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areca palm dying

Areca Palm Dying: Why and How to Save It

For a little touch of tropical in your home, it is a great idea to bring a plant to your home. Indoor plants have been around for a long time but sometimes a little touch of outdoors in the house adds a zing to your room in the best possible manner. 

And you can start by bringing home an Areca Palm! These palm-looking beauties serve the purpose of both indoor and outdoor plants and add character to your homes and gardens. 

But how do we take care of them? More importantly, how do we prevent them from dying? We’ll dig deep into this in this article. 

What do we know about Areca Palms?

The Areca Palm goes by many names, including golden cane palm, yellow palm, butterfly palm, or bamboo palm. The plant also goes by the scientific name of Dypsis lutescens. This plant, native to Madagascar, has become quite famous for adding a special vibe to your home. 

Though palm trees are available only in a limited outdoor range, once you look for them, you’ll start noticing areca palms in interiors everywhere, from offices to shopping malls. 

They are easy to grow and their lush greenery even helps remove some toxins from the air. Also for all those pet lovers out there, these beauties are non-toxic to both dogs and cats. 

Areca Palm Plant

The plant can thrive at home at temperatures between 16°C to 24°C but sudden, swift temperature changes might harm the plant and can lead to brown spots on the leaves. 

These plants also grow taller than a lot of other indoor plants. You can expect them to grow to a height of 6 to 10 feet.

Be careful with the amount of water the plant receives because overwatering and not draining the soil properly is the easiest way to kill this tropical beauty. Plant in well-draining potting soil, in a pot with drainage holes. 

The areca palm is a relatively slow-growing indoor plant and would like to be somewhat root-bound, so it should only require repotting every two or three years.

Caring for Areca Palms 

When you grow areca palms outdoors, it is important to choose a planting site that has good drainage. Soggy soil will almost always end up in root rot. When you go forward with the houseplant option, a well-draining container is a must-have. 

Indoor palms don’t tend to receive enough light unless they are placed near a very bright window. So, your plant will benefit from the occasional exposure to the sunlight when you bring them outdoors for a change.

Areca Palm Watering

Like most other palms, areca palms appreciate moist soil, but they are known to be sensitive to overwatering and cannot tolerate being waterlogged or sitting in a water-saturated potting mix. 

So it is necessary that you let the soil or potting mix dry out slightly between waterings. Areca palms also are sensitive to fluoridated water, so you should go ahead and use distilled water or collected rainwater.

Areca Palm Fertilizer Requirements

The areca palm is not like many other indoor plants and appreciates being fed properly and requires fertilizing from months of spring to early fall with a liquid fertilizer, following label instructions. 

Also Check: Areca Palm Fertilizer: When and How to Fertilize!

Temperature and Humidity Requirements

Indoors or outdoors, the plant is known to do its best in average temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It will do just fine planted in the garden in regions where outdoor temperatures don’t usually drop below about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

And if you place potted plants outdoors during the summer months, be sure to bring them in the house before temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Exposure to sudden cold bursts can also cause dark spots to form on the leaves.

Areca Palm Light Needs

Outdoors, these plants are known to have an affinity for bright, filtered sunlight, but they also can tolerate full sun. Indoors, your areca plants will do best with bright light exposure from a south-facing or west-facing window. 

High humidity is a necessity when it comes to keeping an areca palm looking its best. The plant will get acclimated to normal indoor humidity. But if the air happens to be too dry, it is common for the leaf tips to turn brown.

Also Read: Does Areca Palm Need Sunlight?

Why might the Palm be dying?

No matter how hardy the plant might be, it is not invulnerable and you as a responsible plant parent need to know this. There are many things that might be harming your Areca Palm and we are going to discuss them all as we move forward with this article.

To prevent anything bad from happening, you need to know what exactly might be bad for your plant and here is everything you need to know.

Incorrect Watering Habits


A native to Madagascar, the plant has an affinity towards humidity and enjoys good rainfall so these palms are sensitive to the amount of water they receive.

