areca palm propagation

Areca Palm Propagation – A Step By Step Guide

Nothing gives that lush tropical touch to your space like a gorgeous Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens). Put it up in any corner of the room and watch the ambiance instantly improve. You can even grow more Areca Palms from a single plant, and this Areca Palm propagation guide will teach you all you need to get started.

An Areca Palm can be propagated by division or by growing from seed. The division of a mature plant into two or more sections is the fastest and easiest way to grow new Areca Palms. Seeds take about 4 weeks to germinate and several years to reach 3-4 feet in height.

Ways To Propagate Areca Palms

Areca Palm, also known by its Latin name, Dypsis lutescens, or more commonly as Bamboo Palm, Butterfly Palm or Golden Cane Palm, is planted in clumps. And it keeps forming more clumps as it grows. So the best way to propagate an Areca Palm is undoubtedly by gently dividing the plant when repotting.

Propagating Areca Palm By Division

Although the task of propagating an Areca Palm plant by division might seem daunting initially for fear of harming the plant, it is a fairly easy process if you handle the plant gently and carefully. The new divisions usually thrive if you give them some basic after-care.

Here is a step-by-step guide to propagating an Areca Palm by division:

  • Make sure that the Areca Palm plant you choose for propagating is mature and ready for propagation. It should have multiple strong stems that can be divided easily by identifying the roots that feed them.
  • Although you can divide an Areca Palm at any time, it is best done in Spring when the plant is starting to grow strongly.
  • Before dividing the stems from the main plant, remember to water it well the day before so that the soil gets loosened up a bit which ultimately allows you to separate the roots more easily.
  • When removing Areca Palm from its pot, pat the sides of the pot to loosen the root ball thereby allowing the plant to come out of its container with minimal effort on your part.
  • Once your Areca Palm is out of the container, gently shake the soil off its roots and try to identify the roots attached to different stems.
  • Some people wash all of the soil off the roots to expose them, making division of the roots easier.
  • Try to pick groups of at least 4-5 stems to divide from the parent plant. One or two stems alone will not produce sufficiently bushy growth.
  • Once you have identified the stems to be divided, use a sharp knife to cut them away from the parent plant. Make sure to preserve all the major roots feeding the stems and try your best to keep smaller roots intact if possible.
  • Place the newly divided offspring into a pot containing a mixture of standard potting mix and coarse sand in a ratio of 2:1.
  • Water your newly divided plants thoroughly, ensuring that the rootball is nicely moist. Make sure to let any excess water.
areca palm propagation by division

Areca Palm Propagation Aftercare

Regardless of how careful you have been when dividing your Areca Palm, your plant will be experiencing stress and will need some TLC after being divided.

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Your Areca Palm will settle into its new home best when given moderate conditions. Provide bright, indirect light to encourage growth, but avoid direct sunlight, as this will only stress the plant further.

Water your Areca Palm divisions once the top 1-2 inches of soil feels dry and make sure to drain off excess water to prevent the roots from sitting in a puddle.

High humidity will benefit your plants also, so group your plants, place them on a humidity tray, or use a humidifier if humidity levels are below 40%.

Avoid fertilizing your Areca Palm divisions for 3 months after propagating. Fertilizer salts can do more harm than good to a stressed plant.

It may take as much as 3 months to see new growth from your Areca Palm divisions, but once they get going, they should grow strongly. You can read my Areca Palm care guide for more tips to keep your Areca Palm thriving.

Propagating Areca Palm From Seeds

Although not difficult to propagate from seed, it will take quite some time to grow a mature plant. Areca Palms take approximately one month to germinate, 2-3 months to reach 4-6 inches in height, and several years to reach 3-4 feet in height.

It can also be a little challenging to find seeds to propagate. However, if you do manage to lay your hands on Areca Palm seeds, start germinating them at home by planting them in a seed-starting mix.

The seeds should be buried in the mix in such a manner that their top surface is hardly visible. As for watering requirements, keep the soil lightly and consistently moist during germination and for the first 1-2 months of growth. Place the pot in bright, indirect light and provide temperatures of 70-85°F (21-29°C). 

