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Areca Palm

How to care for an Areca Palm

The Areca Palm is the most well-known palms that you can keep as a houseplant. Plant owners often confuse the Areca Palm with its smaller sibling the Parlor Palm. These two plants might look similar, their plant care needs are a little different.

In this plant care guide, we're going to look at how we can take care of an Areca Palm. We'll look at everything your Areca Palm needs to be a happy plant and thrive in your house. These are the topics we're going to cover:

  1. Sunlight exposure
  2. Watering schedule
  3. Soil requirements
  4. Fertilizing your Areca Palm
  5. Humidity & Temperature
  6. Toxicity for pets

Let's dive right in and find out how to keep this big indoor palm happy and help it thrive!

Sunlight exposure

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In the introduction I've mentioned that plant owners often confuse the Areca Palm and the Parlor Palm. They look the same but don't have the same plant care needs. Sunlight exposure is one of those differences.

The Areca Palm likes bright indirect sunlight. It doesn't like low-light situations, like the Parlor Palm. If your Areca Palm doesn't get enough sunlight, its leaves will turn yellow and start to wrinkle.

If your Areca Palm gets too much sunlight, or direct sunlight, you'll also notice it doesn't like this. If your Areca Palm is getting too much sunlight, it will get sunburns. The sunburns on your Areca Palm unfortunately don't return to their normal color. You can prune these leaves if you don't want to see the sunburns any more.

The Areca Palm prefers bright indirect sunlight, no low-light or direct sunlight. Luckily, if it doesn't get the right amount of sunlight exposure, it will let you know.

Watering schedule

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The Areca Palm is originally from Madagascar, a warm and tropical place. The fact that the Areca Palm is originally from a warm and tropical place tells us a little bit about its water needs.

The Areca Palm prefers to grow in moist soil, which is like its natural habitat. This means that you should water your Areca Palm at least twice during the spring and summer. During the spring and summer, the Areca Palm is in its growing season and uses a lot of moisture and nutrients.

During the fall and winter, you should change your water schedule and water the Areca Palm less often. During the winter it's easy to overwater your Palm, so you should check if the soil is dry before watering your plant. If the soil is still moist during this time, wait a few days and check again. On average, you should water your Areca palm around once per week to once every 10 days in the fall and winter.

Soil requirements

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In the last section we learned that the Areca Palm loves to be in moist soil most of the time. This means we'll need to find a soil that can hold onto moisture for at least a few days. However, we also discovered that the Areca Palm is sensitive to overwatering. This tells us that we need soil that drains excess water away quickly. We want just the right amount of moisture in the soil, no more no less.

The soil we need for the Areca Palm will be moist most of the time. If you use general potting soil for this plant you'll notice that the soil compacts quickly when you water your plant often. Compacting soil is something we need to avoid, because this will prevent oxygen to reach the palm's roots. When the roots of your palm don't get any oxygen, root rot can start to show up. This plant doesn't store a lot of nutrients in its stems, so it probably won't survive root rot.

The ideal soil is soil that can hold it's shape, can hold moisture for a few days, but also drain excess water quickly. A mix of peat moss, potting soil, and perlite will be a great combination to help your plant thrive. If you can find a pre-mixed palm soil, you've also found a great solution.

Fertilizing your Areca Palm

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During the summer and spring, your Areca Palm grows quickly. We've learned in the section about watering your palm that it uses a lot of moisture and nutrients to grow this quickly. You can help your palm to stay healthy during its growing season by fertilizing it.

During the spring and summer, fertilize your Areca palm once per month. It's best to use liquid fertilize for this, because your palm can absorb this more quickly. You can also use fertilizing sticks or balls and feed your plant once at the beginning or spring and once at the beginning of the summer.

During the fall and winter your Areca palm is dormant, so you won't have to fertilize it all.

Humidity & Temperature

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Areca palm collection The Areca Palm grows naturally in a tropical climate. You can help your palm thrive and be happy in your house, no matter what climate you live in. To help your palm be happy in your house it's important to keep the indoor temperature above 18 degrees Celsius (65 F).

It's also important to keep your Areca Palm away from cold drafts or windows. If your Areca Palm gets too cold, you'll see brown spots all over the plant. This is a sign that you need to move your plant to a different place.

Since your Areca Palm loves tropical climates, you can help it be happy by giving it a high humidity environment. We've written a guide about raising the humidity in your house that you can use to give it the environment it likes.

Toxicity for pets

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Like other palms, the Areca Palm is not toxic to cats, dogs, or humans. You can safely keep this plant around your pets and children and you won't have to worry about doctor's visits. If your pets or small children like to eat your plants, it won't harm them, but you still might want to keep it away from them.


The Areca Palm is a big palm that's great as a houseplant. It's not the best plant for beginners, because it can be quite picky about the care you give it. However, you can still take care of it as a beginner, because it shows you when it's not happy and gives you a chance to improve. It's a fast-growing plant, which is very exciting during the spring and summer. This plant will make any place in your house look like a tropical paradise.

Thank you for reading this post! I hope it helps you to keep your plants healthy and beautiful! If you're looking for more guides on specific plants, you can always request a plant guide to get a guide for the plant you have trouble with.

Tags: pet-friendly, palm

Posted on: Apr 2, 2021 Last updated on: May 2, 2021

Other common names for this plant

  • Butterfly Palm
  • Dypsis Lutescens
  • Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens

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Frequently asked questions

Is the Areca Palm toxic for pets?
No, the Areca palm is safe for pets and small children. You won't have to worry about them being harmed by chewing on this plant.
What is the best light for an Areca Palm?
The best light is bright indirect sunlight. The Areca Palm needs plenty of light to grow so doesn't do well in low-light places. Direct sunlight will burn its leaves.
Can the Areca Palm grow in low-light places?
No, the Areca Palm needs plenty of bright indirect sunlight to grow. The Parlor Palm is a better palm for low-light places.

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