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areca palm leaves turning yellow

Areca Palm Leaves Turning Yellow: Causes and How to Fix Yellowing Leaves

Do you know the areca palm is commonly known as the yellow palm or golden cane palm despite having attractive green fronds?

No plant can beat a lush areca palm when it comes to bringing a tropical feel to your living room. It captures attention and becomes the talk of the room quickly. However, even with your best efforts, the areca palm leaves occasionally turn yellow.

Even having the name “Yellow Palm,” areca palm yellow leaves indicates a problem. But you can quickly solve these issues and have a green, healthy palm by your side.

Before that, let me tell you why has your areca palm yellow leaves.

Why is my areca palm turning yellow?

Several factors, like soil conditions or external factors, might contribute to your yellow areca palm. It could result from unintentional mistakes such as using tap water (containing fluoride), using too many fertilizers, overwatering, or underwatering.

External conditions include weather, temperature, pest infestation, fungus attack, general atmospheric state, and other factors.

As you can see, there are various prominent reasons for the areca palm leaves turning yellow; let us go through the causes one by one.

1) Too Much Sun Exposure

What do you think will happen when you walk in the hot sun at 32°C? Your areca palm may have the same feelings! 

The intense heat from direct sunlight and topsoil burning to a point can cause severe damage to your Areca plant. It will start with yellow areca palm leaves.

If this situation persists, you can encounter no growth, leaves rot, leaves drop, and flowers fail to develop. It is all because of excessive transpiration due to the intense heat. The roots and soil will also lose significant moisture and cannot prepare food.

Solution for Yellow Areca Palm Leaves

You can place your areca palm in a shady location and gradually increase light levels weekly. It will help your plant to adjust accordingly. 

If the palm is not very tall, you can also cover it with plastic. You should slowly introduce it to the light levels by making more holes in the plastic each week.

If the leaves are severely sunburned, do not worry. After a few months, your areca palm will recover and adjust to its new surroundings.

2) Watering Problems


You may have unintentionally under or over-watered your areca palm, and now it is giving you a hard time. I can feel your pain there. Nobody wants to harm their plants, but sometimes it creates a blunder. Let’s see how watering can cause areca palm yellow leaves.


It is one of the common causes of the yellow areca palm. Excessive water in the soil forces the root to swell and eventually rot.

Additionally, your stems and leaves will not get enough water to stay healthy and will start to discolor.

What to do in case of overwatering

Here are the steps to reviving your Areca palm tree from overwatering:

  • Gently remove your areca palm from the pot or container.
  • Now, wash your areca’s roots properly. 
  • See if there are any affected roots.
  • Clip down the white, thick swelled roots. You can prune up to 30% of the affected ones.
  • Now, re-plant your areca palm in a new medium. (You can also use the old pot after cleaning it thoroughly.) 
  • Make sure to use fresh potting soil.
  • Water your areca palm, and place it in indirect bright light.
  • Before watering, make sure the soil is 2-3 inches dry.

You should frequently water your tree in the summer and spring but less in the winter and autumn because it is dormant. It will prevent from areca palm leaves turning yellow.


If you already know that overwatering can cause severe issues, you may have neglected to water your areca palm. Of course, you should allow the soil to dry out, but you should not leave your areca to starve. 

As moisture evaporates from the soil, the roots will no longer be able to supply enough water to the leaves. It can cause yellow areca leaves.

What to do?

You should evaluate and test the soil to determine whether it is dry or not. You should adequately water your areca palm if you witness a scorched plant. 

You can also plan your watering schedule around the seasons. It may help you to keep your areca palm turning yellow. 

3) Lack of Nutrition


We all know for healthier growth, your plants need good feeding. You may have skipped and are now on a quest to recover areca palm yellow leaves. 

With the right products, you can easily manage the intake of soil nutrients and pH. The pH of your soil directly impacts how an areca palm absorbs nutrients. As a result, nutrient availability changes as the pH of the soil increases or decreases.

Most palms thrive in neutral pH environments (between the range of 6.0 to 8.0). If the pH is out of the range, it can cause yellow areca palm leaves. 

Here are all the factors you need to consider while fulfilling all the nutrients that will boost green growth.


It is one of the important elements for green color and growth in areca palms. If your plant is lacking nitrogen, it can cause areca palm yellow leaves and stunted growth.

You can easily encounter this deficiency in many plants. When the plant is potted for a long time, it has limited access to nutrients like nitrogen. On the other hand, plants planted in the ground can avail more nitrogen in nature.

As a result of soil saturation, nitrogen in the soil mix tends to deplete. It can cause areca palm to turn yellow leaves.


You should use nitrogen-rich fertilizer for your areca palm to boost greener growth. Allow your areca plant to absorb all nutrients, and your job is done here! You will soon catch your plants with more green fronds.


