Areca palms need very specific living conditions to thrive and there are many reasons why your plant might be dying.
The most common reasons for which your Areca palm is dying include overwatering or underwatering, too little or too much light, too much fertilizer, too low humidity, using chlorinated or fluoridated water, a poor repotting technique, or a pest infestation.
This article lists all the reasons why your Areca palm might be dying and what you can do to keep your palm happy and healthy.
What are the Ideal Conditions for my Areca Palm?
Areca palms are large, glossy, and attractive indoor plants that are popular thanks to their elegant long stems and bamboo-like fronds.
They are native to Madagascar and BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine indicates that you need to replicate these conditions as best as you are able. These plants need a warm and humid environment, indirect light, and just the right amount of water – not too much and not too little.
If you can’t get the conditions just right, your Areca will struggle.
Reasons Why Your Areca Palm Might Be Dying-
Here is a list of possible reasons why your Areca palm might be dying.
Areca palms need sunlight but just not too much. Indirect is best. Full sunlight will quickly turn the leaves yellowish-green and it won’t take long for the plant to die.
It might take some trial and error to find the perfect spot for your palm, but it will be worth it. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, they prefer a spot close to a south- or west-facing window. The reverse is true if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, so place your palm close to the north- or east-facing window.
The Incorrect Amount of Water
It is possible to both underwater and overwater your Areca palm, so it is important to get the balance just right.
- Firstly, you need to use well-draining potting soil and a pot with enough drainage holes to make sure your palm is not sitting in cold, soggy compost
- Secondly, you need to let the top two inches of the soil dry out between watering
- Thirdly, you need to water more during the warmer months and less during the winter months.
Watering properly will prevent common killers like root-rot, which thrives when the soil gets too soggy.
It’s also a great idea to invest in a good-quality spray bottle. Areca palms love warm, moist conditions, so they’ll appreciate a spray two to three times per week, on both the tops and bottoms of the leaves.
Fertilizing Too Little or Too Much
If your Areca lives in a pot in the house, you’ll need to help it grow with some food, also known as fertilizer. BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine suggests that a balanced fertilizer is best, especially if it is suited to indoor plants.
Just make sure you apply the fertilizer every couple of months during the warmer seasons when it likes to grow, and nothing when the plant is resting during the cooler months.
Too little fertilizer and the plant doesn’t get the nutrients it needs to grow. Too much fertilizer will cause the nitrogen and phosphorous levels to rise. This may dehydrate the root system, causing ‘fertilizer burn’.
Poor Repotting Technique
It might seem counter-intuitive, but Areca palms like living in snug, tight pots. You should avoid repotting unless the plant is completely rootbound and you can see roots struggling to escape the bottom of the pot.
If you do choose to repot, use a new pot that is slightly larger than the old one, perhaps just 2-4 inches, and only complete the task in spring. And wait a couple of months before you fertilize, as this can damage the roots.
The Humidity is Too Low
Areca palms thrive in tropical and sub-tropical environments. That means they grow best when it’s warm and moist.
Keeping your house to between 60° and 75° Fahrenheit (between 16°C and 24° Celsius) will promote a plant that can get as tall as 10 feet (around 3 meters)! They will survive all year round indoors, in houses in USDA zones 10 to 11, where low winter temperatures stay above freezing.
If you live in a dry area, you can increase the humidity by spraying your palm’s leaves with water two to three times per week.
Using Chlorinated or Fluoridated Water
Areca palms are sensitive to water with chlorine and fluoride. If possible, water only with rainwater, distilled or purified water. A tap filter is a great way to remove any impurities.
Your plant is infested with pests
Your Areca palm can become infested with pests if you have not provided optimum growing conditions. If the infestations go untreated, the plant can suffer and even die.
Here are some of the more common infestations:
Red spider mite
These pests thrive when the air is too dry and you can spot them easily when the leaves of the Areca palm become mottled and the stems are covered in fine white webbing.
If you care to get a look at the mites themselves, take a magnifying glass to the underside of the leaf and you will see them and their small, dark eggs.
You can get rid Red spider mites with an insecticidal soap that contains fatty acids or plant oils. To stop it from happening again, move the plant to a more humid spot in the house.
Also attracted to dry conditions, mealybugs look like white, fluffy cotton buds clinging to the underside of the leaves. They are hard to eradicate, but you can be successful with time and patience.
Take a damp cloth or cotton bud and apply some insecticide to the affected area. Make sure you use one that contains fatty acids or plant oils and continue the treatment regularly until the mealybugs are gone.
Scale insects are small, brown, and around 1/4 of an inch long. You can remove them by wiping the leaves with a damp cloth soaked in an insecticide that contains fatty acids.
These are some common reasons which probably are causing the death of your favorite Areca palm. Preventing the probable causes and giving an optimum growing condition to them will eventually help your plants to grow again.