NASA CLEAN AIR PLANT #1
A great plant for the home to bring in the look of the tropics. Also known as the Golden Cane Palm or the Butterfly plant, the Areca Palm is native to Philippines, Madagascar and South India. A stunning addition to large entryways and office decor, providing a great focal point large rooms, hallways, reception areas and conservatories. The Areca palm is usually sold at about 5 feet and can grow in optimum environments to 8 feet.
Light - The Areca palm loves bright light and is happy sitting in a corner where it can see a window. A fairly bright room without direct sunlight is advised. Not enough light will slow growth and too much sun can scorch leaves.
Temperature - This palm hates the cold! Average room temperatures of 65° - 75° will make it happy and no lower than 55° is perfect. Sudden cold temperature drops and cold drafts can cause the leaves to display brown spots. This plant is very sensitive to low temperatures; if you place it outside during the summer be sure to bring it in before temperatures dip below 50°.
Water - Keep the soil of an Areca palm moist but never soggy.
Allow the top soil to become dry between watering and do not overwater. Overwatering is the quickest way to kill an areca palm, especially if the soil does not drain too well. Remember, the soil at the bottom of the container is much wetter than the soil at the top. Make sure your palm does not stand in water - it hates wet feet! If you use a water softener, use distilled or rain water. Arecas are very sensitive to salt.
Humidity - Because this palm is a tropical plant, it loves higher humidity. Use a pebble tray! Normal room humidity is usually fine; however, dry air turns leaf tips brown (this is common).
Soil - To prevent roots from becoming water logged use a well draining aerated potting soil mix. I like to use a 75/25 mix of potting soil and sand.
Fertilizer - During spring and summer feed with a high nitrogen liquid fertilizer mixed at 1/2 strength monthly. After re-potting with new potting mix do not use fertilizer for 2 months.
Re-pot - When re-potting - take care not to disturb the plant too much and only sit it as deep as it was previously in the soil (see marks on the cane from the soil to measure the previous level). This plant prefers being pot bound to a certain degree, so re-pot every three years.
Maintenance - Keep brown fronds trimmed to maintain good looks.
Pests - Spider mites and Mealy Bugs can be a problem. Check frequently for pests by examining the backs of the fronds and new growth. If an Areca palm becomes infected, spray with warm soapy water or an insecticidal soap at 1/2 the recommended strength. Spraying with a product containing alcohol can damage the fronds.
Propagation - Propagation is done with seeds, but it's time consuming and quite difficult.
Special Notes - ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) state this plant is non-toxic to cats and dogs if ingested. Ranked as NASA Clean Air Plant #1 for its ability to remove formaldehyde from an indoor environment, releases copious amounts of moisture into the air and removes chemical toxins.