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Areca palm trees, also known as Dypsis lutescens, are becoming one of the most popular indoor house plants on the market. These beautiful pint-sized palm trees are pretty self-sufficient and fairly easy to grow. But how often should you water areca palm trees? We've researched the best growing practices for these palms, and in this post, we will answer this question for you.
Areca palm trees don't require much water, and in the summertime, watering them once every seven to 14 days will typically suffice. And the colder months of the year, watering them anywhere from 14 to 21 days may suffice, as they typically grow slower during these months. The watering requirements may vary depending on the size of the tree.
Many people find maintaining these plants to be relatively easy and less involved than other indoor palm varieties. However, one of the worst things you can do is to overwater the plant. Continue reading to learn more about the proper way to water areca palm trees and other maintenance details.
When should I water my areca palms?
On average, you'll need to water the areca palm tree about once every one to two weeks. Keep in mind that this requirement will change depending on the time of year, the size of the plant, and the environment in which the plant is kept. The best way to avoid overwatering or underwatering your areca palm is to test the dehydration level of the soil on a week-by-week basis.
To do this, stick your index finger or a garden stake into the plant's soil until it reaches about two and a half inches deep. If the soil is only barely moist and more on the dry side, it's best to water the plant. Areca palms prefer slightly moist soil, but that isn't waterlogged. If the soil is still fairly moist, then the plant has all of the hydration needs at the moment.
When watering your plant, be sure to water the entire top surface of the soil and not just one spot. You'll also want to double-check the feed drainage hole is not clogged up to ensure that the roots are not standing in water for long periods of time.
How much water do areca palms need?
The amount of water that areca palm trees will need depends on the size of the palm tree. On average, the palm should be able to take about one to two gallons per watering session. In the spring and summer, watering every one to two weeks should suffice. And in the fall and winter months, you should reduce the watering frequency to about two or three times a month. The ideal watering frequency also depends on where the areca palm is placed in the home and the temperature of the environment.
If your plant is placed in an area where it receives hours of direct sunlight daily, it may require more watering. Also, if the environment has relatively low humidity, you may need to water the plant more often than if it had high humidity, say above 55%.
Remember to always test the soil before deciding to water the plant. If you notice that your plant has not been growing or that its leaves are becoming dry and brittle, this could be a sign of under-watering. On average, these plants grow about six to 10 inches a year until they read a mature height of about six or seven feet. However, if your plant is suffering from hydration stress, it may grow at an extremely slow rate.
Can you over water areca palm?
While areca palm trees will need regular watering, over-watering can make the plants susceptible to root rot. This is especially true in the winter months when the trees do not need as much water as in the spring and summer months. In the fall and winter months, be sure to let the soil dry slightly before watering the plant again.
Preventing Root Rot
If you notice that the leaves of your areca palm tree starting to wilt, become yellow or brown, this could be a sign that the plant has developed root rot from overwatering. To get rid of the fungus, you will likely need to replace the plant's soil and cut off any diseased roots. The palm may also require a fertilizer treatment to help replenish any nutrients lost from the disease.
How do you care for an areca palm indoors?
The most important factors to successfully growing and maintaining an areca palm tree are providing the tree with an ample amount of sunlight and making sure that you're watering it properly. Let's look at these factors as well as others that contribute to its health.
Areca palms prefer bright, unfiltered sunlight. However, they can tolerate full direct sunlight very well. Their ideal environment is one with sun protection from strong afternoon sunlight to prevent the leaves from scorching. The best indoor locations to place these plants are near west or south-facing windows. They'll go perfectly in living and dining rooms and can also make for a beautiful bedroom and patio plants. Keep in mind that these plants can get rather tall, so it's best to make sure that the room they're placed and can accommodate their height.
Ideal Soil Conditions
These plants grow best in soil that is well-draining and peat-based. However, most all-purpose soils will do as long as they are rich and slightly acidic. If you find that your soil is not draining and get enough, you can always add sand to help improve it.
It's important to know that these trees are a bit sensitive to fluoridated water. That being stated, collected rainwater or even distilled water are perfect for areca palms.
Temperature & Humidity
Whether you plant this palm indoors or outdoors, the average temperature for it to thrive is anywhere from 65 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. It can grow well in temperatures slightly lower than this range as long as they don't hover below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you plan to place your plant on the patio, be sure to bring it indoors before the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit on average. It's also important to note that sudden bursts of cold air can cause severe stress to the plant, in which case, you'll notice spots on the leaves.
Areca palms prefer a relative humidity of anywhere from 40% to 60% on average. If you notice the leaves starting to droop or turn brown, this could be a sign that the environment is too humid or too dry for the plant. Consider purchasing a hygrometer to monitor the temperature and humidity levels of the plant's environment.
Surprisingly, areca palm trees are fairly heavy feeders and will require fertilizing from the start of spring to around mid-fall. Liquid fertilizer is ideal for these plants, and it's best to follow the instructions on the label before applying it to the soil.
Arecas prefer to be crowded in their plant pot, so it's best to only re-pot the plant only when absolutely necessary. Ideally, you'll want to repeat the plant every other year and be sure to use a fresh potting mix so that none of the fertilizer from the previous soil leaves salt deposits in the new soil. Common signs that the plant is ready for re-potting include:
- when the roots begin to stick out from the topsoil,
- when the plant begins topping over from being top-heavy,
- or when the soil begins to pull away from the edges of the pot.
How do I know if my palm tree has too much water?
If your palm is overwatered, you'll see the signs of plant stress very quickly. The most common signs of stress from overwatering are leaves that are wilting, drooping, yellowing, or browning. You may also notice that the bark of the palm tree becomes spongy and soft. Also, if the tree is suffering from root rot, you may notice a pungent smell coming from the soil in the pot. It's best to address hydration issues as soon as possible, as they can quickly turn into bigger issues that may be more difficult to treat.
Wrapping Things Up
Areca palm trees can add character to your living and dining rooms. They can also make for beautiful bedroom plants as well. It's important to water the plant properly and ensure that it receives adequate sunlight to stave off common plant diseases and other issues.
Be sure to check out our other post before you go: