The white spots on Areca Palm leaves are usually caused by mealybugs infestation, scale infestation, powdery mildew, and other white fungus problems.
To fix this problem, follow a combination of standard care practices, such as improving air circulation, lowering moisture around the plant, and spraying fungicides on affected leaves and stems.
Let’s learn more about it in detail below.
What Causes Areca Palm White Spots?
The white spots issue is one of the deadliest in Areca Palm trees (Dypsis lutescens). As mentioned, it happens for three main reasons, i.e., mealybugs infestation, scale infestation, and fungus problems.
The worst thing about the white spots is you could simultaneously have all three issues in your plant. But let’s not ponder about the multiple infestations at this moment.
Let’s try and understand what this white stuff is all about.
Note: You will find this issue in most varieties of plants, such as Kentia Palm and Majesty Palm.
1. Mealybugs Infestation
Mealybugs are a common problem in indoor as well as outdoor plants. They usually live in colonies and form fuzzy spots on the stems of the plants. You can find these colonies on the bottom part of the stem of your Areca Palm tree.
Source – Reddit
As for the bugs, they will have cotton-like bodies that are easily identifiable from a distance.
2. Scale Infestation
Scale infestation is pretty similar to mealybugs infestation. It also happens due to white pests that feed on the plant’s juices. This issue is quite common in palm trees, and you will see many waxy-bodied insects on the different parts of the plant.
Source – Reddit
Since these insects feed on the plant, the leaves and stems turn yellow or brown. In later stages, the infestation intensifies further and becomes unbearable for the plant. If you don’t take care of the plant at this stage, it won’t survive for too long.
3. Fungus Problems
Fungus problems like powdery mildew are as lethal as mealybugs and scale infestation.
The Areca Palm tree is known to attract fungal issues during humid and warm conditions. These conditions are congenial for the growth of different types of fungi. Similarly, overwatered plants are easy targets of such problems in home gardens.
So, you will need to assess the plant well to identify and fix the powdery mildew problem.
Note: The fungi may also appear in other colors, including black and gray.
Let’s look at the following section, where I’ve shared a few tips to deal with this problem in your Areca Palm.
How To Fix White Spots On Areca Palm
Here’s what you need to do –
1. Inspect The White Spots
To get to the main cause of this problem, inspect the plant comprehensively. When you examine the plant, check the bottom of the leaves too.
Oftentimes, the bugs hide under the leaves so that they stay protected from sunlight, hot weather, and predators. So, it’s essential to scan the underneath of the leaves.
2. Prune The Heavily Affected Leaves
Once the inspection is over, it’s time to perform the pest control activities. Get the shears or scissors and identify the leaves that seem more impacted by the problem.
Although there are a few ways to tackle these issues, you should also get rid of the damaged leaves from the plant.
When you remove the heavily affected leaves from the plant, it makes things even easier for you to carry out the next stage of action against pests like spider mites and thrips.
So, prune the leaves that are wilting or look greatly infested by the bugs.
Once you remove such leaves, put them in the bin. Do not use these leaves for composting or any such activity in your garden. You must dump them appropriately, as the issue may spread further in some of your favorite indoor and outdoor plants.
3. Clean The Stem And Branches With Rubbing Alcohol
As soon as you remove the affected leaves, prepare a solution of rubbing alcohol (70%), dish soap, and water. It should be a dilute solution so that it won’t affect the tender parts of the plant.
Here are the steps to follow in the cleaning process –
- Wear your gardening gloves.
- Get a cloth or cotton swab and dip it into the prepared rubbing alcohol solution.
- Clean the stem and leaves affected by the problem.
- Wait for the solution to dry out completely.
- Rinse the plant with plain water.
Ideally, you should perform this task in the evening and rinse the plant in the morning with your gardening spray.
4. Spray Neem Oil On The Affected Parts
Neem oil is one of the best organic products to deal with pest or fungus infestation on plants. However, if you have already used rubbing alcohol on the plant, avoid spraying with neem oil.
Note: Before spraying, you should carefully examine the plant. If it doesn’t seem in good condition, spraying the neem oil or any other solution is unnecessary. Wait for more days to see if there is a revival of the bug problem.
If you see any new growth, you will have to repeat the alcohol method several times more. The interval between these processes should be around 5-6 days, or you can wait ten days.
You can watch this video to deal with the scale insects –
Baking Soda and Water Solution
Similarly, you can make a potent solution using baking soda and water to prevent plants from fungus.
Here’s I prepare the solution for my plants –
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 2 drops of liquid soap (like dish soap)
- 1 litre of water
- Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 drops of liquid soap with 1 liter of water.
