Areca palms are not hard to grow, but they do require specific hydration requirements for them to be healthy. These beautiful indoor and outdoor plants love water and a well-lit location.
The most common sign that an areca palm tree is sick or unhealthy is through its leaf color. Areca palms that are sick or dying tend to have fronds that are turning yellow or brown, and they will most likely be drooping as well.
One of the most effective methods of reviving an areca palm is to determine what is causing the increase in stress levels, and then to solve the problem first.
This article will cover the most common problems with the areca palm and how to revive the palms.
Areca Palm Most Common Problems
1. Areca Palm Drooping
There are a couple of reasons why the leaves on your arecas might start to droop. Overwatering is the most common cause.
You should check the soil before watering the plants each session to make sure the soil is not already moist. The leaves will start turning yellow if the soil is waterlogged.
Another cause for the areca palm dropping is pests like mealy bugs and spider mites. They can cause droopy leaves. If there’s been a pest infestation, they will usually leave white, yellow, brown, or pink spots on the top of leaves.
More about overwatering and pest infestations below.
Areca palms need to be in well-draining potting mix because they aren’t very forgiving if they’re overwatered. If it sits in wet soil for a long period of time, root rot will set in. That will lead to the roots not being able to absorb water and nutrients.
If the roots don’t get enough water, you may see the tips of the plant turn brown. Brown-tipped leaves can mean that the plant is not getting enough water and nutrients from the soil. Over time, this may lead to the leaves turning brown and eventually the entire plant wilting.
Underwatering is another reason why the leaves could look droopy. When the soil gets too dry, the roots won’t be able to take up any more moisture. This causes the leaves to wilt and die off.
You’ll notice there’s not enough water when the soil dries out by looking at the bottom of the pots. If the soil looks crumbly, it means that the soil has dried out.
The leaves will also start drying out and showing some stress. Leaves will start turning brown.
Prevent underwatering by checking the soil level regularly so you know when to add water. Do keep in mind that the temperature and amount of sunlight the areca palm has been receiving will affect how quickly the soil will dry.
4. Chlorinated and Fluoridated Tap Water
The type of water you use to water your areca palm matters greatly. You want to avoid using tap water since it contains chlorine and fluoride, which can damage the health of your plants. Tap water will vary by city municipalities, so you may want to test your first.
If you do want to use tap water, pour it into a bucket to sit for 24 hours first. It’ll be best if it’s exposed to sunlight. The chlorine and fluoride will dissipate, so the water is safer to use.
You can use rainwater or distilled water to water your areca palms. These types of waters have no chemicals added to them. They’re safer to use.
If the water is causing issues with your areca palm, you may notice salt and mineral deposits on your soil after watering.
5. Insufficient Light
Your areca palm needs light to grow properly. Without sufficient light, the leaves will become pale green instead of their usual dark green color. Your areca palm doesn’t require much direct sun exposure; just an indirect source such as a window sill would suffice.
Direct sunlight can burn the leaves of your areca palm. So make sure to place it where it receives adequate lighting but without direct sunlight. It’s important to protect your areca palm from direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day.
East and west-facing windows are best for the areca palm. North facing windows might cause overheating problems. South facing windows should only receive morning sun.
Over fertilization isn’t good for your areca palm either. Too many fertilizer applications can result in nutrient overloads. Nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus build up over time and can harm your areca palm.
You will start seeing brown tips on the leaves if there is fertilizer burn. This happens when you apply too much fertilizer.
Additionally, excess nutrients can lead to root rot. Roots need oxygen to breathe. Excess amounts of nutrients can suffocate the roots. Root rot results in yellowish discoloration around the base of the plant.
Fertilizer salts can leach through the potting mix and end up harming other parts of your houseplants. This includes indoor potted flowers and herbs.
To prevent the fertilizer salt remains causing issues, water thoroughly once in a while. Water until the excess water starts coming out the drainage holes. Let it continue flushing for another 1-2 minutes.
7. Low Humidity
Areca palms like warm conditions and humidity levels above 40%. When humidity is too low, leaves will start turning brown.
You can increase humidity indoors by placing humidifiers near your plants. Humidifiers aren’t necessary for most houseplants. However, they help reduce stress levels among houseplants. If you don’t already own one, consider getting a humidifier for your home.
Humidity trays and grouping houseplants together will also increase humidity levels. Misting won’t work well because misting droplets evaporate quickly.
8. Spider Mites and Other Pests
Pest infestations will cause issues for the areca palm. Spider mites and mealybugs are the most common.
The pests feed off the sap that flows throughout the leaf veins. As long as these pests remain unchecked, they’ll eventually kill your areca palm.
Look for webbing on the leaves that could indicate spider mites. Pests will be attracted to dust on the leaves, so be sure to dust and mist once in a while.
Try using insecticidal soap sprays to control pests. You can also try spraying with neem oil or pyrethrin spray. These pesticides have proven effective against both insects and spider mites. They’re safe for use on houseplants.
9. Potassium Deficiency
A potassium deficiency causes chlorosis of the leaves. The symptoms usually appear first at the tip of the leaves before spreading across the leaves.
If potassium deficiencies occur, look for signs such as wilted leaves, stunted growth, and yellow spots on the leaves.
Add potassium fertilizers to your soil regularly. Be careful not to add more than what’s recommended on the label. Adding too much potassium can actually damage your areca palm.
10. Fungal Diseases
There are several fungal diseases that affect areca palms. Some of them include: black spot disease, white mold, gray mold, and powdery mildew.
Black spot disease occurs when fungi enter into the stem tissue. Symptoms include darkening of the stems and branches.
White mold appears similar to black spot but only affects the top portion of the trunk. White mold doesn’t spread from tree to tree. Instead, it spreads within an individual tree.
Gray mold develops after heavy rains. Gray mold looks like small bumps on the surface of the leaves.
Powdery mildew forms tiny white patches on the leaves. Powdery mildew isn’t harmful unless left untreated. In this case, it may weaken the leaves.
Areca Palm Problems Final Thoughts
All in all, there are many ways to revive your areca palm. By following some basic guidelines, you should be able to keep your plant healthy and thriving.
Areca Palm Problems FAQs
How do you revive a dying areca palm?
Revive a dying areca palm by ensuring that it receives proper care. Areca palms require lots of water, sunlight, and fertilizer. If you want to revive a dying areca, you should plant it in well-draining soil. Be sure to keep the soil moist and that it receives plenty of bright indirect light. Add fertilizer at least once a month to help it grow.
How often do you water an areca palm?
Areca palms need to be watered about once a week during the growing season. When watering them, make sure they are not too wet or too dry. If they are too wet, they will be overwatered and end up with root rot. If there isn’t enough water and they are too dry, they will wilt and die.
Why is my palm plant leaning?
Palm plants grow towards light, which means that they lean toward the sun, unless they are supported by something else. If you want to keep your palm tree straight, you should support it with a stake. If your palm is in a pot or container, you can also turn the palm 180°, so the other side of the palm will get most of the light. The tree will start to straighten itself up as it leans the other way for light.
Should I mist my areca palm?
Mist can help provide humidity for the areca palm and help prevent dust on the areca palm leaves. However, if you have a lot of humidity in your area, then misting won’t really work because the air already has moisture. You could try using a spray bottle filled with water instead. This method works better if you don’t live in very humid areas.
How do I make my areca palm bushy?
To make your areca palm bushy, regular pruning will help. Prune off dead parts of the palm and trim the branches to make it grow bushier.