But remember, too much of the same and the roots may begin to rot in the pot, stopping the plant from being able to get enough water and nutrients from the soil. 

Ironically, the symptoms of both over and underwatering are the same and it may look like the plant isn’t getting enough water because the leaves start turning brown but extra watering it more will only make it worse.

Areca palms appreciate well-drained soils that hold just enough moisture and do well with  moderate watering, usually every 3-4 days depending upon the heat and humidity of the environment, less in the cold months.

On the flip side, if the soil is too dry for long periods of time the plant doesn’t get the water it needs and it starts dying. If your plant is overwatering or underwatering, you need to correct this as soon as possible.

A good way to understand if the soil is too moist or too dry is to conduct a finger test by sticking a finger into the soil about 1-2 inches deep, if the soil there has moisture but is not soggy it is most likely the right moisture for the palm.

If it is too moist or soggy it is time we remove the pot from any standing water like in a drainage plate and allow the soil to drain completely and dry a little before watering again.

If the soil is feeling too dry, water immediately by wetting all the soil in the pot and allowing the soil to drain off completely leaving the soil moist for the roots to have better growth and health.

Take a note of the level of moisture in the soil every day until you are happy that where you keep track of the moisture for your plant and keep watering as and when they are in need of water.

Check Out: How Often Should You Water Areca Palm?

Poor Soil


In a significant number of cases, the soil in itself might be the cause of an areca palm dying. Soils that tend to hold on to too much moisture or have a pH that is too high could harm to roots of the palm that might end up in a struggle.

For areca palms that are grown indoors, they will do their best on a peat-based potting mix that drains well. If the plant is outdoors an areca palm will do best in a rich, slightly acidic soil with very good drainage in the correct light conditions.

Soils that manage to have good drainage while holding just enough moisture are recommended. To have the perfect composition you may need to add sand and/or peat moss to improve the porousness of the soil as well as lowering the pH level of the soil. Consult someone from your local nurseries or garden centres to advise on what is available and is best for your plant.

Areca palms also require frequent fertilizing because they are heavy feeders. They do really well on a liquid fertilizer from spring to early fall. 

Be careful as to not feed them during the late fall and winter, however, as areca palms are known to be dormant in the colder months and the plant doesn’t benefit from them. 

The right amount of Light


Areca palms are known to thrive best indoors but don’t appreciate direct sunlight all that much. The plants are known to prefer an indoor environment that receives a lot of light, but not direct sunlight and definitely not direct afternoon sunlight or the plant might be scorched.

Place it near a bright south-facing or west-facing window for your plant to thrive. Placing the palm in scorching sunlight may cause the foliage to go brown and die and eventually the whole plant might end up dying. 

Direct sunlight, particularly harsh afternoon sunlight can burn the leaves of an areca palm, slowing the plant’s photosynthesis abilities. 

More often than not, this scorching results in browning tips or brown splotches on the leaves themselves making the plant far less attractive. Choose a good and bright spot indoors to prevent any sort of harm.

Improper Humidity 

Because the areca palm has its homes in tropical regions of Madagascar it is used to a lot of humidity. This means it doesn’t really do well in environments where the humidity drops below 40%.

Dry air in your office space or house, especially caused by continuous air-conditioning, may result in pests of the liking of Red Spider Mites and brown tips on the ends of the fronds. Although there are ways to resolve the issue.

If you have time to tend the plant it is useful to mist or spritz the leaves regularly. To have a more hands-off approach, you go ahead and place a pebble tray under the pot and regularly fill this with water. 

Also, try to group other pot plants with the areca palm to create natural humidity from the other plants in your homes and gardens.

How to help the plants?

You need to be careful about any symptoms that might show themselves and target them to revive your plant. Let’s talk about what we need to do for the plants.

Remove any dead or decaying fronds

Take a pair of pruning shears and cut off any brown or yellow leaves that you find on the tree. Make sure that you do not rip them off the tree manually, but cut them off right at the trunk. 

Try your best to not damage the tree’s trunk during this process. Make sure you properly discard the leaves that are dead. 

