Areca Palms are beautiful additions to any home. Their resemblance to bamboo, as well as their size, and coloring make them stand out in a room so they are a great choice of indoor plants. Areca palms are native to Madagascar and make a hardy houseplant, but coming from such an exotic place means it does have specific watering requirements to keep it healthy. The good news is that if you have just planted an areca palm or bought yourself a new one, just a few handy watering tips will keep your areca palm thriving for many years.
Areca palms should be watered once every seven to 14 days during warmer summer months and between 14 to 21 days during the colder winter months when the plant is dormant. Soil should be tested regularly for moisture content. The amount of water needed may vary depending on the size of the palm.
In most cases, an areca palm is more easily managed than other indoor palm varieties and many people choose them for their lower maintenance.
However, maintaining the right amount of moisture for the palm will be the difference between a dull areca palm or one with brown spots and brown leaf tips and one with vibrant, thriving leaves.
Overwatering or underwatering is one of the worst things you can do to an areca palm.
Continue reading to learn more about the best methods to water your areca palm and other tips and tricks to keep it in the best condition.
How To Test When My Areca Palm Needs Water?
On average, areca palms need water between once a week and once a fortnight.
The amount of water needed will depend on the humidity and heat of the environment the plant is in: dryer and hotter environments will require more watering, whereas cooler and more humid environments may require a little less.
The secret to the success of an areca palm is that the soil needs to be moist, but not soggy.
The most effective way to test when the palm needs water is to use your finger to feel the moisture in the pot’s soil.
Dig your index finger, a small garden spade, or a stake into the soil to a depth of about one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half inches. Using your fingertip, feel to see how moist the soil is.
If it is only slightly moist to dry it is time to water, however, if the soil is still moist, then hold off watering. Cover the hole and repeat the test a few days later.
How To Water An Areca Palm
When it is time to water, do so in a place or a way that will allow excess water to run off completely. Cover the whole top layer of soil in water and allow it to run through the whole pot to wet all the soil in the pot.
Allow it to stand for a short while to ensure excess water is no longer standing in the pot.
An areca palm will often develop root rot if left to stand in water or if the soil is waterlogged for extended periods.
What Is The Best Soil For Good Moisture In An Areca Palm?
To make sure the soil for your areca palm is moist but not soggy, mixing or using the right kind of soil will help in ensuring good drainage and maintaining a good moisture balance. Areca palms grow best in a peat-based mix with perlite to create a lighter medium.
For good drainage, and to ensure water doesn’t collect in the pot, there should be sufficient drainage holes in the pot. Peat is the ideal addition to the potting soil because this organic material holds a good amount of moisture without becoming soggy.
If the soil doesn’t hold moisture well you will need to water more regularly making an easily managed plant more work!
Check out, Areca Palm Dying – Causes and Fixes
What Is The Ideal Water To Use For An Areca Palm?
The ideal water to use when watering an areca palm is rainwater, distilled water, or purified water. Areca palms do not tolerate chlorine or fluoride well and these are both often found in tap water.
If you are unable to collect rainwater, distill or purify water the next best option is to let tap water stand in a wide-brimmed container for 24 hours to allow as much of the chlorine and fluoride to evaporate off before watering the palm.
The other options of rainwater, distilled water, or purified water are still preferable but this may help in situations where this is not possible.
Areca Palms Need Humidity
Areca palms thrive best in a humid environment. Ambient humidity will keep the leaves from rapid transpiration which causes the whole plant system to use more water overall.
Make sure the palm is not in a drafty area which will exacerbate this. They help maintain the humidity around the areca palm you may want to put more than one houseplant in the same area or use a humidity tray.
If you prefer a more hands-on approach misting the leaves a few times a week with tepid water will assist with this or using a humidifier in the room will also help, but the first two passive methods are more consistent and less maintenance.
Also, remember to wipe the leaves occasionally to remove dust.
What Are The Signs That An Areca Palm Needs Water?
If your areca palm starts to droop, the leaves begin to curl or the leaves develop brown spots or brown tips it is time to water the plant.
Be careful though, if the plant has been overwatered or the pot is waterlogged the leaves may react similarly with dull and yellowing leaves or brown spots and leaf tips so it is essential to test the soil using your fingers to see the moisture content before watering.
Check out How To Remove Areca Palm Tree Root?
How Do I Know If My Areca Palm Has Too Much Water?
An areca palm will show signs of distress from overwatering very quickly and it is best to treat the problem as soon as possible after any one of the following is noticed:
- Wilting or dull leaves
- Drooping leaves, especially at the tips of the fronds
- Yellowing leaves
- Browning leaves, including developing brown spots or brown tips on the leaves
- Spongy and soft bark
- A noticeable and rotting smell coming from the soil in the pot – this may be a result of root rot.
When one or more of these symptoms is noticed in the plant it is best to remove the pot from any excess water and make sure it has adequate drainage.
It may be necessary to move the plant to a warmer location and then monitor the soil moisture regularly until the soil is no longer over-moist or soggy. Review and revise the palms watering schedule and adjust it if necessary.
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Areca palms are graceful plants that are a great addition to any room, they are easy to maintain with the correct amount of watering dependent on the time of year and the correct soil conditions.
Getting a few well-planned steps right at the beginning of the process, such as the best soil mix for the palm, good drainage in the pot, and a routine of checking the soil moisture will help in keeping this beautiful plant low maintenance.
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.