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Areca Palm

Areca Palm, Butterfly Palm
Chrysalidocarpus lutescens

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Zone 10

Another popular palm from Madagascar, areca palms are sold everywhere hence seen in landscapes all over South Florida. The main problem is Areca palms are typically sold small then planted out indiscriminately

This is a problem because this variety grows in clumps (keeps getting wider as new stems sprout from the ground) and can reach 20 feet in height. An unpruned (stems thinned out = pruned) areca gets very thick as scores of stems sprout from the base. This creates a very dense growth, which, unfortunately, water rats enjoy as protected homes

In the photo, we are aware the homeowner religiously prunes excess stems when they are young and small providing the clean, organized look you see. In almost all other landscapes, the areca palm is not handled properly. Even in a well known palm reference book, arecas are listed for use as a shrub (NO WAY !!!) hedge or specimen plant

Not fussy for soil (although enriched soil is preferred) or water, this is a fine outdoor palm, but is seen sold for indoor use which is not going to work. Areca palms require more humidity than indoor conditions afford, sorry. They are true tropicals and are hurt by cold

Arecas can contract Mushroom Root-Rot so go easy on the water and do not plant where this disease has been known to have been in the soil in the past 5 years