How To Grow Areca Palm Tree (Dypsis lutescens)

Group of Areca Palm Trees (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens)
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Flickr.

The Areca Palm Tree, scientific name Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens, is one of the most popular palms in tropical and subtropical climates because of its beautiful appearance and low maintenance.  This palm can be grown indoors as well as outdoors.

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Quick Facts:

Scientific name:Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens
Common names:Areca Palm, Butterfly Palm, Cane Palm, Madagascar Palm, Golden Feather Palm, and Yellow Palm.
Origin:Native to the islands of Madagascar.
Growth Rate:Moderate. Up to 25-30ft tall and 15-20ft wide.
Cold Tolerance:USDA Zones 10a (30 to 35 F) to 11 (above 40 F).
Light Req:Moderate, high
Water Req:High drought tolerance
Soil Req:Widely adaptable
Fruit: Yellow to purple. Not edible.
Propagation:Seed, germinating in 2 months when fresh or division.

Areca Palm Identifying Characteristics

The Areca Palm has a smooth silver-green trunks, which are topped with arching feather shaped fronds. It grows in clusters forming think clumps of many stems.

There are usually around six to egith yellow-green leaves on long petioles curve upwards creating a butterfly look. That is why Areca Palm is often referred to as a Butterfly Palm. It has pinnate type leaves that can grow up to 5-7ft long. Each leaf has around 90-110 leaflets arranged in a V shape.

Mature palms have ringed cane-like trunks which has similar characteristics to the Bamboo Palm. The Areca Palm is also often called Golden Cane Palm because of the yellow colored petioles.

The Areca Palm is a moderate grower that can get up to 25-30ft tall. It will grow wider before taller.

Areca Palm Flowers and Fruits

Yellow flowers of Areca Palm Tree (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens)
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Flickr.
Fruits of Areca Palm Tree (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens)
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Flickr.

During late spring or early summer, the Areca Palm produces small bright yellow flowers that grow from below the leaves. It has male and female flowers on the same inflorescence.

After few months of blooming, flowers are followed by light green to yellow fruits that turn yellow-orange when ripe. Fruits have oval shape and are around 1 inch in diameter. Although they look pretty, they are not edible.

How to Care for Areca Palm

Group of Areca Palm Trees (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens)
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Flickr.

Requires bright indirect light. When growing indoors, keep it within 5 to 8 feet from a sunny window. If put in too much direct light, the fronds may get burnt from the sunlight. When a frond becomes yellow or dead like in appearance, be sure to remove the entire frond.

The Areca Palm requires heavy watering; however, do not allow the plant to sit in water because this could lead to root rot. The Areca Palm Tree will wilt drastically if you allow the soil to dry out completely. On a good note, once you water it, the plant will stand back up.

This palm is extremely sensitive to salts and minerals, so if your home uses a water softener, use water from a source that does not go through the softener first, such as an outside faucet. As most tropical plants, an occasional misting will make your Areca Palm look and feel healthier.

Apply good quality palm fertilizer that has continuous release formula twice a year during growing season. Chrysalidocarpus lutescens does not age well. When new, it has an upright appearance, but with time the new fronds become heavy and bent, and the plant spreads out.

Tips of the Areca Palm Tree may also turn brown, but don’t worry because browning tips of the palm are normal. One main area to beware of with this palm, is that you should only prune off dead branches. If you clip the browned tips you might stop the growth of that branch.

A common pest to this plant is the spider mite. If the appearance of spider mites is present, try misting the plant twice daily with a soapy water mixture. If this does not work, go to your local plant or hardware store and try a professional grade pest remover. Overall this plant doesn’t require a great deal of attention to maintain its beautiful appearance.

Where to Plant Areca Palm

Areca Palm Trees (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens)
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Flickr.

The Areca Palm is very popular indoor plant that can also be used outdoors. It is great for creating a natural privacy wall or privacy fence.

How to Propagate Areca Palm

Areca palms are propagated from seed with approximately 50 seeds to an ounce. Viable seeds, soaked for 10 minutes in a solution of hot sulfuric acid, can be expected to germinate in about 6 weeks. Fresh seed, yellow to ripe, should be planted with the top of the seed barely visible and germination temperature maintained between 80 and 85°F.

Lower temperatures will increase germination time 100-200%. Seed storage at low humidity and low temperature is detrimental to germination. Cleaning seed is not essential if they are planted immediately. If seeds are to be stored, clean the yellow to fully ripened red seeds, air-dry them at 80-90%, treat with a seed protectant, and store at 75°F.

Areca Palm Pictures

Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Flickr.
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Flickr.
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Flickr.
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens).
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens).
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens).
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens).
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens) trunk.
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens) trunk.
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Wiki Commons.
Group of Areca Palm Trees (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens)
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Flickr.
Young Areca Palm Trees (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens) at a nursery
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Flickr.
Group of Areca Palm Trees (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens)
Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens). Photo by Flickr.

More information can be found on EDIS and Floridata sites.

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7 thoughts on “How To Grow Areca Palm Tree (Dypsis lutescens)”

  1. I have an Areca/Butterfly Palm. I Love it!! Its fairly easy to take care of I only have to water it about every 3Weeks or so, its beautiful, and my favorite part It makes me feel like I’m at the beach instead of in my house.

  2. Hi I have a great picture of our Areca Palm one with just the fern and one with a closeup of the seeds, would you like me to send them to you?

  3. I have a palm tree that I can not identify is there a place that I could send you a picture and perhaps you could help me figure out which one it is. Let me know, thank you.

  4. Hi. I am interested in buying 8 areca palm trees. Can you please give me a call at 912-308-8610 thank you!

  5. I’m pretty sure I have an areca palm but looks so similar to a couple others. I have only had it maybe a year and it’s about 4 feet tall. It just started to grow a flower. Is this normal because I have had these in the past and so have my parents and I have never seen one grow a flower indoors. How do I get the seeds from it? How often do they flower being an indoor plant. I’m at a loss with this one and normally I’m pretty good with it lol. Thank you in advance!

  6. I love your website about the Areca Palm Tree I have another Palm beside it that is smaller and want to know if its the Areca also
    It is also beautiful even after the hurricane. How can i find out ? I had to trim the Areca, it was whipped real bad. I still have higher fronds to take off. I cant reach them. i have a friend who will. Over the years i have thoroughly enjoyed them.

    Thank You, B. L.

  7. What is the best way to take off the beginning growth of a palm tree at the base and transplant it ?

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