How To Grow Betel Nut Tree For Maximum Profit

With the right cultivation techniques, we will get a lot of profits. This time we will share how to grow betel nut trees based on the results of our research.

Betel Nut is a mainstay export commodity in Indonesia, especially on the island of Sumatra (Jambi). However, there are many obstacles to the cultivation of this commodity, such as the difficulty of providing seeds with superior varieties, availability of planting land, suitable fertilizers for areca nut plants so that trees produce a lot of fruit, proper irrigation, and control of pests and diseases.

The application of less than optimal betel nut cultivation techniques will only bring losses to farmers, therefore we take the initiative to share experiences and techniques that we use so that plants can grow well so that they get maximum profit.

the following are the preparations needed to start growing betel nut trees:

The Right Amount of Seed, Yields Great Profits.

When doing betel nut business, of course, we expect as much profit as possible at the lowest possible cost. the maximum profit we will get if we have planned how many seeds we need. so that no seed is wasted due to limited land.

1,300 trees can be planted in 1 hectare

If you have a field of 1 hectare then you can have 1,300 betel nut trees.

Does that mean I need 1,300 seeds? not entirely true.

The germination of the betel nut is indeed very good, which is 90 percent. but we should have a reserve of seeds as much as 25% of the number of seeds we need. then the seeds needed if you have 1 hectare of the field with a spacing of 2.7m x 2.7m are 1,625 seeds. Why does the spacing have to be 2.7m x 2.7m?

“You reap what you sow” – Excellent seed is what matters!

Is this saying very familiar? Yes!, you reap what you sow, the same thing when you start to grow a betel nut tree that produces maximum yields.

Good betel nut seeds can be seen from the size, weight, and age of the fruit, but the size of the fruit really depends on the areca nut variety. Here are the criteria for a good betel nut to be used as a seed:

  • “Like father like soon”: the seeds taken from large fruits will produce betel nut trees that have large fruits as well. so choose seeds from large fruit.
  • Has a weight of 36 grams: The weight of the seeds to be used as seeds should be approximately 36 grams. Heavy seeds indicate that the seeds have good germination candidates.
  • Trees are more than 10 years old: Mature trees will continue to produce up to 25 years of age. At the age of 10 years, betel nut trees can produce ripe fruit so that they are suitable for nurseries.
  • Choose fruit that is orange / reddish: Fruit that is orange / reddish indicates the betel nut is ripe. Usually, the fruit will ripen after the age of approximately 12 months after flowering.
  • Not infected with pests / diseases: Diseases / pests attached to the betel nut will usually be difficult to germinate.

Germination Process of Betel Nut Tree

Germination is a process in the growth of seed plants. The water that is absorbed into the seeds will trigger hormones and enzymes to work, so that the embryo in the areca nut will grow into sprouts.

In this step, the tools and materials needed for the germination process are as follows:

  • planting media: Selection of soil / planting medium greatly affects the growth process of areca nut. quoted from the research results of Irpan Sagrim & Mira Herawati Soekamto that planting media in the form of tofu waste is the fastest medium for growing sprouts.
  • Germination Tray: The use of a germination tray can make it easier to arrange betel nuts on a regular basis, so that the growing roots do not interfere with each other. In addition, when the seeds have started to germinate, when the process of seeding / moving the sprouts to the field becomes easier. You can buy germination trays on amazon or ebay. Choose a cheap germination tray to reduce costs so that we get maximum profit.
Betel nut germination trays

After all that is needed is available, then the next step for seed germination is as follows:

  • Arrange the selected betel nut into the germination well, make sure the germination tray is filled with soil about 3/4 of the height of the tray.
  • after the seeds are planted, then cover the top with soil.
  • Shade the germination tray to avoid the scorching sun.
  • put the germination tray in a safe place to avoid disturbing animals such as rats.

After all the processes described above have been completed, based on our research germination takes about 1.5 months. At that time the roots will begin to appear.

Areca Nut Nursery Process

Transfer of fruit that has germinated to the nursery directly transferred to the planting medium in polybags. The nursery is carried out in two stages, as follows:

1. First Stage Nursery

Fruit sprouts were planted on land with a width of 1 m and a length adjusted to field conditions and the beds (raised bed soil) were given a perimeter wall made of boards as high as polybags (15 cm).

