How to Care for an Areca Palm Plant
Thanks to globalization, we are able to grow exotic plants in climates which are vastly different from their native homelands. Our homes and gardens are filled with flora which show how beautiful nature can be and it is a privilege to get to enjoy them. However, one of the reasons we are able to do so is that we live in environments where we can better control the atmosphere and provide a level of care which allows plants of all kinds to thrive. One example is the areca palm plant (Dypsis lutescens), also known as the golden palm plant. This is a tropical plant from Madagascar that, with the right care, can be an ideal indoor plant for the home.
At oneHOWTO, we show you how to care for the areca palm plant. We explain what you need to provide in terms of light, irrigation and everything else you need for a happy and healthy areca palm.
Areca palm plant light requirements
The areca palm plant, also sometimes referred to as the areca palm tree, is a yellow palm tree. It has a marked trunk which resembles bamboo, but it is not a bamboo plant as it is not a grass and in a different order. It is a plant which can tolerate periods of direct sunlight, but is best in environments when there are periods without it.
For this reason, the areca palm is considered an indoor plant. It best adapts and thrives in rooms within a home which have good lighting. If you do decide to keep it outdoors or let it have long periods of direct sunlight, it is possible it will burn or, at the very least, spoil the plant's leaves.
For more information, check out our article on the best indoor plants for low-light.
Best temperature for areca palm plants
Another aspect you should consider about the golden palm tree is the best temperature for its survival. As a plant from tropical environments, it is best situated in areas with an ambient temperature of more than 15 ºC/59 ºF. This is another reason why it is best suited as an indoor plant.
While the plant will fare better at temperatures greater than 15 ºC/59 ºF, the optimum temperature of the areca palm is between 18 ºC - 25 ºC (64 ºF - 77ºF). For this reason, we need to be careful during the winter months since the colder weather can affect its survival. We should place the plant in rooms with the most lighting and better heat sources.
If you think the climate where you are is too cold for the areca palm plant, you can check out our list of cold weather resistant houseplants.
Best areca palm plant humidity levels
Moisture is essential for the survival of the areca palm plant. This plant will need to live in a high-humidity area due to the high levels of transpiration carried out by its leaves.
The best way to detect is the plant requires more moisture is by looking at the tips of its leaves. If they are turning brown, it means the low humidity is getting to it. Spraying the leaves with water twice a day during the warmest months of the year might be enough to provide it with sufficient moisture, but it will need more water in dry climates.
There are many different types of palm plants you can have in the home. If the areca palm plant isn't for you, take a look at how to care for a ponytail palm plant and see if this is more suitable.
How to water the areca palm plant
One aspect of the areca palm plant care we need to take into consideration is how much water to give it. Being a tropical plant, the golden palm will require frequent watering. During the hottest periods of the year, especially in summer, we recommend the areca palm tree is watered every 2 to 3 days.
You will have to check the substrate of the plant for moisture levels, but in no case should you over-water it. While this plant will need plenty of water to grow properly, we can still water it excessively and cause it to drown. If you see the plants leaves are starting to turn brown, but you water it a lot and the soil is damp, then it is possible you are watering the areca palm too much.
During the colder periods of the year, especially in mid-winter, the irrigation requirements of the plant change. Once the temperature starts to drop, you will want to water the areca palm less. Once it is cold, you might only need to irrigate the golden palm once every 10 days.
Does the areca palm plant need fertilizer?
Not only does the areca palm plant need fertilizer, due to its great capacity to purify the air around it, the golden palm requires more fertilizer than most plants. Relatively frequent administration of fertilizer will also help to preserve the plant's vitality and the deep green tone which characterizes it.
We recommend that you fertilize the areca palm plant once a month during the spring and summer seasons. You should do so with an organic fertilizer specially formulated for tropical plants. You can even use your own homemade plant fertilizer with our natural formula. However, since the areca palm plant requires careful consideration, you should use a quality organic brand if you are at all unsure of what to do.
Common leaf problems with the areca palm plant
Even though we have told you all the main requirements for how to care for an areca palm plant, there is always the possibility of a problem developing. Most commonly, areca palm plant leaves can develop issues which need to be taken care of. At oneHOWTO, we show you two of the most common problems:
- Areca palm leaves turning brown: the leaves of the areca palm can acquire a brown tone at the tips for two reasons: due to excessive watering or due to lack of humidity (an overly dry environment). In the first case, make sure that the substrate does not get soaked or saturated. In the second, try spraying the leaves with water. Do it with some regularity and even add some suitable plant food if available.
- Areca palm leaves turning yellow: the golden palm tree leaves can turn yellowish, something that is sometimes due to the presence of pests on the underside of the leaves. To remedy this problem, you will have to identify what type of pest it is and combat it with a natural insecticide for tropical plants. Spider mites are a common pest for plants, but you can take a look at our guide on how to get rid of pests from plants naturally for some more general tips.
These are the main care requirements for the areca palm plant. If you want to have a thriving indoor plant, follow the guidelines and be careful to monitor temperature and moisture levels. For those who want to try a flowering plant, take a look at our guide on how to care for the rue plant.
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