Care of majesty palm

Majestic palm

A little bit about the Majestic palm

With its bright green symmetrical leaves and slightly swollen base, this fast-growing Madagascan palm feels right at home in Sydney.

Botanical name: Ravenea rivularis

Height: 6 – 12 metres Width: 3.5 – 4.5 metres

Ideal position: Likes full sun and isn’t great as an indoor plant.

Suitable for: your garden or in a container.

Caring tips

PREPARE

Start by digging through Flower Power’s Supersoil Composted Cow Manure. The key to establishing a lush, happy palm (especially in autumn and winter) is to keep its roots warm with layers of mulch and manure. Palms love organic matter, so for best results, mulch with enriched cow manure, tea tree mulch or Organic Active 8 Soil Improver and Planting Mix.

FEED

Fertilise six times a year (not in winter) with a palm fertiliser.

PRUNE

Trim brown fronds, cutting about seven centimetres from the trunk, or simply pull the fronds out.

WATER

The Majestic palm likes to be kept moist, especially while it’s getting established. But once established, keep it dry in winter and moist in summer.

PROTECT

The Majestic palm can suffer from plant scale. To combat this, spray with PestOil or eco-oil, but keep in mind, scale is a sign that your palm is nutritionally deficient, so make sure to also feed and mulch your palm. Palm dart is a butterfly that likes to munch on palm trees. You can keep it away using a caterpillar spray, such as Success ULTRA.

This week’s Houseplants 101 is a study in contrasts. On one hand, we have the spider plant, a botanical whose easygoing and forgiving ways makes it a nearly ubiquitous indoor plant.

The spider plant is a fast- growing sitting or hanging houseplant that originally came from South Africa. When kept root-bound, a spider plant rewards you with baby plants that can easily be used for propagation. This houseplant is a great choice for novice plant lovers.

On the other hand, we have majesty palms, which are definitely not easygoing and forgiving. These large, showy plants are hard to resist when they show up in big-box stores and demand to go home with us. But once they’re ensconced in the less-than-tropical conditions inside our living rooms, they sometimes quickly decline.

A few years ago, I purchased a small majesty palm in Florida as a trip souvenir. I tended it carefully during the long drive home, taking it inside restaurants and hotels so it wouldn’t get cold. I was excited to get it home, but it just sat there. It didn’t droop, but it didn’t put out any new leaves, either. When the fronds turned brittle, I pitched the pot.

Next time I visit Florida, I’ll go for a hibiscus instead.

Let’s talk about majesty palms first. Care tips were found at Home Guides, Houseplant411.com and Plant Care Today. Clink on the links to learn more.

Q: Where do these palms grow naturally?

A: Majesty palms, native to Madagascar, do extremely well in rain forests, swamps, or outdoors in places like Florida.

Q: What kind of light is best for a majesty palm?

A: Place it where it will get bright, indirect sun, such as an east-facing window or a spot three to five feet away from a sunny window. Avoid bright, intense sunlight, which may scorch the leaves. Fronds turn yellow if they aren’t receiving enough light.

Q: What temperatures do these plants tolerate?

A: Protect majesty palm from cold air from doors, drafty windows or air conditioning vents. Although it tolerates temperatures as low as 35 degrees, it prefers normal room temperatures between 80 and 60 degrees.

Q: How often should I repot it?

Repot the majesty palm in a container one size larger, usually every two to three years. Don’t repot more often than necessary, as these palms perform best when their roots are slightly crowded.

Q: Are majesty palms easy to grow?

A: In a word, no. Majesty palm often struggle to survive indoors. This houseplant requires lots of water, light and fertilizer. It plant yellows easily, draws spider mites like a magnet, and often declines very rapidly. If you’re not easily frustrated and really want to test your plant skills, you might want to give a majesty palm a try. But you might have better luck with other kinds of palms, such as bamboo, neanthebella, kentia or rhaphis.

Q: How often should I water and fertilize?

