Kentia Palm vs Areca Palm – Differences, Cost & More


An areca palm on the article Kentia Palm vs Areca Palm

Plants inside our homes add to the ambience of the rooms. They can be beautiful as well as functional in that they remove chemicals from the air and keep our rooms smelling fresh.

Palms indoors can make dramatic effects on almost any room with some of them being climbers and others being more of the shrub type. Whatever the style of your home, you will find a palm to enhance it.

There are two palms which spring to mind when thinking about indoor decor, namely the Kentia and Areca palms. Both have points for and against them for indoor spaces.

Let’s look at Kentia palms vs Areca palms and see which would suit you best.

Kentia Palm vs Areca Palm – How to Identify the Differences

An areca palmOne of the first places to start is with the stem of the plant. You will see that the Kentia stem is green and has brown fibres on it while the Areca stem has red spots on it.

The leaves of the Kentia palm are noticeably wider than those of the Areca palm.

As far as lighting for the palms, your Kentia will be happy in a northern window and the light from that angle, while the Areca will need more sunlight. The sunlight will also help keep red spider mites at bay.

The Kentia palm will look good for many years (even decades) while the Areca palm may only last about five or six years.

One of the most important and easiest ways to tell the difference will be in the price, you will find that you pay quite a lot more for a Kentia palm than you will for an Areca palm.

This is because Kentia palms are so hard to propagate and take so long to reach the size where they can be sold in a garden centre. This is what makes them more costly.

You may also like: How to fix your kentia palm problems

Kentia Palm vs Areca Palm

Difficulty 

Your Kentia will tolerate light situations that other plants may not like. They are regarded as low-maintenance and easy-to take care of.

The Areca palm is also considered to be low-maintenance and easy-to-grow.

Humidity and Temperature

Kentia palms need average humidity and temperatures of between 65°F to 75°F although it will still do well down at 25°F.

Areca palms need average humidity with the same temperatures of 65°F to 75°F but it is essential that the temperatures do not drop below 55°F.

Light

Avoid direct sunlight for the Kentia. The Areca is the opposite and prefers indirect bright light.

The Kentia will tolerate shady areas and still do well while the Areca needs a well-lit space so that its growth is not inhibited.

If your plants are struggling due to light, trying using this to help regulate the lighting.

Water

Moderate watering will suit the Kentia palm. You normally only need to water when the soil has become dry. It does not do well in overwatered conditions or if it is underwatered.

Areca palms can stand occasional drought conditions, but you will find they grow better in moderately moist potting mix.

It is important that the soil is only slightly moist and not wet enough to start root rot.

If you need help watering these plants, try using this automatic drip irrigation kit.

Feeding

If you insist on feeding the Kentia palm excessively it will simply die on you. Excess fertilizer does more harm than good.

Stick to a slow-release fertilizer applied when your plant is growing and not dormant.

The Areca palm will benefit from a monthly feed during spring and summer. You will find that this routine keeps them happy and looking great.

Size

Typically, a Kentia palm grown indoors will reach up to 10’ high. This will take many years as they are very slow growing plants.

The Areca palm at full maturity will reach about 8’ in height and take significantly less time that the Kentia to reach maturity.

Repotting

Your Kentia palm prefers to be left alone for as long as possible so you should avoid repotting until absolutely necessary.

The Areca on the other hand, will need to be repotted every two or three years. The reason for this is to replace old potting mix and the salt which remains after you have applied fertilizer.

Toxicity

Areca palmThis may well be the most important issue to consider when buying a plant for inside your home.

While you may not have kids or pets at the time of purchase, they may come along in a few years. Nice to know that your home is safe for both pets and children.

Both the Kentia and the Areca palms and non-toxic and do not harm dogs and cats if they are ingested. Neither plant will harm kids, and both are kid friendly.

If you’re enjoying this article, check out our article on can I put my kentia palm outdoors.

Kentia Palm vs Areca Palm – How Much do They Cost?

A large Areca palm can set you back about $50. However, a decent sized Kentia palm will run you almost $200!

The reason for the difference is because Areca palms are easier to propagate than Kentia palms.

They also grow faster so the plant grower can get his palms out to your garden centre far sooner than with the Kentia, which must stay with the grower until it is a decent size to send out.

This is also why you may have issues finding a Kentia if your heart is set on one of them. They are popular as indoor plants and sell out quickly.

Kentia Palm vs Areca Palm – Which Palm Tree is Best for Indoors? 

Both palms are relatively easy to grow indoors. Both are easy to keep looking attractive and both are easy to maintain.

Your reason for choosing one over the other should primarily depend on the area you plan to place it as they both have different light requirements.

Another consideration is the size of the fully matured palm. The Kentia will grow to around 10’ while the Areca will only reach about 8’ at maturity.

If you intend to place the palm in a window nook or low area then you may prefer the Areca to the Kentia – remember that the Kentia does not like to be moved around more than absolutely necessary.

The Kentia palm is considered to be a better palm for the beginner gardener as, although it is quite fussy about the watering requirements, it is easy to maintain, whereas the Areca has more stringent water requirements and will turn yellow if not well looked after.

Areca palms are not difficult to look after, they simply do not put up with neglect of any kind.

If you cannot commit to a regular routing and the correct sunlight, then you may want to opt for the Kentia palm instead.

Both the Kentia and the Areca palms look great when placed in a bedroom. They give the area an exotic feel and look.

Additionally, the palms act as humidifiers which makes them great for people who suffer from sinus issues because the palms act as natural humidifiers. – bet you didn’t know that! And no, neither did I!

Can you Keep Your Palm at a Certain Height?

This is an interesting thought and a perfectly valid question. What if you really don’t want a 10’ monster in the house? Can you stunt the growth?

Well, technically you can. There are two ways to do this.

  1. By cutting out the middle growth. The new fronds grow out of the middle and once you have cut them out you will stunt the plant growth. Sometimes you will get more growth from the middle, but it is unlikely.
  2. You can prune the root ball. If you expose the top roots – all the stringy ones within 1’ around the plant – and trim them off you will stunt the growth.

Now be advised: stunting the growth of your palm is permanent. You will never get another frond to grow from the middle. The existing fronds will eventually die, and voila! You will have a dead palm on your hands.

So, if you find that you really after all cannot have a huge palm in your house, offer it to a friend rather than kill it.

If you enjoyed this comparison, check out our article on syngonium vs caladium.

Final Thoughts

Lots of areca palmsYou may be surprised to learn that palms are one of the most cultivated plants in the world. This is because they are so popular as indoor plants.

Some of them, such as the Areca palm can be obtained when they are just a few inches tall and make perfect table decorations.

Apart from adding beauty to our homes, palms serve a wider purpose because they hep to improve the air quality of our homes. Palms can remove nasty things such as carbon monoxide and other dangerous compounds.

When considering the Kentia palm vs the Areca palm it is important to realise that both the Kentia and the Areca palms are spectacular in their own rights, and even more so when you place them in a spot where they are happy.

If you are lucky enough to own one of them, or you plan on buying one, then rest assured that with a bit of maintenance and some TLC you will have a delightful specimen for many years.

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

How to Fix your Sago Palm Problems 

How Do You Save An Overwatered Palm Tree

Areca Palm Diseases and How to Cure Them

Written by: Valerie Holyoak

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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