Browning Leaves On Areca Palm - Knowledgebase Question

New York, NY
Question by Nancy_Agabab
October 20, 1998
My new Areca palm seems to have several outside fronds turning brown. Is that normal leaf-shedding activity, perhaps an adjustment phase to a new environment, lack of light/water??? Too much water? Drafts? How often should one water an indoor Areca palm, and how does lack of adequate light affect a plant like that?

Answer from NGA
October 20, 1998


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. Hope this answers all of your questions!

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