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Areca Palm Diseases and Pests

Areca Palm Diseases and Pests: Causes and How to Fix Them

Do you know palm trees are very easy to care for but sometimes you have to keep an eye on them for pests and diseases that can occur? Diseases can affect all the parts of the plant including roots, stems, and leaves. But you can fix these issues and if you take a little extra care of this plant, Areca palm can give an exotic vibe to your indoor spaces.

But, my question is, how can you tell an areca palm is diseased?

Let us discuss what types of diseases can occur to Areca palm trees and what are the causes of these diseases. I am sure you will find this article helpful, so keep reading till the end!

What are the diseases that can occur to Areca palm trees?

I know you will feel more comfortable if you are aware of the diseases that can occur to your plant so that you could fix these issues and make your plant healthy again.

So, let us discuss the conditions that might harm your Areca palm:

1. Glaucoma blight or Pink rot disease

Pink rot is another name for glaucoma blight. The most typical location for this opportunistic fungal infection is overwatered palms. Other factors, including poor soil, frost damage, and inadequate sunshine, may also be to blame.

What to Look for

Pink rot expresses itself by altering the color of the roots and base, and it is already clear from the name. The whole base of the plant is covered in the pinkish spores of the fungus, giving it an ugly appearance. As a result, the plant’s capacity to absorb nutrients is harmed, leading to leaf drops.

Ways to treat it

As with many fungi-related illnesses, prevention is preferable to treatment. Here, the same principle holds. Both the soil and the container should have drainage holes. These measures would immediately make up for the sporadic overwatering incidents. Create a good watering schedule as well to guarantee that your plant receives the appropriate amount of water. It is preferable to employ fungicide treatments on your plant if pink rot is already a problem. 

When it comes to managing the problem, they only offer a short-term solution. Try to moisten the soil when it seems dry to avoid a repeat of the issue and relocate it to an area where it won’t be exposed to as much moisture.

2. Insect, pest attacks

Unfortunately, every plant occasionally deals with a pest issue of some type. Mealybugs, scales, and spider mites are the most frequent pests that harm areca palms. They cause the plant to become spotted by sucking the sap from the stem and leaves. If not addressed right away, this eventually results in the yellowing of the leaves and can swiftly kill the plant.

How can you find these pests?

Now, let us know how you find pests like mealybugs, scales, and spider mites in areca palms!

Mealybug identification isn’t at all difficult. They are tiny, pale insects that are highly distinct. When breeding, they frequently leave behind cottony webs on the leaves and stems. 

On the other side, spider mite identification may be exceedingly challenging. They are so little that they can only be seen with a magnifying lens. They frequently conceal their eggs in small holes they create in the leaves. Spider mites have a dusty look and are typically found on the underside of leaves. 

Despite being larger than mealybugs, scales have excellent concealment. They blend very nicely with the plant’s surface because of their earthy look. But as soon as you start to notice them, they spread throughout the surface.

How to stop pest infestations?

Using organic methods is always the greatest first line of defense against insect issues. The most efficient natural treatment you can do is washing the fronds in a solution of neem oil and water. A soap and water spray is another option that is nearly as effective. 

Scales are an annoyance that requires hand removal since they are difficult to remove. Put on gloves for the task, then scrape the leaves by hand. 

To get rid of the bugs completely, you must continue this procedure for a week or two. Using an organic method has the advantage of not harming your plant. Chemical remedies should only be used when all other measures have failed.

3. Leaf-spot illness

Another typical fungal ailment that Areca palms encounter is leaf spot disease. On the leaves, the fungus spores slowly multiply and harm the plant.

What to Look for

As the name suggests, the leaves have little spots on them. They are typically round in shape and can be either black or brown. 

Ways to treat it

Rarely do the palms affected by this illness die. But getting rid of it might be quite difficult. Preventing this issue from arising in the first place is the best course of action. Start by keeping your hand away from plants that have already contracted the disease.

Additionally, avoid watering the palm’s leaf since this might encourage the formation of latent spores. If the plant has already been impacted, you can use sterile shears to trim the impacted leaves. Using natural sprays to clean the leaves might also be beneficial. While taking the above-mentioned actions can readily stop its spread, there is no certain approach to combat the disease head-on.

