The areca palm is a lovely tropical plant for the home or office. The upright trunk sprouts into numerous deep green fronds that are reminiscent of white sand, warm sun and blue water. However, this is not a low-maintenance plant. Taken from its native environment, it requires regular attention, such as water, soil and light in order to remain looking good. Without proper care, the boot will lose its stature, bending unattractively, and the fronds will become spotted or brown on the tips.
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Position the areca palm near a sunny window, but not directly in front of it. The plant requires lots of indirect light to grow properly, but too much sun will burn the tips of the fronds.
Water the palm every day; palms require a lot of water, and the potting medium should remain moist at all times. However, care must be taken not to add too much at once as leaving the Areca in standing water could result in root rot.
Mist the palm fronds with water at least three times a week. Fill a plastic bottle with cool water and use it to dampen the fronds. This will help to ensure water is reaching all parts of the plant and it will help to keep dust and debris from collecting in the folds of the foliage.
Change the potting medium two times a year to ensure a healthy environment for your plant, upgrading to a larger pot, if necessary, to accommodate the tree's growth. Simply remove the plant from its current container. Brush the loose soil from the roots and place it inside the new pot. Fill the pot with a mixture of peat moss, perlite and coarse sand for the best results.
Fertilise the palm monthly when active, bimonthly when dormant. Add a water-soluble fertiliser, using twice as much water as directed on the package. This diluted solution will feed the plant without causing an adverse reaction to the chemicals.
Tips and warnings
- When the palm fronds become discoloured or damaged, be sure to remove the entire frond, not just the injured area.
- If your tap water is connected to a water softener, you will want to use water from an alternate source for your palm plant as the excess salt will cause it to wilt.
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