Monday, November 3, 2014

The Areca Palm

Many years ago, I sold and maintained indoor plants for businesses and homes. This gracious Areca palm belonged to the Canadian ambassador at the time. It simply outgrew its space and he wanted to give it away. Fortunately, it found a very good home with my sister. She's had it for a long time now and has from time to time divided the plant by separating off some of the suckers and making new plants for her friends.

The Areca palm is botanically known as Chrysalidocarpus lutescens and is a native of Madagascar. In warm climates it is beautifully used as a decorative container plant in combination with other plants. You could use it like this as summer patio plant but it will not survive a freeze. It is a fairly easy palm to keep for a long time.

Care Instructions--
  • Bright indirect light or some direct sun. Morning sunshine is great. Full afternoon sun is too much.
  • Water a plant in a 10" (25 cm) diameter or larger sized pot when it is quite dry on the soil surface or up to an inch or 2 (2.5-5 cm)  below the soil surface. 
  • Water with up to 2 quarts ( 2 liters of water) for a 10" (25 cm)diameter pot, and up to 1 gallon (almost 4 liters) of water for a plant in a 14"(35 cm) diameter pot, when necessary.
  • Soil moisture meters are helpful for some and available at many garden centers and online
  • Fertilize regularly.
  • Dust the leaves when necessary
  • Some extra humidity would be appreciated. A daily misting would be helpful.
Propagating the Areca Palm--
  • Take the palm out of its pot. Since it grows as separate suckers in clumps, you can separate as many suckers from the clump as you would like to. After deciding how many you want to remove for a new plant, cut through the soil with a large knife and separate that part of the clump by gently pulling it away from the main plant, along with its roots.
  • Put the new plant in a pot that is sized right for the amount you removed (it should look like a good fit, not too large or small). Add new soil and water.You may need to add a layer of soil to the bottom of the pot, first. Pat it down firmly. 
  • Make sure the soil is firmly packed around the plant, otherwise the water won't soak through evenly. After you've gotten it centered and settled, make sure the soil is firmly packed around the edges of the pot.
  •   Add new soil to replace what is missing in the the main plant, then water it, too.


***To watch short video clips from my 90's TV series, click below:


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