Areca Palm : the tropics at home
Widespread in offices and apartments, the Areca palm is distinguished by its adaptability in these environments. To this genus belong about sixty Areca palms available commercially, but the main and most well-known is Areca Catechu. This plant originates from the sub-Asian continent, especially from Malaysia, from Sri Lanka. It has a slim and striped trunk that reaches at most 2 m in the vase while in nature it continues to grow beyond this size
The leaves are bright and lazy, leafy green. In its original territory, once reached its maturity, the Areca palm produces large whitish flowers from which fruit bunches are called nuts. This plant is suitable for all those rooms with a high and constant temperature, possibly dry but with a certain degree of humidity so as to get closer to the conditions in which it grows naturally.
The Areca palm tree is of simple cultivation as it does not require special attention unless the respect of some details such as temperature and soil. Usually in our areas is also cultivated in a pot because it does not tolerate cold winters. Although it is an abundant plant, large containers are not needed, but medium sized vessels, 40 cm in diameter depending on palm development, will be fine. This allows you to move it during the beautiful season outside, perhaps in the garden or on a terrace, then shelter it in cold periods inside the building. To cultivate it best it is necessary to put it in a lightweight soil formulation following this composition:
– 1/2 soil for acidophile;
– 1/4 garden ground;
– 1/4 perlite.
The Areca palm needs to grow on an acidic soil, which is why it is necessary to obtain the soil suitable for sale in the garden center for acidophilic plants, but perlite is used to maintain constant humidity thanks to its exceptional porosity. Considering its origins, it is essential to keep the substratum ever moist but never soaked, watering should be done regularly every 15-20 days, even closer in the summer season. Water stagnations can cause root rot and the onset of pathologies, so it is better to wait until the soil is slightly dry before watering again.
The exposure must be bright so in the apartment the palm tree should be placed in front of a window that may be screened with a tent in the hottest hours of the day. The location must be south or south-west. Particular attention must be paid to ambient temperature and humidity: the first must not fall below 10 ° C, it would be preferable to keep it at 20-25 ° C, while the latter should be kept constant by spraying the fronds with distilled water. Pruning is not required for this kind of plant, but it is good to remove dried leaves and drums with a disinfected shear. The Areca palm may be subject to some parasites such as aphids, which is why it is moved to a cooler, cleaner environment with a diluted Marseille water and soap solution.
In the wild, Areca Catechu, after flowering, produces the so-called Betel nuts, which have been consumed in Asia for over 2000 years for their fat and alkaloid content.