The Areca Palm – Dypsis lutescens – Chrysalidocarpus lutescens – are tropical plants and a member of the Arecaceae (Palmae) family. These plants are popular and kept as a houseplant. Houseplants need fertilizing – right? What kind of Areca palm fertilizer should you use?
How Do You Fertilize Your Areca Palm Correctly?
If your tree is growing outdoors, you can give it a good quality granular fertilizer formulated explicitly for palm trees. It should contain an abundance of micronutrients.
Look for a palm fertilizer with an NPK rating of 8– 2–12. This should be a slow-release formula that you can provide early in the springtime, once mid-summer, and again in the autumn.
If your plant is planted directly into the landscape, you can use as much as 1 1/2 pounds of good fertilizer for every 100 square feet of the canopy of your palm tree.
What Kinds of Micronutrients Does the Areca Palm Need?
Look for these ingredients in a good fertilizer for your palm tree:
The right balance of these nutrients and micronutrients results in a good interaction between them and the plant.
Fertilize Container Areca Palms Sparingly
It’s best not to fertilize an Areca Palm in a container. In this sort of setting, fertilizer salts can build up to dangerous levels. So if your plant is in a container, you must take great care not to over-fertilize.
If you do fertilize, use a good quality time-released pelleted fertilizer in the springtime. Only use a teaspoon full of fertilizer for a 6″ inch pot. In a 10″ pot, use a tablespoon full. After fertilizing, water thoroughly.
Another option is to apply a balanced liquid fertilizer at 1/2 strength once per month.
In Good Soil, Areca Palm Doesn’t Need Additional Fertilizer
The bottom line is, be careful in all aspects regarding what you introduce to the soil, especially in a container. For example, salt can build up, as fluoride and chlorine can be watered with tap water. These can all interfere with your plants’ ability to absorb micronutrients.
For these reasons, it’s wiser to provide your plant with a foliar micronutrient spray than to add fertilizer to the soil. Anecdotal evidence indicates that many palm tree enthusiasts use a homemade solution of kelp meal tea for this purpose.
You’ll need a gallon of rainwater, filtered water, or distilled water and a quarter of a cup of kelp meal. Combine the ingredients in a large jug with a lid.
Set the jug in a cool dark place for two or three days. Remember to shake it up daily.
When the steeping period is over, strain the liquid into your sprayer and apply it to your palm tree’s leaves. It’s best to use this early in the morning so that your plant can absorb the nutrients, and the liquid can evaporate a bit before the sun gets too hot.
You can also use this kelp tea to water your palm tree. Either way, don’t overdo it. Once early in the springtime and again, midsummer should be plenty.
Easy Care With Simple Steps
Areca palm plants are remarkably easy to care for with these simple steps.
1. Remember that the Areca Palm is quite cold-sensitive and likes medium humidity levels. Therefore, keep your Areca Palm in the area where it will receive bright, indirect sunlight, consistent warmth, and good air circulation.
2. Give your small palm tree a coarse, well-draining potting mix and water it regularly to keep the soil moist. As with most houseplants, avoid allowing the plant to stand in water.
3. When repotted annually or semiannually, you will probably not need to give your plant any fertilizer. If you do decide to fertilize, be careful not to overdo it. This can weaken your palm tree and make it susceptible to pest infestation and yellowing leaves.