Next on the list of possible reasons for yellow areca palm is potassium. It is also responsible for growth and keeps the fronds from aging. Lack of potassium can also cause yellow areca palm leaves. 

But what can cause the potassium to lack in the soil mix? 

Sandy Soil: Potassium leaches out quickly when it becomes more acidic.

Imbalanced fertilizer: The fertilizer you are using doesn’t have enough potassium.


If the areca palm’s soil is too sandy (or too acidic), the best approach is to make the soil a little clayey. It can hold more potassium than sandy soil. However, before adding clay, you should apply the appropriate fertilizer.


The deficiency of magnesium in the soil can cause the areca palm leaves to turn yellow rapidly. It is due to high nitrogen and calcium levels in the soil. Additionally, your soil may be too acidic or alkaline.


You should apply magnesium sulfate in an appropriate quantity and properly. To counter the nutritional imbalance, you can also add potassium.

If the areca palm’s soil is too acidic, add dolomitic limestone to neutralize it. However, if the soil is too alkaline, avoid using magnesium oxide because it will not dissolve in such soil.

Updated Dec 13, 2023

Calcium deficiency

Brown and yellow dots of tip burn on leaf edges can be evidence of a calcium deficiency, as can see yellow chlorosis throughout your leaves as a whole. If you leave this unattended, your leaves probably might become totally necrotic. Still, there are numerous other causes for plant yellowing, so you should conduct a soil test to help decide what your plant lacks. In calcium deficiency areca palm’s leaves will also feel crisp to the touch. 


There are different sources you can use to increase your area of palm soil with calcium. Use a liquid foliar fertilizer with calcium nitrate and calcium chloride, or you can also add organic matter, such as bone meal, dolomite lime, and eggshells.


Just like you and me, plants also need iron for healthier growth. A lack of iron can cause your areca palm turning yellow leaves. It is the reason for the yellow veins of the new leaves rather than the mature ones. 

Iron deficiency in plants can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Overwatering and soggy soil
  • Compacted roots
  • Root Decay
  • Alkaline soil


You have two choices to deal with iron deficiency. 

  1. First, the temporary one, feed your areca plant iron sulfate or chelated iron. You can use half a teaspoon of these fertilizers per gallon of water on the fronds or soak the soil. 
  2. Another option is to aerate the soil properly or plant your Areca at the proper depth.


It is essential to the areca palms because it is involved in most biological processes. Failure to do so will result in the total breakdown of your plant, leading to the yellowing of the leaves. 

Such a deficiency can occur only if the soil is overly alkaline (its pH is above 6.5). Manganese becomes insoluble due to this.


There are two solutions to prevent from areca palm leaves turning yellow. You could either add sulfate to the soil or adjust its pH. Apply Manganese to the plant’s soil or fronds.

4) Transplant Shock

If you have recently repotted your areca palm from one pot to another, it may experience a transplant shock. It is pretty normal. 

You can expect a few areca palm yellow leaves. It can be due to root loss, water loss, new sunlight, temperatures, and humidity. 


You don’t have to do heavy work except be patient. If you planted your areca palm correctly, it would recover quickly with adequate drainage and soil. Avoid fertilizing your plant after repotting, at least for the first two months. Let it establish itself in its new location.

5) Cold Damage

Cold winds can impact the health of your areca palm to an extent. The old leaves will droop, wilt, and become yellow or brown. 

New growth may turn brown, black, or deformed in severe cases. Drafts occur in pockets of space in the room and involve a significant increase in temperature. Your areca palm can become a victim of both hot and cold drafts.

For example, placing your Areca palm too close to a fireplace or a radiator. Moisture will escape the soil and plant due to evaporation and intense respiration.

Another option is to place your Areca plant near a window during the winter. Extreme cold can cause yellow areca palm leaves.

Solution for Areca palm turning yellow leaves

You don’t have to do much except protect your areca palm from cold and hot drafts. It could take months for the plant’s damage to recover. For faster recovery, you can apply an anti-bacterial spray to prevent the growth of fungi/bacteria.

6) Fertilizer Burn

As you probably know, as a gardener, too much of anything can cause problems, whether it may be feeding. Too much fertilizer can cause yellow areca palm leaves and root burn.

If you have applied fertilizer close to the palm’s trunk, it can burn it. It can weaken the palm, making it vulnerable to insects and diseases.

What to do to recover green fronds?

You can use a water-soluble fertilizer so that it can easily penetrate the roots. Additionally, rinse the fertilizer with plenty of water if it is too strong for the areca palms. 

Make sure the excess fertilizer drains into the drain hole of the potting medium. You should only fertilize your areca during the growing season with slow-release, high-quality fertilizer.

7) Poor Soil


You can face yellow areca palm leaves due to the poor soil. Your palm requires loose, slightly acidic soil. Allowing the soil to become too compact can suffocate the roots, making it difficult for your palm to obtain water and nutrients.


