Areca Palm Diseases and How to Cure Them

A palm on the article Can I Put my Kentia Palm Outdoors?

Areca palms (Dypsis lutescens) are one of the most widely used indoor ornamental plants in homes and offices.

These species of palm trees are naturally found in Madagascar.

They have been extensively naturalized to other subtropical areas due to their exotic appearance.

Their long fronds and tropical appearance give a nice outlook everywhere they are placed.

When grown outdoors, they easily attain a height of 20 feet. The indoor varieties on the other hand reach only around 6-7 feet in height.

They are very easy to grow and also are well known to remove harmful toxins in the air as proven by research.

Even though they demand less care as compared to other indoor plants, the areca palm is not entirely protected from the menace of diseases.

Every now and then the areca palm falls victim to one of the diseases and show a very disdainful look which is sure to put a frown on your face.

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Areca Palm Diseases

Areca palms on the article Areca Palm Diseases and How to Cure ThemKnowing the causative factors and ways to handle them make you confident in dealing with these occasional problems.

Following are the most common diseases that can affect your areca palm:

1) Gliocladium blight

2) Pest Attacks

3) Leaf-Spot Disease

4) Fusarium Wilt

5) Bud Rot

1) Gliocladium blight

Gliocladium blight is commonly known as pink rot. This is an opportunistic fungal infection that most commonly occurs in overwatered palms.

It can also be due to other reasons such as improper soil, frost damage, and poor sunlight.

How to Spot it

As already evident from the name, pink rot manifests itself by changing the color of the roots and the base.

The pinkish spores of the fungus surround the whole base and make the plant look unsightly. This, in turn, harms the uptake ability of the plant and causes leaf drop.

How to Cure it

Like with all fungal diseases, prevention is better than cure. The same rule applies here. You should have well-drained soil and a pot with drainage holes.

Having these things in place would automatically compensate for the occasional overwatering episodes.

Also, make a proper watering schedule to ensure your plant gets the right amount of water.

If your plant is already affected by pink rot, then it is best to use fungicide treatments for your plant.

They only provide temporary relief when it comes to handling the situation.

To prevent the problem from recurring, try to water the soil when it appears dry and move it to a location where it is less likely to face damp conditions.

2) Pest Attacks

Every plant unfortunately faces some kind of pest problem once in a while. The most common pests which hurt the areca palm include mealybugs, scales, and spider mites.

They harm the plant by sucking the sap from the stem and leaves and cause them to become spotted.

This eventually leads to the yellowing of leaves and can lead to the death of the plant very quickly if not treated promptly.

How to Spot Pets

Identifying mealybugs isn’t a problem at all. They are small whitish insects that stand out very clearly.

They often leave cottony webs in place when reproducing on the leaves and stems.

Spider mites on the other hand are very hard to identify. They are tiny and can only be glimpsed using a magnifying glass.

They often leave tiny holes in the leaves where they bury their eggs. Spider mites are mostly found on the underside of the leaves and show a rather dusty appearance.

Scales are bigger in size as compared to mealybugs but are very well camouflaged.

Their earthy appearance hides them well on the surface of the plant. But once you notice them, they start to appear all over the surface.

How to Cure Pest Attacks

The best initial method to treat every pest problem is using organic means.

Washing the fronds with a mixture of neem oil and water is the most effective home remedy you can adopt.

You can also use a soap water spray as an alternative as it is almost equal in effectiveness. Pests such as scales don’t come off easily and they need to be manually removed.

For that purpose, use gloves and scrub the leaves by hand. You need to repeat this process for a week or two to completely remove the pests.

The benefit of using an organic approach is that it causes no harm to your plant. Only resort to chemical solutions when the problem gets out of hand.

3) Leaf-Spot Disease

Leaf spot disease is also a common fungal infection the areca palms have to face.

The fungal spores slowly flourish on the leaves and cause damage to the plant.

