How to Grow and Care for Dypsis lutescens (Areca Palm) Indoors


Dypsis lutescens commonly called Areca Palm, Butterfly Palm or Golden Cane Palm is an easy care palm which adds an unmatched exotic feel in any space.

Dypsis lutescens belongs to a group of palms (called cane palms) which produce tall reed-like stems which look like bamboo canes when mature.

Golden Cane Palm's smooth yellowish bamboo-like canes and beautiful yellowish-green leaflets make it stand out as a focal point plant.

The long, feathery fronds in Yellow Palm grow in a canopy lending an air of elegance and sophistication in any space.

Butterfly Palm's fronds grow in clusters or thick clumps. The clusters comprising of 6-8 stems on which arise long petioles which curve upwards giving the palm the butterfly appearance.

Areca Palm, Dypsis lutescens

Botanical name: Dypsis lutescens
Synonym: Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
Family: Arecaceae
Common names: Areca Palm, Butterfly Palm, Golden Cane Palm, Yellow palm

Origin

Dypsis lutescens also called Chrysalidocarpus lutescens has its origins in Madagascar. It has been naturalized in many parts of the world like the Andaman Islands, El Salvador, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Canary Islands, southern Florida, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands and the Leeward Antilles.

Size

Golden Cane Palm can grow to a height of 6-10 ft under good conditions. The fronds may reach 3 ft or more.

The palm grows slowly and may take a few years to reach the average height of 6 ft. Once grown and mature, it may also produce flowers.

Air Purifying

According to the NASA Clean Air Study, Areca Palm was found to clean indoor air of common VOCs like formaldehyde, xylene and toulene.

Toxicity

Dypsis lutescens is non-toxic to humans and pets as indicated by ASPCA. It is safe to grow indoors.

Where to Buy

If you would like to add Golden Cane Palms to your collection, they are readily available online.

Dypsis lutescens Care Indoors

Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens) flourishes in bright, indirect light away from hot direct sunlight, average warmth, moderate humidity and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soil accompanied by monthly feeding during the growing season.

Dypsis lutescens has no need for frequent repotting as it grows best when slightly pot-bound. It requires regular pruning to keep it neat and also discourage pest and disease infestations. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Areca Palm, Dypsis lutescens

Light Requirements

Areca Palm grows best in bright, indirect light away from hot direct sunlight to prevent the leaves from developing a yellowish color.

Regularly rotate the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for even growth.

Butterfly Plam can also grow under grow light where the natural light is not sufficient. Check out these full spectrum grow lights available on Amazon.

Watering

Water Areca Palm thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

Reduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

Water the Golden Cane Palm with chlorine-free water; like all palms it is sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water.

Avoid getting the base wet as it can lead to rotting and eventual death of the Palm.

Do not allow the palm to sit in soggy soil as it may lead to root-rot and loss of the palm.

Temperature and Humidity

In order to thrive, Areca Palm requires an average warmth within the range of 15-260C with a minimum of 120C during the cold season. If the temperature is comfortable for you it is ideal for the palm.

Keep Butterfly Palm away from frost and cold drafts as they can cause the palm to develop brown leaf tips and eventual death of the palm.

Areca Palm has no need for extra humidity. Moderate room humidity with the range of 45-55% is adequate for this palm.

However, where the temperatures are very high causing the air to be too dry, increase humidity.

To increase humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Occasionally clean the mature leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust as well as discourage pests and diseases.

Potting Soil

The best soil for Areca Palm should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients like this quality Potting Mix on Amazon.

Fertilizer

Feed Areca Palm with a balanced, liquid fertilizer on monthly basis during the growing period to promote a lush growth. Withhold feeding during the cold season as the growth is minimal at this time.

Take care not to overfeed the palm as it can lead to yellowing of the fronds.

To prevent fertilizer build up which is indicated by leaf burn and brown spots, regularly flush them out from the soil.

Run a stream of water through the soil until water comes out through the drainage hole. Allow the stream of water to run for some time and repeat the process several times.

Repotting

Repot Areca Palm every 3 years when it has overgrown its current pot or the potting medium has completely broken down. Keep it crowded to prevent it from growing too fast.

Use a pot that has a drainage hole and loose, free-draining soil to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot. Take a look at these Pots with Multi Mesh Drainage Holes on Amazon.

Apply a slow release fertilizer to the potting soil to promote faster establishment. The fertilizer will be adequate for the next 3-4 months.

Take care not to damage the roots and don't try to seperate or spread out the roots. Water the palm thoroughly and gently press down the soil to get rid of air pockets.

Pruning

Pruning Areca Palm is easy. Cut away the old brown and dry fronds near the soil surface to maintain the palm neat and tidy as well as discourage pest and disease infestations.

Where seeds are required for propagation, allow the fruits to mature and drop then cut away the spent flower stalk.

If the seeds are not needed, cut away the flower stalk immediately it begins to form to prevent the palm from wasting energy on developing the flowers and seeds.

Propagation

Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens) can be propagated during the growing season from seeds, offshoots or splits (plant division).

Areca Palm, Dypsis lutescens

Dypsis lutescens Problems

Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens) problems are due to cultural faults in watering, humidity, feeding and temperature and include brown leaf tips, yellow leaves, brown leaves, leaf spots, pests and diseases among others. Continue reading for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.

Pests

Common pests in Areca Palm are Spider Mites, Scales and Mealy Bugs. Regularly check underneath the leaves for these pests. Isolate the affected palm to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it with appropriate products like neem oil or insecticidal soap among others.

Brown leaf tips

There are four possible reasons for brown leaf tips in Areca Palm. Trim off the brown tips with sterilized scissors.

One reason for brown leaf tips in Butterfly Palm is dry air. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

The second reason for brown leaf tips in Areca Palm is underwatering. Keep the soil moderately moist at all times during the growing season.

Lessen watering in the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

The third reason for brown leaf tips in Areca Palm is cold drafts. Keep the palm away from cold drafts like windy doors and windows, air conditioning units aamong others to maintain an average warmth within the range of15-260C.

The fourth reason for brown leaf tips in Golden Cane Palm is damage due to touching. Place the palm away from the line of traffic.

Yellowing

One reason for yellowing leaves in Areca Palm is incorrect watering; either underwatering or overwatering (soggy soil).

Water the Butterfly Palm liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

Cut down on watering in the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

The second reason for yellowing leaves in Areca Palm is overfeeding as it is not a heavy feeder. Take care not to overfeed it.

Feed the palm with a balanced, liquid fertilizer monthly during the growing period but do not feed it during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

Brown leaf spots

There are two possible causes of brown leaf spots in Areca Palm. Remove the affected leaves and discard. One cause of brown leaf spots is overwatering.

Keep the soil moderately moist during the growing season but not soggy. Reduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist.

Ascertain that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil.

The second cause of brown leaf spots in Golden Cane Palm is sudden decrease of temperature due to cold drafts.

Place the palm away from drafts to maintain an average warmth with a minimum of 120C during the cold season.

Browning leaves

The lower leaves of Areca Palm may turn brown and droop due to age which is a natural process in this palm. Remove the leaves by cutting and not pulling.

If the browning of the leaves is general and accompanied by rotting, the reason is root-rot disease due to soggy soil.

Slip the plant out of its pot and inspect the roots where black-brown mushy roots indicate root-rot. Read on how to treat root-rot in houseplants.

Always make sure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is well-drained to prevent it from getting soggy.

Sooty flecks on the fronds

Sooty flecks on the fronds of Areca Palm are normal. Clean them off by gently wiping them off with a soft damp cloth.

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