Foolproof Palm Care: Areca (Butterfly) Palm

The Areca palm aka butterfly palm (Dypsis lutescens) like many other palms, is notable for high wind resistance. It also makes a great privacy screen plant due to its clumping growth habit, with multiple stems arising from a central growing point.

Planting site

Under ideal growing conditions, Areca palms can grow to 25 ft. tall but also get up to 10 ft. wide, so it is important to plant them in an area that can accommodate their mature size. Areca palms prefer moist, but well drained soil, and can be grown in full- to partial- shade. Areca palms have been investigated by the UF/IFAS Assessment Invasive Species team for the potential to be an invasive plant, and it is listed as a ‘caution’ plant for South Florida. Click on the links to learn more about invasive plants and Areca palms

Nutrient requirements

As with many other types of landscape palms, potassium deficiency is a common occurrence in Areca palms, but symptoms which include yellow translucent spots on leaflets, should  not be confused with the natural yellowing of the petioles and leaflets which is a characteristic of the plant.  To learn more about nutrient deficiencies and palm nutrition, click on these links: potassium deficiency and fertilizing palms.

Pests and diseases

Scale insects and mealybugs are the most common pests of Areca palms. Click on the links for more information on scale insects and mealybugs which affect palms.


Immature fronds at the base of the clumps can be removed to enhance the aesthetic appeal of Areca palms, and regular pruning to remove old, spent fronds, spent flower stalks and immature fruit, is also recommended.  However, proper pruning guidelines should be followed because over-pruned palms are more susceptible to nutrient deficiencies, pests and diseases. Click on this link to learn more about pruning palms.


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Posted: October 28, 2022

Category: Home Landscapes, Horticulture,
Tags: Florida-Friendly Landscaping™, Low-maintenance, Ornamental, Palms

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