By Jackie Carroll
Areca palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) is one of the most widely used palms for bright interiors. It features feathery, arching fronds that each has up to 100 leaflets. These big, bold plants command attention. Keep reading to find out more about growing areca palm in the home.
Areca Palm Houseplant Info
A full-grown areca palm houseplant is quite expensive, so they are usually purchased as small, tabletop plants. They add 6 to 10 inches of growth per year until they reach a mature height of 6 or 7 feet. Areca palm is one of the few palms that can tolerate trimming without serious harm, making it possible to keep mature plants indoors for their full lifespan of up to 10 years.
A key factor in successfully growing areca palm trees indoors is providing just the right amount of light. They need bright, indirect light from a south- or west-facing window. The leaves turn yellowish-green in direct sunlight.
Areca Palm Care
The care of areca palms indoors isn’t difficult, but the plant won’t tolerate neglect. Water them often enough to keep the soil lightly moist in spring and summer, and allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings in fall and winter.
Fertilize areca palm plants with a time-release fertilizer in spring. This gives the plant most of the nutrients it needs for the entire season. The fronds benefit from a micronutrient spray in summer. You can use a liquid houseplant fertilizer that contains micronutrients for this purpose. Make sure the product is labeled as safe for foliar feedings, and dilute it according to the label instructions. Do not feed areca palm plants in fall and winter.
Areca palm houseplants need repotting every two to three years. The plant likes a tight container, and crowded roots help limit the size of the plant. The main reasons for repotting is to replace the aged potting soil and remove fertilizer salt deposits that build up in the soil and on the sides of the pot. Use a palm potting soil or a general purpose mix amended with a handful of clean builder’s sand.
Take care to plant the palm in the new pot at the same depth as in the old pot. Planting it too deeply can cause serious injury. The roots are brittle, so don’t attempt to spread them out. After filling in around the roots with soil, press down with your hands to make sure the soil is tightly packed. Eliminate air pockets by flooding the pot with water and pressing down again. Add additional soil if necessary.
Now that you know how easy areca palm care is, why not head out to the local nursery or garden center and pick up one of your own. Growing areca palm trees indoors will be well worth the trip with all that lush, beautiful foliage to brighten up the home.