Betelnusspalme, Areca catechu - Care as a houseplant

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The Betelnusspalme Areca catechu, which is also called Betelpalme, Arekapalme or Katechupalme, is not only an attractive houseplant, it also has a strong air purifying effect. It has male and female flowers, up to 2 m long fronds and in their original home, red chicken-sized drupes, the so-called Betel or Arekanüsse. The specimens cultivated here as houseplants usually do not produce any fruit and reach stature heights of about two meters.
Location and soil condition
Even when choosing a location, you can do a lot wrong with this plant. It requires a lot of heat both in the upper area of ​​the plant and in the root area. Accordingly, it should preferably not stand on a cold sill or a stone floor, at least not without an insulating coaster, for example made of cork. The room temperature should not fall below 20° C during the day and at night, ideally 20-25° C. This applies equally to summer and winter. The Betelnusspalme needs a bright to absonnigen location without blazing midday sun. Sun is favorable in the morning and evening hours and winter sun is tolerated. To protect against intense sunlight, especially in summer, it is advisable to shade this plant. Otherwise it can quickly come to burns.
Otherwise, it is important to have a location in a humid environment with a humidity of over 60%. Accordingly, a place in a heated greenhouse is ideal but even in a conservatory it would be in good hands. In normal living rooms, the attitude is difficult and usually not of long duration. Commercially available standard mixtures for room and container plants, which can be made looser and more permeable by the addition of clay granules or sand, are suitable as substrate. Very good is also special palm soil. Indispensable is a good drainage at the bottom of the planter, ideally from coarse-grained gravel. Tip: For the betel nut, a location should be chosen where it can grow and prosper in peace, without touching it again and again. Even accidental streaking of the fine palm fronds can cause them to fold over or even break off.
Pouring and fertilizing

