Areca Palm or butterfly palm (Dypsis lutescens) is by far the most popular palm variety used to liven up interiors and outdoor landscape. With its classic, arching fronds, each with up to 60 leaflets, and height up to 6 feet (indoors), the areca palm looks gorgeous. No wonder, you can easily find them in hotels, offices, shopping malls, apartment balconies, indoors, and even in bathrooms!
Other than ornamental use, they are also good at removing toxins and pollutants from the air and are non-toxic to both dogs and cats.
If you’re ready to grow your own, here are the basics.
Best Temperature for Areca Palm
Areca Palm likes warm temperature in the range of 64°F (18ºC) to 82°F (28ºC) degrees Celsius.
When the temperature rises above 86°F (30ºC), the areca palm’s leaves may get brown spots & the tips might turn brown. Above 104°F (40ºC), large part of leaf will turn yellow/brown and may get damaged extensively.
On the other hand, if the temperature dips below 40°F (5ºC), then the areca palm may die.
When to Plant Outdoors?
If you reside in a warm climate, your areca palm can be planted outdoors. You may plant it outdoor in other areas also, but the palm will not look healthy especially when those areas face extreme weather conditions like chilling winter or harsh & dry summer.
Similarly, planting an Areca palm outdoors in the cooler areas where winter temperature drops below 40°F (5ºC) can cause the palm to die.
Sunlight Recommendation for Areca Palm
Areca palms will do exceedingly well under direct sunlight of 6 or more hours as long as overall temperature in your area does not rise above 82°F (27ºC).
For other areas, Areca palms will thrive in bright, indirect light. You can plant palm in a pot and place it indoors, or in balcony under some shade. You should aim to provide 3 to 4 hours of morning or 2 hours of evening sunlight to the areca palm.
Humidity Levels for Areca Palm
Areca palm is a tropical plant and therefore it thrives in more humid conditions. A humidity level of 40-60% is ideal for its healthy growth. When the humidity level is low, it will show brown patches on its leaves.
You can mist the plant every day during summers to achieve high humidity level. During winters, mist it few times a week. Some people also use a humidifier for this purpose.
Watering Requirements for Areca Palm
Water the Areca Palm more frequently in the summers. However, make sure that water drains out of the pot quickly. Make sure that the top soil is dry before you water the palm again.
Note that too much water will lead to root rot in Areca Palm. So, don’t water more than twice a week in the winter months.
Areca Palm is sensitive to hard water that leaves white deposits in buckets and taps. If you live in an area with hard tap water, consider watering palm with RO water instead.
Soil PH for Areca Palm
Areca Palm likes slightly acidic soil with a PH level of 6.1 to 6.5. You can measure the potting soil PH using an inexpensive soil pH meter and then adjust the soil PH by either adding lime or peat moss to the soil mix.
Best Fertilizer for Areca Palm
Palm likes fertilizers rich in nitrogen and potassium. Therefore, make sure that the fertilizer you apply contains highest ratio of nitrogen and least amount of phosphorous.
For this purpose, we suggest to simply insert a fertilizer spike (once every month during growth period) into the soil around your potted areca palm and it will provide a continuous supply of important nutrients right at the roots.
The fertilizer spikes we suggested above contain the appropriate ratio of NPK for overall growth and nutrition of Palm plant.
Do not feed areca palms in winter.
The fronds benefit from a micronutrient spray in summer. This also provides much needed humidity to the plant.
Pest Control Tips for Areca Palm
Indoor Areca Palms usually don’t get significant issues with pests and disease. However, the plants placed in balcony or outdoors may sometimes get attached by tiny insects, spider mites, mealy bugs, and white flies. In most cases you can use neem oil or insecticidal soap to get rid of these pests.
Areca Palm Pruning
Hard pruning is not required for Areca Palm. Just remove the browned fronds or dead and diseased canes regularly. That’s all!
Brown tips on the leaves are a normal part of the life cycle of palm and should not be cut or trimmed as this could hamper the plant’s growth.
Best Potting Mix for Areca Palm
Like all other potting mixes, we need a nutritious yet well-draining soil for Areca Palm. So, mix 2 parts of potting soil 2 parts of compost , and one part sand. Mix all three thoroughly, add little water, and check with a soil pH meter. Idea is to prepare a soil mix with PH of 6.1 to 6.5. You can increase pH by adding lime and decrease pH by adding sulfur .
Repot every three years, during the spring.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Can areca palms stay in sunlight?
Areca Palms can stay in direct sunlight in cool climates and in warm climates. Avoid placing it under direct sunlight if the climate is very hot (Above 38°C or 100°F) Also avoid placing it outdoor in cooler climates as it can die if the temperature dips below 39°F (4°C).
Can areca palm grow indoors?
Areca palm thrives indoor when placed close to a window or door in cool and hot climate areas. However, they can grow well both indoors and outdoors in areas with warm and humid climate.
Why are the tips of my areca palm turning brown?
Areca palm's tips may turn brown due to lack of water, lack of humidity in air, or very high ambient temperature.
How often should I water areca palm?
Areca palm should be watered judiciously because overwatering is often the cause of its death. Water no more that two times a week during winters. Water more frequently during summers but make sure that upper layer of soil is dry before you water it again.
How fast does areca palm grow?
Areca palm grows slowly. It grows about 5 to 10 inches per year. A mature plant can reach height of 6 to 8 feet when grown indoors and upto 30 feet when grown outdoors.