White dots on areca palm leaves [How to Prevent]

Areca palm is a tropical plant and one of the favorite indoor plants of most people. It gives a tropical vibe wherever kept both indoors and outdoors. However, sometimes the plant may get some issues in it and we may need to treat them.

One of the deadliest issues of areca palm plants is the white spots. They spread quickly and affect the plant in a very bad way. No matter which part of America you may live in, whether in California, San Francisco, etc. these white spots can affect your areca palm plants in any place. Here we are going to discuss the white dots on areca palm leaves.

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What are the white dots on areca palm leaves?

Sometimes you will find white dots visible on the areca palm leaves. These are like white-colored cottony waxy spots on the leaves. It appears like a waxy coating on the surface of the fronds or leaves which are white in color.

Causes of white dots on areca palm leaves

White dots on areca palm plants can be because of some fungal disease or can also be because of either or all of the following issues at the same time-

  1. Fungal attack or Powdery Mildew
  • This is a fungal plant disease that results in a powdery formation and growth on the surface of the plants. It is very distinctive and easy to identify.
  • It can be on the surface of the plant’s flowers, leaves, buds, fruits, and young shoots. In the case of an Areca Palm, the powdery mildew appears on the leaves and fronds of the plant.
  • This disease can occur in areca palm because of the following reason-
    • overwatering of the Areca Palm,
    • growing the plants in a very crowded space or
    • Even a very humid environmental condition can induce such white spots on areca palm leaves.

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  1. Mealybugs infestation
  • Another cause of white spots on areca palm leaves are mealybugs. These are a type of insect that belongs to the family of Pseudococcidae. These insects are basically unarmored and have bodies like cotton.
  • They are usually found in moist and warm environments. Their meal is the juices from plants that are house plants like areca palm. These mealy bugs can also be a cause of white spots on areca palm leaves.
  • These insects usually live in colonies that they make in fuzzy spots on the areca palm plant stems. They form a white structure which is like powder in nature on the leaves of your plant. This white structure can appear like cottony wax on leaves which can affect the entire plant eventually.

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How to treat white dots on areca palm leaves

In order to treat your Areca Palm, you can follow the following tips-

  • Plant inspection- The first and most important thing is to identify the reason or reasons for the white spot on your areca palm leaves. It can be due to fungal infection or infection due to mealybugs.

Identify if you can find any colonies of mealy bugs which can sometimes be on the back side of the leaves of areca palm as well to take protection from predators, sunlight, wind, etc. Hence it is very important for you to do the inspection of the whole plant thoroughly.

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Treating Fungal Infection

  • Pruning-  Now that you have done the inspection you would know whether the white spots on your areca palm are due to fungal infection or bugs. If the white spots are due to fungal infection and if the infection is too much then it is best advised to do the pruning. By pruning here what we mean is to cut off the part of leaves that are very much affected by the white spots on the areca palm leaves.

After pruning or cutting off the parts of the areca palm that is very much affected by white spots it is advised that you get rid of those parts and don’t further use them for any other purpose like composting etc. This is because those parts are infected and the infection can widely spread if used for other purposes like composting etc.

  • Re-potting and Using Dry soil- if the white spots have been caused due to overwatering the best way to avoid any further damage is to firstly re-pot the areca palm and then add dry soil in the pot so that it gets a fresh clean start.
  • Baking soda or chemical insecticide- In order to get rid of the fungal infection or powdery mildew you can make a solution of a tablespoon of baking powder and a gallon of water and mix it and spray it on the plant to get rid of white spots on areca palm leaves and steams. Alternatively, you can also use chemical insecticide to get rid of fungal infections. For a long-term solution, you can use this mixture to spray your areca palm once every week to keep fungal infections away.
  • Vinegar- For treating fungal infections a mixture of vinegar and water can also be used.

Treating Mealybug infestation

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1. Rubbing Alcohol solution

  • Now that you have got rid of the very infected parts of the Areca palm by pruning, it’s time to heal the rest of the plant. The white spots on the stem and leaves caused by the mealy bugs can be cured by cleaning them and rubbing alcohol on those parts of the areca palm.
  • You can make a solution of alcohol by making a mix of dish soap, water, and rubbing alcohol. Make the solution in a dilute form so that it doesn’t damage the delicate parts of the areca palm. Use gloves while doing the process.
  • Firstly clean the entire stems and leaves with water, then apply this mixture in the evening and let it dry. Once dried in the morning wash it off with water. This will clean the areca palm plant of the white spots.

2. Neem oil

  • Alternatively, you can use neem oil to apply on the areca palm so that the spots from the mealy bugs can be treated naturally.
  • You can use neem oil treatment in the plants several times over the next few weeks in order to avoid the white spots from reoccurring.

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3. Sun

  • keeping the plant in sunlight if you live in sunny parts of America is very important because the plant needs it to keep the infections away.
  • Repeat the steps- Keep repeating the steps discussed often so that the mealybugs don’t destroy the areca palm again.

FAQs on areca palm

How can you tell if an Areca Palm tree is diseased?

The most common way you can tell if your Areca Palm is diseased is either the formation of white spots or when the leaves have started to drool over. Speaking of the white stuff, these can be in the form of spots on the leaves and stems of the plant. It can be caused due to overwatering of the plants or moist conditions.
Another reason for the white stuff on indoor areca palm is the mealybug infestation which is an insect that lives in colonies. These insects make their colonies in the plant and feed on the plant juices. Because of them, the areca palm gets infected or diseased causing them to rot over time if not taken immediate measures.

How do you get rid of white fungus on areca palm leaves?

White fungus on Areca Palms can look like white spots on the leaves and stems. It may be due to a fungal infection called powdery mildew or any other fungal infection that can cause white spots on the leaves of the plant.
In order to get rid of them, you can first prune the most infected parts. Next is that you can use a mixture of a tablespoon of baking soda and a gallon of water. You can spray this mixture on the infected parts. You can also apply neem oil to the areca palm plant to keep the infections away.

What does a mealybug on Areca palm look like?

Mealybugs are small white-colored bugs that are unarmoured. You can identify them as white fuzzy things on eaves and stems of the Areca Palm. They survive on the sap or juices that come out of these indoor plants and do a lot of damage to them.
However, you can get rid of them by rubbing alcohol and neem oil on the leaves and stems of the Areca Palm. In order to prevent them, it is advised to place your areca palm plants in sunlight as sunlight is known to prevent these.

White dots on areca palm leaves
White dots on areca palm leaves

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You may have noted that sometimes Areca Palms have white spots on their leaves and stems. These may be caused by a fungal infection called powdery mildew or an infestation from mealybugs.

These can be cured by pruning, baking soda, repotting, dry soil, neem oil, rubbing alcohol, vinegar, etc as we have discussed above. You can refer to the points above as we have tried to include everything we thought you might need to know about this issue. In case there are any queries or doubts, feel free to post them in the comments below.