Re-pot the plant

If your plant is suffering from root rot, you will need to replace the current soil in the pot. For this, you have to take the plant out of the pot, remove most of the dirt from around the roots so that there is only a small root ball left, and then discard all the damaged parts of the plant. After this, place new fresh soil in the pot. Ensure trimming off any diseased roots from the bottom of the plant so that the healthy roots start growing out of your plant.

Create the perfect environment

Be sure that you monitor the daily temperature within the room to ensure that the tree is kept comfortable in your home. Most areca palm trees tend to prefer a temperature anywhere between 25 to 30 degrees Celsius during the day and anywhere from 15 to 18 degrees Celsius at night. 

Keep in mind that your areca plants can tolerate temperatures between 10 and 12 degrees Celsius during the night, but it’s best to keep them a bit warmer.

Also, the ideal humidity for the areca palm trees is anywhere from 40% to 50%. You can purchase a hygrometer to help monitor the humidity of the plant’s environment.

Place the areca palm tree in a perfect spot:

Reposition the plant to a spot where it can get sufficient light per day. But also, if the frond ends are yellow or brown and seem to have burnt marks on their tips, the possibility is that it was caused by too much direct sunlight daily. 

You’ll have to take the tree about five to eight feet away from the origins of direct light so that it can receive the sunlight it requires without being scorched. Indirect or screened light is most suitable for these trees.

Check the plant for infestations:

It’s always a good idea to observe the plant throughout the week to inspect for infestations. 

Pest infestations can quickly ingest the plant’s leaves and may finally cause it to fail. If you see the leaves on your plant becoming yellow and starting to fall, it may be a symptom of infestation. 

Other symptoms are white freckle-like marks or scales on the ends of the fronds that emerge out of nowhere. To get rid of the pest infestation problems, rub the plant leaves down with neem oil and rubbing alcohol, or spray them with warm soapy water every every other day until your tree is pest-free. 


How to prevent root rot?

The best way to keep your plants from developing root rot is to avoid watering the plant to an extent where its roots drown. Making sure you check the soil for hydration before watering is absolutely crucial for this plant’s survival. 

You’ll also want to be particular about the plant receiving enough sun throughout the day so that the soil has a chance to dry out before the next watering session.

Should you mist the plant?

Areca palm, as was mentioned, loves humidity. Daily misting will definitely help keep the foliage of the areca palm tree properly hydrated. 

However, it’s not entirely necessary if the plant’s environment has a humidity level of 40% to 50% on a daily basis, once in a while works just fine.

Can a dead palm tree come back to life?

Yes, they can. You can bring a dead palm tree back to its green self by following some methods. 

The first thing you must do is pull out any dead leaves from the tree with clean pruning shears. 

Then, make sure that the plant’s soil is fitting for the plant and that it has the ideal atmosphere that it needs to thrive.

This indicates making a surrounding with the correct temperature, humidity level, and exposure to day-to-day light for the plant. The soil should be moist, not wet and easy-draining. You can also mix perlite, sand, and moss to make the soil heavy enough to support the plant but aerated enough to control water logs.

Why is my areca palm drooping?

There are a few causes why the leaves on the areca palm may begin to decline and drop. 

The most common reason is overwatering. If the leaves on your areca palm plant are wilting, you need to alter your watering routine. Is your soil surface dry enough before watering? Are you inspecting the soil before watering the plant each session? How much water are you providing? These plants react sensitively to overwatering, and you’ll witness them quickly turn yellow if the leaves get too much water constantly.

Pest infestations can also drive droopy leaves. Examine the leaves to look for any symptoms of scales or spider mites. They will normally leave white, brown, or pink marks and bumps on the top of the surface of the leaves.


Areca palm trees are very popular houseplants, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are providing the plant with an adequate amount of sunlight daily. 

You also have to make sure that you monitor the watering requirements of your palm and everything will turn out to be completely breezy. 

Let us know in the comments section below if you have any more questions regarding the care of your plants and we would love to answer them. 

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