  1. It should be poured so that the substrate is always evenly moist.
  2. Ball dryness should be avoided as well as waterlogging.
  3. Due to the sensitivity to cold, pour exclusively with lime-free and tempered water.
  4. Frequently and regularly spray for high humidity.
  5. Only use lukewarm and naturally lime-free water.
  6. Do not fertilize in the first year after purchase or after repotting.
  7. Later from April, until August / September, fertilize every 3-4 weeks in low doses.
  8. Special palm fertilizers, liquid fertilizers or commercially available cactus fertilizers are suitable for this purpose.
Tip: In dryness, the betel nut palm grazes very quickly and is more susceptible to pest infestation. Accordingly, attention should always be paid to sufficient moisture both in the ground and in the air.
Occasionally, this palm must be repotted, but it is sufficient to repot about every 3 years, because too frequent repot they do not like. The best time for this is in the spring. First, carefully lift the plant, preferably at the bottom of the trunk, out of the pot and shake off the loose soil. Then put them in the new planter in fresh substrate and pour the whole well.
Cultivation of this feather palm
The Betelnusspalme is pulled exclusively from seeds, which is possible all year round. If you were able to get hold of seeds of this rarity, they are first allowed to swell for 1-2 days in lukewarm water. Then place them about 1 cm deep in a corresponding growing substrate. Coconut fiber is particularly suitable for this because it is low in nutrients and well drained. But also pumice or perlite, both germ-free, can be used as a growing substrate.
No matter what substrate is ultimately used, it should be kept evenly moist throughout the germination period, but not too wet. For this purpose, it is advisable to cover the sowing vessel with a translucent foil or glass. Or one uses a commercial miniature greenhouse. In order to avoid that the substrate molds or rots, one removes film or glass about every three days briefly in order to ventilate the whole.
In a bright to partially shady spot, at temperatures between 25 and 30° C show up with some luck after about 6-10 weeks, the first seedlings. In the first 6 weeks after sprouting, the seedlings should not be exposed to direct sunlight. About 8 weeks after germination, they can be carefully separated. In doing so, the fine roots of the young plantlets should be damaged as little as possible in order to facilitate their growth.
Diseases and pests
  • Brown leaf margins and pointed or spotty leaves
Brown leaf margins and leaf tips are usually the result of dry indoor air or an unfavorable location. Accordingly, one should optimize the environmental conditions for this plant and spray regularly with lime-free water. The brown tips and edges can be cut off carefully, but always a thin strip of withered remains on the plant and should not be cut into healthy tissue. Stains on the leaves often occur when the plant is sprayed with lime-containing tap water. This should be avoided at all costs and if possible only use lime-free or at least especially low-calcium water. Tip: To reduce the lime content of the water, you can, for example, Mix two-thirds tap water with one-third distilled water. Or you fill a small cotton or nylon sack with peat and hang it overnight in a container filled with tap water. The peat should remove limescale from the water
  • Shield and mealybugs
Wool or lice occur mainly in too dry room air. But even unfavorable site conditions can favor a pest infestation, because then the plants are usually weakened and particularly vulnerable. Scale insects can be recognized by small brown tags on the leaves and on the leaf axils. On the other hand, a Wolllausbefall shows on white wattebauschähnlichen Gespinsten on the plant. After the plant in question has been isolated from others, it is possible to wipe most of the animals with a damp cloth and then to spray with a solution of soft soap and spirit, which must be repeated several times. The use of oily preparations may eventually lead to the death of the treated leaves. On the trunk, however, they can easily be applied with a brush. The use of beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps, lacewing larvae or the Australian ladybug can be particularly helpful. In the case of severe infestation, the use of suitable systemic agents is usually unavoidable. Tip: Scrub or scrape off the scales should be avoided, as there are often eggs under the shields of female animals. These could be distributed over the whole plant, so that a renewed infestation is programmed!
Conclusion of the editorship
The attitude of this extraordinary palm plant is not easy. The basic requirement for a healthy and magnificent plant is a bright location without blazing midday sun, ground heat and the highest possible humidity. In normal living rooms, the conditions are usually not optimal. Better is a winter garden or heated greenhouse.
Worth knowing about the Betelnusspalme soon
  • The Betelnusspalme ensures a healthy indoor climate and is visually very beautiful.
  • However, it needs a lot of heat and humidity and is therefore not as easy to care for as other palm trees.
  • In their homeland, such a feather palm is up to 25 meters high and is especially interesting because of their fruits.
  • The Betelnusspalme comes from tropical areas and therefore needs it as a houseplant nice warm.
  • A greenhouse is therefore well suited - it can also stand in other rooms, if the temperatures there permanently at about 20° C.
  • It needs a lot of light, but should be protected from the midday sun.
  • Especially in young plants, the leaves can easily burn in direct sunlight.
  • At appropriate temperatures, the betel nut palm may also be on the terrace during the summer.
  • But she has to be brought back to the house in time, because she is not frost hardy.
  • The betel nut palm needs a lot of water. Because it loves a high humidity, its leaves can be sprayed regularly.
  • For this purpose, only lime-free water at room temperature should be used.
  • A betel nut palm is fertilized sparingly and only during the summer months.
betel nut
  • In their homeland, the betel nuts are formed on such a palm tree. They are about the size of chicken eggs and have a red color.
  • Inside the nut is a brown seed surrounded by pulp.
  • In Asia, unripe betel nuts are sold on the streets. They have a stimulating effect and reduce appetite.
  • In larger quantities, they are harmful or even deadly.
  • The red color of the betel nut colors the saliva red and is also used for coloring the lips.
  • In indoor plants, however, it is extremely unlikely that betel nuts form on the palm.
Problems with the care of the Betelnusspalme
Brown tips or edges are always formed on the leaves when the humidity is too low. Then either the indoor climate should be improved or the palm should be sprayed more often. In this case, however, no hard tap water may be used, because otherwise stains quickly form on the leaves. At too low temperatures, the plant reacts with the fact that it hardly grows anymore. In the case of the pests above all sign and Wollläuse occur.In both cases, the best treatment is to simply scrape the lice off the leaves.

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