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Areca Palm - Dypsis lutescens
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Written by Real Palm Trees   


Most people will agree, the areca palm is a great palm tree for indoors. But, they also have multiple uses for outdoor applications. One such example, is using the areca palm as a natural privacy wall or privacy fence. The areca palm shares similar traits as the bamboo palm; they have a high tendency to clump next to each other and grow upwards fairly fast. If your outside USDA zone includes the areca palm, I would definitely include this species in your landscape design. The areca palm is also great for the pool area, patio, or even a Zen garden oasis. Very low and easy maintenance needed for the areca palm. The areca doesn't require a lot of watering, but can be impacted with over watering. Although, the areca palm requires little watering, it can't be susceptible to long drought periods. Below I have listed a few "Do It Yourself" tips for planting a palm tree in your next interior design project.

DIY - Landscape Design

An outdoor landscaping design concept would be to line up the areca palms alongside a wall like structure, and dress them up in the front with colorful perennials to add color and to contrast the color of your home or wall. On the ground I would lay short mulch type material neutral brown in color. If they are lined up against a wall like structure, I would keep the grass close to the trunk and trimmed neatly. If you line up the areca palm along side an open space in your front or back yard, I would provide a 2' to 3' buffer area for the mulch and border of grass.

DIY - Indoor Design

The areca palm looks great in almost any indoor environment, and if placed in the right location and in the right pot, it can create a beautiful masterpiece. My design experience with the areca palm is very lengthy, being it is such a widely used house plant. There are infinite variations of pots you can choose to accent the areca palm tree. Some variations to consider is the type of material, color(s), pattern(s), and size. If the pot will be visible in your design, than choosing the right pot is critical for your overall appearance of the areca palm and your interior design. I would prefer to use a ceramic pot over plastic, or a Tommy Bahama style wicker basket to cover the plastic material, but it really depends on your design. After choosing the right pot, look for an area in the room where light is plentiful; although, it's not essential to keep the Areca Palm in direct sunlight 100% of the time, this plant does require a sun light most of the time; 60% to 80% of it's life span.. Provide about 1 to 2 foot radius spacing around the areca palm so the leaves don't touch any other object- this is a helpful tip to reduce browning. Also, since the areca palm tree is considered a tropical palm, I wouldn't place the areca under or close to any air conditioning vents. I hope these ideas help you on your next interior design encounter with the areca palm.

Please, feel free to comment on this article. Any new design ideas, comments, or appreciation is welcomed.

Areca Palm Overview:

Areca Palm Tree Naming Conventions:

Palm Name: Areca Palm - (ar-ek-A) (Palm)
Common Name(s): Butterfly Palm, Cane Palm, Madagascar Palm, Golden Feather Palm, Yellow Palm, Bamboo Palm, Areca palm
Botanical Name: Dypsis Lutescens - (DIP-sis) (loo-TESS-enz)
Synonym(s): Areca lutescens, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens

Areca Palm Tree Plant Classification:

Linnaean Taxonomy SystemLinnaean Taxonomy System:

Superdomain: Neomura Palm Tree Information Theoretical Group
Domain: Eukaryota - (Eu-kary-ote) Palm Tree Information 4 Organisms - Animals, plants, fungi, and protists
Kingdom: Plantae (Plants) Palm Tree Information 3 Groups - Streptophyta (Green Plants), Rhodophyta (Red Algae ), and Glaucophyta (Green Microscopic Algae)
Subkingdom: Streptophyta (also known as Streptophytes, Metaphytes, or Viridiplantae) Palm Tree Information Green Plants
Super Division: Embryophyta (also known as Embryophytes) Palm Tree Information Land Plants
Division: Tracheophyta (also known as Tracheophytes or Tracheobionta) Palm Tree Information Vascular plants - higher plant life
Division: Spermatophyta (also known as Spermatophytes or Phanerogams) Palm Tree Information Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta (also commonly known as Angiosperms) Palm Tree Information Flowering plants
Plant Class: Monocotyledons or Monocots (also known as Monocotyledoneae or Monocotyledones) Palm Tree Information One embryonic seed leaf
Palm Family: Arecaceae - (Ahh-reh-kay-seh-ee)
Palm Genus: Dypsis - (DIP-sis)
Palm Species: lutescens - (loo-TESS-enz)

Areca Palm Tree General Description:

Areca palm trees are commonly referred to as the Butterfly palm, and has many other common names. But, the butterfly palm is the most descriptive as to the areca's aesthetics. The leaves curve upwards in multiple stems to create a butterfly look. They are sometimes used as privacy wall or fence. The areca palm is sometimes confused with many other plants in the genus, because of the palm family name,"areca." The areca palm, above all other indoor palm trees, is most commonly found in households.

