It’s easy to see why the areca palm has long been a popular houseplant. After all, it’s among the top air-cleaning plants tested in NASA’s clean air study, and its feathery fronds add a cheerful tropical ambiance to any room. Areca palms are rich in symbolic value and are also easy to grow as long as they’re provided with the right environmental conditions. That includes temperature and humidity. Read on to learn all about the right temperature and humidity to keep your Areca palm happy and healthy.
- Areca Palm Temperature and Humidity Tolerances – The Essentials
- Typical Temperature and Humidity Ranges Areca Palms Receive in Their Native Habitats
- Signs Your Areca Palm is Exposed to the Wrong Temperature and Humidity
- Ideal Temperature and Humidity Considerations for Areca Palms
- How to Boost Humidity in Your Home
- Caring for Areca Palms in Spring and Summer
- Caring for Areca Palms Over Winter
- Areca Palm Temperature and Humidity Tolerances FAQs:
- Areca Palm Temperature and Humidity Tolerances – The Final Word
Areca Palm Temperature and Humidity Tolerances – The Essentials
Areca palms thrive in conditions that mimic their native tropical forest: an ambient temperature between 65 and 75 degrees F and high humidity of 50 to 70 percent. Keep away from drafts and raise humidity levels by misting, using a humidifier, or setting the palm’s container on a tray of pebbles and water.
Typical Temperature and Humidity Ranges Areca Palms Receive in Their Native Habitats
The areca palm or Dypsis lutescens is also known as the golden cane palm, bamboo palm, yellow palm, or butterfly palm. D. lutescens is native to Madagascar, an island nation off Africa’s eastern coast.
Here, areca palms enjoy warm, humid conditions year-round. Temperatures remain between 60 and 80 degrees F for much of the year. Humidity is high in rain-soaked tropical forests.
Unfortunately, areca palms are endangered in their native land. However, the palms have naturalized in many tropical regions of the world, such as the Andaman Islands, Brazil, Ecuador, Florida, and parts of the Caribbean.
The palms can be grown outdoors in regions where low temperatures rarely fall below 50 degrees F. In other, colder areas, you’ll want to keep your palm indoors when the temperature is much below 60 degrees F.
The palms will grow best when the ambient temperature remains between 65 and 75 degrees F and doesn’t fluctuate much. Fortunately, this temperature range is typical for many indoor spaces.
The high humidity these palms prefer can take a bit more effort to replicate indoors. Most homes aren’t as humid year-round as the palms like. You can mist, use a humidifier, place plants on a tray of pebbles and water, and place several plants together to increase indoor humidity.
Signs Your Areca Palm is Exposed to the Wrong Temperature and Humidity
How do you know if your areca palm has been exposed to incorrect temperatures and humidity levels? When palms are too cold — for instance, if they’ve been exposed to a draft or placed too near an open window or door — you may notice some brown tips or spots on the plant’s foliage. Eventually, the fronds may wither and wilt.
Other signs of cool temperature exposures include poor growth. When the temperature is too cold for the palm, it may respond by growing slowly. Increasing the indoor temperature to over 65 degrees F may help speed growth up.
If areca palms are exposed to very low temperatures, the cells within the foliage may expand and then burst. This leads to “mushy” leaves which can lead to pest and disease problems. Unfortunately, these leaves cannot heal. You’ll simply have to trim the damaged fronds, ensure the plant is within the proper temperature range, and then wait for the plant to recover.
If temperatures are too high, you may notice soil drying out too quickly. These palms prefer evenly moist yet well-draining soil. Signs of low humidity include browning leaf tips.
While areca palms tend to love high humidity, watch out for mold growing on the surface of the soil around the plant. This may indicate humidity levels are high. Use a stick to gently clear the mold and disturb the soil’s surface, allowing aeration to occur.
Ideal Temperature and Humidity Considerations for Areca Palms
When growing an areca palm, the best temperature and humidity levels are as close as you can get to a tropical forest. Of course, while your plants might be happy, these conditions aren’t always ideal for the humans living in the house.
The key is to create microclimates for your palm. Fortunately, an average indoor temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees is great for an areca palm. While the palms can handle some lower temperatures, they simply can’t thrive in temperatures lower than 50 degrees F.
