Friday, September 28, 2012

Propagation of Areca Palms

The Areca palm can be propagated from seeds which take 2-6 months to germinate. Fresh seed should be planted in a well drained medium with the top of the seed barely visible. Cleaning the seeds is not essential if they are planted immediately. Areca palms can also be propagated by simple divisions; the offshoots cut from the base of the palm can be used to start new plants. 

The Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens; often labeled as Chrysalidocarpus lutescens), also known as the butterfly palm, is found in sub-tropical and tropical climates. It is also used as a house plant, where it grows well under average home conditions, but after purchasing the plant, it must be acclimatized.  In the nursery, these palms are usually grown in full sun and need to adjust to the low light conditions found in most homes. Start by placing plants outdoors on a shady deck or beneath a tree in mild climates.  After a few weeks, move them to the brightest indoor location and then to their final place. They like medium to high lighting, usually doing well in the east, west, or south windows. Simple directions are as follows: plant in a large container and water frequently but do not allow the plant to sit in water. 

Because of its dense, clustering growth habit, outdoors this palm is primarily used as a hedge to create privacy or to hide unsightly areas. Unfortunately, coqui frogs, an invasive species in Hawaii, find areca palms a good habitat and hiding place.