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Areca Palm Care

Areca Palm Care

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This Areca palm care article has everything you need to know about growing and caring for this beautiful plant indoors.

A Little Background Please

The Dypsis lutescens (previously Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) or the Areca palm is one of the most common indoor decorative palms for homes and offices. It’s also a popular choice for patios and porches.

Also known as the butterfly palm, it features smooth and sometimes golden trunks similar to bamboo culms.

It grows arching, wide, glossy green fronds from its base.

Once upon a time, this plant was endangered whereas nowadays, you can see dozens of these tall palms down any street where the climate is subtropical or warm.

Native to Madagascar and part of the Arecaceae family, this palm can reach between 20 and 39 feet in height in its natural habitat.

Potted indoors however, Areca palm height is usually around 6 feet and about three feet wide.

Areca Palm Benefits

It’s an awesome choice if you want to add a tropical vibe to your home. They’re easy to grow (ideal for newbies) and they will even help you purify the air by removing air pollutants.

And, for some more good news: The Areca palm is safe for cats, dogs and children, so no worries about placing them in areas accessible to these important family members.

Although this plant loves to live in a bright area, it needs indirect sunlight because too much direct sun can actually burn its foliage!

However, although caring for this plant isn’t really that hard, it doesn’t tolerate neglect. To avoid this, read on for the best tips on Areca palm care.

Interesting Fact

This plant has been awarded with the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Areca Palm Indoor Care Tips

Areca Palm Light

In the outdoors, Areca palm loves to grow in part shade or filtered sunlight.

Indoors, it will do best if you place it in an area with bright light coming from a south or a west window. Avoid over exposing it to direct sunlight; this can damage its leaves!


Whether you keep it indoors or outdoors, your Areca palm plant will grow best when the temperature ranges between 65 to 75 degrees F. It can still do well in lower temperatures but never below 50 degrees F.

If you keep it inside, make sure it’s away from draft, air conditioners, and other heat sources.

This is because the plant is quite sensitive to low temperatures and if you move them outside make sure that you bring them back inside before the temperatures go below 50.

Areca Palm Watering & Humidity

Like a lot of other palms, this one doesn’t like overwatering or sitting in water-saturated soil.

So, leave the soil or potting mix to dry out between watering. And, whenever possible, choose distilled water or rainfall rather than tap water because the plant doesn’t like fluoride.

During winter, you can reduce watering and allow the soil mix to almost dry out.

Moreover, try your best to provide a little extra humidity to Areca palms, if you want them to look their best.

Although it will adjust to average humidity in rooms, excessively dry air can cause its leaves to go brown.

To increase humidity, mist every day or two and stand it on a tray of wet pebbles.


For Areca palms potted indoors, choosing a peat-based potting mix with a lot of drainage material would be ideal. These plants love good drainage to avoid waterlogged roots.

If you’re keeping them outdoors, opt for a slightly acidic soil that’s highly draining. Enriching them with peat and sand moss may be recommendable to better the porousness and reduce the soil’s pH. 

Areca Palm Fertilizer

During the growing season, i.e. spring through summer, opt for a weak liquid fertilizer, two to three times.  

In the wintertime, pause the fertilizer.


This plant loves to grow with its root ball held tightly in a container say 8 -12 inches wide, where crowded roots help keep its size manageable.

However, repotting every two to three years may be required if it becomes root bound.

Refresh the soil when you decide to repot and choose only a slightly bigger pot.

Make sure you don’t damage its root ball while repotting or bury it too deep into the soil!


Did you know that these palms are planted from seeds, and you may find seeds in the pot?

If you manage to find these seeds, you can germinate them at home by setting them in a seed-starting mix.

The germination requires around 6 weeks with the optimal conditions, i.e. a high humidity and over 80 degrees F soil temperature.

More Areca Palm Varieties

1.d.decaryi or the triangle palm

This is another awesome ornamental palm from the dypsis genus.

Also native to Madagascar, it’s commonly known as the triangle palm because its leaf bases growing on three sides and form a triangle.

It’s a perennial that will surely add a tropical vibe to any space, whether in your home or office. 


This one-of-a-kind palm isn’t easy to find; however, it’s really wonderful. It grows moderately and does well indoors and in subtropical climates.

This Areca palm’s leaf size is what makes it different from all other dypsis- they’re much broader.


In its natural habitat, this palm can reach big heights; it has wonderful plumose foliage, a brown-orange and white tormentum on the bases of the leaves, and a sturdy trunk.

Unfortunately, it’s a threatened species.

Other Tips

When the canes of the areca palm are golden yellow, it means they’re healthy. The ones that are grey or brown or without any golden note may be dead.

To check out for sure, slice a thin strip from the bark surface and if the wood underneath is green, the cane is alive; if it’s black, the cane is dead and needs to be removed.

If a cane is dead, prune the palm using clippers or a saw for larger canes. Cut them at the ground level.

Never trim the individual leaves of the areca palm or it may develop brown tips, but this is somewhat a normal part of its growth. Only cut when they’re visibly dead or damaged.


Trouble Shooting- Common Issues

Problem: twisted leaves

Cause: Insufficient light or overwatering.

Solution: Place it in a more suitable area light-wise or lower the watering according to the above-mentioned tips.


Problem: leaves are going yellow

Cause: Sometimes, it’s part of natural cycle if new leaves are produced; otherwise, it could be result of improper drainage.

Solution: Cut off the yellowed parts or ensure the pot has proper drainage soil and drainage pot. A fertilizer may also help.


Problem: stem base is going pink & leaves are dying

Cause: Pink rot disease.

Solution: Allow the plant to dry out more frequently. Root rot happens when we overwater our plants.


I do hope you’ve found this article on Areca palm care interesting and helpful.

Like to see more indoor palms? 

Checkout these easy to care for beauties;

Chinese Fan Palm: chinese-fan-palm-care

Areca Palm: areca-palm-care

Sago Palm:  sago-palm-care

Parlor Palm: parlor-palm-care

Broadleaf Lady Palm: broadleaf-lady-palm-care

Ponytail Palm: ponytail-palm-care-indoor

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Areca Palm


Christine Mattner

What started out as purely a desire to keep my indoor plants alive has turned into a full-blown passion for sharing what I have learned over the years about selecting, growing and caring for indoor plants with those who may be new to the wonderful world of houseplants.

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