The areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) is one of the most popular indoor palms grown as houseplants. It’s lovely to look at, adds a warm tropical vibe to any interior space, and they’re incredibly easy to grow. On top of all that, areca palms also offer a variety of surprising uses and benefits. Read on to find out more!
The Uses and Benefits of Areca Palms
1. Air Purifying Properties
Areca palms can help to purify the air inside your home. According to NASA’s clean air study, areca palms actively remove airborne toxins, including formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from the air. This helps clear your indoor air of pollution and toxins, making it much safer and cleaner for you to breathe.
2. Increases Oxygen
Plants naturally breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen as a part of the process of photosynthesis. So, all living houseplants naturally replenish the oxygen in your indoor air. Plants with a greater surface area of leaves, however, are able to produce more oxygen than plants with less leafy surface area. As a result, areca palms, with their copious green fronds, produce a greater amount of oxygen compared to less leafy houseplants.
3. Areca Palms Improve Indoor Humidity
To prevent themselves from holding too much moisture, areca palms actually release moisture through their palm fronds. As a result, areca palms are a wonderful and natural way to increase the humidity of the air inside a dry home. With an areca palm, you can help prevent the air in your house from drying out due to living in an arid environment, running the air conditioning, running a furnace, or using a wood-burning stove.
4. Creates Positive Energy in Feng Shui
With its soft, fluffy, and full palm leaves, the areca palm is a prime example of a good feng shui plant. This plant’s soft textures and fullness draw positive energy into a space. In addition to drawing in positive energy, areca palms are also thought to attract wealth, prosperity, and peace.
For this reason, they are the perfect choice for placing in an entryway. When placed near a front door, it’s important to balance the doorway by placing similarly sized areca palms on either side of the front door.
No matter where you place your areca palms, be sure you position them in a section of your Bagua map where you desire to draw in these energies. Plus, be sure you choose a location with enough space for your areca palm so that it does not become crowded and create an unwanted roadblock in the flow of energy through your house.
5. Areca Palms are Low-Maintenance and Easy to Care For
Areca palms are relatively low-maintenance and easy to care for and don’t suffer from too many common pests and diseases. The primary considerations for growing areca palms are ensuring your plant has enough water, is potted in a container, and has soil that drains easily while retaining some moisture.
Areca palms prefer bright, indirect (or filtered) sunlight (too much direct sunlight can lead to yellowing or brown tips) and warm temperatures. They also like to have moist soil that is never soggy. In the spring and summer, you will need to water your areca palm slightly more often than in the fall and winter months when the plant is dormant.
Dead canes should be pruned from the plant as close to the base as possible. Areca palms do not usually need to be fertilized – especially if you plan to repot yours every couple of years.
6. A Favorite in Modern Decor
One of the primary benefits of areca palms and the main reason most people choose to grow them is their ornamental value. Areca palms are really beautiful houseplants that have vibrant green, soft, and lush palm fronds.
In addition to being beautiful, they are also impressive in size. They can grow about six to 10 inches every year, and healthy indoor plants can reach five to eight feet in height at maturity. Areca palms are great for warming up an empty corner or creating a striking centerpiece in a large foyer.
7. Areca Palms are Easy to Propagate
Areca palms are also quite easy to propagate. They can be propagated from seed, but this takes a long time for germination and initial growth. The preferred method is to propagate plants by splitting them during the repotting process.
Areca palms are easy to split. When repotting, simply divide the root ball between sections of individual canes (or stem sprouts). Depending on the size of your areca palm, you might be able to start several new plants from one. Using this method, you can quickly create more plants for your home or to be given away as thoughtful gifts.
8. Can Help With Allergies
Areca palms are among the best plants for people who suffer from allergies. They have lower pollen counts that likely won’t exacerbate allergy symptoms. They also help to lower the pollen count of your indoor air by increasing the humidity, which causes allergens to fall more quickly to the floor.
9. Areca Palms are Drought Resistant
Although areca palms prefer to have a slightly moist or humid soil environment at all times, they are actually surprisingly fairly drought tolerant (at least once they are well-established). If your plant is newly potted or new to your home, it’s best to keep its soil moist. However, once you have had your plant for a while and its roots have grown into its pot, it will be able to tolerate periods of dryness. In suitable climates, these also make excellent potted palm trees for outdoor areas.
10. Reduces Stress
Houseplants, like areca palms, have been shown to help reduce stress by helping people to feel more comfortable, calm, soothed, and natural in indoor environments. The act of gardening (caring for plants) has also been shown to reduce the body’s physiological stress response by lowering blood pressure and heart rate.
11. Areca Palms May Boost Your Productivity
Whether you’re currently working from your home or at the office, living plants (just like areca palms) can help improve your productivity. Studies have found that houseplants kept in work environments help to increase productivity, making workers feel more alert, attentive, on-task, focused, and less stressed.
12. Improves Memory, Attention Span, and Smarts
Spending time around plants has been shown to increase memory by up to 20%. Additionally, plants help lengthen your attention span while improving cognitive function and the ability to focus, and as a result, they (areca palms included) can make you smarter.
13. Helps You Sleep at Night
Everyone’s oxygen levels in their blood become lower at night. However, all of your body’s cells and systems need oxygen to function correctly. While many plants are not recommended for bedrooms because they release carbon dioxide at night, the areca palm uses a metabolic process called crassulacean acid metabolism to continue photosynthesis and the releasing of oxygen throughout the night. As a result, areca palm plants can increase the oxygen level in your bedroom at nighttime, helping you get healthier, more restful sleep.
14. Areca Palms are Safe for Pets
If you are a dog or cat lover and have pets living in your home with you, then you know how important it is to maintain a safe environment for your playful and curious furry friends – and this means choosing to grow houseplants that are safe for your pets. Along with all of its other numerous benefits, the areca palm is also not toxic to cats and dogs, making it a safe choice for households with pets.
It’s Easy to Enjoy All the Benefits of Areca Palms
Since areca palms are low-maintenance and popular, it’s simple to enjoy all of their uses and benefits. Areca palms can be found at most garden centers and online houseplant shops. Plus, they’re super-easy to care for. So, why not start growing one in your home or office today?
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.