Areca Palm Care Guide
The Areca Palm has many names, Dypsis lutescens, or Party Palm. The Areca is a great palm for a tropical splash in the summertime and can be placed on home patios and at building entrances in northern climates, but really will thrive inside your home as well. With this plant you can truly create the tropical setting of your dreams! Transform your space into a scene out of Hawaii, or your favorite tropical island, bringing in all of those summery and vacation vibes. Also known as the Butterfly Palm, because of its arching yellowish-green fronds. The Butterfly Palm has numerous benefits like its use for weddings and parties because of its inexpensiveness, and its longevity to name some of the reasons this palm is awesome! This is definitely a plant with many names as it even has a few more nicknames known as the Golden Cane Palm and Yellow Palm. The Areca is a less-expensive cousin of the Kentia Palm and is a great choice for a long-term relationship or any party planning you might be cooking up. If you can give it the great light it deserves and make sure to keep it warm, we do not see a breakup in sight.
The Areca Palm is a species of flowering plant in the family Arecaceae, native to Madagascar. The Areca is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens in tropical and subtropical regions, and as a houseplant regularly. In its native environment, this beautiful and leafy plant acts as a supplier of fruit to some bird species which feed on it opportunistically, such as Pitangus Sulphuratus. Individual stems of this species are of variable heights. For instance, younger trunks can be quite short and normally are on the outside of the footprint cluster. Then for the Yellow Palms that are grown from the nursery tend to have numerous stems on them. Over time some of these stems die off and become a mature clump. These mature clumps normally have roughly a dozen stems or less. The trunks of these palms are vertical and crown shaft and their diameter is normally about four inches. The crown shaft color is also variable. They can be green, silver, white and sometimes but more unfrequently yellow. These are just a few of the many ways you can tell them apart by physical appearance. Your Areca Palm will differ though, it will not possess the fruit that it grows in the wild, so do not worry you will not be having any bird sightings around your Areca.
The Best Lighting Conditions for a Butterfly Palm
Do not let anyone tell you differently, the Areca Palm needs lots and lots of light to truly thrive and survive, so make lighting a priority. You might be able to move it to low light for special occasions, but if you want it to last long you will need to have it parked in a very bright and sunny spot nearly full time in your home or office space. If using these plants for an indoor event with limited lighting, we suggest storing them elsewhere and not setting them up until the day of the event, so they are looking their freshest. The Areca needs filtered light and it does best placed by the southeast or west-facing windows.
Watering Method for your Tropical Plant
Butterfly Palms come from the tropics, so they are familiar with the regular tropical showers and are known to have really damp roots. In the Spring, Summer and Fall, the palm has quite the thirst, so it is important for you to be able to quench your new Areca Palm’s thirst. With that being said, it does not require as much water in the winter time, so make sure to not overdo it during the winter months! With our ample experience here at PLANTZ we highly recommend you invest in a soil probe to properly care for your new plant friend so you can truly determine plant watering health levels. The SoilSleuth is a great probe to utilize and invest in seeing as it accurately determines the dryness of the soil due to its ability to reach a thorough depth of the soil unlike your fingers would be able to using the finger method test. Probing has the benefit of aerating the soil during each use as well which is really beneficial for your plant.
Water Note #1 – Big note to take – keep the soil of an Areca Palm moist never soggy. (All you cereal lovers should have a crystal-clear differentiation between the two). Another note, remember that the soil at the bottom of the pot is much wetter than the topsoil, this can sometimes lead to overwatering when you are not educated on your plant care since it is easy to assume that your plant is thirsty when the top soil is dry.
Water Note #2: Suiting to its nickname, the Party Palm, is a heavy drinker. It is imperative to water it sufficiently. So, make sure to thoroughly wet the soil with each watering and let it dry down until the soil profile is dry before watering again. With this characteristic noted, it is important that it has an appropriate drainage system put in place to deal with all of the drinking your Party Palm will be doing throughout the week.
And on to our last watering tip for your Areca Palm…
Water Note #3: We recommend a sub-irrigation system to help you steadily control the soil moisture for your new plant. Just as a butterfly likes to be wrapped up tightly in its cocoon, so does the Butterfly Palm (the difference is, in this scenario it wants to be wrapped up in its pot). Sub-irrigation systems are one the most preferred methods of watering indoor plants. The most simple and inexpensive one of these, is what we call PlantAssure sub-irrigation system. This method has many benefits, for example, the Areca Palm is contained and is less susceptible to pests as well! A true win-win situation. These systems are energy savers as they require less water than traditional systems – talk about sustainability as well. Depending on other factors – light, temperature, and humidity – using PlantAssure can extend your watering interval by several weeks saving you time and energy. You could water your plants, charge the reservoir with additional water, and go away for four to six weeks and not worry about your Butterfly Palm having enough soil moisture to bridge the gap, this is a great system for the busybodies and the travel fiends that are always on the go but afraid to leave their new plant babies alone. The sub-irrigation system goes within the growpot as well so do not worry no one will be able to see it – lucky you, your plant will be both healthy and aesthetically pleasing to your interior decor – which we know matters!
Have to go to the bathroom yet?
Before you go, let us leave you with your quick watering tips:
- Be conscious of the soil – keep it moist & make sure the entire soil profile is always dry before watering again
- Water regularly, this baby drinks A LOT.
