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Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens) Care Guide – GIY Plants

Areca Palm in living room

If you want an easy-to-grow houseplant, areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) is perfect! Also known as golden cane, butterfly palm, yellow palm, and bamboo palm, the areca palm originates from Eastern Madagascar. Also, it is a part of the Arecaceae family, along with the broadleaf lady palm. Areca palms are soon reaching the vulnerability of becoming extinct in Madagascar[1].

Like the Chinese fan palm, butterfly palms are relatively low maintenance. Although, there’s still some important information you need to know about their care. In this article, we will cover exactly what you need to do to keep your Areca Palm thriving!

Scientific name Dypsis lutescens
Common names Areca palm, bamboo palm, golden cane, butterfly palm, and yellow palm.
Family Arecaceae
Genus Areca
Species Dypsis lutescens
Origin Eastern Madagascar
Growth habit A tree or hedge-style plant with fanning palm leaves.
Leaves Fanning palm-style leaves that ascend and curve at the apex, and are evergreen in color.
Flower Small yellow male and female flowers appear below the leaves in spring and summer.
Height 25′
Soil type/pH Sandy loamy with a pH of 6.1 to 6.5.
Germination time Six Weeks
Hardiness 9 to 11 (USDA)

Areca Palm Tree Care

Areca Palm house plant next to brick wall

Growing areca palm indoor/outdoor is super simple – all it takes is some knowledge about its general care. Although this plant can grow outdoors, we will discuss caring for areca palm as a houseplant.

From the best type of soil for bamboo palms to fertilizer needs, find everything you need to know below!


Areca palm trees thrive in soil types with plenty of peat moss or sandy loamy mixtures. Additionally, soils with a slightly acidic pH of 6.1 to 6.5 are optimal for growing the plant. No matter what type of soil you use, avoid poor plant health by using a planter that provides plenty of drainage.


This plant enjoys mesic conditions. It is best to water butterfly palms to keep the soil moist but not drenched during the warmer seasons. Even when growing indoors, you still want to pay attention to general temperatures. Once fall and winter approach, you should let the soil dry slightly between watering.


Areca palm trees are fantastic indoor plants because they grow in dappled shade to full sun. Whether you want to place this plant in the corner of your living room or by a sunny window, it will grow and thrive.

Humidity & Temperature

Another reason this palm thrives indoors is that it acclimates to indoor humidity. But there is one exception if the air is too dry your plant can suffer. So, during the winter months, ensure you place the plant in a room that maintains a bit more moisture. You can also place it in a room where a humidifier is running.


Applying palm fertilizer during spring and summer can be beneficial for bamboo palms. To achieve the best results, perform a soil pH test to see where your soil currently stands. Also, if you are going to use a palm-specific fertilizer, follow the directions on the package.


Propagating areca palm tree plants is incredibly simple. All you need to do is remove a clump of roots that have grown when repotting it. In some cases, when you repot the plant, a clump of roots may fall away naturally. But if they don’t, you can easily cut it away using a sharp gardening blade. After, all you need to do is place your separated roots into a pot of sandy loamy soil and water it.

Diseases & Pests

Areca palm indoor/outdoor can be susceptible to common pests, just like any other plant. The palm’s notable pests are mealybugs, thrips, scales, and glasshouse red spider mites[2]. Homemade and store-bought insecticidal sprays can rid the plant of these pesky creatures.

Areca palm houseplants do not typically suffer from any plant diseases. Although, poor watering and growing practices can lead to fungal issues. But that usually only occurs when growing outdoors[3].


The great news is that the areca palm tree is non-toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. The plant is also safe for humans.

How to Plant & Grow Areca Palms

How to grow areca palm tree

Knowing how to care for an areca palm hedge or tree is great once you have planted and established the plant. But what if you are new to planting it, how do you start? If you find yourself in these beginning stages, then this section is for you. Let’s discuss how to plant and grow Dypsis lutescens.

  • When to Plant 

It’s important to note that it takes six weeks for areca palm/bamboo palm seeds to germinate. But it can take even longer if the ambient temperature isn’t right. Even when growing indoors, you should keep the ambient temperature 75 to 85 or 23.89 to 29.4. That means it is best to plant the seeds during late spring into summer.

  • Where to Plant

When discussing where to plant a houseplant, we’re focusing on soil types, growing containers, and placement. When planting areca palm, place the seeds in a medium-sized pot with drainage holes. The soil in the pot should be a sandy loamy mixture. Sun exposure is also crucial when establishing the plant, so place it in a sunny location in your home.

  • How to Plant

To plant areca palm seeds, start by soaking them for a week in water. After soaking, fill a small to medium size pot with sandy loamy soil and place your areca palm seeds in the soil. Next, top it off with another thin layer of soil and water. Every two to three years, repot the plant as this palm enjoys being root-bound but not cramped. It’s that simple!

Areca Palm Hedge Planting Tips

If you’re planting an areca palm hedge, how you plant it is crucial. It needs room to spread and fan as it grows.

To plant the hedge-style areca palm, you will want to space them 3′ to 6′ apart. That will ensure that they have enough room to grow and spread. It is also why hedge-style arecas are more suitable for outdoor planting. When growing an areca palm hedge indoors, you want to ensure the plant is 4′ away from walls and structures. That will ensure that the plant does not grow into them.

Areca Palm for Sale

If you want to grow this palm plant, you can find areca palms for sale on Etsy and at local nurseries. Etsy in particular carries seeds and established plants.

Areca Palm vs Parlor Palm

The defining difference between an areca palm and a parlor palm plant is the shape of their leaves. The difference in the size of their leaves is most notable. A parlor palm’s leaves can reach 8″ long, whereas an areca palm’s leaves can reach 5′ to 7′ long. Also, the former grows in an upright position; the latter tends to bend slightly.


[1] Rakotoarinivo, M. & Dransfield, J. 2012. Dypsis lutescens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T195960A2436709. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012.RLTS.T195960A2436709.en. Accessed on 09 February 2023.

[2] Dypsis lutescens: Bamboo palm palms/RHS gardening. RHS. (n.d.). Retrieved February 9, 2023, from https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/128311/dypsis-lutescens/details

[3] A.R., C., & L.S., O. (n.d.). Areca Palm Production Guide. MID-FLORIDA RESEARCH & EDUCATION CENTER. Retrieved February 9, 2023, from https://mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/foliage/folnotes/areca.htm

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