How to Care for a Areca Palm Plant


The areca palm, also known as butterfly palm or golden feather palm, grows natively in Madagascar, where it has adapted to warm temperatures. In the United States, the areca palm grows primarily as a houseplant, as it cannot tolerate cold winters. The fast-growing plant thrives in containers under typical household conditions, where it reaches up to 7 feet in height with proper care. Prized for its long, feather-shaped fronds, the areca palm tree creates a dramatic look in any room of the home.

Step 1

Keep areca palm in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight, such as an east- or south-facing window. Maintain a constant temperature of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65 to 70 degrees at night.

Step 2

Water the plant only when the top 1 inch of soil is completely dry, about once every five to seven days. Reduce the frequency of watering to once every 10 days during winter, when active growth has ceased and the plant requires less moisture.

Step 3

Wipe areca palm foliage with a clean, damp cloth once every three to four days to remove dust and leach out any excess fertilizer salts. Be careful while cleaning the foliage, as torn or damaged fronds must be discarded to avoid disease.

Step 4

Feed once every four months using a balanced 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper dosage and application. Do not fertilize during winter, as the plant is in a state of dormancy and the nutrients would be wasted.

Step 5

Re-pot areca palm plant once every two to three years to provide fresh potting soil and additional room for growth. Increase the size of the container by only 2 or 3 inches, as areca palm prefers to be slightly root bound.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never allow the soil to dry out completely or become soggy. Never use any leaf-shining products on areca palm plants, as they can cause permanent damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Cloth
  • Fertilizer
  • Potting soil
  • Container


  • Clemson University Cooperative Extension: Indoor Palms
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa: Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
  • "Encyclopedia of House Plants"; Nico Vermeulen; 1999
Keywords: Areca palm, butterfly palm, golden feather palm

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including