- Sub-irrigation got your back – minimizes efforts & maximizes results with an eco-friendly mindset
Quality Diet, Quality Plants
The three biggest macronutrient needs for an Areca Palm are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You will not need to feed it for at least six months after you get it, since here at PLANTZ we make sure that your plant is well fed before it arrives to you, but it is imperative to feed your Areca with liquid fertilizer once or twice during the growing season after that six months has concluded. During the winter seasons, the Areca Palm does not need any fertilizer at all though, so feeding is usually seasonal. The Butterfly Palm likes to feed heavily as it craves magnesium and iron. These nutrients help prevent extreme yellowing of leaves down the line keeping your plant happy and healthy.
Cleaning the leaves of a Butterfly Palm
Fun fact: A clean plant that photosynthesizes at optimal levels will be a healthier plant and will be less inclined to have pest infestations which tends to be a big fear for many plant owners. The first and easiest method is spraying the plant down. You just need to move the plant to the kitchen sink or shower and give them a quick spritz down but make sure you do it thoroughly. Make sure the water is on the lukewarm side and you do not miss the inner leaves on your Areca Palm, be careful not to focus just on the outer ends and edges. Also, if the leaves of your plant are soiled, you can spray them with a dilute soapy water mix and hose them off, using your normal dishwasher detergent. Just add ¼ tablespoon of the dish soap per one quart of water. Another method used for cleaning the leaves off the tree is dusting the leaves off, but make sure that you still do find time to give it a more thorough cleaning. All you need is a soft duster to help keep dust build up off your Areca Palm which will prevent pest infestation as well. This is a great method to use in between your soap and water cleanings to prevent dust build up and make the cleaning sessions easier.
Temperature for the Palm
The best temperature for your Areca Palm would be between 65 – 75 Fahrenheit during the day and 55 Fahrenheit at night, seeing that this plant is from tropical regions. The Areca Palm does not do well in temperatures lower than 50 degrees due to its warm origins, so it is best to replicate its original environment as best you can for the health of you Areca Palm, so if you are in a cold state this plant does not belong outside and make sure your home is always on the warmer side.
Bugs, Bugs, Bugs
The Areca can attract little mealy bugs. These look like little white dots of cotton on the stem of your plant, at the base of leaves, and between the leaf sheath and the stem. All bugs, mealy and even mites, can do quite a bit of damage to your plant so make sure to be diligent and keep an eye out for these little buggers. The only other bug you might encounter on this plant is a mite, and although they might sound harmless you DO NOT want an infestation of these guys. Keep an eye out for them. Your cleaning regimen with soapy water, making sure you also clean the undersides of the leaves, will keep the critters off your Areca.
How Pruning can Improve Your Plants Health
Over time the older the leaves get, the more likely it is they will turn brown. This means it is so important to prune them off at the base of the stem when this happens, to make way for new growth and ward of disease and pest. Additionally, the sheaths around the stem will brown and at this time you should be able to just peel them off the stem and expose the fresh, powder-coat underneath.
Health Benefits of the Areca Palm
According to NASA, the Areca removes major air pollutants from indoor spaces which consist of acetone, xylene, and toluene – together known as VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. Acetone comes from diesel products, nail polishes, paints, detergents, and cleansers which are all used indoors on a frequent basis. Xylene gathers due to poor ventilation, paints, and sometimes even wooden furniture. Xylene and Toluene gases can cause developmental problems in young children and pregnant women. The major sources of toluene come from paints, cosmetics, and gasoline. Your palm will help minimize these gases inside. To piggyback off this concept, the Areca helps improve the nervous system and stops necrosis. This is the sudden death of cells and other tissues in the body. The Palm has the ability to remove several harmful chemicals that cause allergic symptoms and respiratory issues in the long term. Lastly, it is proven that a 1.8 meter Areca Palm will transpire 1 liter of water in just one day (aka it’s a humidifier and a plant all in one! – lucky you!)
When you choose the Areca Palm as your new plant buddy you are not just getting a beautiful new plant for all of your friends and family to gawk at, you are getting a health aid as well, and what could be better than that!.
History of Areca Palm
The Areca catechu is a species of palm that grows in the tropics specifically in the Pacific, Asia, and parts of east Africa. The Areca Palm originated in the Philippines and it is also referred to as the betel tree because of its fruit. Yes, you heard us right! This plant can in some cases produce fruit – but it won’t flower and fruit in your home! The fruit is known as the Areca Nut and is chewed along with the Betel Leaf, which is a leaf from a vine of the family Piperaceae. The Areca Nut is popular for chewing throughout Asian countries, such as China, Vietnam, Malaysia, and on, and can be a huge part of their culture. The Areca Palm is heavily used in interior landscaping as it is often placed in large indoor areas like hotels, malls, event spaces, and wedding venues, so chances are you have seen this guy around before without even realizing it! How crazy is that?
There ya have it folks… The Areca Palm, the plant of many nicknames! It will be a lovely addition to your home and last you a very long time as long as you heed these important tips that we have ranted and raved about.
- Keep this baby light and bright. No shaded corners for this plant, it is all about that sunshine.
- Tropical mindset. Temperature matters do not leave it by a window in the winter where it can get cold, warmth is the key.
- Water. Water. Water. This bad boy is thirstyyyyy so make sure to sooth its need for agua well and you will have a thriving palm.
- Pay attention to soil and nutrients, they are more important than you think. You can even check out PLANTZ fertilizer to make sure you are getting all the proper nutrients for your specific plant.
- Keep it clean and fresh, preventing it from disease by regular washings and not neglecting to prune your plant baby properly.
- Rid the bugs. Prevent infestation, not correct infestation. Stay on top of your bug watch so your plant does not begin to decay and dwindle.
Keeping all of those factors in mind, your plant care should be nothing but smooth sailing! Establish a routine and be the best plant parent for your new Areca Palm that you can be and you will have a long lasting buddy for life!