A: The soil should be consistently moist but not soggy. Never let a majesty palm dry out or sit in water. Brown tips mean the plant needs more water and yellow tips mean the plant has been over-watered.

Not enough plant food is another reason why these palms get yellow leaves. Feed every two weeks when the plant is actively growing with a balanced houseplant food at 1/2 the recommended strength.

Here are some FAQs for spider plants. Care tips were found at Houseplant411.com, the Old Farmer’s Almanac and Gardeningknowhow.com.

Q: How much light do spider plants need?

A: Spider plants like medium to bright indirect light. Solid green spider plants need less light than variegated (green and white) ones. Never put in direct sun.

Q: How often should I water and fertilize?

A: Allow the top 50% of the soil to dry out before you water. A good way to tell when a Spider Plant needs water is to look at the leaves. The green color in the leaves of a Spider plant starts to fade when the soil is dry. Water high in salts and chemicals causes brown tips on a spider plant. Never use water that had passed through a water softener.

Q: What is the ideal temperature and humidity for this plant?

A: Temperatures between 45 to 80 degrees. Spider Plants prefer high humidity but still do well in most homes and offices.

Q: Hey, my spider plant is flowering!

A: Spider Plant small flowers at the end of long stems are usually followed by the development of “baby spider plants.”

Q: I see tiny roots on the bottom of my “baby” spider plants. Can I root them?

A: Yes, just plant the spiderette in a pot filled with any lightweight potting mix. Be sure the pot has drainage holes in the bottom. You can leave the baby attached to the parent plant until the new plant takes root, then separate it from the parent by snipping the runner. Alternatively, go ahead and separate the baby from the parent plant by snipping the runner immediately.

Q: Can I put more than one “baby” in the same pot?

A: If you want a thick, bushy plant, start several spider plant babies in the same pot. Or, if your adult spider plant isn’t as full as you would like, plant a couple of spiderettes alongside the mama plant.

Water the fledgling spider babies as needed to keep the soil slightly moist, but never saturated, until healthy new growth indicates the plant has rooted.

Grow Majesty Palms Like a Pro

By Justin Hancock, Costa Farms Garden Expert
Photograph courtesy of Costa Farms

One of the things I love about majesty palm is that it looks good everywhere. No matter what your décor style is or what room you want to place it in, majesty palm has the right look and feel. It’s no wonder why majesty palm is one of the most popular palms grown indoors. The plant is versatile, elegant, and easy to grow. Here’s what you need to know about growing majesty palm as a houseplant.

Light

Like most palms, this guy prefers a lot of light – so pass on those dimly lit spots and showcase it near a bright window, patio door, or beneath a skylight. One general rule to determine lighting is that if it casts a medium to strong shadow throughout much of the day, it should be bright enough to keep a majesty palm happy.

Water

Here’s one place where a lot of people inadvertently go wrong. A lot of us think of palms and envision the desert. But majesty palms are actually native to areas along streams and rivers. So the secret here is to keep the soil moist, but not wet or soggy. Don’t let it dry out.

Humidity

As you might guess from a plant that naturally grows near bodies of water, it likes a spot with abundant humidity. Happily, it adapts to average humidity just fine. But, if your home gets especially dry, your palm might prefer a humid spot like a bright bathroom. If you want to increase humidity around it, grow it over a wide, shallow tray filled with water and pebbles (so that the top of the plant sits above the water, on top of the pebbles). The water in the tray will evaporate, adding moisture to the air right around your plant.

A lot of people ask me about misting. While you can mist your plant with water, it’s not all that helpful. It does increase humidity—until the water evaporates. It’s better to use a pebble tray or humidifier.

Fertilizer

Keep those fronds lush and dark green by fertilizing in spring and summer with any general-purpose houseplant fertilizer. As with any product, be sure to follow the directions on the packaging to know how much to use. You don’t have to fertilize as frequently as the packaging says (they’re trying to sell you more fertilizer, after all); you can get by doing it as little as once or twice between March and July. The more you fertilize, of course, the faster your palm will grow.