4. Fusarium wilt disease

Numerous attractive plants commonly suffer from the fungal disease fusarium wilt. The lovely fronds of your Areca palm may also be harmed by it. Without careful treatment or if you ignore the plants at this stage, the plants may even die!

What to Look for

Fusarium wilt mostly impacts your palm’s older, sickly leaves. Brown discoloration and brittle fronds are two important signs of wilt.

Ways to treat it

Fusarium wilt has no known cure, but there are certain methods you may attempt that may help the plant finally survive this difficult journey. 

First, you need to get rid of all the unhealthy leaves and fronds. To prevent the spread, it is best to prevent the excised fronds from coming into touch with other healthy plants. Following that, you may apply some fungicides to stop other fungi from causing more damage.

5. Bud Rot illness

Numerous bacterial and fungal diseases can cause bud rot. Phytophthora and Thielaviopsis are the two fungi that most attack Areca palm. 

The newly growing buds are invaded by these fungi, which render them entirely useless. The most frequent reason for bud rot is overwatering, which enables the fungus to directly harm the palm’s core.

What to Look for

Lack of fresh crown development is one of the disease’s initial symptoms that you could see. If any new leaves grow, they are initially dark in color and quickly wilt. The young fronds are dark and curled, giving the palm a sickly appearance.

Ways to treat it

Controlling the condition is quite challenging once it has taken hold. Since the Areca palm’s crown is the primary cause of the ailment, you should never water it. The fungus may flourish in this damp environment. If the plants grow sick, get rid of them right once to stop the infection from spreading to other plants. For plants that have been exposed to the illness, fungicides can also be employed as a preventative precaution.

Additional causes why your Areca Palm might be dying!

Now, you know the diseases that can happen to your areca palm plants but do you know the causes that can make these pests and diseases happen?

That is why we will now discuss the causes that can harm your palm plants!

1. Overwatering the areca palm plants

Areca palms don’t tolerate being overwatered very well. Root rot will develop if your Areca Palm is left in wet soil for an extended period. Due to this, the plant is unable to collect the water and nutrients it requires from the soil, which results in the browning of the plant’s tips, leaves, and finally the entire plant. An Areca Palm must be planted on soil that drains effectively. 

Use a perlite-added peat-based potting mix to improve drainage. Use a container that is big enough to keep it from toppling over but not so big that the potting soil takes a long time to dry up. Next, a pot with lots of drainage holes is required when planting an Areca palm. 

When the top of the soil is dry and the first 1 to 2 inches of soil are just slightly damp, you should water your Areca palm. You may read my post on how to determine when to water indoor plants if you are having trouble determining whether your Areca Palm needs water or not. 

Use a moisture meter to gauge the soil’s moisture content if you wish to simplify the process a bit. Once the soil has roughly dried out by half or your moisture meter has shown medium, you should water your Areca palm.

Remember that the quantity of heat and light your Areca Palm receives will determine how long it takes for the potting media to dry up. I always give my Areca Palm a good soak every time I water it to avoid salt buildup from fertilizer. Although each plant’s growth environment will be different, I usually believe that an Areca Palm will do best if the soil takes approximately a week to dry out adequately between waterings. If it takes your Areca Palm’s potting soil several weeks to dry out, check your drainage, pot size or type, and whether there is enough light, heat, or ventilation.

2. Underwatering the areca palm plants

Underwatering is the opposite of watering, which might result in brown tips and leaves on your Areca Palm. Areca palms prefer generally damp soil that is not soggy, and if the soil dries up, they begin to exhibit stress symptoms. Brown and decaying leaves come from the plant deciding that it cannot retain all of its leaves and leaflets and sacrificing part of them. Nobody who takes care of an Areca Palm wants to witness that.

Maintaining a regular inspection schedule for your houseplants is the best method to prevent underwatering your Areca Palm. Every few days, I take a stroll around my home to check on my plants for indications of stress. 

Instead of only utilizing a watering schedule, carefully examine the leaves and feel the soil to determine whether your Areca Palm needs watering. Your plant will have different watering needs depending on the temperature, amount of light, and season.

3. Inadequate lighting of the areca palm plants

Bright light is essential for the growth and health of areca palms. In nature, they are medium-light plants that develop beneath the canopies of bigger trees. They prefer strong light, but not direct sunshine, for this reason. 

