Growing Areca Palm - Butterfly Palm - Golden Feather Palm

Areca palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) is the perfect plant to brighten up your home or office decor with its dense clusters of lush, beautiful foliage called fronds. 

Each cluster of foliage grows off of multiple yellow reed-like stems and may contain up to 100 leaflets. The plant is also known as the butterfly palm as the long, upward arching feathery fronds form a wing-like shape that resembles a butterfly. This palm is a native of Madagascar and also called the Madagascar Palm and the Golden Feather Palm.

Areca Palm growing from reed-like stems.

This plant is not only a great looking indoor ornamental but it is a hard working air cleaner, making the air healthier by removing  pollutants. You can purchased a small plant (4-inch pot) and display it as tabletop plants and get the pleasure of seeing it grow into a beautiful exotic floor specimen tree.

With proper light and warm temperatures, your plant will add close to one foot of growth per year; however, if you prefer an indoor tree-type palm and rather not wait, you can purchase them at five (5) feet tall. The maximum height for the areca palm tree when grown indoors is usually eight (8) feet.

Areca Palm Decorative Ideas

You can use this plant to liven up an empty corner; however, you must remember to periodically rotate it for even light distribution.  It also makes an ideal room divider because of the large size. Display your plant with floor lamps to creates drama with the special effects of beautiful shadow pattern on the wall and ceiling. Plus it's a stunning accent for a hallway or an entryway and it is especially striking as a focal point in large rooms.

Areca Palm Care Indoors

Lighting:  Good light is a key factor in successfully growing the butterfly palm plants indoors.   They need bright, indirect light from a sunny south or west-facing window. The leaves become scorched and turn yellowish-green in direct sunlight; therefore, make sure the light is curtain-filtered if close to a window

Watering:  keep the soil lightly moist in spring and summer and allow the surface of the soil to dry slightly between waterings in fall and winter. Avoid fluoridated water, as the palm is sensitive and will develop spots on the leaves.

Solution:  Use distilled water, which goes through the process of demineralization to remove the minerals and salt ions such as Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Chloride, Sulphate, Nitrate and Bicarbonate.

Humidity:  Average room humidity is usually fine; however, high humidity is essential in keeping the plant looking good because dry air turns leaf tips brown.  Your can increase the humidity by placing the plant on a pebble tray or misting plant with tepid distilled water.

Temperature:  Keep temperatures between 65-75 degrees (16° to 24°C) during the day and around 55 degrees (12.7°C) at night. 

Fertilization:   Feed during spring and summer with a palm fertilizer or a time-release fertilizer in spring to give the plant iron, magnesium, and the trace elements it needs for the entire growing season.

Common Problems:  Plant is sensitive to fertilizer salts. If the edges turn brown, cut back on fertilizer and leach the soil to remove excess salts.

Pruning:  Only prune the brown fronds at the bottom of the stems and trim away brown tips and avoid cutting into the healthy part of the leaf.
Repotting:  Repot when plant becomes too large for the pot usually every two to three year. Plant in a well-aerated potting mixture or a general purpose mix amended with a handful of clean builder’s sand. Make sure plant the palm in the new pot at the same depth as in the old pot.

Pests: Check for spider mites and Mealy Bugs by examining the backs of the fronds and new growth. If plant becomes infected, spray with an insecticidal soap at 1/2 the recommended strength or you can use warm soapy water.  Avoid spraying with a product containing alcohol to prevent leaf damage.

Propagation:  Propagate with seeds, offsets, or suckers at the base of a mature plant, or by plant division.

Growing an areca palm is easy, plus you will bring elegance and sophistication to you home with the benefits of cleaner, healthy air.

It is also safe to have around pets as the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) says this plant is non-toxic to cats and dogs in case they chew or ingest it.

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