Growing Areca Palm Indoors can be quite rewarding if you follow the right steps and the plant will continue to thrive for a long time!
Many people shy away from growing an areca palm indoors as a houseplant because they are not one of the best low-light plants to grow. But once you know the basic needs, Growing Areca Palm Indoors is a cinch.
It has the potential to grab attention and make any indoor space lively. It is also an air purifying plant and cleans off VOCs like acetone, xylene, formaldehyde, and toluene from the surrounding air.
Botanical Name: Dypsis lutescens
Common Names: Golden cane palm, Butterfly palm, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, Areca lutescens, Yellow palm
Check out our article on areca palm benefits here
Choosing a Pot
Avoid taking too large pots if you are looking forward to limiting the size. A slightly root-bound plant will have limited growth and a small container will also save it from root rot and other diseases. If you have bought the plant from a garden center, going for one size bigger pot would be a good starting point.
For example, if you’ve occupied an areca palm in 8 inches pot, transfer it into a 10 or 12 inches container. Make sure it has sufficient drainage holes in the bottom.
Requirements for Growing Areca Palm Indoors
An areca palm must have just the right amount of light to thrive, you can’t keep it in a dark spot. The plant needs a full day, bright indirect light, it also loves gentle morning sunlight. Southern or western exposure is good for it but it’ll also do well in the east direction. Keep it within 4 feet of the window or door.
In winters, if the plant is placed too close to a window, make sure its leaves are not touching the windowpane.
If the palm is placed in the harsh afternoon sunlight, its fronds will turn yellow.
Being a tropical plant, the areca palm loves a warm temperature range. Place the palm in a location away from drafts and sudden temperature fluctuations. It does best between 60-80 F (15-27 C) indoor temperature.
While it can tolerate cold down to 30 F (0 C) easily, it would be safe if you maintain the indoor temperature above 45 F (8 C).
Any neutral soil combination that is well-drained and porous will work. You can mix some amount of peat moss or coco-peat, perlite or sand, and organic matter like leaf mold or compost to enhance it.
Alternatively, you can mix two parts regular potting soil, one part sand, half part compost, and half part coconut coir.
Water the palm often enough to keep the soil moist in summer. Always allow the soil to dry between waterings in fall and winter. Dip your finger in the soil and reach for the watering can, only if you find it dry. Over-watering is the most frequent cause of death for these attractive palms.
The plant will thrive in typical humidity found in most homes. If you notice the leaf tips turning brown, then that’s the indication of dry air in the surrounding. Increase the humidity by misting the palm with water. Alternatively, you can also place it on a tray of pebbles with water. If you’ve got a humidifier, that is even better.
Areca Palm Care Indoors
Apply a granulated time-released plant food to the soil in half dose in the spring to provide this palm with most of the nutrients it needs for the entire season. You can also use a diluted water-soluble complete fertilizer like 10-10-10 in weak strength of the recommended dose once in 6-8 weeks during the spring and summer, or any other season when it is actively growing, but don’t do both.
In addition to one of the above feeding methods, you can mist Epsom salt on fronds occasionally.
Do not feed areca palm from mid-fall to winter in colder climates (Below USDA Zone 10). This is the time when the plant remains inactive and does not need to be fed. If you live in a warm climate, you can continue feeding the plant at a reduced rate in winters.
The areca palm is a slow grower and prefers to be slightly root-bound. The plant will need to be re-potted every 2-3 years. While the plant grows best in a tight container, keeping it slightly root bound will also help limit the mature size of the plant.
Re-pot in spring into a new container that is slightly wider than the current one. Be gentle with the roots when re-potting, they are brittle and break easily.
Trim off the loose or spent fronds using a sharp shear. You can trim the plant year-round as per your needs and requirements.
Pests & Diseases
Be careful of red spider mites, whitefly, scales, and mealybugs. Cleaning the plant, using a powerful jet of water should remove them.
In diseases, you don’t need to worry about much except for root rot. Avoid overwatering to save your plant from it.