.
Mealybugs can be successfully controlled by rubbing alcohol with a cotton swab, barely touching the foliage surface.
Liquid soap and neem oil are also very effective against mealybugs.
Make sure to water the Areca Palm with the right amount, and lightly wash the leaves to dislodge the mealybugs.
Spider mites are small pests with tiny sharp mouths that feed on Areca Palm. They are not easily spotted until in a large population. White webs present on the Areca Palm tree’s petioles are a clear sign of spider mites infection.
They appear like small dots on the leaves. They feed on the Palm’s nutrients with their sucking parts.
They leave honeydew and sooty mold on the foliage making the Areca tree an easy target for further infection.
Spider mites infection can be stopped using a soap spray. Th palm can also be saved from spider mites with the help of horticultural oils and rubbing alcohol.
Let’s not forget the neem oil, which can be effective against them.
I would also recommend maintaining the adequate humidity level and watering to prevent future infection.
Scale insects are sucking pests that protect themselves with a hard covering and are found on this houseplant, just like all the other plants.
Scale insects suck on the foliage juices and again lead to honeydew and sooty mold, making the Areca Palm vulnerable to other insects like ants.
Scale insects weaken the plant and prevent the leaves from photosynthesizing.
To control scale insects, I would use beneficiary insects with neem oil and horticultural oils. Home-made soaps are also useful.
Otherwise, there is a choice of pruning the infected parts to prevent the spread of insects across the foliage. Controlling fertilization will also help against scale insects.
Aphids on Areca Palm also target the stem’s soft parts and leaves to suck on the nutrients and juices.
They are visible to the naked human eye and are found in the same location on Areca Palm as on other plants.
They secrete honeydew after feeding, which leads to black sooty mold growth, which further damages the plant.
There will be stunted growth and yellow patches present on the foliage of Areca Palm.
Aphids can be controlled with dish soap and neem oil.
Root rot will also cause severe damage if it is not handled quickly. Root rot is caused by the waterlogged soil present in the pot accumulated due to over-fertilization or sometimes over-watering.
One of the reasons would be the soggy soil, which doesn’t allow proper drainage. The excess moisture stuck in the soil would lead to fungal and bacterial growth in the root system.
Root rot would prevent Areca Palm from growing and often leads to death.
Root rot cannot be cured but can be avoided.
You can improve your plant’s drainage and use a well-draining potting mixture to prevent the extra moisture and water from being inside the pot.
Brown Leaves and Spots
Brown tips of Areca Palm are an everyday phenomenon considering the old fronds are shedding, and the new ones will replace them.
The brown spots can also appear because of over-watering or excessive water presence in the soil.
As mentioned, Areca Palm is highly sensitive to over-watering; this takes a drastic toll on the leaves, turning them brown, and the plant begins to wilt.
The ideal way to water Areca Palm would be to first check whether the soil is wet and then water it.
If over-watering is not the reason, sometimes over-fertilizing or sudden temperature changes can also drastically affect the foliage.
Mineral accumulation and exposure to cold temperatures would cause the leaves to turn brown.
The best solution would be feeding the Areca Palm with light fertilizer and placing it in an area with a constant temperature.
Tips for Growing Areca Palm
- Refrain from over-watering the soil of Areca Palm.
- Provide bright sunlight to Areca Palm foliage.
- Feed a balanced liquid fertilizer in summer and spring.
- Areca Palm tree requires high humidity to thrive, so ensure the indoor humidity level is close to 50%.
Areca palms are non-toxic. They are safe houseplants for pets and humans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Areca Palm poisonous to animals and children?
The Areca Palm doesn’t contain harmful toxins that may cause irritation or side effects. Still, I recommend placing it safely away from children and animals.
How to cut off dead or browned branches on Areca Palm?
It’s better to cut the branches with brown leaves for healthy growth. Start by tracing down the branch buried in the soil and then cut it. Don’t prune the tips of the fronds; this will cause the Areca Palm to stop growing.
Does Areca Palm clean the air?
Areca Palm can purify the air from xylene and toluene. It also provides moisture, making the air fresh and clean.
Does Areca Palm grow well in low light?
Areca Palm doesn’t tolerate full sun but can grow in low light. West or east-facing windows are low-light areas. However, low light will slow down the growth of Areca Palm. So, it’s best to try placing them in bright sunlight.
Can Areca Palm propagate from the cutting method?
Areca Palm cannot be grown from the cutting method, this would result in improper growth, or there would be no growth. They can only be grown from seeds or division, as each Palm stem is like a mini-palm.
With the right care and attention, the Areca Palm grows beautifully, and the foliage is lush green and glossy.
Areca Palms fronds are exotic and graceful that spread beauty into the air.
The Bamboo-like appearance makes the Areca Palm unique and provides a warm and clean atmosphere.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.