Be sure to keep the plants away from drafts, such as those found near windows and doors, and away from A/C vents.
You’ll also want to keep your palm from getting too hot. This means avoiding heat registers and vents, as well as direct light exposures. In most cases, your palm will grow best in an east-facing window, a few feet from a south- or west-facing window, or in a south- or west-facing window that’s covered with a sheer curtain.
As for humidity, aim for moderate to high levels, from 50 to 70 percent. Lower humidity may cause the plants to dry out too quickly.
Monitor humidity levels and temperature with a hygrometer. This tool is portable, so you can keep track of conditions anywhere in your home or office.
How to Boost Humidity in Your Home
Most indoor humidity levels are lower than an areca palm prefers. Fortunately, you can take steps to raise the humidity levels in the areas around your palm.
Consider placing an areca palm in naturally humid parts of the home, such as bathrooms, a kitchen, or the laundry room. Just be sure that the plant gets bright, indirect light exposure.
You may regularly mist the air around the palm with a sprayer. Just be careful not to get excessive water on the palm’s fronds, as this may lead to discoloration.
Of course, misting only raises humidity for a short amount of time. For more consistent results, consider running a humidifier near your palm.
You may also consider grouping plants together. The plants will transpire, which naturally raises the humidity in the air around them.
You may also place the areca palm’s container on a tray filled with pebbles and water. As the water evaporates, humidity rises around the plant. Be sure the tray still allows the palm’s container to drain.
Caring for Areca Palms in Spring and Summer
If you live in a hot, dry region, take special care to maintain appropriate humidity levels during the spring and summer months. This may be a good time for a humidity tray or humidifier.
If you use air conditioning, keep your palm away from the vents. Be mindful of the amount of light hitting your palm; too-bright exposure can harm foliage and cause the soil to dry too quickly. See our in-depth guide for more on where to position Areca palms in the home.
Areca palms will also benefit from regular fertilizing during the spring and summer months.
Caring for Areca Palms Over Winter
During the winter months, protect your areca palm from cold drafts. This may mean moving the palm away from doors or windows. Don’t place the palm too close to heat registers, either.
Keep an eye on humidity levels in regions with cold, dry winters. A humidifier may be a good solution if levels drop below optimal.
Areca Palm Temperature and Humidity Tolerances FAQs:
What temperature is too cold for Areca Palms?
Areca palms prefer temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees F. While they can stand some temperatures below these levels, temperatures lower than 50 degrees F are too cold for your plant.
What temperature is too hot for Areca Palms?
Areca palms are native to tropical regions that don’t experience widely fluctuating temperatures. Avoid temperatures over 90 degrees F and keep plants away from heat registers or south- or west-facing exposures that aren’t blocked by a sheer curtain.
Are Areca Palms heat sensitive?
While Areca palms aren’t particularly heat sensitive, avoid placing them near heat registers. The key to a happy plant is consistent temperatures and humidity levels that don’t fluctuate too much.
Can I leave my Areca Palm outside?
You can grow Areca palms outdoors in USDA zones 10 and 11. Lower zones are too cold for the palms to survive the winter.
How do I know if my Areca Palm is healthy?
A healthy palm has fresh green foliage that looks lush and full. Signs of trouble include spots on foliage, browning frond tips, yellowing, wilting or drooping.
Areca Palm Temperature and Humidity Tolerances – The Final Word
When grown in the right conditions, areca palms are relatively easy to maintain. This includes temperatures that remain consistently between 65 and 75 degrees F, and humidity levels from 50 to 70 percent. By emulating the conditions in the areca palm’s native habitat, you can help your palm to thrive indoors. For more, see our in-depth guide to the meaning and symbolism of palm trees.
If you’re looking for your next Areca palm to add to your collection, see our in-depth guide to the best plant shops delivering palm trees nationwide.
Linsay is an American copywriter based in the Pacific Northwest with a background in academic writing and research. Linsay holds Master's degree in both Anthropology and Library and Information Sciences and has written for numerous national and international publications including USA Today, SFGATE, Hunker, and The Bump across an array of topics in the gardening, green living, and travel sectors. When she's not writing, you'll usually find Linsay reading, kayaking, sailing, snowboarding, or working in her garden.
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