Bamboo Palm Vs Areca Palm: Key Differences

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Are you ready to bring a touch of the tropics to your home or office? Look no further than palm plants! These stunning greens not only add a beautiful backdrop to any space, but they can also purify the air and boost oxygen levels.

But with so many palm plant options out there, how do you choose? In this article, we’ll compare two of the most popular choices – bamboo palm vs areca palm.

While both plants belong to the same Arecaceae family and offer similar benefits, they differ in terms of structure, height, growth rate, and care requirements.

So whether you’re a seasoned plant parent or just starting out, read on to discover which palm plant is the perfect fit for your space.

What Is Bamboo Palm?

Native to the tropical forests of Central & Northeastern Mexico, the bamboo palm is an understory plant readily available online at Etsy and offline garden stores.

Scientifically called Chamaedorea erumpens, the bamboo palm is a houseplant that is very easy to care for and can serve as an excellent focal point indoor plant.

It is also famous for its indoor air purifying abilities and features deep green large leaflets and giant yellowish reed-like stems that resemble bamboo canes with maturity. Bamboo palm can tolerate shade and is perfect for a poorly-lit room.

Its yellow color bamboo-like canes and stunning deep-green large leaves is why the bamboo palm is unique as a focal point plant in any environment. 

Meanwhile, this plant comes from a group of palms known as cane palms. Bamboo palm can reach 6 to 10 feet tall in the right conditions but tends to grow sluggishly, taking a few years to reach their average height of 6 feet.

Apart from its attractive features, this palm plant can produce blooms and bright-orange fruits once it matures.

See Also: Different Types of Japanese Bamboo

What Is Areca Palm?

Also known as butterfly palm or golden cane palm, the areca palm is one of the most famous indoor palm plants thanks to its easy maintenance nature and its tolerance to low-light conditions.

Like the bamboo palm, the areca palm has a slow-growth rate and is a perfect plant that can grow alone yet beautify any environment. 

The areca palm features cane-like stems and yellow-green stunningly drooping leaflets, resembling a butterfly, where one of its common names (butterfly palm) originates.

In other words, it grows large feathery green leaves with a gentle curve and has bamboo-like stems that grow in groups from the base of the plant.

Scientifically known as Dypsis lutescens, the areca palm thrives in a moderate amount of water and fertile soil and requires monthly fertilizer to keep its lush appearance. It will

survive the sun or shade but does best in bright indirect light and moderately moist soil. This palm is suitable in large spaces and rooms with high ceilings.

Bamboo Palm Vs Areca Palm

Bamboo PalmAreca Palm
Native to the tropical forests of Central and Northeastern MexicoNative to the tropical rain forests of Madagascar
Comes from Arecaceae familyComes from Arecaceae family
Easy to grow and care forEasy to grow and care for
Possesses a slow-growth ratePossesses a slow-growth rate
Can reach up to 6 to 10 feet tall in the right conditionsAreca palm can reach 10 feet tall indoors and almost 35 feet outdoors
Produces stunning deep-green large leaves.Grows yellow-green feathery leaves like a butterfly
Produces ribbon-like leaves and trunksGrows ribbon-like leaves and trunks
Possesses leaves that can spread wide and tall, with many clusters growing side.Possesses leaves that can spread wide and tall, featuring many clusters growing side.
Enjoys bright indirect light conditions, but can survive shady areas.Thrives in bright indirect light conditions, but can tolerate bright light and full sun conditions
Perfect in poorly-lit rooms.Ideal in spacious indoor areas
Produces yellow flowers that appear in the summer on two-foot-long panicles.Bears yellow blooms that appear in the summer on two-foot-long panicles.
Fruits tend to darken after some time, subsequently darken completely.Fruits tend to blacken with time, until later darken fully.

Differences Between Bamboo Palm and Areca Palm 

Bamboo and areca palm are identical palm plants that you can hardly differentiate. In fact, without a closer look, you can often mistake one for the other.

However, despite their notable similarities, you can draw a few differences between them, especially in terms of their height, structure, and color.

