All about plant fertilization

How and when to fertilize areca palm


The areca palm, scientifically known as Dypsis lutescens is a palm that can be considered medium in size, reaching a height that ranges between 1.50 and 3.00 m in height. It is highly sought after to decorate interiors giving a tropical style in any room that is located. Originally from the island of Magadascar, this palm tree draws attention both for its large leaves and for its flowers, which are small, white in color and with a very rich aroma. As you can imagine, in this post we will analyze everything related to the use fertilizer for areca palm, but not before giving some details about its general care.


Although it is one of the most sought after palm trees to decorate interiors, the truth is that there are many gardeners who like to grow it outdoors. This opens up two possibilities, the cultivation of the palm tree indoors and outdoors. As one cultivation is very different from another, in the section on how and when to fertilize the areca palm we will analyze both situations separately.

fertilizer for areca palm
Interesting fact: studies of a more than recognized institution such as NASA, have shown that having an areca palm at home helps to decontaminate the air. This given that it is capable of decomposing compounds such as acetone, toluene, xylene among others. If you live in a big city, you shouldn’t rule out the idea of having an areca palm at home. 😉

1.How to care your areca palm


Caring for an areca palm properly is not a task that can be considered complicated, however there are certain points to keep in mind that should not be left to chance. Let’s see what they are:

  • Soil: it is not demanding at all in terms of the characteristics of the soil, its only requirement is that it have good drainage. A mix of 80% soil and 20% sand can work very well.
  • Temperature: the ideal for a good development is to stay within a range of between 20 and 25 ° C.
  • Location: if the crop is going to be indoors, find a place near a window or balcony so that it receives a few hours of sun. For outdoor cultivation, remember that the roots of the palm trees are quite damaging, so it is better to place it away from drains, or you will have to call a good plumber to unclog the pipes.
  • Sunlight: although it can grow in places with direct sun exposure, it prefers a semi-work. This is one of the reasons why it is an excellent houseplant.
  • Irrigation: I am not going to tell you how many days you should water, you just have to know that the soil must always be moist. Water when you see that the surface of the soil is already drying out.
  • Pruning: in general it is not a plant that needs pruning, you should only limit yourself to cutting the branches or broken, dry or diseased leaves.
  • Fertiliation: this point could not be missing from the list. We will take care of delving into it in the next sections.

2. Aspects for plant nutrition


Each plant is a reflection of what it eats, in the areca palm it is easy to diagnose which nutrients are being provided in a deficient way. We will see some examples that will help you know how to detect these types of problems.

Let’s start by talking about nitrogen. If this nutrient is applied in a poor dosage, you will start to notice symptoms on older leaves. They will have a light green color with golden petioles. As symptoms progress, these leaves will have a discoloration that will turn almost white.

Lack of potassium is also often a problem, especially noticeable in outdoor palm trees. It is very rare for an areca palm to be deficient in potassium when grown in a pot. Again, the symptoms are first reflected in the old leaves. Which will begin to have necrotic or translucent yellow to orange spots. These symptoms will be aggravated and will always be especially noticeable on the tips of the leaves.

These are two of the most common deficiencies, although not the only ones. It is also possible to have areca palms with deficiencies in magnesium, iron, among others. If you want to delve into this topic, I leave you at the end of this post a very complete article for you to consult.

Tip N ° 1: Areca palms like acid soils, which is why it is good to control the pH with some regularity. Make sure that the pH values always stay below 7.

2.1 What are NPK values?

If we have to talk about nutrientes and fertilization for a plant, there is a concept that we cannot fail to mention, and this is the NPK values. They are three numbers responsible for indicating the concentration of nutrients in a fertilizer.

The nutrients we are referring to are the following:

  • Nitrogen (N): favors the growth of the aerial part of vegetables (leaves, stems). It is, in part, responsible for the green color of plants and confers resistance to pests.
  • Phosphorus (P): it is very important in the ripening of flowers, seeds and fruits. It participates in the formation and development of roots and has an important role in resistance to drought.
  • Potassium (K): it is decisive in the development of the whole plant, it allows the roots and stems to be strong and the seeds, fruits and leaves, large. It provides resistance to pests and diseases, helps the circulation of other nutrients around the plant, and regulates the functions of the plant.

If you have a fertilizer with NPK values 10-20-5, it means that 10% of the total weight is nitrogen, 20% phosphorus and 5% potassium. In general, the rest of the total weight is completed with other nutrients and additives from the fertilizer itself.

If you are reading this post, you will probably be interested in learning about fertilizing these other plants.

3. What are the best fertilizer for areca palm?


When you go to the nursery looking for fertilizer for your areca palm, start by asking if they have special fertilizer for palm trees, there are many brands of fertilizers that sell this specific type of product. In case they don’t, you can choose to buy an 8-2-12 mix fertilizer, preferably slow release granular.

