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Areca Palm

Question:

I purchased an Areca palm a few years ago from a grocery store because they were killing it.  The palm has grown immensely.  However, I have a concern that perplexes me.  I water my plant when there are first signs of the dirt being dry, however, whether it was in a pot that drained to a pot that does not, I have noticed yellow spores that seem to grow from the base of the stalk/trunk of the plant.  Sometimes it looks like pollen, and other times, it actually grew up to look like spores.

At first, I figured my plant was being over watered in a pot that drained.  However, as it outgrew that particular pot and as I watered it less, the spores continued even after transplanting the Areca to a larger pot that gives it at least three years of superior growing room.   The only difference is the pot, unfortunately does not drain so I am very careful in making sure that the soil is dryer than usual, since I do not want the plant to suffer from root rot.

The plant has both a plant light that comes on from 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. and it is placed by a large window that faces my balcony.   I take care to make sure that the blinds do not allow direct sunlight.  Therefore, I am at a loss as to what is causing these fungi, or is it something that is symbiotic since my plant never seems to suffer and only apparently affecting my behavior in trying to make a change.  Whenever I see an overgrowth of the yellow fungi, I remove it immediately.

Answer:: I am having a hard time deciphering just what you are seeing. A good photo would be most helpful.

Areca palms have naturally yellow spotted lower stems. I suspect that is what is alarming you unnecessarily. The only other possibility would be scale insects, but you did not mention any stickiness, so that is unlikely. A fungus is very unlikely.

I think you are bit confused about repotting, watering and light for Arecas. Like most potted plants, they do best when kept quite potbound. As long as there is enough soil to retain water for three days or more between thorough waterings, then the plant should not be repotted.

In  addition, moving a plant to a pot without drain holes is never a good idea. The surface of the soil may feel dry even while water is collecting in the bottom of the pot and causing root rot where you cannot see it until it is too late. I suggest you move your Areca to the smallest pot that it will fit into and one that has drain holes. When you repot, never add soil to the top  surface of the original rootball.

Plant lights do not help much with Areca Palms, which require quite a bit on natural sunlight. Open your blinds all the way and let the sun shine it for best results.