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sarah746

Can I rescue? Areca?

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sarah746

I just moved in with my boyfriend only to discover his two 30-year old inherited palms in bad condition. I've never had palms before, so I'm not sure what to do or even if they can be saved. Still kind of confused as to what the old brown parts at the bottom are - but I want to learn!

He has definitely been overwatering them, so i'm thinking there is root rot. Are they too far gone? If not, is that the only problem?

I'd like to save them if possible, but I'm not sure if I can

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PalmatierMeg

Where are you? Do these "inherited" palms have any sentimental value? The large one is Dypsis lutesecens from Madagascar, i.e. Golden Cane Palm if you like cutesy names. Arecas are a genus of palms from tropical Asia. Dypsis lutescens are often sold as houseplants up north and are relatively cheap. It would be less work to replace the old palm.

If you want to "save" the old one, wait until warm weather, take the palm outside, unpot it and trash the old soil. As the current pot will be too large for what's left of the palm(s) - there are likely multiple palms in the pot fighting for survival - expect to buy a smaller pot. Gently rinse old soil from the roots and tease away dead stems. Remove dead leaf bases from lie stems and otherwise clean them up. From the looks of some the of larger leaves you may not have many live stems left and they sure won't need that large pot. Plant the live stems into a coarse potting mix that drains very well. Don't use cheap black muck from a dollar store.

Water only when top 1-2" of soil is dry rather than on a schedule. D. lutescens don't want to be overwatered.

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Steve Mac

Hi Sarah, welcome to the forum.

Yes, what Meg said.  When the palm was first put in the pot the soil level was probably level with the top of the pot. That is one of the problems with high organic mixes, they collapse after a period of time giving insufficient aeration to the roots and it needs refreshing.  It should then slowly recover (if it is not too late). 

Also as Meg said, clean out all of the dead leaf bases, it will look immediately better and remove any homes for pests. Carefully tease off, cut off, scissors, scalpel whatever is necessary that should reduce it by half.  Dypsis lutescens commonly known as the Areca palm in many parts of the world is very popular and hardy, if it recovers (time will tell) it should look great. Don't worry about the mottling on the stems that is normal. Good luck.

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