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How to care for an Areca Palm | indoor care tips

When I first got my Areca palm, I didn’t found many care tips – so I experimented on my own with it. Logically, given its native environment, I presumed it would like bright indirect light and high humidity levels. What I actually found out eventually is that it’s really not a picky plant. Let’s dive more in detail…

the Areca palm

Scientific name: Dypsis lutescens
Common names: Areca palm, Butterfly palm, Golden cane palm, Yellow palm

areca palm care

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areca palm care tips


The Areca palm has beautiful green leaves that have a slight curve. It’s native to Madagascar, but fortunately, we can all have a little piece of the tropics inside our homes in the form of an Areca palm.

The Areca palm can easily be mistaken with other common indoor palm plants.

Check out the article from indoorgardening.com – 15 Types of Indoor Palm Plants – for a closer look of common house palms.

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Is it true that the Areca Palm can tolerate low light conditions? | Lighting

areca palm care

As almost all houseplants, if you give your Areca palm bright indirect light – it will thrive, it will push out new growth more often and it will keep the gorgeous green color of it’s leaves.

When I just got my Areca palm, I couldn’t provide it bright indirect light. The only bright light came from my glass entrance door and there was no room for the big Areca underneath my windows. So I had to place it a few feet away from the surrounding windows. It was in a medium lit spot and it was completely fine!

It would push out new growth more often if you place it in a brightly lit spot but it can survive perfectly fine in a medium lit spot.

I would recommend to place it where it will get bright indirect light, but if you can’t – you can have an Areca palm in a medium lit spot.

Check out my article – 2 things you need to know before buying your first plant – where I talk more in detail about light definitions (bright indirect light, direct light, medium light, low light).

How often do you need to water the Areca palm? | Watering

When you buy an Areca palm, you’re probably going to buy a larger plant, right? They are usually sold in 20+cm containers. I always like to repot my bigger plants into terracotta pots. Terracotta pots allow good air circulation and enable for the soil to dry out faster. Altogether, I find that roots remain healthier in a terracotta pot when the plant is bigger.

I don’t let the soil dry out completely but I do let the first couple of cm to dry out between watering.

I don’t have a schedule – I just check the soil once a week (during summer 2 times a week). I simply check it by sticking my finger into the soil and trying to feel if the top of the soil is dry.

Areca Palm | Humidity

The Areca palm is not a needy plant. You don’t have to provide it with additional humidity. They’ll need more humidity only if you live in extra dry climate. I live in the Mediterranean climate near the sea and I find that I don’t need to do anything regarding humidity. But.. personally, I do like to mist its leaves and I do it almost every morning during summer!

Areca Palm Problems

The most common problem are brown tips on the Areca palm.

areca palm brown tips problem


This is probably an indicator of either under watering or too low humidity levels. Don’t let the soil to dry out completely. Try following the watering instructions I’ve written above.

You can cut the tips off because they will never turn green again. If you do that, use sterilized scissors to cut the tips off.

The second problem you can come across are yellowing leaves.

areca palm yellow leaf problem
yellow leaf palm

If some leaves start to yellow every now and then, it’s possible that the plant is just getting rid of old leaves.
But yellowing leaves can be a sing of a root problem if they are getting yellow and falling at a speedy rate. This is because of over watering.

Check out the roots. See if they started to rot. If so – cut of the parts that rotted and repot your palm in fresh soil. This time be aware not to over water it. Try repotting it in a terracotta pot and water it as I described above.

The third problem you can come across are pests.

mealybugs areca palm

I had a pest problem shortly after I got my Areca. The tips started to become grey. Like death itself started spreading throughout the plant. It would start from the tip of the leaf and in a couple of days or weeks, the whole leaf would become grey, dry and would eventually fall off.

I found that it had a type of white scale – the Mealybug. It wasn’t an infestation, just a few white spots here and there. Difficult to notice actually if you don’t pay a close attention.

I wrote a whole article describing exactly this problem and how I stopped the leaves from drying out. If you have the same problem with your Areca palm read this article – How I saved my Areca palm from Mealybugs.

Regular leaf cleaning schedule will help prevent the spreading of pests. You don’t have to do this every day, but try to clean the leaves once every 2-3 weeks. Keeping the leaves clean will not only help prevent pest infestation, but will also help your plant to photosynthesize more efficiently and be more happy altogether.

Fertilizing Areca Palm

Like with most plants, I fertilize my Areca palm during the growing season – spring and summer. I back away from the fertilizer during the non growing season though, especially during winter.

I fertilize the Areca palm about 1-2 times per month using a general liquid fertilizer for houseplants. As I said, I fertilize it only during spring and summer. Be sure to follow the instructions written on the fertilizer bottle before using it.

Is the Areca Palm safe for your cats and dogs? | Toxcisity

The Areca palm has the whole package. Next to being beautiful, lush and low-maintenance – it’s also non-toxic to cats and dogs by the ASPCA.