Areca Palm Tree

The Golden Butterfly Palm

Chrysalidocarpus lutescens syn.
Dypsis lutescens

Areca palm tree propagation and cold tolerance information. Indoor golden cane palm care requirements. Treating yellowing areca palms. Pictures of golden butterfly palms growing in a landscape and in containers.

Chrysalidocarpus lutescens Fruit

Fruit of the areca palm tree.

This slow-growing, clumping cane palm is one of the best indoor palm trees you can grow. The light green fronds consist of many inch wide by foot long strap-shaped leaflets and arch gently.

The green and gold canes are ringed like bamboo. These will grow to a height of 6-10 feet in a container. Perhaps 15 feet when planted in the ground. Expect a mature Chrysalidocarpus lutescens to achieve a 6 foot spread.

New canes will keep growing from the base as the older, taller canes mature. Their fronds partially cover the thin canes and give mature specimens a unique appearance.

Areca palms are sometimes referred to as golden cane, golden feather, or butterfly palms.


Areca Palm Care

Butterfly palm tree growing at Leu Gardens.

Buy an 8' Areca Palm - Medium Palm Tree

The most critical aspect of areca palm care is maintaining sufficient humidity around the plant. An atmosphere that is too dry will kill this palm slowly.

Keep the soil evenly moist as well.

Space outdoor plants 4-6 feet apart in semi-sunny locations where winter temperatures will remain above 20 degrees F. The soil should be rich, mildly acidic and well draining.

Young trees are more sensitive to cold than mature specimens. Healthy, older plants can survive a few more degrees of frost.

When planted in a row, areca palm trees make pretty privacy screens in zones 9b-11. They are most often planted outdoors in Southern California and South Florida.

Feed areca palm plants every 4 months with a palm tree fertilizer.


Treating Yellowing Areca Palms

Golden cane palm picture.

Remember, this is a golden cane palm. Its canes and leaves are normally a yellowish green. This golden tint is accentuated by hunger and intense sun or heat.

Dypsis lutescens fronds will turn abnormally yellow if the soil is allowed to dry out. The leaves will not recover from this. Remove the yellow fronds and remember to water the plant regularly in the future.

Never feed a palm while it is under drought stress. Water it first. Apply the fertilizer a day or 2 later.

The leaves will also spot in response to certain mineral salts in the water. Once this becomes too noticeable, remove these fronds as well. Just be careful of removing too many fronds at one time.

Palms eat through their fronds. It is hard for a palm to recover from the loss of many fronds at once.


Areca Palm Propagation

Areca palm trees are the focal point in this front yard landscape design.

Propagate by sowing fresh, overripe areca palm seeds. Or you can divide the clump in the spring. A potted areca palm may form as many as a dozen canes.

If you sow seed, be patient. They may take as long as 180 days to sprout.


Areca Palm - Seeds
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Growing Areca Palm Trees Indoors

Picture of an areca palm tree in a pot.

This butterfly palm is flourishing in a pot situated in a bright corner.

Good light is important if you are going to be keeping this plant inside year round. If the palm will be rotated out during warm weather, you may be surprised at how dim an area it can be sited in when it's indoors.

This next picture will show you better than I can tell you:

Areca palm tree in a pot in dim light at Bahama Breeze.

I discovered this areca palm tree growing in a dimly lit corner of the restaurant we celebrated my birthday at.

I did not adjust the exposure on the image. It was just that dark in there.

Now, I don't imagine that this tree will remain healthy in such a low light environment indefinitely. If you try this at home, you will need to keep a close watch on your plant--it will let you know just how much of this nonsense it is willing to put up with--and move it into brighter light from time to time.

Remember never to move a palm from any indoor location to a full sun outdoor location in 1 move.

The fronds will burn.

Give it time to adjust by spending a few days in the shade first.


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Other Types of Feather Palms:

Canary Island Date Palm Tree: the Palm with the Pineapple Crown Nut

Phoenix roebelenii, the Graceful Pygmy Date

The Easy to Grow Spindle Palm

Go back to Indoor Palm Trees

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