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Areca Palm, Butterfly Palm, Golden Cane Palm, Madagascar Palm

Dypsis lutescens

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Dypsis (DIP-sis) (Info)
Species: lutescens (loo-TESS-enz) (Info)
Synonym:Areca lutescens
Synonym:Chrysalidocarpus lutescens


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:



12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers



Bloom Color:

Gold (yellow-orange)

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Goodyear, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Beverly Hills, California

Brentwood, California

Clayton, California

Del Mar, California

Encino, California

Garberville, California

Garden Grove, California

Hayward, California

Huntington Beach, California

Lemon Grove, California

Los Angeles, California

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Reseda, California

San Fernando, California

Santa Barbara, California (3 reports)

Stockton, California

Ventura, California (2 reports)

Big Pine Key, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida (2 reports)

Bradenton, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida (3 reports)

Dover, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2 reports)

Fort Pierce, Florida (2 reports)

Holmes Beach, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Lake Worth, Florida

Largo, Florida

Lecanto, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Okeechobee, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Oviedo, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Port Charlotte, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida (2 reports)

Saint Cloud, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida (4 reports)

Sarasota, Florida

Satellite Beach, Florida

Sebring, Florida

Stuart, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Titusville, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida

Agana Heights, Guam

Hana, Hawaii

Kapaa, Hawaii

Wailuku, Hawaii

New Orleans, Louisiana (2 reports)

Las Vegas, Nevada

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Summerville, South Carolina

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 10, 2017, sdfrank from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

In San Diego, about 5 miles from the ocean. Just bought 6 of these, intention is to form a privacy screen. They were shade grown and I put them quickly into full sun. So far, they are doing very well, have been in the sun for 2 weeks, and are getting some lighter in color. I'm hopeful they do well here, will give an up-date in several months.


On Mar 18, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

In box stores, this is among the most commonly sold palms for use as a houseplant---not because it's suitable for growing as a houseplant (it isn't!) but because it's easy and cheap for Florida nurseries to propagate and grow to a suitable size. I killed several before reading that its environmental requirements are not compatible with most homes.

In south Florida (West Palm Beach where I garden), this is a common landscape plant, almost to the point of inducing nausea, but for a good reason. It loves the climate, and it's one of the few palms that make good screening and shade trees. Like most palms, but unlike most shade/screening trees, it's among the most resistant trees to hurricane damage.

It forms a clump because it suckers continuously from the base. S... read more


On Nov 12, 2015, 1rama1 from Vero Beach, FL wrote:

These pretty much grow like weeds in the Vero Beach Florida area (zone 9b) and provide an excellent visual barrier along property lines and elsewhere. They do drop fronds or create hanging dead fronds, as the many other types of palms in my yard do, so I don't find them any messier than many, and cleaner than most. We have a lot of palms that need to be trimmed of dead or dying fronds; the arecas generally drop their fronds on their own and are picked up and removed by our lawn guys.

In our yard these easily reach 15-25 feet; and they are available in a local big box store at $29 each for a tree about 7-8 ft high. We are about to buy several of these to kick-start a replacement border along a property line close to our neighbor's house--we like our neighbor and he lives in... read more


On Jan 26, 2013, marksgrdn from Stockton, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

i just recently purchased an ARECA PALM from my local H.D.
nice price I might add as well. i bought it to go into my new bathroom that i just remodeled. i have it on a stand in a west window. i do not use this room as it is a guest bath so i keep the door closed to contain the heat in the main part of the house. the darn thing loves it in there all by itself. ive watered it once since purchasing it 2 wks ago. i might give it a drink this weekend as the soil feels slightly dry. i love it so far. it is what i was looking for. im happy and it seems to be happy. i do look in on it daily.


On May 22, 2011, glooten from Sydney,
Australia wrote:

I have 2 Golden Cane Palms growing in pots on my north facing balcony, so far they have been very low maintenance and are growing beautifully, even though I often forget to water them!


On Jan 18, 2011, Mandrew968 from Miami, FL wrote:

This palm is not only overly planted, but all too often it is planted over ten seeds to a bucket. This results in a more rapid filling of the bucket and hence a quicker sell for the nursery, but also causes these palms to over compete for limited space--this is easy to recognize if you own one: does your palm look more like a yellowish-brown leafy hedge than a clustering palm? Are the trunks only 1-4" instead of 4-9" thick? Does your clump have tapering, dying stems? people who go to buy these palms want the ones that are the most filled out, but the ones that end up looking the best are the least populated buckets that will eventually fill out better than the fuller looking ones at the nursery... if you have the extra money and sense, buy a dypsis cabadae instead.


On Nov 22, 2009, planterbug from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

my areca palm is growing great and are about 6 feet tall. and create a beautiful privicy hedge. now are there any ways to slow the growth before they get too tall


On Oct 27, 2009, park_biologist from Key Largo, FL wrote:

Some "areca" palms are escaping from cultivation and invading natural areas where they can be expected to continue increasing and displacing native plants. One of the more popular "areca" palms, the golden butterfly palm or yellow areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) is a common weed in the parks and preserves of Broward and Palm Beach Counties in southeast Florida.