Although scorching of the leaves can occur in direct sunlight, more issues are typically brought on by inadequate light. Low light levels make it difficult for the plant to maintain as much foliage, which causes brown tips and leaves on your Areca Palm as some of the leaves wither and fall off.

Maintaining a regular inspection schedule for your houseplants is the best method to prevent underwatering your Areca Palm. Instead of only utilizing a watering schedule, carefully examine the leaves and feel the soil to determine whether your Areca Palm needs watering. Your plant will have different watering needs depending on the temperature, amount of light, and season.

4. Causes of overfertilization over brown Areca Palm tips

A little fertilizer will do wonders for your Areca palms, but be careful not to overdo it. Brown tips on your Areca Palm are signs of fertilizer burn, which can be brought on by applying fertilizer too frequently or in a concentrated form. 

During the growing season, you should fertilize Areca palms every two months using balanced, water-soluble fertilizer prepared at half the recommended concentration.

Even if you apply fertilizer correctly, over time, salts from fertilizer can accumulate in potting soil, which can cause the same issue. Usually give Areca Palm a good watering, allowing water to go through the potting soil and the drainage holes, to avoid this happening. 

Flush the soil more thoroughly every few months to remove excess fertilizer salts from the potting medium and avoid a problem that could result in brown tips on your Areca Palm. To make sure this issue is as small as possible, take it to the sink and run water through it for two to three minutes.

5. Brown tips and leaves to treat your Areca Palm


The main focus should be on finding the root of the issue and solving it through proper plant care. Your Areca Palm will develop a lot of new leaves if you can create favorable conditions for growth, which will significantly enhance the appearance of your plant. 

In most cases, cutting off damaged leaflets or removing brown leaves won’t hurt your Areca palm. Use a pair of clean, sharp pruners to cut the leaf off at the base, close to the earth, if the majority of the leaf has turned brown.

You have few options if you notice it on the leaf tips.

The first choice is to ignore the brown tips. If your Areca Palm is otherwise healthy, the development of a few brown leaf tips is rather typical and shouldn’t negatively affect the appearance of your plant. 

The second option is to artfully chop off the brown leaf tips at a point so that up close, it resembles a regular leaflet that is just a little bit shorter. Simply cut the leaflet in half diagonally, reaching a point on each side. It is preferable to remove the majority of the brown, but avoid completely cutting into the healthy, green portion of the leaf because doing so could result in the development of a second brown edge.

6. Nutritional deficiencies on areca palm:

Some of the common nutritional deficiencies in areca palm are,

Potassium (K) Deficiency: 

Potassium deficiency causes yellow-orange spots on older leaves, then gradually progresses to the younger ones. Black spots, necrosis, and withering can be seen as well. Leaching is more prominent in sandy soils, while clay soils may lack potassium due to a lack of fertilizer. Palms, particularly in lawns, require potassium-rich fertilizers.

To fix the issue you can use potassium sulfate and magnesium in slow-release form. This particular combination fixes the imbalance. One thing you have to make your peace with is that the damaged leaves will not recover but the good thing is that, the new growths will be healthier than ever. 

Nitrogen (N) Deficiency:

Nitrogen depletion isn’t a major problem for palm trees in landscapes unless the ground lacks nitrogen. Palms usually require less nitrogen than turfgrass. Symptoms include faded green leaves and slower development. Light or sandy soils create nitrogen depletion more likely, mainly in potted palms.

Any nitrogen-rich fertilizer application will revive the color of the leaves, but make sure it’s in slow-released form. 

Iron (Fe) Deficiency:

Iron deficiency in areca palm doesn’t create life-threatening issues, it only causes cosmetic problems. It usually shows symptoms as ellowing between green veins on new leaves. This begins with the newest leaves. Extreme cases lead to tip necrosis and smaller leaves. It’s usually initiated by inadequately over-watered soils, deep planting, or injured roots. A deficiency of iron in the soil or high pH is rarely the reason. While it’s mainly ornamental, managing these aspects can help palm health.

In some matters, iron depletion signs can be temporarily soothed by frequent foliar uses of chelated iron or iron sulfate, whereas a long-term cure will only happen when inadequate soil aeration or correct planting depth is fixed. The amount of iron sulfate to utilize for foliar application is ½ teaspoon in one gallon of water. Sprinkle it on the foliage.

