Areca Palms Turning Brown - Knowledgebase Question

Fall River, MA
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Question by cbaker995
July 23, 2000
My Areca Palms are in containers, they get indirect sun and water (with food) when the soil is dry. I purchased them about 5 months ago. Every week, I notice more branches turning brown and dying. The plants are thinning out quickly. How do I prevent this from happening?

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A comment from jasper4354
November 4, 2017
Check for Spider mites.

Name: Will Creed
Prof. plant consultant & educator
A comment from WillC
November 4, 2017
"Turning brown and dying" is a generic symptom with several possible causes. It may be that the Areca is not getting enough light or it is not watered properly or it was repotted unnecessarily or incorrectly.

Answer from NGA
July 23, 2000
Photo by bonitin
Chrysalidocarpus lutescens is the botanical name of your Areca Palm. It's an excellent houseplant, and will thrive, providing you give it the following conditions: Average household warmth, minimum of 50F in the winter. Bright to low light (may become sunburned in direct sunlight).

Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Palms resent sitting in water so make sure the soil drains quickly and be sure to dump any excess water out of the saucer under the pot after watering. If the room is heated, mist the leaves to provide additional humidity.

Finally, keep your palm out of cold drafts. It's normal for some of the older leaves to die. Cut them off at the stem; new leaves will grow from the center of the plant. Water when the top half-inch of soil is dry to the touch, and make sure the entire root mass is thoroughly wet when you do water. Either place the pot in a pan or bowl and immerse the entire pot, or apply water to the soil until it flows out of the bottom of the pot. Then allow the top half-inch of soil to dry out before watering again.

If the plant is not getting enough light, the leaves will be pale green to yellowish.

Avatar for JWK45
A comment from JWK45
November 4, 2017
Spraying the leaves has no benefit. First, it only last a very few minutes. Second, if it isn't distilled water the leaves will end up with a buildup of hard-water deposits which is not healthy for the pores on the leaves.

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