It is hard to believe the areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) was once an endangered species. Drive down almost any street in a subtropical or warm climate, and you are likely to see dozens of these tall, attractive and clumping palms that look a lot like bamboo. The palms have smooth, sometimes golden trunks that are reminiscent of bamboo culms. Their fronds are narrow and full, almost like bamboo leaves.
When sold as indoor plants, golden palms typically are clustered in small pots and look somewhat like palm grass. However, there are two reasons they are not the best palms to grow as houseplants: They need fairly bright light and they are especially sensitive to the buildup of fertilizer salts. But if you are looking for a good short-lived palm for indoor growth, the areca palm is a popular and relatively inexpensive option.
- Botanical name: Dypsis lutescens (formerly Chrysalidocarpus lutescens)
- Common name: Areca palm, butterfly palm, golden cane palm, or yellow palm
- Plant type: Evergreen houseplant or perennial
- Mature size: 12 to 30 feet tall and 8 to 15 feet wide
- Sun exposure: Bright, indirect light
- Soil type: Rich and moist
- Soil pH: Slightly acidic to neutral
- Bloom time: Summer
- Flower color: Pale yellow
- Hardiness zones: 10, 11
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