Pests

Majesty palms are largely pest-free, but the one issue you may run into is spider mites. These tiny critters are almost invisible to the naked eye, but you’ll see their damage by tiny stippling on the leaves. Another telltale sign: webbing, like fine spider webs. Keep spider mites at bay with abundant humidity and by giving your majesty palm a shower with room temperature water once a month or so to keep the leaves clean.

Brown Leaf Tips

It’s not uncommon for majesty palm’s leaf tips to go brown. This can happen from a number of circumstances, including:
Air that’s too dry
Too little water
Too much fertilizer

Learn more about growing majesty palms indoors!

There are a lot of great indoor houseplants available at your local nursery or garden center, I just do not think the Majesty Palm tree or the “majestic palm tree” is one of them.

Most of them will do well in your house if you learn a little something about their care, water and light requirements.

For example – The Bamboo Palm Beats the Majesty! The Majesty is unable to survive the stress it faces indoors, plus you can discover better “palm” options.

That’s one of the reasons for this site and its goal is to help you learn more about caring for your indoor houseplants, flowers, landscape, rocks, plants, and design.

Sometimes there is a clear theme or question that hits at certain times of the year. Such as “What to do with my Mandevilla for the winter?”
Other times there has been a question about a plant or plants that just keeps coming up. I’ve wanted to write about this for a while but have held off. So here it is…

As I said there are lots of plants that can be used indoors. But… every so often a plant is “introduced” to the market and quite frankly it is a mistake. Even with all the Majestic plant

Even with all the Majestic plant care this plant is a failure. No matter how hard you try, you never seem to get the plant to look good.

So what plant am I talking about?

Ravenea Rivularis Known Also As Ravenea Glauca – “The Majesty Palm”

Majesty palm outdoors in South Florida, Miami-Dade County, in particular, the plant can do very well in the landscape. But it has a few requirements – lots of water, bright light or full sun and feed it heavy.

Any of our thousands of readers following our Plant Care Tips for any length of time will recognize right away that the “Majesty Palm” goes against general indoor plant practices.

The Best Majesty Palm Care Wants LOTS of:

  • Water
  • Light
  • Fertilizer

Some will have success, but from what I’ve seen inside most experience yellowing leaves and fronds. Indoors the plant leaves yellow easily, draws spider mites like a magnet, and its appearance declines very rapidly.

Garlic Spider Mite Home Remedy

Here is a home remedy for spider mites using garlic: Mash two garlic cloves into a quart or liter of water.

Allow the mixture to sit overnight. Strain the solution and spray plants without dilution. Always test a small area before spraying the whole plant.

Some home growers have found spider mites treatments with garlic to be very effective and others have not.

What’s the Majesty palm height and Majesty palm growth rate?

In the nursery, growing in a container under partial shade the palm grows to a height of 4 to 6 foot tall rapidly. Perfect for growers. But has it been tested for durability indoors?

Why would growers introduce plants that don’t do well and why would nurseries or garden centers carry such a plant?

A Few Reasons:

Growers, your local garden center or nursery are always looking for something new to offer. In order to have a plant that can be sold inexpensively, growers need easy to plants that grow fast. Garden centers need plants that fit certain price points.

Unfortunately, garden centers and nurseries are sometimes “stuck” with what the corporate office orders. The problems of the “majesty palm” being a good interior plant is not being laid at the feet of the garden centers and nurseries.

It’s just one that shouldn’t have been grown or sold to the interior market.

Although I’m not going to win any fans and certainly not any praise from growers for this “recommendation” I’ve got to call it as I see it.

So, how to care for a majesty palm?

DON’T BUY a Majesty Palm as an indoor plant unless you are looking for a challenge in plant care.