Areca Palm Tree Habitat:

Palm Continent of Origin: Africa (Southern)
Palm Country of Origin: Madagascar Island
Indoor/ Outdoor: Both
Palm North America Outdoor Hardiness: USDA Zone 9: 20 F  (-6.6 C) to USDA Zone 11: above 40 F  (4.5 C)
Palm Europe/ UK Outdoor Hardiness: European Zone
Palm Cold Toleration: Approximately 20-30, F

Areca Palm Tree Physical Appearance:

Palm Height: 12-30 ft
Palm Spread: 15-20 ft
Palm Trunk: Similar characteristics to the Bamboo Palm, multiple long and ringed cane-like stems growing slightly above the ground, neutral green color in the newer growth areas and light green in the older areas. The texture of the areca palm trunk is smooth.
Palm Foliage: Variance of greenish colors; deep green to yellow colors
Palm Foliage Growth Direction: Grows upward more so than outward
Palm Flowering: Bright Yellow, Golden Yellow
Palm Fruits: Reddish yellowish when ripe and light olive green to yellow in early stages
Palm Fruits Edible: The areca palm fruit is not edible
Palm Leaf Type: Pinnate

Areca Palm Tree Growth Attributes:

Palm Speed of growth: Moderate to Fast
Palm Radial Spacing: 12-15 ft
Sun Exposure: Medium light to high light
Drought Toleration: Moderate
Salt Toleration: Moderate
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer

Areca Palm Tree Caring and Maintenance:

Palm Caring: Easy, in the right environment
Soil: The areca palm is adaptable to wide range of soils. A good practice is to use good drainage soil.
Soil Types: Acidic and Alkaline or either one
Water: Regularly water soil, and spray leaves for optimal results
Fertilizer: Use 100% organic or organic based fertilizers for best results
Potting and Planting: The Areca Palm can be potted and planted in landscapes and in interior surroundings; it requires little soil when potted, but enough soil to cover it's roots and upwards to the start of it's trunk.

Areca Palm Tree Environmental Impact:

Areca palms, grow a flowering stem which attracts bees. Areca palm trees are typically found growing wild in clumps/ groupings near natural water deposits, such as lakes, ground depressions, and alike. The areca palm tree has few diseases or insect problems, although spider mites are sometimes found when placed in an indoor environment. The areca palm does not face any near future extinction.

Areca Palm Tree Seed, Cultivation, and Propagation:

Palm Seed Size: The average size is 1 inch
Palm Seed Attributes: The seed is sandy brownish in color with a vein-like texture
Palm Seed Harvesting: Seeds are obtained from within the fruits. The fruits grow plentiful on the stalk.
Palm Seed Propagation: The areca palm seeds typically germinate in less than 2 months. Seeds have a better chance of germinating if the process is done by human intervention.
Palm Seed Shelf Life: If not properly treated, the areca palm seed does not have long shelf life.
Palm Seed and Growing: The areca palm can be grown indoors, in the right conditions.

Areca Palm Tree Nurture and Nature:

Nurture vs. Nature: Typically the areca palms thrive when kept under normal natural outdoor conditions, rather than nurturing in a changing foreign environment. Cold hardiness zones are only a factor for outdoor environments. The Areca Palm is a very common household plant, but if planted outside it can withstand short spurts of cold weather. The initial temperature shock is minimal if kept most often in it's natural conditions, indoors. The areca palm tree recovers very well from short burst of frost.
Palm Transplanting: Transplanting causes little shock if transplanted under the right conditions. The areca palm is shocked more if transplanted from field grown to pot and shocked less if transplanted from pot to outdoor transplant hole, given the right conditions. Although, these cases seem to be true, the areca overall does very well when transplanted.

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