How to prune areca palm [complete guide]

One of the most beloved plants i.e Areca Palm belongs to the family of Arecaceae. It is also known as the Yellow palm, bamboo palm, or golden cane palm. Its botanical name is Dypsis Lutescens (formerly Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens) and gives a tropical forest type of aesthetic to our surroundings.

It’s a type of palm or cycad and can be kept as both an indoor plant and an outdoor plant. If it is kept indoors the plant can grow up to 8 feet. However, if kept outdoors in states like California and Florida it can grow to 12 to 30 feet with its crown that can spread up to 10 to 20 feet.

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The ideal hardiness zone is 10-11 USDA which can be found in Hawaii, southern Florida, southern California, and Puerto Rico. Here we are going to learn how to prune Areca palm to keep the areca palm plant healthy.

Why Should you Prune Areca Palm?

These ornamental plants are aesthetically pleasing to our eyes and have a vibe on their own. It is loved worldwide and many people keep these plants as home decor both indoors and outdoors as well.

Growing areca palms and keeping them is an easy task as they are not such high-maintenance plants.

However, sometimes the leaves tend to get yellow or brown and they might start to lose their color. Some of the common reasons that can cause the plant to turn yellow and then brown that lead to pruning are-

  • Underwatering- When we forget to water our Areca Palm it ends up losing moisture, especially during summers. In the absence of moisture in the soil, the tips of the leaves start to turn brown as they don’t receive the required water supply from the soil. Hence they turn yellow first and they turn brown.
  • Overwatering- Not watering enough is one of the problems but a bigger problem is to over water them. The roots start to rot and then the leaves and canes start to get brown and die. Hence you should avoid them both and the best scenario will be to keep the soil moist but not too wet.
  • Fluctuations of Temperature- sometimes extremes of temperature are also responsible to dry out the plants and cause them to turn brown.
  • Sun heat- The direct rays falling on the areca palm for a very long time can lead to the burning of the plant and turning them yellow and brown. Provide bright light but direct sunlight.

Not only does it make the plant look bad and aesthetically unpleasing but it is also a sign of the plant being unhealthy.

Pruning a plant means cutting the leaves of the plants in a way that the excess leaf that is already dried up can be cut off so that new extensions can come through. Let’s learn how we can prune an areca palm.

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Read How to grow and care areca palm balcony garden

When to Prune Areca Palm?

The first step in pruning the areca palm is to identify that it is time to prune the plant. You can do that –

  • When the leaves turn brown or yellow then is the time when they mean that you should prune them.
  • When you want to control the growth of the plants also pruning is done.
  • When the plant is having indefinite structural growth, you might want to prune it to give it a good shape and form.

That doesn’t mean that you can generously keep on pruning the plant, it should be done conservatively and occasionally so that the plants also get the time to grow back again.

You can remove the dried and diseased canes as well that might be harming the plant and hence pruning the diseased cane can give your plant a new and fresh start again.

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Read Areca palm getting dry – Causes and Fixes

How Do You Prune An Indoor Areca Palm?

In order to prune the indoor palm tree, you have to do the following-

  • Firstly You must identify which part of the plant needs to be pruned. It can be a part of the leaf, an entire leaf, multiple combinations of both, or even a cane. You can identify that by the color of the leaf and the color of the inner part of the cane. If the color is yellow to dark brown then it’s time for you to prune the leaves.
  • Secondly what you can do is take any cutting tool like scissors, etc and just cut the brown part and the pruning is done. It’s that simple.

It is a great idea to prune but when done often it might cause the plant growth to be stunted. This should be taken in a healthy way as it’s a natural process for the plants to turn brown. However, sometimes we might know whether a leaf can be pruned or not when they have turned yellow.

For that, you can remove a small part of the outer bark and check if the inner part is green then you should not prune it. However, if they have turned dark brown in color then it’s time for you to prune them.

The leaves and canes might turn brown for the following reasons-

  1. They are Under watered– Sometimes we forget to water our plants for a long time and because of that the soil might lose the moisture in it and they can turn out to be brown.
  2. They are over-fertilized– Plants do need fertilizers but over-fertilizing can cause the areca palm to turn brown in color as too much fertilizing is also not a good thing to do and hence you need to prune them.

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Can brown Areca Palm leaves turn green again?

The answer to that question is that if your areca palm has turned brown that means that they have dried up and that part is dead. After turning brown the part of the leaves and canes cannot turn back green again and it is best for you to prune them so that the rest of the plant can grow healthily again.

How do I know if my Areca Palm is healthy and does not Need Pruning?

The simple answer to this question is to follow the green. If the tips of your leaves and the canes are green and lustrous then your areca palm is healthy.

You can check this by simply looking at the plant and checking the leaves of the plant. If your canes don’t look healthy to you then you can scratch a little part of the cane and check if the inner part is still green then the plant is still alive and you can bring it back to life.

Read Areca Palm Leaves Turning Yellow

How often should I water Areca palm to avoid pruning?

Watering your areca palm can be a very important aspect as to whether your areca palm will survive in the long term or not. Also, it is important to note that watering and areca palm should not be underdone and should also not be overdone, there should be a balance.

Both underwatering and over watering can cause the Areca palm to turn yellow and brown and hence you might need to prune the plant. Which in the long term might result in your plant’s stunted growth.

Areca palm is a tropical plant grown in the states of Hawaii and hence needs moist soil. To fulfill that requirement you can water the plant twice during summers and springs as that is its growing season.

However, during winters minimize the watering schedule according to the soil condition by checking it before watering.

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On average, you can water your areca palm up to once every week during winters. This watering schedule will help you in maintaining the good health of the plant on a long-term basis.

However if you by chance miss your watering schedule and you need to prune the plant due to browning or yellowing you can always learn how to prune your areca palm and make the plant healthy again. Although pruning is not an alternative in itself.

Read Is Areca Palm Toxic To Rabbits And Cats?

Can you Trim an Areca palm For Pruning?

Yes, you can trim an areca palm by cutting off the brown leaves and canes. This is because the more you prune or trim the palm the more you will see that they become free from dead leaves and become healthy again. However, over-pruning is not recommended because it can make your plant grow slow.

How to Prune Areca Palm
How to Prune Areca Palm


Pruning is a great way to give your plant a healthy makeover and maintain it for a long time. Hence this is everything you might need to know about pruning areca palm. We have tried our best to give you as much information on how to prune areca palm as we thought you might require.

Not only this, you can even learn from the steps mentioned above to take care of these trees and make sure they grow healthier. Let us know if you like to know anything more about it and we would love to help you regarding that.

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