The Q&A Archives: Yellowing House Plant

Question: I bought an Areca Palm from Home Depot recently and noticed that the stems in the back are a lighter green than the ones in front. Not sure if it was that way when I bought it and just did not notice or if it began changing color after I transplanted it to a ceramic pot. Is there something I can feed it to turn it back to the nice green color it should be? The leaves are fine, just the stems are a lighter green, not quite yellow shade. Thanks for any help you can give me.

Answer: It's difficult to say whether the plant was that way when you purchased it (due to overfertilization or too much/too little light on that one side), or if it is responding to a change in evironment or to being transplanted. Areca Palm, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, is fussier about overwatering and more prone to root rot than other palms; their medium green foliage has a tendency to yellow when heavily fertilized. Areca palm does best when growing conditions are relatively warm. Since it's late in the growing season, I'd avoid fertilizing to make it green up. In the spring when growth resumes, you can feed it with a diluted solution of liquid fertilizer such as Miracle Gro, Peter's or Shultz's. By the way, don't be fooled by sooty-looking flecks on sheaths that form the stems of Areca palms; they occur naturally and do not signify insect or disease problems.
Best wishes with your new plant!

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