Plant of the month - February

Plant of the month - February

Published: 3rd February 2020

The story of Areca palm
As soon as the Areca palm (scientific name: Dypsis syn. Areca) has settled into its spot, it’s a houseplant that projects nothing but calm. The palm has no central trunk – the reed-like stems all emerge directly from the soil and grow upwards in pale green narrow pointy leaves. They grow outwards in an attractive green fountain shape that looks cheerful, creates lots of atmosphere and also lends a touch of grace to the interior. Research by NASA also shows that Areca palm has an air-purifying effect in the home and help create good humidity – arguments that work well with consumers.

Areca palm assortment
The range is limited; the Areca palm that is sold is Dypsis lutescens. It’s available from pot size 9 for the smaller sizes from 38cm upwards through to substantial 6.5 metre high palm trees. The latter have pot sizes up to 1 metre, with stem thicknesses ranging from 5 to 7cm. A distinction is made between various growth habits: stem, bush and clump. Alongside the Areca palm there is another plant with the same genus name: Areca catechu, the betelnut palm. This is a much smaller brother which is highly decorative, and the nuts – which are actually the seeds – are often visible on the soil. 

Younger plants in particular can sometimes be confused with Howea. The difference can be most easily seen from the stems directly above the soil. Howea is green and has brown fibres on the stem, whilst Dypsis’ stems have red spots. Areca palm’s leaves are thinner and narrower than Howea’s.

Care tips for customers

  • Wrap the plant for the journey home during cold weather.
  • Areca palm requires a light position. However, it’s best to avoid bright sunlight, particularly in the summer months.
  • The bigger the plant is, the easier it is to look after: just adjust the watering to the size. The plant should regularly be given water (not too cold) so that the potting soil never dries out completely.
  • Regular spraying is recommended in order to prevent disfigured leaf tips, which can occur in rooms with central heating during the winter months.
  • In the summer this can also be done by placing the plant outside in the rain.
  • Yellow, old or ugly leaves can be pulled off. The plant can also be placed on the patio or balcony in the summer, provided that temperatures do not drop below 12°C. Areca palm originates from the southern part of Madagascar, so this plant cannot cope well with cold.

Text courtesy of The Flower Council Holland

Images courtesy of TheJoyofPlants.co.uk