Most people find it hard to believe that the areca palm was an endangered species at one point. Take a walk across almost any street in a warm and subtropical climate, and it is very likely that you will see dozens of this attractive and tall palms. When traded as an indoor plant, the palms are typically clustered in small pots and look a lot like palm grass. However, there are some reasons why the palms should not be grown as houseplants: they are sensitive to fertilizer salts and they need bright light. However, if you seek to have palm trees for indoor use, the areca species offers a cheap and popular option.
How to Cultivate Areca Palms
Areca palms will present the cultivator with a few challenges. There is the plant’s need for light that frustrates most growers of the plant. The plant prefers more light than the indoor environment can offer. Additionally, Areca palms feed heavily; in case of deficiency of such minerals as iron and magnesium, the plant tree will develop yellow leaves. The trees are also susceptible to fluoridated water and fertilizer salts, which puts most home growers at a disadvantage.
- Light – Areca palms do well under bright well and may grow to full maturity with direct sunlight. However, be sure not to offer the plant too much sunlight: the tree’s leaves will discolor under direct sunlight.
- Soil – Palm trees require good drainage to avoid waterlogged roots.
- Water – Just like many palms trees, the Areca palm is very sensitive to a lot of water and cannot grow well in waterlogged conditions or if they are sitting in a water-saturated pot. Ensure that the pot dries up before pouring some more water.
- Humidity and Temperature – This plant performs best under temperatures of about 65 to 75 Fahrenheit. Ensure that the leaves stay away from air conditioners, cold windows, and other sources of heat. The palm trees are quite sensitive to low temperatures. In this light, if you place the plant outside over the summer, remember to bring it back to the house below the temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Cold spots can cause dark spots on the leaves. High humidity is important to keep the palm tree looking healthy. The plant acclimates to the prevailing humidity in the room; however, in the event the air is dry, the plant’s leaves will turn brown.
- Fertilizer – Feed the plant with a weak fertilizer once or twice while it is growing. Do not use fertilizer during the winter season.
- Repotting and Potting – Areca palms grow relatively fast and are usually planted in clumps. With time, even so, they form clumps on their own. In an indoor scenario, it is not likely that the palm tree will live long to require frequent repotting. However, if your plant flourishes, you might have to repot it every year. The trees also do well when repotted infrequently. When repotting your palm, ensure that you do not cut the plant’s roots or burry the plant too deep. The Areca palm tree likes tight containers. Crowded roots aid in ensuring that the plant has the correct size. You might want to repot to replace the used soil and also remove get rid of fertilizer salt deposits.
- Propagating Areca Palms – Areca palms are grown from seed, usually, numerous seeds are placed in a single cluster or pot. It is not usual to find palm seeds, but if you are lucky enough, you can grow them in the house by planting the seeds at uniform depth in the soil. Older seeds, which are orange in color, have a more desirable germination rate than greener seeds. Germination should take about six weeks if the plant enjoys the best conditions.
- Pruning – Areca palms can tolerate pruning without significant harm. This makes it possible to keep even mature plants inside the house for up to ten years, which is their full lifespan. Avoid pruning the brown tips of your plant’s fronds, unless it is dead. Clipping tips might impede the growth of fronds.
Areca Palm Plant Profile
- Plant type: Perennial or Evergreen houseplant.
- Common Name: butterfly palm, Areca palm, yellow palm, or golden cane palm.
- Light exposure: Indirect light, bright light.
- Bloom time: Summer