You can solve this problem quickly by adding perlite or organic compost. Areca grows best in loamy soil, but peat-based mixes work well for indoor plants. 

You can re-pot your areca palms every two years with new soil. 

8) Mineral Buildup

The type of water you use for your areca palms is equally crucial as the watering frequency. Arecas are extremely sensitive to minerals and salts. Sodium is used in home water softeners to displace the calcium and magnesium found in hard water. 

This sodium can cause areca palm leaves to be yellow. Indoor plants can suffer from mineral buildup over time. These not only cause yellowing, but they can also kill the areca palm plant.


You should strictly avoid using hard tap water to help prevent this problem.

9) Low Humidity

If you are not providing your green friend with enough humidity, it can cause areca palm yellow leaves. They will continue to lose a lot of moisture due to intense transpiration. 

You can witness yellowing on the older fronds due to the lack of humidity. If this condition persists, it will spread to the tips of the youngest fronds.


You can easily tackle this problem by keeping the atmosphere humid enough to prevent excessive transpiration. You can also bring a lot of other plants to create enough humidity. By doing this, you can also have a green family.

You can also use humidity or, better yet, a humidifier to keep humidity levels above 40%. 

10) Pests


No wonder why pests can cause areca palm yellow leaves. They can severely attack your plant in a variety of ways.

Caterpillars, scales, mites, and other insects are some common enemies of your areca palms. However, mealybugs can cause a significant impact.

You can find these pests where the stem meets the fronds. As a result, it can easily cause yellow areca palm leaves. 

How to prevent areca palm yellow leaves?

You can simply remove these pests and wash your plants thoroughly. It will eliminate all the bugs, eggs, and sticky substances they usually leave behind.

Alternatively, you also can soak a portion of cotton in isopropyl alcohol and eliminate the bugs. You could simply spray a pesticide on the infested area.

11) Diseases

Lethal yellowing is a severe disease that causes leaves to turn yellow, grey, or brown. It usually begins with the old fronds and can spread to the new leaves.

Various leaf spot fungi cause yellow or dark brown spotting on leaflets. However, they mostly appear on stressed-out palm trees.


You can prevent from your areca palm leaves turning yellow by eliminating the diseases. You can use fungicidal sprays containing copper hydroxide or copper salts of fatty acids.

12) Root Rot


If your areca palm is not planted in the correct pot size, it can create issues for the roots. No plant will thrive in a container that restricts its growth and compacts its roots. 

You must ensure that your potting medium has adequate drainage. Poor drainage can also cause yellow areca palm leaves.

Solution for areca palm yellow leaves

You should repot your areca palm plant every two years to boost growth. It will give the plant’s roots enough space to grow well. Introduce your plant to the new soil and remove any salt deposits that may have accumulated.


How do you revive a dying areca palm?

The most common cause of areca palm failure happens due to watering issues. Improper watering will turn the old leaves brown and they will eventually fall off. Yellowing young leaves are the most common sign of too little water or too much direct sunlight. However, to revive a dying areca palm, you need to look for these signs and move the plant to a more shaded area. If this doesn’t fix the issue, adjust your watering schedule. 

How do you keep acera palms green?

Here are a few tips you should consider to keep your areca palm green and vibrant;

  • Do not place your areca palm near air conditioning vents or any heat-producing areas. 
  • Constantly maintain a temperature between 18-24°C.
  • If your areca palm’s leaves get yellow during dry season it’s mainly because of low humidity. Areca palms love humid weather, so, to provide that during dry spells you can mist the leaves several times a week. Make sure when you are misting, the nozzle is a bit far from the leaves, so to ensure the leaves get moisture like soft raindrops. Another easy way to provide humidity is placing a tray filled with water, near or under the tree. 

Can yellow areca palm leaves turn green again?

Unfortunately no. When the leaves of the areca palm lose their chlorophyll, the plant abandons it and starts to engross excess nutrients from the leaf. That’s why once the leaf loses its green color, you naturally can’t make it turn back green again. But some instance shows that leaves that turned yellow due to nutrient deficiency got their green color back with treatment. It’s better to fertilize the tree properly and see the results. Even if the yellow leaves can’t turn green again, I can assure you the new growths will not turn yellow.


Areca palms may look fussy but they are not. You can add a lovely green element to your home. It not only stands tall but also creates a masterpiece in the area.

While it can be frightening, many gardeners like you can experience yellow areca palm leaves. Make sure that you have planted your areca palm in well-draining soil, frequently watering (but not excessively), and avoiding cold and hot drafts at all costs.

You can also provide humidity and quarterly feeding with a slow-release fertilizer. Doing this will boost the healthier green fronds and eliminate the areca palm yellow leaves. 

Let me know which solution worked best for your yellow areca palm leaves!

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