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How to Grow Areca Palm — Chrysalidocarpus

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Chrysalidocarpus–commonly called Areca palm–is a graceful, feathery palm with clumps of slender, reedlike canes and arching, shiny, lance-shaped yellowish-green fronds. 

Chrysalidocarpus is a genus of about 20 species of single- or cluster-stemmed palms. Only one is grown as a houseplant, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens.

Chrysalidocarpus prefers full sun but will grow in shade. Indoors grow Chrysalidocarpus in bright light. Chrysalidocarpus is a bit temperamental and can take some time to acclimatize to indoor growing.

Get to know Chrysalidocarpus 

  • Plant type: Palm
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 14 and 15
  • Hardiness: Tender
  • Optimal growing temperature: day, 70° to 80°F (21° to 27°C), night 58° to 65°F (14° to 18°C).
  • Height and width: 5 feet (1.5 m) in height indoors; outdoors in tropical regions, 28 feet (9m) takk and 20 feet (6m) wide.  
  • Foliage: Graceful feathery palm with clumps of slender, reedlike canes that bear arching, shiny, strap-shaped green fronds.
  • Flowers:  Small 3-petal flowers are borne on panicles
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Uses: Houseplant, grow as a specimen tree in tropical regions
  • Common name: Areca plam, cane palm, yellow palm
  • Botanical name:  Chrysalidocarpus
  • Family name:  Arecaceae
  • Origin: Madagascar

Where to plant Chrysalidocarpus 

  • Light indoors: Bright light, no direct sun, from eastern or western exposure. Give areca palm bright light. 
  • Light outdoors: Sun or partial shade
  • Soil indoors: All-purpose mix, with good drainage. Use an all-purpose soil mix for repotting. 
  • Soil outdoors: Humus-rich, well-drained soil.
Areca Palm, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
Areca Palm, Chrysalidocarpus lutescens

When to plant Chrysalidocarpus 

  • Set Chrysalidocarpus outdoors any time of the year in tropical and subtropical regions.

Planting and spacing Chrysalidocarpus  

  • Space Chrysalidocarpus 20 feet (6m) apart outdoors.

How to water and feed Chrysalidocarpus  

  • Water: Keep soil evenly moist, not soggy. Mist daily, twice in warm weather. Humidity, 45% to 60%.  
  • Feeding: Every 2 weeks during growing season, with mild liquid fertilizer. Fertilize regularly during spring and summer. 

Chrysalidocarpus care  

  •  Chrysalidocarpus rests during winter. Keep soil barely moist; withhold fertilizer. 

Growing Chrysalidocarpus as a houseplant

  • Give Chrysalidocarpus bright light, warm room temperature, and medium humidity.
  • Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy; wet, cold soil can cause leaves to turn yellow.
  • Fertilize regularly during spring and summer.

Chrysalidocarpus pests and diseases  

  • Check for mealybugs, spider mites, scale. Avoid drafts. Areca palm is subject to damage by aphids, whiteflies and salt buildup. 
  • Areca palm is subject to damage by aphids, whiteflies and salt buildup. 

Chrysalidocarpus propagation  

  • Propagate from offsets. Area palm grows slowly, about 6 inches a year, and needs repotting only when it outgrows its pot. It can become pot bound without adverse effects. Use an all-purpose soil mix for repotting. By division or seeds.  

Chrysalidocarpus varieties to grow  

  • Chrysalidocarpus lutescens, areca palm, yellow palm: Only species of palm in this genus grown indoors.grows to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall with light green, arching fronds to 4 feet in length; fronds are yellow-green; only species grown as a houseplant .  

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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