Magnesium (Mg) Deficiency:

Just like iron deficiency magnesium deficiency is not fatal as well, it mainly affects ornamental appearance. Symptoms include chlorosis on older leaves. The chlorosis then gradually spreads upwards. You can easily recognize the deficiency by just looking at some older leaves. You will notice a broad lemon-yellow band on the older leaves’ border with a green center. Unfortunately, like potassium deficiency, leaves affected by magnesium deficiency won’t be retrieved and need replacement with fresh healthy foliage.


Q1. Where is the proper location to put an Areca? 

Ans. It is advisable to keep the Areca under a window to prevent overexposure to the sun from drying it out. 

Q2. My Areca plant, can I leave it outside? 

Ans. Areca can only be grown outside in areas with moderate winters because it generally cannot resist the cold.

Q3. What is the ideal soil mixture for my Areca plant? 

Ans. Areca needs a decent soil mixture that can be improved by 1/3 compost if you have any.

Q4. When should I water my Areca plant? 

Ans. It’s crucial to sprinkle water on the leaves throughout the year regularly. This replicates the organism’s naturally wet living conditions.


Areca is a highly classy palm tree that thrives in an apartment or home’s indoor environment. This is one of the most admired and frequently bought indoor plants because it combines visual appeal with toughness and ease of growth. Its graceful foliage gives a living room, dining area, or any other well-lit space in the house a hint of exotic life.If you have any further questions that are revolving in your mind, feel free to comment down below, and also don’t forget to share this article with your plant lover friends and family!

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  1. Thoma

    Hello, my cat has urinated into the soil of my areca plant. Now several leaves have dried out with some small white fluffy things on them (mould?). Not only that, but also the big stems have gotten brown spots on them from the soil to 20 cm above.

    This also happened to our last Areca. We cut everything that was bad en put in new soil but he did not survive. What did we do wrong?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Dr Vikas Dubey

    Which inserts eat Arica palms leafs ?

  3. Mrs Avice Gill

    White powdery build up on the ends of the leaves. Only just noticed it, never had it before, any help gratefully received thank you

    1. Neha Arora

      Hi Mrs. Gill, Sorry we are short staffed today. Nonetheless, I am here to help.

      If you are an avid gardener, you know the frustration of powdery mildew. This fungal disease is a common problem in gardens, affecting a wide range of plants, including vegetables, flowers, and shrubs. But there are ways to prevent and control powdery mildew, and we’re here to help.

      Plant for Sun and Good Airflow

      Powdery mildew thrives in humid conditions, so it’s important to plant susceptible species in locations where they can receive early morning sun. This allows the dew and condensation to dry quickly, reducing the humid conditions that foster the fungus on plant leaves. Additionally, good airflow is essential to reduce the risk of infection. You can enhance air circulation by spacing plants well apart, thinning dense plants out, and making sure your garden has good ventilation.

      Remove Diseased Plants and Plant Parts

      One of the most effective ways to prevent powdery mildew is to remove and destroy diseased plants and plant parts. This physical method helps to stop the spread of the fungus, which can quickly take over your entire garden if left unchecked. Be sure to regularly inspect your plants during warm, dry conditions and remove any leaves that show signs of infection. Always destroy infected plant parts, as composting them can spread the disease.

      Try Natural Remedies

      Chemical fungicides are generally ineffective against powdery mildew, but there are several natural remedies you can try to control the disease. One of the easiest is a baking soda spray, which can protect plants against further damage. Simply mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 quart of water and spray plants weekly at the first signs of fungus on leaves.

      Another effective natural treatment is neem oil, a commercially available organic treatment that both treats existing powdery mildew and protects the plant against further infection.

      Milk spray is also a popular preventative measure against powdery mildew. Dilute milk with water in a 1:9 ratio and spray it on your plants every 10 days to two weeks.

      Water Your Plants Daily

      Interestingly, an effective means of preventing and treating powdery mildew is to spray the foliage of your plants daily with water from the hose. Powdery mildew hates water, and this method can help to wash away the spores and prevent further infection. However, it’s important to do this early in the day so that the foliage completely dries before cooler evening temperatures arrive. Otherwise, you might invite other fungal diseases, such as black spot, into your garden.

      Moreover if you can send me the images of the leaves and powdery substance that you are talking about, I’ll be in better position to give you the clear instructions.

      You can upload the pics here and I’ll get them.

      Cheers, Nathan

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