Earlier this afternoon I took delivery of a 170cm Areca Palm, via an online purchase from a reputable horitcultural company. It was relieved to be taken out of the box and plastic wrapper and positioned in the warm sunlit lounge. Naturally it was quite expensive so I've given it a good inspection to make sure there is nothing wrong with it. Unfortunately it does seem that there is something not quite right that concerns me enough to write here for some expert advice.
Photo 1 below shows you the complete plant. Overall I would say it looks very healthy:
The first things that struck me as odd was the black marks all over the stems. I've been able to gently wipe quite a lot of them off by using one of those green scrims dipped in water, plus running my finger nail up and down also proved to be effective. After quite a work out it now looks much better but many of the black spots won't come off. I've since read on this forum that there is nothing to worry about, so I guess I'm OK with this, but thought I'd mention it nevertheless. Photo 2 and 3 below shows this:
Another slight concern is regarding the shield-like leaves that wrap around the thicker, presumably older stems. Are these meant to be yellow and crispy with dark patches on them? I'm hoping the answer is yes. Photo 4 below shows this:
OK so now my main concern. At the foot of the plant are what look like some new little stems with leaves on them. On a couple of them all of the leaves are crinkled in the middle of their length. Photo 5 shows this. This is nothing though, compared to the mutant stem that I found toward the centre of the base of the plant - covered in dry completely frazzled leaves. Photo 6! What an earth has happened here? Is this a magnesium deficiency? Clearly there is something very wrong with this little chap. What should I do?
Should I keep the plant or send it back?
Edit > I wrote to the supplier who replied with the following:
The crinkled leaves etc is not something to worry about. We see this often on new growth and the leaves straighten out as they develop. It can also occur where the palm is getting ready to split and divide.
Likewise on larger mature Areca the stems are usually speckled with black. Again it is not a cause for concern, it is natural. I am rather more concerned that you may have stressed the plant if you scrubbed at its stems. I would advise that you leave the plant to acclimatise in its new home before re-potting it. Also, please do not feed or over-water the palm. Feed should only be applied during the warmer, growing months.
We do carefully check our plants before shipping them and would not have sent it out if we had any concerns.
We also only work with top rated growers and suppliers from across the various continents, we do not offer sub-standard plants for sale. Please therefore be assured that you palm is healthy and will flourish with the proper care.
Thanks for reading,