Areca Palm Maintenance: Butterfly Palm Care & Growth Tips

How to care for areca palm

Do you know why the areca palms are so popular? The primary reason for the popularity of areca palms is linked with their visual appeal. They add much-needed value to the interiors, adding to the home’s beauty.


On your areca palm, you will see arching and feathery fronds, complete with around 100 leaflets. Given their stature and height, they truly scream for attention.


This is exactly what this guide is about. This guide will give you precise advice on areca palm tree care. But, before that, let us read a little about this plant.


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Areca is a renowned house plant and can be pretty expensive, especially when buying a full-grown plant. This is why most people invest in smaller-sized plants, accommodating conveniently on the tabletop or any indoor space.


Despite minimal areca palm maintenance requirements, they can grow between 6-10 inches every year until they reach maturity. As a matter of fact, the butterfly palm care requirements are so straightforward that even an amateur with no prior growing experience can take care of them.


Let’s learn how to take care of areca palm the right way!


Growth and Areca Palm Care Guide

Growth and Areca Palm Care Guide

Before discussing the areca palm tree care, we will discuss the growing guidelines for your arecas. So, how to grow the areca palms? Let us find out. After that, we will detail you on how to care for areca palm.


1. Propagation

You can easily find the areca palms in any local nursery around you, and with proper butterfly palm care, you can have a healthy plant ready for yourself. So, you can either shop for the plant directly or grow it by dividing an existing plant.


2. Planting from seed

Naturally, this is a lengthy process, and it will take about five to six weeks for the germination process. Further, from there, it will take the usual time for your areca palm to achieve even three to four feet.


Therefore, it is always recommended to ask for the freshest available seeds to ensure good areca palm plant care. If the quality is not good enough, you may take additional steps to better the germination rate.


So, before you plant the seeds, you will have to carry out a process known as seed scarification. It is a botanical process involving opening, weakening, and modifying the seed’s top layer to stimulate germination.


For this, you can rub the seeds on sandpaper, or a deep wash under the water can also help. After that, you can immerse the seeds in a jar full of white vinegar and let it sit for 3-4 hours.


Now, rinse and drain all the water. Following this, your seeds are ready for plantation. So, take a pot and fill it with a potting mix, only up to three inches.


Water the mix, but be cautious, and do not overwater. Now, you can insert one seed in the pot, ensuring that only the tip sticks out of the soil and the remaining plant stays in the soil.


Now, spray more water to place the pot in the ideal location. After plantation, you must also be careful with the areca palm maintenance.


3. By Division

Another much more straightforward method of propagation is by division. So, if you know someone who has an areca palm plant, and they can share it with you, you can opt for the division method of growing the plant.


Before getting a plant from them, make sure they take the necessary measures towards areca palm plant care. This is a must for your plant’s good health too.


For division, the ideal time is spring, when you can see the new growth showing up. Before division, you must thoroughly water the plant a day prior. It can help loosen the soil and make separation easier.


Now that you know the growing guide, we can discuss the care guide.


Related: Fan Palm Types, Date Palm Types, Areca Palm Types


Butterfly Palm Care Guide (Areca Palm)

Butterfly Palm Care Guide

How to care for Areca palm outdoor? Even though areca palm maintenance is relatively straightforward, it would never tolerate negligence.


So, follow the steps and you are bound to receive excellent results.


1. Humidity

How to take care of areca palms in hot & humid conditions? Areca palms like humid environment. So, for the areca palm plant care indoors, you can frequently mist the plant a few times a week when the air inside is dry.


Alternatively, you can also place a humidifier around. Exposing the plant to high humidity is vital to right butterfly palm care. When the surrounding air is too dry, the tips start browning.


2. Water

How to look after areca palm watering needs? Well, for starters, your areca palm does not like much water, but you still need to give it enough water to ensure that the soil is hydrated and filled with ample moisture, especially during summer and spring.


Alternatively, in winter and fall, you can let the soil dry. At no time should you overwater or underwater your areca palms. This is a quintessential part of the areca palm care guide.


The perfect test to know when it is time for the next watering is sticking your hand into the topsoil. If the top two inches feel dry, you can re-water.


In addition, the palms do not appreciate fluoridated water. Hence, you must always opt for collected rainwater or distilled water. Unfortunately, most butterfly palm care guides will not cover this piece of information but do not overlook this areca palm maintenance tip.


3. Temperature

Exposing the palm to the right temperature is a mandatory requirement. How to take care of areca palm if you live in a warm temperature or too cold zones?


Ideally, the apt temperature for your palm is between 65-75° F. Further, you must ensure that your plant is in the area where the temperature does not drop below 50°F for proper areca palm tree care.


Of course, the areca palm is hardy, but the excessive cold can be dangerous for the tree, especially if it is prolonged and the plant is new.


You must keep the plant away from air conditioners and areas that receive direct cold winds for right butterfly palm care indoors.


Conversely, if your plant is outdoors, you must bring in the plant to protect it from extreme cold & temperature shock.


4. How to care for areca palm’s sunlight requirements

As you may know, Areca palm is native to Madagascar, where the plant thrives. Hence, to get similar results, you must try to imitate the Madagascar conditions as part of your areca palm tree care.


An essential part of areca palm care is exposing it to filtered but bright sun. Even though the plants can tolerate full, bright sun, partial shade also will work okay.


For correct areca palm maintenance indoors, you can place the plant near a west or a south-facing window. Also, an essential measure in the areca palm care guide is protecting it from direct afternoon sun to protect the leaves. However, a few hours of sun in the evening and morning are pivotal for your butterfly palm care.