At first I assumed the seeds were probably dispersed by native mammals such as raccoons and opossums, or perhaps by native gopher tortoises. However, I usually find the palms sprouting as single specimens, rather than in the clusters that would result from being consumed and passed in droppings of these species. So, I have revised my list of suspects; I am now watching the palms I see in fruit for feeding activity by ... read more


On Aug 31, 2009, Just1morePalm from Huntington Beach, CA wrote:

This is one of the most colorful palms that grows well with little care...Very under rated for such a colorful and hearty palm...a great color contrast from other green palms...The colors range from silver-yellow-green-lime-orange-redthe banded leaf scars add a nice tropical feel tooA must have IMO-


On Jun 18, 2009, puremagick from Brisbane,
Australia wrote:

One of the best palms I have, is great for screening and Mine are relatively quick growing. Deffo worth investing in, and are very cheap.


On Jul 13, 2008, plantparent from Sarasota, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I am in the interiorscape business. We use alot of arecas because clients here want the tropical look. We refer to them as throw away palms. They are inexpensive to replace in accounts (alot of which are low light). I have found the 14" and larger do last longer. The 10" ......not so good. Inside they are too high maitanence for me. Clipping tips, they are also prone to mites and mealey. Outside is different. They do get very large. I see alot of arecas that have not been maintained and to me look unsightly, but if kept up are very nice.


On Apr 6, 2007, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Native of Madagascar.


On Jan 18, 2007, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

I planted a two gallon clump in June 2006. They have done great despite the coldest winter in nearly ten years in the bay area. They need to be placed where they are protected from frost such as under a tree or overhang and where it accumulates warm summer temps. Maybe the most beautiful small palm for the mild climate areas.
Edit: April 07: It's died from the great freeze of 07.

Edit: February 24, 2009: Another planted last spring has done great in almost full sun up against a front porch. The location of this lutescens appears to agree with it much more then my first attempt. It even has slowly opened fronds over the winter of 08/09.
The only other bay area Dypsis lutescens I know of is also planted against a wall with much sun.
These are such great l... read more


On Jun 19, 2006, eurokitty from Seattle, WA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have an enormous version of this in the yard of my Florida home. They are very popular in Florida to use as hedges, and for landscaping because they grow so quickly and they look very tropical. We just planted two additional areca palms in our yard to add additional privacy.

The nursery suggested that smaller palms should not be planted in strong sunlight; it will burn the tender leaves and they will forever have a brown edge to them. Smaller plants should be shaded for some part of the day. Once they're fairly mature (about five feet or more) they can be planted in direct sun.

Also worth noting, especially if you live in a hot, tropical climate that these palms require maintenance. (This is nothing new to people who have palm trees - most palms require some... read more


On Dec 22, 2005, junglejude from Niagara Falls,
Canada wrote:

We have three 25' specimen plants in the conservatory. Once the stalks mature they will bloom and set fruit continually. The seeds are better sown fresh, if the fruit dries out, the seeds will not germinate. It takes 90 days to germinate.


On Oct 24, 2004, tjsangel003 from Warren, OH wrote:

I've kept my Madagascar palm indoors for 3 years now. It's right in front of my back door in the kitchen. It doesnt seem to mind the drafts from outside. It's grown twice as big, occassionally a bottom leaf will yellow but can be pulled right off. Keep fairly moist in a large container. I mist mine daily for humidity, this plant will put up with almost anything! I also have mine in low light and the bronze coloring still shows through.


On Jul 24, 2004, desertboot from Bangalore,
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

A pair of 25-footers flank our gates. Love the shadows of taller fronds over the lower ones. The fruit are particularly attractive to cuckoos. Easy to propagate from seed, and even the tiniest offsets.


On Mar 8, 2004, bb96gb from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

This palm is often used as a tall sreening hedge in South Florida. Creates lots of yard work because it constantly drops fronds.


On Jul 25, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

If you have this palm in your yard, after sometime, when it reaches 2-3m tall it will start producing fruits. Typical palm fruits, but with an orange, flesh edible coat over the seed. It tastes good, a bit too sweet, though, but worth a try. I never heard of it, and never tried it, but these fruits might be good for jellies or something.

On another note, Ive been finding some specimens with ramifications on the top. These individuals are shorter, and have a more "full" looking than the regular palms. I dont know what causes it, but if someone finds it out, may be an option to have in your garden.


On Jul 6, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

The current name for this palm is Dypsis. Chrysalidocarpus is the old name. This is one of the more common palms you can buy at Home Depot and other outlet nurseries. It is not commonly grown outdoors in most areas of the US except perhaps Miami and parts of San Diego.. however it does well throughout most of Southern California. It is NOT an ideal indoor plant, though, as it really needs a lot of light. Here in So Cal, it does well as a specimen palm, suckering and arching nicely from a central point, with yellowish, ringed trunks and arching, ferny leaves.

In more tropical climates, such as South Florida and Hawaii, this species is very common and overgrown perhaps (even invasive), and used frequently in landscaping as a privacy hedge but to thirty feet tall. It is ... read more


On Jun 29, 2002, Hunter_X from Orlando, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Clustered non branching stems with fronds that are subdivided and arching. LIGHT:Medium to high. Does well near an east, west, or south window, filtered light, or location receiving 1000 footcandles or more. WATER: frequent. Water thoroughly, keep soil evenly moist to touch (not saturated). Don't let sit in water. TEMPERATURE:
Medium. 61 - 70 (degrees F) days, 56 - 65 nights. HUMIDITY:
Average FERTILIZER: Every 4 months SOIL MIX:1 part sterilized garden loam, 1 part clean coarse sand or Perlite, and 1/2 to 1 part sphagnum peat moss. PROPOGATION:
Division. SELECTION GUIDE: Select sturdy, shapely, healthy plant free from insect and disease damage. New leaf growth is desirable. Avoid those with yellow or brown leaf margins, wilted or water soaked leaves. CARE: Moderate. ... read more