Areca palm is one of the most popular palm trees for an indoor plant. With arching long fronds and tall figure, this palm presents a tropical sense whenever you put it. If you are interested in having one, here you can learn about areca palm, including its characteristics, growing requirements, and the right procedure to care for it.
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Characteristics of Areca Palm
Areca palm is a tropical plant that prefers to grow in the locations with a warm climate. It is originated from Madagascar but later developed in South India and some other countries in different continents. There are several varieties of the areca palm, but the most popular ones are butterfly palm (Dypsis lutescens), betel nut palm (Areca catechu), and triangle palm (Dypsis decaryi).
This palm looks a lot like a bamboo plant. Areca palm tree, for instance, has a tall and clumping figure just like bamboo trees. The smooth golden trunks and narrowed foliages of areca palm also resemble bamboo’s trunk and leaves. However, areca palm plant is more preferable as an indoor plant than bamboos.
For an indoor plant, the palm is usually sold in small tree clusters. It is less common to plant areca palm from seeds. However, you can propagate areca palm seeds by planting them in the seed-starting soil.
With proper care, the areca palm growth rate will increase to approximately 6-10 inches per year. Meanwhile, its maximum height can reach up to 6-8 feet.
Areca Palm Uses and Benefits
Areca palm won’t be harmful to children and pets since it is free of toxic chemicals. For that reason, this palm is perfectly safe as a houseplant. In fact, it is also full of positive benefits. The most noticeable role of areca palm benefits is its ability to cleanse and purify the air around the room.
A study conducted by Wolverton proves that areca palm is an effective air-purifying houseplant. It can remove several harmful chemicals that are responsible for allergy symptoms and respiratory problems. Some household toxins that can be cleansed by areca palm are benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.
Requirements to Grow Areca Palm
If you are planning to plant and grow areca palm in the garden or at home, make sure to provide these required conditions.
Acidic soil is the best match for growing areca palm. Such type of soil provides a good drainage system and prevents the plant from having waterlogged roots. If your soil has a low acidic state, you can mix it with peat to create a suitable planting medium for areca palm.
Areca palm needs bright light to thrive, but not too much. It is best to place this palm in a location that can expose it to indirect sunlight. If the plant receives a plentiful amount of light, its fronds and foliages may burn and turn yellow.
Areca palm will thrive better in the temperature between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit in daylight and 55 degrees at nighttime. This palm cannot tolerate low temperature below 50 degrees. Therefore, if you grow areca palm outdoors, the plant should be moved inside during winter or cold seasons.
Growing Areca Palm Indoor
The requirements to grow areca palm indoor is more or less similar to the conditions you need when planting the palm outside. It requires bright, yet indirect light. Because of this, the best indoor location to put the potted areca is near the windows that face south or west side.
When growing areca palm indoor, more important matter to think about is the choices of pot or container. The container should be twice larger than the palm’s root balls. Therefore, it can provide enough room for the root to grow while saving you the time for repotting.
How to Care for Areca Palm
Areca palm care includes several main procedures. In addition to basic cares like watering or fertilizing, the palm needs to be pruned and repotted once in a while.
Keep the plant moist and avoid over-watering. Too much water may kill areca palm since it makes the roots waterlogged. You need to water the plant 2-3 times a week during spring and summer to give it light moisture. Meanwhile, in the fall and winter, watering should be done less frequently.
If you grow areca palm in a pot, remember to let the soil dry out between waterings. This way, the water will not be clogged at the bottom of the pot.
In the spring, the plant should be fed with a liquid fertilizer that has a high amount of nutrients. As for the summer, micronutrient spray is enough to keep its foliages at healty state.
Fertilize the palm at least once a month on a regular basis. However, during the growing season, it should be fertilized between 2-3 times a month. Please note that you must never fertilize areca palm in the fall and winter.
The fronds which turn brown or yellow indicate that areca palm needs pruning. You must use wet, clean scissors to prune the brown or yellow tips of the fronds. Prune carefully, so you will not damage other green foliages that are still healthy.
In general, areca palm doesn’t need to be repotted frequently. However, if the palm thrives for years, it is advisable to repot the plant every 2-3 years.
Before repotting, make sure to provide a new pot that has a larger size than the old one. Move the plant into the new pot carefully, so you will not damage the root balls. Moreover, avoid burying the palm too deep because it may prevent the root from growing.
Some Problems with Areca Palm
Be aware of several types of pests that can attack and damage the palm, especially its fronds. These include scale, aphid, whitefly, mealy bugs, and spider mites. Infestation needs to be done as soon as you detect the presence of those pests.
Other problems that are harmful to the palm are Ganoderma and Pink Rot disease. Both of them are responsible for making the palm loses its fronds. They are not treatable but can be prevented if you provide a good drainage system in the planting medium.
Now that you know some basic information regarding areca palm, you can plant and grow it at home or in the garden. The presence of areca palm will add a tropical vibe to your surrounding. Therefore, be sure to treat it with proper care, so the palm can thrive for a long period of time.