Areca Palm Leaves Turning Brown: Causes & Fixes

I know that the first scene that will pop into your mind when you read the title of this article, is an exotic place, with lots of sun, sand, and good vibes, because that’s the scene anyone could imagine when they hear about a palm tree or see a palm tree.

But palm trees are much more than just these tall trees that enhance your beach photos. They are also used as decorative trees in gardens and they enhance perfectly the whole view of one’s garden.

Palm trees vary and there isn’t only one type of palm tree. There are many varieties, some of them even deliver you delicious fruits, like coconuts, and some of them just live their life looking gorgeous.

Palm trees in general are sensitive plants, just like any other plant. They are used to growing in warm climates and they won’t adjust that easily if you try to move them around and change their natural habitat.

In this article, I’m going to focus specifically on one type of palm, and that is the areca palm tree. I’m going to talk more about what the areca palm really represents in the following paragraph and then you can read all about the causes and remedies of brown leaves on an areca palm.

I wouldn’t want to keep you in suspense anymore, so without further ado, let’s start! 

Areca Palm – What Does It Represent? 

The areca palm, a member of the palm family (Arecacea), is native to Madagascar’s tropical regions and can grow as tall as ten meters. This evergreen produces light yellow blooms and golden yellow fruit, earning it the names “yellow palm” and “golden cane palm.”

However, as a houseplant, the areca palm rarely blooms and won’t become much taller than three meters. However, its upward-stretching, fountain-shaped design and evergreen leaves are quite alluring. It is very common in offices because it is also known to effectively filter the air and produce a lot of oxygen.

The dramatic areca palm can serve as both, a beautiful tropical private giant or as just another pretty tree. The fronds of a “Butterfly Palm,” as it is commonly known, are thick and dense and have a silky, fine texture.

For privacy, accents, and garden backdrops in many South Florida house landscapes, this makes it a popular. The palm can be left full and fluffy to the ground or thinned to reveal more of the trunks.

Regardless, this palm is an excellent addition to most landscaping as long as it is situated appropriately for its eventual size.

Areca Palm Leaves Turning Brown – What Might Be The Cause?

Due to diseases, pests, overwatering, underwatering, nutritional deficiencies, and compacted roots, areca palm tips and leaves usually turn brown.


Well-drained soils and moderate watering are ideal for areca palms. Root disease and nutrient leaching will result from overwatering your areca palms. Browning and early leaf death are caused by nutrient leakage and root growth.

Heavy rains or overwatering cause nutrients that areca palms require to thrive to be washed away. Your areca palms are deprived of the essential nutrients for growth due to leaching of nutrients past the palm tree’s fibrous root structure.

The transient action causes the leaves of the areca palm to turn brown and drop off. The leached nutrients are recycled by the deeper roots. Healthy roots in areca palms are damaged by root rot disease. Roots are the source of the vital nutrients for leaf growth.

Therefore, if the roots decay, the leaves won’t receive adequate growth-promoting nutrients. Thus, nutritional deficiency causes leaves to prematurely turn brown and die.

Pests and Diseases

The most frequent pests that attack your areca palm plants are mealybugs and spider mites. In locations with little humidity, these pests take pleasure in feeding on the dust that gathers on the stems of areca palms.

Pests feed on the dust and suck sap from plants from stems. Browning is the result of damage to the stems and disruptions to the flow of nutrients to the leaves. Mist your areca palms or use a humidifier to increase humidity levels to stave off pest assaults.

Insufficient Lighting

Areca palms thrive in the best lighting conditions. Lack of sufficient direct or indirect sunlight causes the young leaves to turn brown.

Areca palms cannot manufacture chlorophyll if they receive insufficient light. The green coloring of the leaves is called chlorophyll. Therefore, the absence of chlorophyll will result in browned leaves.

Does this indicate too much light is helpful if too little light causes leaves to brown? No, excessive light will cause the leaves to burn.

Browning also occurs in sunburned leaves. Plant your areca palms in the garden in areas that receive some sunlight. Place them by the window if you’re planting indoors, and you may move them outside in the morning or evening to obtain direct sunlight.

Areca Palm Leaves Turning Brown – Preventive Measures

Proper Watering

To improve water runoff, the pot should have more drainage holes. Change the pot for a smaller one that will still support the plant but will dry up more quickly. When the top 1-2 inches of soil have dried off, do not water.

Place the pot in an area that receives more direct sunshine. Wait until it is barely moist before watering it again. Replace the soil and avoid overwatering or letting the pot stand in water if there is root rot.

Proper Lighting

Relocate your Areca Palm Tree to a brighter location, but avoid filtered light, ideally close to a north-facing window.

Keep Areca Palm free of Pests

The areca palm is vulnerable to further infection because mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites all cause a sooty mold to develop on plant stems and leaves. Rinse the moldy leaves well after using a pesticide or another bug removal method.

Closing Words

Finding the root of the issue and solving it through proper plant care should be the main focus. 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 leaves have turned brown.

And last but not least, allow me to say that Areca palms make beautiful larger houseplants, but they do take a little more maintenance than other plants to be healthy, however that should never mean that you have to give up on your plant, so don’t!

Further Reading

Now that we have talked about a specific type of a palm tree, I remembered that I have also written a few other articles related to palm trees and I think you will find them interesting.

The first article talks about the watering process of the majesty palm, another type of a palm tree. The second article that I’m going to suggest talks about reviving a palm tree, 

not some specific type of a palm tree, but how to revive palm trees in general and I think that you will find the information in that article quite useful. So, enjoy!

Ella Holmes

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