11 Common Reasons for Yellowing Leaves on Areca Palms

Areca palms (Dypsis lutescens) are some of the best indoor palm trees to add to your home. These tropical plants are popular thanks to their beautiful arching fronds. So it can be distressing if these leaves start turning yellow. In this article, I’ll examine 11 common reasons for yellowing leaves on Areca palms.

11 Common Reasons for Yellowing Leaves on Areca Palms

11 Common Reasons Areca Palm Leaves Turn Yellow:

1) Overwatering

Overwatering is the most common reason why Areca palm leaves turn yellow. Overwatering leads to waterlogged soil, which can cause problems like root rot.

If your Areca palm has drooping, yellowing leaves, check whether the soil feels waterlogged. If it does, check if the roots are brown, mushy, or smelly. These symptoms indicate root rot.

Repot the plant or add some perlite to the soil to improve drainage. To avoid overwatering, only water your Areca palm when the top few inches of soil feel dry.

2) Underwatering

Your Areca palm may also develop yellow leaves if it isn’t getting enough water. Underwatering is a common problem during hot, dry summers. Yellow leaves with brown tips or dry soil that pulls away from the pot are tell-tale symptoms of underwatering.

To rehydrate your Areca palm, place its nursery pot in a shallow tray of water. Let the plant soak up as much as it needs before removing it from the tray. Water your Areca palm more frequently during hot summers.

3) Incorrect Temperature or Humidity

Areca palms like warm temperatures between 65 and 75ºF and moderate to high humidity levels between 50 and 70%. However, Areca palms can develop yellow leaves if they are exposed to cold temperatures or dry air.

Keep Areca palms away from cold or dry drafts that lower the ambient temperature or humidity. Drafts typically come from air vents, open windows, and heaters. Drooping leaves are another symptom of incorrect temperature or humidity. Increase the humidity around your Areca palm by using humidifiers or pebble trays.

4) Too Much Sunlight

Too Much Sunlight

Areca palms thrive when they get lots of bright, indirect light every day. However, Areca palms cannot handle too much direct sunlight, especially during the afternoon. If Areca palms are exposed to too much direct sunlight, their leaves may turn yellow and develop sunburn.

If your Areca palm starts getting sunburnt, move it further away from the window. Alternatively, you can use a sheer curtain to filter the sunlight. Position your Areca palm approximately 3 feet away from an east or south-facing window.

5) Not Enough Sunlight

While Areca palms can tolerate a little bit of direct sunlight, they cannot tolerate full shade. Ideally, Areca palms need lots of bright, indirect light. If your Areca palm doesn’t get enough light, it will develop yellow leaves or weak, stunted growth.

Areca palms need plenty of light to photosynthesize properly. If Areca palms don’t get enough light, they won’t be able to produce strong, healthy growth. Avoid placing Areca palms in rooms with north-facing windows, as these areas won’t provide enough sunlight.

6) Incorrect Soil Mix

Incorrect Soil Mix

Growing Areca palms in the wrong kind of soil can cause the leaves to turn yellow. Areca palms need nutrient-rich, slightly acidic soil mixes that provide good drainage. Ideally, the soil should contain a combination of potting mix and sand.

If the soil doesn’t provide adequate drainage, your Areca palm is more vulnerable to overwatering. But if the soil drains too freely, underwatering can occur more frequently. The soil should also provide plenty of support to anchor your Areca palm in place.

7) Nutrient Deficiency

Yellowing leaves can also indicate that your Areca palm isn’t getting enough nutrients from the soil. Like all plants, Areca palms need major nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These indoor palms also need extra nutrients such as iron and manganese.

If your Areca palm has yellow, spotty leaves and only produces weak, stunted growth, it needs more nutrients. To provide extra nutrients, fertilize your Areca palm once a month during the spring and summer. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to encourage healthy foliage.

8) Too Much Fertilizer

Although fertilizer benefits Areca palms, using too much fertilizer can cause problems. Many fertilizers are potent products that contain chemicals and salts. Over time, these can build up in the soil, causing fertilizer burn.

If your Areca palm has yellow leaves with brown tips, you could be applying too much fertilizer. Make sure to only fertilize your Areca palm once a month at most. Always dilute liquid fertilizers according to the instructions on the packet. This reduces the intensity of the fertilizer.

9) Mineral or Salt Buildup

Areca palms can also be sensitive to minerals and salts in tap water. If you regularly use tap water when watering your Areca palm, it may cause the leaves to turn yellow. That’s because tap water is often treated to make it drinkable, particularly in areas with hard water.

White particles in the soil indicate a buildup of minerals and salts from tap water. To avoid this, use distilled or filtered water when watering your Areca palm. You can also use rainwater.

10) Transplant Shock

Transplant Shock

Areca palms typically need repotting every two to three years as they outgrow their old pots. However, Areca palms can suffer from transplant shock after being repotted. Yellowing leaves are one of the main symptoms of transplant shock.

Transplant shock is pretty normal when repotting many houseplants. However, it shouldn’t cause any long-term damage as long as you give the plant the right conditions. Once your Areca palm has recovered and starts producing new growth, remove any yellow leaves.

11) Diseases or Pests

Areca palms can also suffer from yellow leaves if they are attacked by pests or diseases. Common Areca palm pests include mealybugs, scale insects, spider mites, and thrips. Areca palms can also suffer from fungal diseases like powdery mildew or root rot.

Yellow leaves are a common symptom of sap-sucking insects. To eliminate these pests, use insecticidal soap or horticultural oils like neem oil. These countermeasures work by dehydrating and suffocating the offending pests.

Providing optimal growing conditions is the best way to protect your Areca palm from diseases. However, if your Areca palm does develop a disease, use organic copper fungicides to treat the problem.

Yellowing Leaves on Areca Palms FAQs:

What To Do If Areca Palm Leaves Are Turning Yellow?

If the leaves of your Areca palm are turning yellow, check the soil. If it feels waterlogged, leave it to dry out more or mix in some perlite to improve drainage. It’s also worth checking if your Areca palm is exposed to cold or dry drafts.

Should I Remove Yellow Leaves From Areca Palm?

If your Areca palm starts showing yellow leaves, remove the leaves, as they will not recover. Determine the cause of the yellowing leaves by checking how wet the soil is. If the soil is fine, check whether your Areca palm is exposed to cold temperatures or dry air.

Will Yellow Areca Palm Leaves Turn Green Again?

Once Areca palm leaves turn yellow, they won’t turn green again. As such, it’s best to remove them from the plant using some clean, sterile secateurs.

Wrapping Up

Areca palms can suffer from yellowing leaves due to various factors. Some of the more common causes of yellow leaves include overwatering, underwatering, and incorrect temperatures. Areca palms can also develop yellow leaves if they don’t get enough sunlight or nutrients from the soil. Pests and diseases can also turn Areca palm leaves yellow.

For more, see our ultimate guide to areca palm plant care home and the meaning and symbolism of areca palms.

For the best plant shops delivering Areca palms nationwide, see our guide the best live plant delivery services.

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