The areca is a large palm, native to tropical Asia; it develops up to 12-15 m of height, developing a tall wrinkled stem, which at the top carries a crown of large bright green leaves; in the wild, it produces large hanging panicles of white or cream flowers, followed by large fruits similar to large nuts, called betel nuts, much utilized in the countries of origin. In Europe, it is cultivated as apartment plant, in pot, where it keeps within a much smaller size.
When in pot, the areca reaches quite quickly the 150-180 cm of height, and then stops its development; when in pot, it hardly has a palm-shaped development, more easily, it develops a head of thin stems, which carry single branches. It is a very pleasant palm, which is much cultivated at home, obviously it is necessary to have a wide space where to keep it, as usually the leaves are arched, and an adult specimen may need about 150 cm of free space also in width.
Let’s grow it at home
It is a plant well adapted to life in apartment, with average temperatures close to 20°C, in fact this palm tree fears the cold, and we can keep it outdoors only during the summer. Let’s place it in a large pot, which contains the root system well, but avoiding excessively large containers; let’s use a good universal soil, mixed with coconut fibre and chopped bark, to better maintain the humidity.
It is placed in a well-lit place, but not directly exposed to sunlight, to avoid that the foliage is damaged by them.
Let’s make sure to leave a good space around the crysalidocarpus, in order to favour the circulation of the air, and also in order to avoid crawling against the leaves, which tend to get easily ruined; let’s therefore avoid placing our areca in a place of passage, like a stairwell, otherwise we will have to periodically remove ruined foliage and blackened by the accidental collisions.
Let’s avoid also closing our plant in a narrow corner, otherwise it will tend to undress completely from the side close to the wall.
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Areca – Crysalidocarpus: Irrigation and care
From March-April, until September, we water regularly, trying to keep the soil moist, but not soaked in water, the water stagnation in fact promotes the development of rot, in this period also remember to dissolve in the water of watering a good fertilizer for green plants, about once every 10-12 days.
During the hot season, or when the heating or air conditioning system is active, remember to vaporize often the crysalidocarpus, to increase the ambient humidity.
During the cold months, let’s water only sporadically, avoiding soaking the soil with water; even if in an apartment and with a mild climate, in winter the plants enter anyway into a partial vegetative rest, as the hours of sunshine decrease.
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