If you are going to use organic fertilizer, you can opt for compost, manure, or earthworms. In any of these cases, make sure they are correctly fermented, otherwise you could have adverse effects on your plant.

If your areca palm is indoors, in a pot, fertilization becomes very important because the roots are limited by the container. In these conditions it is always better to apply commercial fertilizers, which have doses specially designed for the plant.

Tip N° 2: these types of palm trees do not like soils with a high content of salts. That is why we recommend never applying fertilizers that have salt in their components.

3.1 Homemade fertilizer for areca palm

In this blog we love homemade fertilizers, so I couldn’t stop recommending those that work best for me to fertilize areca palms.

3.1.1 Banana Peel Fertilizer

Banana peels are rich in essential nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, and calcium, making them an excellent fertilizer for areca palms. Here’s how to make banana peel fertilizer:


  • 4-5 banana peels
  • Toilet
  • Airtight container or jar


  1. Collect 4-5 banana peels and cut them into small pieces.
  2. Place the banana peels in an airtight container or jar.
  3. Fill the container with water, ensuring that the peels are completely submerged.
  4. Close the container tightly and allow it to sit for approximately one week.
  5. After a week, strain the liquid and dilute it with water in a 1:1 ratio.
  6. Use this diluted solution to water your areca palm once every two weeks.

3.1.2 Coffee Grounds Fertilizer

Coffee grounds are an excellent source of nitrogen, which promotes healthy leaf growth and overall plant vigor. Here’s a simple method to create coffee grounds fertilizer:


  • Used coffee grounds
  • Toilet
  • Airtight container or jar


  1. Collect the used coffee grounds from your coffee maker or filter.
  2. Place the coffee grounds in an airtight container or jar.
  3. Fill the container with water, ensuring that the grounds are fully submerged.
  4. Close the container tightly and let it steep for 2-3 days.
  5. After steeping, strain the liquid and dilute it with water in a 1:2 ratio.
  6. Apply the diluted coffee grounds fertilizer to your areca palm once a month, ensuring the soil is evenly moistened.

3.1.3 Eggshell Fertilizer

Eggshells are a valuable source of calcium, which contributes to strong cell development and helps prevent diseases in plants. Follow these steps to create an eggshell fertilizer:


  • Crushed eggshells
  • Toilet
  • Airtight container or jar


  1. Collect and clean the eggshells thoroughly.
  2. Allow the eggshells to dry completely, and then crush them into small pieces.
  3. Place the crushed eggshells in an airtight container or jar.
  4. Add water to the container, covering the eggshells entirely.
  5. Close the container tightly and let it sit for around one week.
  6. After a week, strain the liquid and dilute it with water in a 1:3 ratio.
  7. Apply this diluted eggshell fertilizer to the soil around your areca palm once every two weeks.

3.1.4 Epson Salt Fertilizer

Epsom salt is a fantastic source of magnesium, a mineral that supports chlorophyll production and enhances nutrient absorption. Here’s how to create an Epsom salt fertilizer:


  • 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt
  • 1 gallon of water


  1. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt in 1 gallon of water.
  2. Stir the solution until the salt is fully dissolved.
  3. Use this Epsom salt fertilizer to water your areca palm once every two months.

4. How an when to fertilize areca palm?


Let’s see below what should be taken into account when fertilizing an areca palm both indoors and outdoors.

4.1 Outdoor areca palm

A plant grown outdoors has the possibility of extending its roots as much as possible to obtain nutrients, then depending on how rich the soil is, we will need more or less fertilizations. The first application of fertilizer should be made during the first weeks of spring, being able to apply one or two more times until the end of summer.

Whatever fertilizer you are applying, you must first prepare the soil around the plant. Move the soil in a circular strip away from the trunk (direct applications of fertilizer to the stem are not good). Once the soil is well moved, add the fertilizer, and mix it with the soil. Finally, accompanied by a good watering to help a better dissolution of the nutrients.

4.2 Indoor areca palm

Using areca palm fertilizer indoors is both helpful and dangerous, if not done with some care. Note that the container (pot) not only limits the exit of the roots, but also prevents the exit of nutrients. This makes them susceptible to problems due to the accumulation of fertilizer salts in the soil.

Faced with this problem, it is very important to control two aspects; apply the correct and necessary doses (a lower dose is always better than a higher one), and the second one checks that both the soil and the pot have a very good drainage capacity.

Taking into account the above and carefully reading the instructions for use of the fertilizer you are going to apply (we recommend 8-2-12 slow release), you should not have problems.

5. Fertilizing your areca palm – Video


To end this post, and as I want to provide you with the greatest amount of information about the fertilization of areca palms, I have selected a video where you can review part of what you have seen so far. Do not forget to leave them your like (we have taken the video from the Shampy’s Garden channel).

Author cover image De KENPEI – KENPEI’s photo, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

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