Considering how popular areca palms are today, it’s hard to believe that this species used to be endangered. With many similarities to Bamboo, the areca palm is a very popular plant and landscaping choice.
This Madagascan native offers fantastic, feathery fronds, which automatically provide a tropical feel. The trick is, it’s going to need a little more attention than many of your other plants.
If you’re planning to grow areca palms, here is everything you’ll need to know to cultivate, care for and grow happy growing areca palms.
What are Areca Palms?
Areca palms come from the Arecaceae family, and there are only a few suitable cultivars. The best types of Areca palms include:
- Dypsis lutescens
- Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
Other common names for Areca palms include:
- Bamboo Palm
- Butterfly Palm
- Golden Cane Palm
- Yellow Palm
The areca palm bears a significant similarity to the Triangle palm (Dypsis decaryi) and Betel Nut (Areca catechu); however, these species aren’t suitable for home growing.
Growing Areca Palms
Areca palms should be planted in Spring for the best results. In general, areca palms become dormant during the winter season, so your palm won’t root. It is essential to give your areca palm the right conditions for ideal growth.
Areca palms prefer plenty of bright, filtered light. If grown outdoors, it can tolerate quite a few hours of full sun, but if the conditions are too hot, the leaves will begin to scorch. If growing indoors, try keeping your areca palm near larger, South or East facing windows.
As with most palms, the areca palm needs moist yet well-draining soil. A good, peat moss based palm potting mix is preferable. Slightly acidic soil is ideal, but also neutral soil will work.
Take extreme care to never let your soil become waterlogged as it will result in root rot.
Most palms are tropical plants, which means they prefer warmer, humid conditions. Areca palms grow best in temperatures between 65-75°F. It also enjoys a lot of humidity, so regular misting or a pebble tray is preferable.
In general, areca palms cannot cope with extreme temperature changes, so avoid keeping your palm anywhere near draft windows, air conditioners or major heat sources.
How to Propagate Bamboo Palm
The easiest way to get an areca palm is to buy an existing plant from your local garden center. It is sometimes possible to propagate smaller plants through division. However, it can sometimes kill off your healthy palm.
Propagation from seed is also possible, but it’s not a suitable option for amateur growers. Oftentimes, growing from seeds fails, and the smallest condition change can fault the process.
If you choose to use seeds, you will need to plant them in small clusters and keep the seedlings at an ambient temperature around 80°F. Seeds will take 6 weeks to germinate.
Areca Palms Care Guide
Areca palms really do require a lot of attention throughout the growing journey. Especially when it comes to watering, fertilizing, and repotting.
Areca palms are one of the few palms that can tolerate pruning without damaging the rest of the plant. You may not need to, but shrivelled or yellowed leaves can be removed without worry.
Areca palms need moist soil most of the time. However, you will want to allow the soil to dry out before watering again. It is vital to note that areca palms are incredibly sensitive to fluoridated water.
As such, it’s recommended to use either distilled water or rainwater.
Palms are often heavy feeders, so you will need to supplement with regular fertilization from Spring through Fall. A liquid fertilizer or micronutrient spray is preferable.
You will need to stop during the dormant season so as to avoid damaging the root system.
Areca palms grow best when the roots are crowded, so a smaller container space is always a great option. Still, you should consider re-potting every two or three years in order to refresh the soil mixture.
Avoid sizing up the container too much so that the roots can remain cramped. Take extreme care when repotting, as the roots can be very delicate.
Pests, Problems & Diseases
Usually, Areca palms don’t have any major issues when it comes to diseases, especially when grown indoors. However, if the conditions are sub-optimal, it can become susceptible to certain issues.
Brown or yellowing leaves are usually an indication of over-or underwatering. Yellow spots could be an indication of a lack of potassium.
If you’re growing areca palm outdoors, it can fall victim to a lethal yellowing disease caused by bacteria. Unfortunately, there is no treatment, and it’s often hard to tell if your palm is infected.
Common pest problems include:
These can easily be treated with a strong spray of water or with insecticidal neem oil.
Frequently Asked Questions About Areca Palms
Is Areca Palm a Good Indoor Plant?
Areca palms are non-toxic to humans and animals, which makes them a preferable indoor plant. However, many growers choose the wrong spot for the areca palm. Areca palms really require a lot of light, so you need to pick the right spot and give it enough attention.
Larger areca plants can also be very expensive, which is why many homeowners will purchase a smaller areca palm to fit on a desktop which can be more cost-effective.
How Big Dypsis Lutescens Grow?
In the right conditions, areca palms can grow as much as 6 to 10 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. However, areca palms are slow growers, so it’ll take some time to reach this size.
Are Areca Palms Toxic?
Areca palms are not at all toxic to humans or animals, so they’re a good choice for families or those with curious pets.
Do Areca Palms attract Rats?
Unlike other palms, ivy trees, cypress trees and juniper bushes, areca palms do not attract rats. So, whether indoors or outdoors, you won’t have to worry.
Wrapping Up Our Areca Palms Guide
So, should you choose to grow Areca palm in your home, just be sure to give it enough attention, light and humidity. In general, it’s a good idea to keep this palm near other humidity-loving plants.
Take a look at some of our other indoor plant guides for some more inspiration to turn your home into a tropical paradise. Keep an eye on your soil and take care to fertilize often enough. Other than that, you should have a happy growing areca palms.