Areca Palm - Care and Growing Tips

The Areca Palm, native to Madagascar, is one of the most popular indoor houseplants sold today. Indoors it is a medium sized exotic looking plant that usually reaches a height of 6-8 feet; outdoors it may be as tall as 25 feet.

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The Areca Palm gets its nickname, the Butterfly Palm, because its long feathery fronds (leaves) arch upwards off of multiple reed like stems. Each frond has between 40-60 leaflets on it. When first bought, Areca Palms are a delight; they are inexpensive good-sized plants with beautiful green upright fronds.

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Areca palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) is one of the most widely used palms for bright interiors. It features feathery, arching fronds, each with up to 100 leaflets. These big, bold plants command attention.

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Water

Allow the top 1-2” of soil to dry out before watering an Areca Palm. Never allow an Areca to sit in water as this causes root rot. The fronds of an Areca wilt when they need water but quickly perk up once the soil is drenched. Like all palms,

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Arecas do not like chemicals or salt so avoid water that has passed through a softener or contains fluoride or chlorine. Both chemicals and salt cause freckle-like spots on the leaves.

Light

Areca Palms require bright indirect light. Too much light or direct sun burns the fronds and causes them to turn yellow.

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Fertilizer

Feed an Areca Palm monthly when it is actively growing with a balanced liquid fertilizer at 1/2 the recommended strength. Too much salty fertilizer spots the leaves.

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Temperature

Areca Palms prefer temperatures between 65-75 degrees during the day and around 55 degrees at night.

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This plant is very sensitive to low temperatures so if you place it outside during the summer be sure to bring it in before temperatures dip below 50 degrees.

Humidity

High humidity is essential in keeping an Areca Palm looking good.

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Flowering

The flowers of an Areca are very small and inconspicuous.

Pests

Spider mites and Mealy Bugs can be a problem on an Areca Palm. Check frequently for pests by examining the backs of the fronds and new growth.

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If an Areca becomes infected, spray with warm soapy water or an insecticidal soap at 1/2 the recommended strength. Spraying with a product containing alcohol may damage the fronds.

Diseases

Because Areca Palms require high humidity, they are susceptible to the fungus Pink Rot and Ganoderma. Pink rot develops in moist soil and causes the fronds in the crown (top) of the Palm to turn brown and droop.

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Ganoderma, which is spread through the soil and on pruning tools, causes the lower fronds to droop and turn yellow, then gradually works its way up the plant. Neither of these diseases is treatable but both are preventable by keeping the soil drier.

Soil

Plant an Areca in a rich acidic soil that drains well. Add builder’s sand if the soil is too heavy and clay like.

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Pot Size

An Areca should be planted in a pot that is twice the size of the root ball of the plant. Palms do not mind being root bound, so don’t rush to repot.

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Pruning

Only prune the brown or yellow fronds at bottom of the stem of a Palm. Cutting off the fronds at the very top of a stem will prevent any further growth on that stem. Unsightly brown tips can be trimmed.

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Propagation

Areca Palms are propagated by seeds, by separating the offsets or suckers at the base of a mature plant, or by plant division.

Clean Air Plant

A study by Wolverton has shown that an Areca Palm is effective in removing benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air

Poisonous Plant Info

An Areca Palm is a non- poisonous plant.

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