- Adjust the amounts if you have a bigger or smaller plant.
- Spray this mixture on your Areca Palm tree leaves.
You’ll need to perform this process regularly, especially when it’s rainy or humid. Spray your plant every 3-4 weeks for optimal results.
5. Add Dry Soil Or Dried Leaves To The Pot
Adding dried leaves or dry soil can help reduce wetness in the pot.
When you supply these extra elements to the soil, they absorb surplus water content and avert further damage to the Areca Palm roots and stems. At the same time, you must reduce watering frequency considerably.
Otherwise, the plant will continue to encounter fungus and related problems in the future.
6. Repot Or Transplant The Areca Palm
Alternatively, you can resort to the tried and tested method of repotting the plant.
It helps in completely getting rid of wet soil from the pot. So, if you have a fresh soil mix, do consider this option. It may take some time to repot the plant, but it will surely be helpful to get your plant back to the growth phase.
Apart from the repotting method, you can also consider transplanting the plant. This method will be useful to regrow your Areca Palm in entirely new conditions.
7. Move The Plant To A Sunny Location
Now, move the plant to where it can receive a good amount of sunlight throughout the day.
The Areca Palm trees are known to do well in sunny and bright locations. This type of location also helps in limiting the fungal growth in the plants. So, try to find a place in your home and move your plant there.
You should know these few things while addressing the white spots on your Areca Palm.
If you see similar white spots again on the plant after a few days, you should repeat these processes a couple of times more. You may not get a 100% result with the first application of solutions or spray, as the bugs are often resilient. They will make a comeback with more colonies in a few days.
So, be prepared to take the necessary action again.
Other Spots On Areca Palm And Their Treatment
Apart from white spots, the Areca Palm is sensitive to diverse spot issues, including yellow, brown, and black spots. These spots are typically caused by overwatering, excess daylight, or fungus infestation.
If your areca palm experiences any of these issues, use the following suggestions to fix the problem.
1. Yellow Spots
Yellow spots are quite common in Areca Palm and other palm plant varieties. This is caused by overwatering and direct sunlight issues. Also, potassium deficiency is another primary cause of yellow spots on Areca Palm leaves.
Treatment: The yellow spots problem can be fixed by providing sufficient potassium-rich fertilizers and regulating the watering and sunlight for the plant.
Sometimes, the older leaves will also depict a similar behavior, but you can neglect them if the issue is not too widespread. It’s a natural process; these leaves will inherently turn yellow over time.
2. Brown Spots
Like yellow spots, Areca Palms can have brown spots due to underwatering and overwatering. In some cases, these spots might emerge from fungus and nutrient deficiency issues.
The brown spots commonly appear in patterns rather than any distinct shape. Thus, it’s easy to recognize them on these plants.
If you see brown tips on the plant, it’s also a sign of underwatering. In more severe cases, the tree’s leaves will completely turn brown.
Treatment: Follow a strict watering timetable, and do not water the plant unnecessarily. Make 2-3 drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, as it will prevent a waterlogging situation in the pot.
3. Black Spots
The black spots are more destructive to Areca Palms than the above two issues. The usual causes of these spots include fungus infestation, overwatering, stem rot, or root rot.
The spots might appear on the leaves and stems at the same time. So, it’s another sign of the issue in your plant. If not treated, the fungus will rapidly extend to the other parts of the plant and kill the plant.
Treatment: Spray fungicides like neem oil spray to contain the fungus damage. You should follow at least 2-3 rounds of spray to eradicate this issue. The ideal interval for spraying should be 4-5 days.
If the problem is due to overwatering, regulate the watering frequency. There is no need to spray fungicide in this case. Once the plant recovers from the overwatered condition, it will stop producing black spots on the stems.
Keeping your plant in a well-ventilated place will help avert further damage.
As explained above, the white stuff on the palm is mainly because of the mealybugs or scale infestation. However, the plant may also be suffering from a white fungus issue.
You can use rubbing alcohol, neem oil, soap, etc., to eliminate white spots on your houseplants. If you want more robust options, you can also use easily available fungicides on the plant.
The vinegar spray is quite effective against the powdery mildew problem in your indoor plants.
The white spots are related to pest infestation or fungal issues on your plant. You need to inspect the plant deeply if you want to confirm any of these issues in your plant.
It depends on the type of bug problem you have in your plant. In general, you can use dish soap or neem oil to spray on the affected parts of the plant. Both these solutions are effective in getting rid of different types of bugs from the plant.