Even though both plants are slow-growers, they possess different heights at the maturity stage. For instance, the bamboo palm can reach 6 to 10 feet tall in the right conditions but tends to grow sluggishly, taking a few years to reach its average height of 6 feet.

On the other hand, areca palm can reach 10 feet tall indoors and almost 35 feet outdoors.

The bamboo plant is native to the tropical forests of Central and Northeastern Mexico as an understory plant.

In contrast, the areca palm is primarily seen around the tropical rainforests of Madagascar. In terms of leaf color, the former produces stunning deep-green large leaves, while the latter grows yellow-green feathery leaves like a butterfly.

Bamboo and areca palms prefer bright indirect light conditions, but the former can survive shade areas; hence is perfect for poorly-lit rooms. On the other hand, the latter can tolerate bright light and full sun conditions; hence, survive in spacious indoor areas.

How is Bamboo Palm and Areca Palm Similar?

Despite the slight differences highlighted above, you will find many striking resemblances between bamboo and areca palms, which is why many people often mistake one for the other.

One of their most striking similarities is that they are both easy to grow and care for and are perfect beginner plants.

Both plants have slow-growth rates. In other words, the areca palm grows similarly to the bamboo palm.

Again, palm plants generally feature the same color and produce ribbon-like leaves and trunks, which can change to golden yellow with maturity. Both palms possess leaves that can spread wide and tall, with many growing clusters.

The bamboo palm resembles the areca palm in its family (Arecaceae). Both possess the same air purification qualities and oxygenation and are both non-toxic to humans and pets. Both have a similar structure, as multiple stems grow straight from the ground in identity formation.

Again, both plants require sunlight to grow, even if they have their respective sunlight conditions in which they will do best.

They also possess almost similar room temperature conditions of about 60 to 75°F (16 to 24°C) indoors. However, any temperature drop will be disastrous to both plants. You can tell the conditions of both plants with their leaves.

Bamboo palm and areca palm may not bloom indoors except in the most favorable conditions. Both also produce yellow blooms that appear in summer on two-foot-long panicles and quickly change into yellow-orange fruit at around half an inch long.

However, these fruits tend to darken after some time till they almost darken entirely.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Identify My Areca Palm?

You can quickly identify the areca palm through its appearance, as it features smooth silver-green branches, topped with arching feather-shaped leaves. This palm often grows in clusters that create thick clumps of numerous stems. It also features 6 to 8 yellow-green leaves on long petioles, curving upwards like butterflies.

What Is An Alternative Name For Areca Palm?

Areca palm is scientifically called Dypsis lutescens, while other common names include butterfly palm, golden butterfly palm, cane palm, yellow palm, and golden feather palm.

Which Palm Is Perfect For Home?

Palm plants can survive indoor conditions, but areca palm is the best for your home. Other more suitable palms for your home include broadleaf acai palm trees.

What Is Unique About Areca palm?

Areca palm comes with several benefits that make them unique. It is also a very easy-to-care plant that purifies indoor air. They are great as both indoor and outdoor plants. They also possess unique, attractive foliage that adds a tropical feel to homes or offices.

Is Areca Palm Fast-growing?

No, the areca palm is a slow-growing plant that can reach up to 6 to 10 inches yearly, while its mature variety ranges from 5 to 8 feet as an indoor plant. In its hardiness zones of 10 and above, you can grow the areca palm outdoors, growing about 30 feet tall at maturity.

What Is Bamboo Palm Good For?

Several plant professionals believe that the bamboo palm has significant health benefits. For instance, like some other palms, the bamboo palm helps purify the air, which is excellent for absorbing formaldehyde, benzene, chloroform, and carbon monoxide.

How fast do bamboo palms grow?

The bamboo palm is not a fast-growing plant, as it grows sluggishly until it reaches about a few inches annually.


Apart from the fact that they beautify your indoor space, palms are great air purifiers. But the problem most gardeners often encounter is telling the difference between them due to the close resemblance of almost every palm plant, especially bamboo and areca palm.

So, if you’re looking to add a palm plant to your indoor space, we’ve been able to compare both plants to ease your decision-making.

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