Please note that you might get either green or orange/brown colored Areca Palm seeds. Green seeds are newer and will take more time to germinate compared to older orange-colored seeds. Seeds can take anywhere from two to four weeks to germinate under ideal conditions.

areca palm propagation from seed

Why Propagate An Areca Palm

There are quite a few reasons to propagate an Areca Palm.

The most obvious reason is that you’re absolutely in love with these stately and impressive plants, and would love to have more of them in your home. You could even choose to give the new Areca Palms to your loved ones as gifts.

Areca Palms are fast-growing plants, and should be repotted every few years. You can either increase the pot size, to help your Areca Palm grow larger, or you can divide your plant to maintain its size, and get another plant thrown in for free!

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Areca Palms don’t like fertilizer salts that accumulate in the pot over time. although you can reduce this by regularly flushing the soil, repotting also keeps your plant into fresh soil also keeps your plant healthy. Dividing your plant at the time of repotting makes good sense as it minimizes disruption.

When To Propagate Areca Palms

As mentioned before, the best time to propagate your Areca Palm is in spring. This is because it will be followed by warm summer months with plenty of heat and humidity – two conditions that Areca Palms absolutely love. This will also help the new plants to recover better from the stress of being divided from the mother plant.

Common Areca Palm Propagation Problems

While it is pretty simple to propagate Areca Palms, young or divided plants will be more sensitive to a range of care problems. So it is important to make sure they get ideal conditions to thrive.

If the leaves of your newly propagated Areca Palm are starting to turn brown at the tips, it can signal a number of problems, including underwatering, excess direct sunlight, or over-fertilizing.

Areca Palm offspring can also be sensitive to fluoride that your tap water might contain, resulting in brown leaf tips. So if you live in an area where tap water contains a high level of fluoride, it is advisable to use distilled or bottled water for watering purposes. Alternatively, you can collect rainwater and use that to water the new Areca Palms.

Remember that while newly divided Areca Palms enjoy slightly moist soil, they do not appreciate their roots sitting in water for too long. So if you are noticing yellowing leaves despite moist soil, it can be a sign of overwatering – a sure-fire way to kill your new Areca Palm plants.

Another common Areca Palm propagation problem is a fungal disease called Pink Rot. We know that new Areca Palms require high humidity levels and moist soil. So this makes them prone to this fungal disease.

If you notice that the base of the stems is turning pinkish and the top leaves are turning brown and droopy, your plant is most likely suffering from Pink Rot. This disease is not treatable, but you can prevent it by ensuring proper air circulation around the plant’s roots and trying to keep the soil a bit on the drier side.

Lastly, if the leaves of the newly divided plant are turning yellow and you feel that you’re watering it correctly, there could be an issue with the amount of light it is receiving. Areca Palm leaves will actually become a little yellowy/golden when given bright light, but excess direct sunlight can cause leaf scorching.

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Insufficient light will first make the leaves appear darker green than normal, but slowly they will turn yelow as they struggle to thrive.

Areca Palm Dypsis lutescens in my hall
My lovely Areca Palm

Can Areca Palms Be Propagated From Cuttings?

It is not possible to cut an Areca Palm stem and propagate it. You need to make sure that you take some of the rhizome and roots along too. Areca Palms produce new shoots from their rhizome. These are adapted undergrown stem adaptations that can grow new roots and stems.

Stem cuttings do not have the correct type of plant tissue to produce new roots, so your cuttings will not grow. To successfully propagate a mature plant, you must divide it at the root level and plant each division separately.

Last Word

Areca Palm propagation is a great way to divide a mature plant to maintain its size or multiply your collection. Growing from seeds is fun, as long as you are happy to wait a while before you have a mature plant.

If you’d like to learn more, I’ve written a complete guide to houseplant propagation, full of information and tips to help you along the way. If you’re having problems looking after your Areca Palm, check out my Areca Palm care guide and my article on the causes and solutions for brown tips on Areca Palms.