The genus of the Areca palm is represented by incredibly elegant plants, the main advantage of which is the beauty of the silhouettes. Despite the fact that in our country the areca is often called a chrysalidocarpus palm that is completely different both in character and in its industrial significance, real arecs are recognizable at first sight. They cannot be counted among the most popular houseplants, but in many ways they are among the easiest to grow large palm stars. Areca has a lot of advantages, but there are practically no shortcomings, with the exception of love for moisture. This palm tree deserves much more popularity and introduction to interiors as major accents.
Areca yellowing (Areca lutescens), or Gioforba indica (Hyophorbe indica). Farmer Burea-Uinsurance.com Kyle Wicomb
The undeservedly forgotten areca katechu and her palm sisters
The betel nut, which is famous for its nut-containing fruits, from which the legendary betel nut is extracted, retains its beneficial properties even when grown indoors. It is one of the best air-purifying plants, absorbing toxins and increasing oxygen content. But the areks also have a lot of purely aesthetic merits.
Areca (Areca) – large palms native to tropical Asia. In all arecs, without exception, a thin, non-branching stem with a smooth surface and beautiful rings left over from fallen leaves becomes noticeable only at age. Young areca seem more like a bunch of luxurious leaves, and only on closer inspection can you notice their stems. The older the plant becomes, the higher the leaves rise, and in the oldest arecs, in natural conditions, they are completely located only at the top of the shoots.
In young arecs, at the base of the stem, on the surface of the soil, you can see a kind of fruit, from which the leaves grow. It cannot be injured in any way: over time, the fruit separates itself when the palm tree has exhausted all the reserves of nutrients it contains.
Leaves are the main advantage of plants. Curving arcuately, they create surprisingly beautiful lines, sit on thick, but short petioles, are arranged alternately and, like most palms, are feathery. Belt-like or lanceolate, narrow and rigid lobes of large wai leaves, due to parallel veining and glossy surface, seem to be corrugated, surprisingly graceful. The leaf lobes in arecs are separated from the central rachis in a comb-like manner.
In indoor culture, the areca does not bloom, and even in botanical gardens and greenhouses, it is almost impossible to wait for the release of cob inflorescences located below the crown in old leaf scars and reaching almost 1 m in length.
Of the 10 natural varieties of areca, only 3 species are used in room culture. At the same time, the symbol of all plants has long been areka catehu (Areca catechu) Is an amazingly graceful palm, better known as betel nut… It grows up to 20 m in nature, and in indoor culture it is limited to a maximum of 3 m in height, gradually forming a trunk with a diameter of several tens of centimeters and releasing very long, graceful arcuate leaves, the length of which can reach 1,5-2 m. catechu has a number of decorative forms. The most popular is the dwarf longicarpa.
In addition to areca catechu, there are also Areca yellowing (Areca lutescens, today reclassified into a different kind of palm – Gioforba indica (hyophorbe indicates kind Gioforba (Hyophorbe)) and areca three-stalked (Areca triandra). The latter is a plant up to 2 m high with a thin trunk and atypically straight leaves up to 1,5 m long.Separate segments of pinnate wai can reach 1 m in length (and, moreover, they are quite wide, sometimes up to 5 cm). This palm, unlike other arecs, can produce not one, but 2-3 stems.
The yellowing areca is medium-sized, with a thick stem and arcuately curving leaves up to 1,5 m long with very densely spaced segments that stand out for their geometric severity.
Areca care at home
Areca, both in appearance and in the characteristics of cultivation, are rightly called typical palms. In order to grow this plant, it is enough to know at least the basics of caring for any representative of these indoor giants. One of the main advantages of the culture is its adaptability to both lighting and normal room temperature. All that is needed for success is to provide the Areca with at least a minimum air humidity and constant substrate moisture.
The only difficulty is finding a suitable place for the Areca. This palm tree is for spacious rooms, rooms with a sufficiently high ceiling, which emphasizes the space and brings an elegant aristocracy to any setting.
Areca is a poisonous crop, but the greatest danger is represented by its fruits, which do not set in room conditions. The leaves can only be toxic if consumed internally and to pets. But transplantation and other procedures do not require absolutely any precautions.
Lighting for areca katechu
Areca catechu, like the other two species of arecs, remains a photophilous plant even in indoor culture. It is best to provide a location with bright diffused lighting for this palm tree. A palm tree can withstand direct sunlight only in the evening and morning hours, but no more than 1-2 hours. Young palms between 1 and 6 years of age are the most sun-prone, which receive severe sunburn from bright light and recover very poorly. But on the other hand, arecs respond well to the seasonal decrease in light in winter and do not suffer too much if you do not have the opportunity to move the palm tree to a more illuminated place. Catechu does not grow in the shade of the Areca.
In order to succeed in growing arecs and reveal all the beauty of their foliage, it is necessary to regularly turn the plants in relation to the light source, since this palm tree is light-dependent and its crown turns towards the sun. If you regularly, about 1 time a week, unfold the pot, always moving in one direction, you will form a uniform, surprisingly elegant crown and achieve an expressive silhouette of arched leaves.
Comfortable temperature regime for Areca Katechu
The temperature regime for arecs should be as warm as possible. This is one of the most heat-loving palms, and the higher the air temperature, the better it feels. The ideal temperature range in regions with harsh winters for the areca can only be achieved in summer. This palm tree feels most comfortable at an air temperature of 30 degrees and above. But at the same time, you should not be afraid of this nature of the palm tree. Areca catechu adapts well to the normal room temperature range.