Example of raised bed soil for betel nut nursery

The goal is that polybags can be arranged upright and neat. The polybag used is 25 cm x 25 cm or a volume of 1 kg of planting media. Polybags must have holes at the bottom for good drainage. Polybag with soil up to 3/4 of the height, then compacted. The germinated betel nut seeds were planted in polybags at a depth of 4 cm or level with the ground. Each polybag is filled with one sprout. Then the sprouts are covered with enough soil to make it look neat.

The beds are shaded with a shade pole height of about 2.5 m. The shade is made of coconut leaves, nipa palm and reeds. Shade begins to be reduced after the seedlings are 2 months old. This reduction is carried out until the seedlings will be transferred to the second nursery or are 5 months old. During the nursery, seedlings need to be maintained in the following ways:

  • Watering is done every morning or evening as much as 0.25 l/polybag, or the condition of the soil in a polybag already saturated with water.
  • Weeding is done when weeds grow in and around the polybag.
  • The application of NPK compound fertilizer was carried out at a dose of 4 g/polybag.
  • Prevention of pests and diseases is done by spraying insecticides and fungicides.
  • A good seed selection is a seed with a relatively large base shaped like a bottle and curved leaves.

2. Second Stage Nursery

In this second stage of nursery, the seeds in the first nursery are transferred to polybags with a size of 40 cm x 50 cm. The land used can be done in the first stage of the nursery. The distance between polybags in the second stage of nursery is about 30 cm x 30 cm. The land must be flat so that the polybag does not fall. The polybag is filled with 2/3 part of fertile soil and can be added with compost. Of the 2/3 part of the polybag that will be filled with planting media, 50% is compost plus (at the bottom) and the remaining 50% is filled with ordinary soil (at the top).

Seedlings from small polybags in the first stage of nursery can be transferred to the above mentioned polybags by tearing small polybags, and then the seeds are planted in large polybags. The soil in the polybag must be relatively dense and the base of the seedling stem is right on the surface of the polybag.

In order for plant growth in polybags to be perfect, it is necessary to fertilize with NPK fertilizer at a dose of 20 g/polybag. The nursery location should be surrounded by a fence to protect it from disturbance by livestock and other animals. The location of this second nursery should be close to a water source.

The second stage of nursery maintenance was carried out for 12 months before being transferred to the field.

Land Preparation for Planting

The steps that must be taken after the planting location is determined are land preparation starting from land clearing (if the land is in the form of bushland or other forest) to making planting holes.

1. Land Clearing

Land that can be planted with betel nut is shrubland, idle land and yard.

2. Determination of Spacing for areca nut trees

The spacing that is commonly used in the field is 2.7 m x 2.7 m square. This spacing is considered quite efficient for plant growth. With such spacing, between areca nut plants in a row can be planted with other crops such as secondary crops as intercropping plants

3. Irrigation System for Betel Nut Trees

The installation of water poles will make it easier to determine the location of the planting hole and the distance will be more regular. The equipment used for recitation is nylon rope, tape measure and poles made of bamboo as high as 1.75 m. Nylon rope is prepared 100 m long. Then marked by tying a piece of nylon rope that is a different color from the main rope. The boundary of each mark is 2.7 m long, adjusted to the recommended planting distance (2.7 m x 2.7 m). After the equipment is ready, the pile driving can be carried out, in the following way:

  1. Determines the direction of East and West and determines one point in the West corner and another point in the East corner.
  2. Stick the stakes at both points and stretch a 100 meter nylon rope (as needed) that connects the two stakes.
  3. Attach a knot along the rope (a knot of a nylon rope of a different color from the first rope) with a distance of 2.7 meters between the knots. This knotted rope is the first row (not the sequence of planting rows).
  4. Make a second line. In the first line, one point is determined at random (right at one of the nodes) and from that point a 8 meter long meter is drawn.
  5. From the same point, the meter is drawn to the side (left or right) for a length of 6 meters perpendicular to the first row and connects the point at the end of the 6 meter point with the end of the 8 meter point in the first row, thus forming a right triangle. The drawing of this line must be adjusted to form a side with a length of 10 meters according to the Pythagorean Formula.
  6. After obtaining a right triangle, then draw a straight line on the 6 meter side of the right triangle, obtained the second line.
  7. Making the third line is done on the side of the first line or second line in the same way as points 4 to 6.
  8. Furthermore, using a long nylon rope that has been knotted at a distance of 2.7 meters, the first, second and third rows are connected while fixing the stakes until the entire land is filled with stakes.

