The areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) is a tropical evergreen tree that can reach 30 feet tall. Native to Madagascar, outside of tropical regions in the U.S., it is generally grown potted, as a houseplant. When you first bring your areca palm home, it must gradually acclimate to the indoor environment. Set it outdoors in a shady area. In two weeks, move the plant to a bright area, indoors.
Water the areca palm with distilled water, as it does not tolerate fluoride. Water often enough to keep the soil slightly moist. When a fingertip inserted into the top 1/2 inch of soil comes out dry, it is time to water. In winter, allow the soil to dry to two inches. Don't allow water to remain in the pot's saucer.
Fertilize the areca palm, every three months, with 19-6-12 fertilizer, according to the rate suggested on the product's label. Discontinue fertilizing in mid-fall and begin again in late winter.
Wipe the areca's fronds periodically with a soft, damp cloth.
Inspect the areca palm periodically for signs of spider mites. Use an insecticidal soap to control an infestation. Apply the product according to the instructions on the label.