Areca Palm / Dypsis lutescens
Drive down any road in southern Florida, and you may pass an Areca palm tree or two. These lower-growing, bushy palm trees are popular in many types of landscaping plans. Areca palms, scientific name Dypsis lutescens, are cultivated readily by nurseries and wholesale palm resources like us.
Some people do not seem to like this palm variety, perhaps because it is so often seen in the region or because it does not have the stately grandeur of its taller cousins. Even with its detractors, the Areca palm offers an excellent solution to many landscaping needs. Every garden and yard needs a specific plant plan to make it look its best.
Due to its dense foliage and bushy nature, the Areca is frequently used in hedge rows between properties or parts of a yard. They offer a considerably degree of privacy when planted close together and allowed to grow in the natural state.
Some home owners prefer to thin out the fronds so more of the canes are visible. They are similar in appearance to the canes of non-invasive bamboo species, smooth and a pleasant gray-green shade. This can add a spark of interest to the yard. This is done more often on older and taller plants so they look more like trees and less like giant ferns.
Areca palm fronds have long leaves that arch gracefully. The appearance has earned the plant the nickname "feather palm."
The fruit produced by this decorative palm is small and edible though not sufficient for regular harvesting. It does make a unique snack, however.
Although the Areca palm is very popular in southern Florida, it can survive and grow happily in zones 10 and 9b throughout the south and southwest. Zone 9 plantings may require protected areas that are not subject to excessive temperature changes. Situating an Areca near a waterway, pond, or lake can afford some natural regulation. This is especially important if there is any chance of a freeze in the area.
When small, these are often sold in containers for planting outside in gardens or used as house plants. Field grown Areca palms offer impressive options for yards and landscaping plots for immediate privacy and style.