4. Hole Making

Planting holes for areca nut are made with a size of 50 cm x 50 cm x 50 cm. The planting hole must have been made 1 month before planting, because it needs to be left open in the sun. After that the hole can be filled with topsoil that has been mixed with compost or manure as much as 1 kg. In addition, the topsoil can be mixed with 50-75 g/hole NPK fertilizer. The soil mixed with the fertilizer is inserted into the hole up to 2/3 of the way.

Cultivation System of Betel Nut Tree

There are two systems of planting areca nut that can be done, namely planting with a monoculture system and planting with an intercropping system.

1. Monoculture System Planting

In this system only one type of plant produces. Planting should be in the rainy season. The seeds planted are the result of selection.

2. Cultivation with an Intercropping System

The intercropping system provides added value to the farmers because the areca nut only produces at the age of 5 years. Intercropping plants that are commonly planted are secondary crops, including corn, beans. Intercropping in areca nut plantations will provide double benefits to farmers, namely income before the plants produce and the effectiveness of maintaining areca nut plants.

Betel Nut Plant Maintenance

Maintenance of areca nut is done so that the plant grows faster at its initial growth. Plants with good growth vigor usually correlate with faster flowering.

1. Fertilization of Betel Nut Tree

Fertilization of plants is done twice in 1 year, namely at the beginning of the rainy season and at the end of the rainy season. Fertilizer doses for young plants and plants that are starting to flower are presented in the table below.

Plant Ageurea (g)Triple superphosphate or TSP (g)potassium chloride or KCL (g)manure (kg)
1-3 years55401800
> 4 years220802406
The dosage of areca nut fertilizers (one application).

2. Weed Weeding

  • Planting block cleaning
    Block cleaning should be carried out depending on weed conditions at least 4 times a year. Weeding can be done mechanically or by using herbicides.
  • Ring Weeding
    Weeds around the areca nut trees at a radius of 1.5 m are weeded mechanically or using herbicides, before fertilizing.

3. Watering

Areca nut plants are very sensitive to drought, therefore irrigation is important in areas that have a long dry season. Plants need to be watered once every 4 to 7 days depending on soil type and climate.


Important pests and diseases on areca nut from nurseries to storage warehouses are as follows:

1. Bagworms

The cause is Manatha albipes Moore. Found on the underside of the leaf midrib and makes small holes. If the caterpillar attack is severe enough, it can cause sticks to remain in the leaf midrib. Control of bagworms can be done by spraying an insecticide solution containing the active ingredient acephate with a dose of 10 g/250 ml of water, this dose is to be applied to 10 trees.

2. Termites (Coptotermes curvignathus)


Termites attack seeds or seedlings in the dry season. Attacks on seedlings begin at the base of the stem, so that the shoots wither and over time the plant dies. Termite control can be done by covering the base of the stem with sand or chemically using an insecticide with the active ingredient Fipronil at a dose of 50 ml/liter of water or Chlor pyriphos at a dose of 6.25 ml/liter of water.

3. Grasshopper (Valanga sp.)

Grasshopper is one of the pests of areca nut. This insect undergoes simple metamorphosis starting from egg, nymph and imago. Grasshoppers attack betel nut plants by eating relatively young leaves, the symptoms of attack of leaf holes are irregular even in
the only remaining heavy attack is the areca leaf bones.

Control is carried out with the entomopathogens Metarhizium anisopliae, Nosuma locustae or using insecticides with active organophosphate ingredients such as phenitrothion.