Now if you want a great indoor palm and plant, here are my recommendations:

  • Chamaedorea elegans ‘Bella’ – Parlor Palm
  • Chamaedorea sefrizii – Bamboo Palm
  • Chamaedorea metallica
  • Howea fosteriana – Kentia Palm
  • Rhapis excelsa – (aka Lady Palm)
  • Chamaedorea cataractarum (Cat Palm)

The above are great options and there are other house plant that looks like a palm tree you could get.

Every week our mailbox is littered with questions and problems from people experiencing problems with the Majesty Palm.

Don’t think you’re alone, even growers have problems making them look good.

Palms grown indoors can battle spider mites when humidity drops and bouts with mealybug on stems and undersides of leaves.

Remember when buying a big plant that’s cheap like the majesty palm doesn’t mean you’re receiving good value, you may be buying problems.

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IKEA sells plastic lined baskets which are ideal for housing your original drainage pot, but you can find them much cheaper at HomeGoods, TJMaxx, Marshalls, or on sale online, and then purchase one of the plastic trays from Lowe’s or Walmart to insert into your basket if you don’t want to use a round pan.

Watering

This is one area that I learned about the hard way. Do NOT over water your Majesty Palm. The best way to avoid over watering is to remove your plastic container with drainage holes and place it in your sink. Gently soak all of the soil until the entire pot has been saturated. Now let it sit! That’s the most important part! Allow 10-15 minutes for the water to fully drain from the pot, then go ahead and place it back into it’s tray and basket. You can check the tray a day later and if there is any sitting water, you need to let it drain longer in the sink next time. I water my palms almost every single Sunday, just so that I make a habit out of it. Test the soil by sticking your finger in an inch or so and if it’s dry feeling, then you can soak it in the sink like I explained above. If the soil still feels most, just wait a few more days and test it again until it feels dry. This method has worked for me, but depending on the amount of humidity in your air, your plant could require more or less frequent watering.

Palms like humidity. After having the heat on for a few weeks straight this winter, it finally warmed up enough for the plants to have a sit out on the patio when rain was about to head our way. I brought them back in as soon it began to sprinkle. Just be careful to never sit them outside in direct sunlight or when it is still under 70 degrees! If you’re in a dryer or colder climate where you have the furnace running a lot, you could put a humidifier in the room with your palms to keep them from drying out.

Majesty Palm Care – What To Do With A Yellow Majesty Palm

Majesty palms are a native plant to tropical Madagascar. While many growers won’t have the climate necessary to grow this palm, it is possible to grow the plant outdoors in USDA zones 10-11. Majesty palm, or Ravenea glauca, is most commonly sold in the United States as a houseplant. Although the plants do require quite a bit of effort and attention to detail in order to get the fronds to truly flourish, it is possible to grow beautiful palm specimens indoors in containers.

Growing a Majesty Palm

While majesty palms are somewhat more demanding than most houseplants, it is possible to grow them successfully in containers. First, and foremost, it’s important to select a container large enough to contain the plant’s robust root system.

Well amended soil, as well as frequent treatment with fertilizer, is essential for this heavy feeding plant.

One of the most common issues growers of majesty palm may encounter are yellowing leaves. Yellow majesty palm leaves are not only alarming to plant owners, but a sign that the plants are experiencing stress which could be caused by a variety of factors.

Majesty Palm Turning Yellow

If you are growing a majesty palm plant and it begins to show signs of yellowing, the following issues are most likely the problem:

Light – Unlike some other shade-tolerant houseplants, majesty palms require quite a bit more sunlight to truly thrive. When growing these plants indoors, make certain to situate the plants where they are able to receive at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. This is especially important during the winter and low light months. Inadequate light will lead to insufficient development of new leaves, and ultimately, the demise of the plant.

Moisture – When growing majesty palm, it is important that the soil is not allowed to dry out. Maintaining a consistent moisture level in potted plants is key to reducing water related stress, as well as preventing fronds from turning yellow. Dry soils and low humidity may cause leaves to dry out and drop from the plant. Conversely, keeping soils too wet will also cause harm and yellowing of the plant. Soggy soils may also contribute to the development of fungal diseases and root rot.

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