5. How to look after areca palm’s fertilizer needs

Feeding it 2-3 times a year is essential for proper areca palm tree care. You must provide the plant with a fertilizer every few months, during the growing season, that is, in summer and spring.


You can use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer for the plant. The fertilizer should be fed from spring to early fall (growing season) for good areca palm maintenance.


6. Soil

If you are overwatering, you might see the stems turning black. This might result in water logging underneath and cause root rotting. To overcome, you must repot the plant in fresh soil, with a good-drainage potting mix. potting mix. Your soil must be acidic with a neutral pH.


7. Repotting & knowing how to take care of areca palm afterwards

You must repot it once every two or three years for proper areca growth. This is because Areca enjoys a tight container. Further, if you do not want the plant to grow exceptionally tall, the tight container will curtail the growth.


8. Pruning

In all honesty, areca palms do not really require pruning, but you must always attempt to trim down the discolored fronds. However, while pruning, ensure that you cut out only the brown or the yellow tips, and never the healthy parts.


This is all on the areca palm care guide. If you follow the areca palm plant care indoors and outdoors steps mentioned above, there is nothing that can stop your plant from thriving.


Related Care Guides: Majesty Palm, Ponytail Palm, Date Palm, Madagascar Palm


Common Problems You May Face With Butterfly Palm Care

Some common problems associated with an areca palm tree care are:


1. Pests and diseases

As such, areca palms are not quite susceptible to diseases or pests. However, in some rare events, you may see an insect-transmitted bacterial infection or lethal yellowing of the leaves, which might prove deadly for the plant in the long run.


This is majorly noted in the outdoor palms, but it is essential to treat some infestation as early as possible anytime you see this.


Moreover, the indoor areca palms are also susceptible to pests, such as scale, mealybugs, aphids, mites, and whiteflies. They too can also discoloration and foliage damage. For this, you can use sprays, which have fatty acids. Plant oils can also work.


2. Brown leaves

If you are not watering your areca palms adequately, you might see brown tips. Hence, it is crucial to fix a watering schedule to ensure that the plant is not left underwatered for long. You may also see brown tips when the air is too dry. You might also like to learn how to save brown dying arborvitae.


3. Brown bumps

It may be a scale problem if you see leaves with brown bumps. To overcome this, you can wipe the leaves with a soap solution or using a good fungicide can help. Brown spots on the leaves may be a giveaway of potassium deficiency.


4. Blackening stems

If you are overwatering, you might see the stems turning black. This might result in water logging underneath and cause root rotting. To overcome, you must repot the plant in fresh soil, with a good-drainage potting mix.


5. Yellow leaves

Exposure to less sunlight or nitrogen deficiency is improper for butterfly palm care and can cause the yellowing of the leaves.


6. Twisted leaves

When the leaves start twisting, it is probably because of water dearth or inadequate light exposure. You can consider changing the plant’s placement and limiting your watering frequency.


7. Transplant shock

Typically, with areca palm plant care should be taken while repotting. So, you don’t have to repot them, if not required. However, sometimes, the plant outgrows, and you are forced to repot.


You may also transplant the Areca from a nursery to your garden in some cases. This change can cause a transplant shock. So, to avoid this, you must ensure that the roots are watered thoroughly for areca palm tree care, especially in the initial four to six months.


This will keep the soil saturated and moist. You can also add some mulch on the top layer to keep the soil moist. Further, for areca palm maintenance use a fungicide two or four times in the initial months to ensure that the plant does not die from a transplant shock.


Related Growth Guide: Pygmy Palm, Mexican Palm, European Palm, Ponytail Palm, Pine Tree, Banana, Fiddle Figs Leaf, Snake Plant


Butterfly Palm Care – FAQs

Ques 1. Can areca palm survive outdoors?

Ans. Areca palms can not just survive but thrive outdoors if guarded against full sun and exposed to the right conditions.

Ques 2. Does areca palm need direct sunlight?

Ans. Even though areca palms love the sun, they enjoy some shade and indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight is not the best for the palms.

Ques 3. Can areca palm survive in low light?

Ans. Yes, the areca palm is tolerant of low light.

Ques 4. How often should you water an areca palm?

Ans. In summers, the areca palm must be watered twice a week. On the other hand, the plant must be watered once in 10 days or a week in the winters. Before your next watering, inspect the soil. If it is already moist, you can wait a little longer before the next watering.

Ques 5. What kind of soil do areca palms need?

Ans. Standard potting soil that is somewhat acidic and has good drainage is preferable.

Ques 6. How much sunlight do palm plants need?

Ans. Bright, indirect sunlight for four to six hours a day, preferably in the morning and evening, is what the areca palms enjoy.

Ques 7. Are areca palms high maintenance?

Ans. No, areca palms are pretty forgiving and easy to maintain and care for.

Ques 8. Can areca palm survive winter?

Ans. Generally, areca palms are not cold-tolerant. Hence, they must be planted in a place with mild winters.

Ques 9. Why are the leaves on my areca palm turning brown/yellow? Should I cut them?

Ans. If the leaves are turning brown, it could be because of an array of reasons, such as:


  • You are overwatering the plant
  • The surrounding air is too dry
  • It is very cold outside
  • The soil is too wet.


Often, areca palm leaves typically begin to turn yellow as they age. So, how to care for areca palm with yellow leaves. See, if the plant is not old enough, and the leaves are turning yellow, it could be because of an array of reasons, such as:


  • You are probably not watering enough.
  • The plant is under direct sun.


For areca palm tree care, you can take your pruning shears and chop these yellow and brown fronds from the trees whenever anything like this happens. Never rip them off manually, and cut them at the trunk, so you do not enter the green growth.