How to Spot it

As the name indicates, there are tiny spots present on the leaves. They can either be black or brown in color and are mostly circular in shape.

How to Cure it

An areca palmThis disease rarely causes the death of the palms it affects. However, eradicating it can be quite a challenge.

It is best to prevent this problem from happening in the first place. Keeping your palm away from the already infected plants is a good way to start.

Also, refrain from watering the foliage of the palm as this can promote the growth of the dormant spores.

If the plant has been already affected, you can cut the affected leaves with the help of sterile shears. Washing the leaves with organic sprays can also help.

There isn’t any sure way to tackle the disease head-on but doing the above steps can mitigate further spread easily.

4) Fusarium Wilt

Fusarium wilt is a common fungal disease with many ornamental plants. It can also affect your areca palm and cause damage to the beautiful fronds.

Careful management is required otherwise the systemic spread of the disease can incapacitate the whole plant in a very short time.

How to Spot Fusarium Wilt

Mostly fusarium wilt affects the older and deteriorating leaves of your palm. The obvious symptoms of the wilt include brown discoloration and fragile fronds.

How to Cure it

There is no sure remedy for fusarium wilt but you can try some techniques which can eventually cause the plant to survive this tough ordeal.

You should, first of all, remove all the diseased fronds and leaves. The removed fronds should not be allowed to come in contact with other unaffected plants to stop the spread.

After doing that, you can use some fungicides to prevent other opportunistic fungi from damaging further.

5) Bud Rot

Bud rot can be caused by various fungal and bacterial pathogens. The fungi mostly affecting areca palm include Phytophthora and Thielaviopsis.

These fungi invade the new sprouting buds and make them completely dysfunctional.

The most common cause of bud rot includes overhead watering which allows the fungi to damage the center of the palm directly.

How to Spot it

The first symptom of the disease you might notice includes a lack of new crown growth.

The newly emerging leaves, if ever formed, appear black and wilt shortly after a while. The new fronds are brown and curled and give a diseased look to the palm.

How to Cure it

Once the disease takes hold it is quite difficult to control it. You should never water the crown of your areca palms as this is the main leading factor of the disease.

This provides a moist environment for the fungi to thrive. Promptly get rid of the plants if they become infected to prevent the spread to others.

Fungicides can also be used as a preventive measure for the plants exposed to the disease.

If you are enjoying this article, check out our article on the kentia palm vs the areca palm.

Other Reasons Why Your Areca Palm May Be Dying

1) Overwatering

Overwatering causes immense damage to the plant. Not only does it promote root rot, but it can also cause the leaves to become yellow quite rapidly.

The air spaces between the roots are clogged and they are deprived of oxygen. This causes rapid deterioration causing the whole structure of the plant to tumble.

2) Transplant Shock

This is a common phenomenon when you change the soil of the plant.

Areca palms can survive easily in a single potting for a long time and don’t need any changing for at least 4-5 years.

The common signs include stunted growth and yellowing leaves.

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Final Thoughts: Areca Palm Diseases and How to Cure Them

A areca palmAreca palms are fascinating indoor plants and look stunning in every setting.

They are easy to grow but they can be picky when it comes to certain conditions.

Most diseases which the areca palm faces can be avoided by simple prevention.

Certainly with all this knowledge you can easily handle your plant with no worry at all.

Before you go, here are some more related articles I encourage you to read below to help solve more of your gardening issues:

Can I Put my Kentia Palm Outdoors?

How to Fix your Kentia Palm Problems

How to Fix your Sago Palm Problems

About the Author

Saad Ansar

Saad is an avid gardener himself and is a great lover of plants, animals, photography, & people. Currently, he is focused on photographing indoor plants & captioning beautiful outdoor sceneries. He writes and rewrites in-depth articles on nature and science

Bean Growing

We provide a wide range of information from indoor to outdoor plants to product recommendations to make your gardening experience the best it can possibly be. We are not experts in gardening but through extensive research and experience we will give you the best information to provide the best care for your plants.

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