The main thing that its owners should take care of is to protect the plant from falling temperatures below 18 degrees Celsius and from temperature surges (especially in the cold season). Areca actually does not have a dormant period; it does not need to lower the temperature in winter, even by a few degrees. The warmer the conditions, the better.
Although these palms respond well to fresh air, they must be protected from drafts, especially during cold airs. But the very room in which this palm tree is located must be ventilated as often as possible.
Watering and air humidity for areca katechu
For the areca, it is necessary to provide regular care, consisting mainly of systemic irrigation. This palm tree reacts very badly not only to constant waterlogging, but also to one-time excessive watering. However, Areca equally dislikes dampness and the slightest drying out of the substrate. For this palm, it is necessary to carry out regular water procedures, be sure to check the degree of drying of the substrate. The soil in the containers should dry out to a depth of 2-3 cm, after which the next watering can be carried out.
But the most difficult moment in watering areca catechu is the selection of the water itself. This palm reacts most negatively to hard water in the family. For areca, it is best to use not just settled, but rain, distilled or melt water. If it is not possible to use super soft water, then add a few drops of lemon juice or any natural fruit vinegar to the water for irrigation, which is defended for at least 3 days, to soften.
Areca will not die in normal room conditions and even tolerates dry air relatively well, but it invariably affects the attractiveness of the plant’s leaves. For a palm tree, it is necessary to provide conditions with at least average moisture levels, which are easy to maintain by simply spraying the foliage. If it is possible to install humidifiers, Areca will thank you with impeccable gloss of leaves and a richer color.
Betel nut food
Fertilizers for areca catechu and its relatives are applied not only during spring and summer, but all year round. For this palm tree, it is enough to carry out standard feeding with a frequency of 1 time in 2 weeks during the active period and 1 time per month in autumn and winter. For areca, complex universal fertilizer or special mixtures for palm trees are best suited.
It is strictly forbidden to prune palm trees from the genus Arecs. Pruning the leaves can cause the plants to simply die. Even wilting, too affected leaves need to be shortened only to healthy tissues, leaving a thin rim of dry areas in front of them. Cutting off whole leaves due to the deep location of the vagina can lead to disastrous consequences, not to mention the spread of diseases.
Areca transplant and substrate
It is very easy to choose a substrate for areca catechu. Like most palms, it needs a moisture-permeable, nutritious and fairly coarse-fibrous substrate. A distinctive feature of the palm tree is that it develops better in slightly acidic soils, but soil with a neutral reaction is quite acceptable for it, provided that the water quality is controlled.
It is best for Areca to choose a ready-made substrate for palm trees or use any universal self-made mixture with additions of bone meal, coarse peat, pine bark, charcoal or other loosening materials. For example, a soil mixture based on sod land is perfect for areca, to which half less leafy soil and peat and 4 times less sand and humus have been added.
Areca catechus can be transplanted exclusively in spring, at the very beginning of active growth, during a sharp increase in the length of daylight hours. Even young palms are not transplanted annually, but only as needed. The signal that the capacity for the palm tree should be increased is the filling of the substrate with the roots.
When transplanting, it is necessary to extremely carefully handle the earthen lump, try to avoid contact even with small roots and carefully keep the entire soil lump practically intact. The key to transplanting is to create a high drainage layer at the bottom of the pot. When planting, make sure that the root collar of the palm remains at the same level. In no case should it be deepened, so take into account the shrinkage of the soil.
If you bought an areca planted in a pot of several plants to enhance bushiness, then in no case separate the plants. As a result of injury to even a small part of the roots, any palm tree can die, and separation with serious injuries will all the more lead to the risk of losing the entire group. In the future, arecs will also have to be grown in a close group, without separation.
After transplanting, the Areca needs a period of smooth adaptation. Prior to the resumption of plant growth signs, it is necessary to hold for at least a few days in hotter conditions, shade, with a stable average air humidity and pay special attention to the stability of the substrate moisture.
Areca diseases and pests
Areca catechu, like all other forms, is quite sensitive to indoor pests. Under favorable conditions or in the vicinity of diseased plants, it can become a victim of a mealybug, whitefly, spider mite and especially annoying scale insects. Plants are very important to regularly inspect, because only identifying pests at an early stage will avoid serious injuries that threaten the death of the palm tree. At the first sign of pests, it is necessary to start applying insecticides, since the mechanical removal of insects from the leaves of the arecs is not very productive.
Of the diseases, the greatest danger for all areks is represented by root rot, which is fought with a significant correction of care. An emergency transplant for a palm tree is unacceptable and always leads to death.
Common problems in growing areca:
- drying out of the tips of the leaves due to dry air, drying out of the substrate or low temperatures;
- wilting of leaves, discoloration and growth arrest in poor lighting;
- browning of leaves with excessive moisture in the substrate.
Reproduction of areca
Due to extreme sensitivity to rhizome injuries and poor transplantation tolerance, arecs can be propagated exclusively by the seed method. At the same time, purchased seeds do not always germinate. They can be sown only during spring or summer, in a substrate specially designed for palm trees, having previously moistened it with a spray bottle and be sure to cover the crops with glass or film. The main conditions for germination are heat and stable humidity.