4. Lice

There are 3 types of lice that attack areca nut plants, namely red aphids (Raolella indica Hirst), mealybugs (Oligonychus Indicus Hirst) and orange lice (Dolichotetranychus sp.) and finally dry. Orange lice attack the young fruit and hide in the perianth of the fruit and suck the liquid, so the fruit will fall. Control is carried out by spraying Kelthan 1.86 ml/l water or using natural predatory enemies, such as Chilocorus sp.

5. Ladybug (Carvalhoia arecae Miller.)

Ladybugs are found congregating at the ends of the leaf axils. Adult ladybugs are black and young ladybugs are yellowish green, both suck fluid on the spindle so that growth is not normal. The leaves that have been sucked appear dark brown necrotic lines over time, the leaves dry up and break. Control was carried out with the systemic insecticide Sevin 4G at a dose of 10 g/tree at intervals of 3 months per application.

6. Ginger Root (Leucopholis burmeistri Brenske.)

Root grubs or known as white grubs are pests that are quite detrimental to areca nut plants. The larval shape of this pest is like the letter “U”, and the body is soft with brown hairy legs. The larvae feed on young and old betel nut roots, as a result of the attack the leaves turn yellow, the fruit falls and the tree easily collapses when exposed to the wind.

7. Flower Caterpillar (Tirathaba mundella Walk.)

The flower caterpillar attacks the mayang by sucking the fluid in the flower. Adult caterpillars lay their eggs on the spatha. So Spadix can’t open properly. Chemical control using the insecticide Malathion 50% EC with a concentration of 2 ml/l water.

8. Fall Young Fruits

Young fruit fall is caused by the Pentatomid ladybug (Halyomorpha marmorea F). Areca nut pierced with a proboscis will release liquid. The pierced fruit is black on the surface of the fruit skin and the flesh will be dark brown. These symptoms will continue to grow, causing the fruit to fall. Chemical control is done by spraying Endosulfan 0.05% on the bunches.

Areca Plant Diseases

  1. Yellow leaf spot (Yellow leaf spot)
    The cause is the fungus Curvularia sp. Symptoms on the leaf lamina, visible yellow spots with a diameter of 3-10 mm. Further infection can cause seedling death. Spraying with Dithane can reduce attacks.
Yellow Leaf Spot – Diseas of betel nut tree
  1. Leaf Blight
    The cause is Pestalotia palmarum Cooke. Symptoms of the disease are yellowish brown spots on the leaves. Fertilizing N and K2O or by providing shade can suppress disease.
  2. Red rust
    The cause is Cephaleuros sp. This fungus infects stems and leaves. So that it looks irregular spots on the stems and leaves that are yellowish in color. To avoid the need to make sufficient shade.
  3. Root rot (root/coolar rot)
    The cause is the fungus Fusarium sp. and Rhizoctoria sp. This disease is usually seen in nurseries with poor drainage systems. This fungal attack causes the plants to wither.
  4. Fruit rot
    The cause is Phytopthora arecae. Symptoms of wet spots are seen on the fruit surface near the flower petals (perianth) (Fig. 16). These spots will spread so that the color of the fruit turns dark green. If the spot reaches the apical part of the fruit it will cause the fruit to fall. Chemical control can be done with the fungicide Copper oxychlorride and phytosanitary (cleaning) gardens.
  5. Foot rot
    The cause is Ganoderma lucidum. The emergence of this disease due to lack of maintenance of the garden, and poor drainage. Affected plants show symptoms of drought, namely yellowing, drooping and eventually breaking. Advanced infection is indicated by symptoms of stems showing irregular brown spots and oozing fluid, and then the plant roots will rot. To avoid this disease, it is necessary to regulate the drainage system, and clean the garden. Some antagonistic microorganisms such as Trichoderma sp, Streptomyces sp. can be used as biological agents to control this disease.

The stages of how to grow betel nut that we described above are based on our experience in growing high quality areca nut trees and producing lots of fruit. Super quality areca nut must be maintained from the start of germination to become an adult plant that is ready to be harvested. Areca nut trees planted in the right way will produce a lot of fruit for export to various countries, so that we will get maximum profit.

We as a Betel Nut export company have experience in exporting thousands of tons of quality dried betel nuts. Our export destinations are Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam.

discuss with us if you are interested in the areca nut business. The areca nut business is very profitable, the capital spent is not too large but you can get a large margin.