Cat palm care outdoors

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 Home Decor, Houseplants

5 Things to Know About Majesty Palms

Majesty palm (Ravenea rivularis) is an easy-care plant that adds classic good looks to indoor and outdoor spaces. A bit of a chameleon when it comes to decorating, this palm has a decidedly tropical look, yet also — almost magically — seems to fit well in just about every other style, from modern contemporary to comfy cottage. Its delicate-looking fronds seem to be just what the doctor ordered whenever you’re looking for a textural plant. Here are five things to know about majesty palms.
1. Majesty Palms Like it Wet
Unlike most palms, which we typically think of as drought tolerant, majesty palms are actually native to wet areas in Madagascar. No matter where you’re growing one, keep it well watered to ensure it stays happy. In fact, you can even grow a majesty palm at the edge of a pond or water garden (as long as its roots doesn’t stay constantly submerged). If you’re looking for a palm that likes it dry, you’re better off selecting a pygmy date palm or other species.
2. Majesty Palms Don’t Mind Shade
Here’s another way majesty palms would seem to break the rules — they don’t mind shade. In fact, those we grow prefer it. This is one thing that makes them one of the easier houseplant palms to care for. Because they — like me — prefer to live out of the hot afternoon sun, majesty palms are perfect companions for impatiens, wishbone flower, and coleus.
3. Majesty Palms Like Humidity
One thing that can make majesty palm a challenge to grow indoors (especially in winter) is that this palm prefers plenty of humidity in the air. Average humidity is fine, but above-average levels of moisture in the air will really help it to thrive. If you live in an especially dry climate, you may want to look for a different species of palm that doesn’t mind dry air.
4. Majesty Palm Can Reach 80 Feet
Outdoors in its native habitat, majesty palms can reach 80 feet tall or more with fronds that can be 8 feet long.
5. Majesty Palm is a Slow Grower
One thing that makes majesty palm useful, especially as a houseplant, is that it’s not a fast grower — so you don’t need to worry about it growing taller than your ceiling anytime soon. The same goes for plants grown outside. They tend to stay tidy and maintain their size.
Want to Buy Majesty Palms?
Look for Costa Farms’ majesty palms at your favorite local garden center, or check online with our retailer partners.
Get more majesty palm care tips!

Written by:
Justin Hancock

plant library get growing

The beautiful and regal Majesty Palm (Ravenea rivularis) hailed originally from the tropical country of Madagascar. Although the Majesty Palm makes a beautiful addition to any plant lover’s ensemble, the plant should not be left outdoors for an extended period when temperatures plunge to frigid levels in winter. Unless a homeowner has a greenhouse on their property outside with excellent temperature control and proper levels of humidity for their Majesty Palm, leaving this tropical native outdoors in winter could prove disastrous.

A Majesty Palm needs to live in temperatures ranging between 35 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit thrive. Anyone who lives in zones 9 through 11 for plant hardiness can grow palms outdoors without too much worry. If you live in a zone where frost or bitter cold occurs, Majesty Palms should not be left to fend for themselves outdoors in the winter or grow unpotted. It is best to bring the plant indoors to prevent damage from frosty temperatures, snow, and ice.

Palms are hardy and sought-after for their visually stunning fronds, but if exposed to temperatures 10 degrees below 35 Fahrenheit, they may not be able to recover. It is possible to protect a palm during winter temperatures outdoors by wrapping a burlap cloth around the trunk and placing protective covers over the fronds.

Majesty Palms are beautiful landscape features, but there is much to know about keeping them alive during the winter. Keep reading to make sure that you have this essential information.

Fortify Your Palm for Winter

Yes, some types of palms can survive wintry temperatures, but most palms, like the Majesty Palm, thrive in tropical and subtropical conditions. Ideally, the Majesty Palm makes an excellent indoor plant if they receive bright enough, indirect sunlight, moisture, and care. It would be foolhardy not to grow a Majesty Palm in a pot outdoors, especially if the plant needs to be transferred indoors for protection.

A Majesty Palm at maturity can reach dizzying heights of 15 to 20 feet, but luckily, palms grown indoors are slow to reach their full height. Gardeners should fertilize their palm every three months with a slow-release fertilizer during spring and summer. Giving a palm sufficient fertilizer over time helps strengthen palms so they can survive a dip in temperatures over the winter season. During winter, Majesty Palms prefer conditions where the temperature is between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Caution should be taken not to overwater or overfertilize palms, which can lead to damaged roots or fronds. Additionally, one should consider changing up a palm’s pot size every two to three years as needed. Remember, a potted palm does perform well in a space where the root system is slightly crowded.

A Healthy Palm is a Happy Palm

A healthy palm can better survive a few cold days, provided the palm has enough protective covering, moisture, and fertilizer. As soon as warmer temperatures arrive, any covering like a burlap tarp, sheets, or covers should be removed from a palm’s trunk. The top of a palm may be more tricky to cover, as the heads on the fronds of a tall Majesty Palm are often left exposed. All coverings should remain on a palm until the danger of frost passes. Whenever possible, attempt to bring a palm indoors for its best protection.

The Majesty Palm will alert its owner if it is having any health problems. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures and too much water can lead to a palm’s fronds turning brown. A palm may not be positively responsive to remedies if you do not see any green at the base of a leaf’s stalk. Too much water and poor drainage can lead to fungus, rot, parasites, and irreparably damaged root systems. Love your Majesty Palm, treat it well, prepare it for winter, and it will love you back for years to come!

What Temperature Can a Majesty Palm Tolerate?

The Majesty Palm of the Ravenea genus makes a desireable houseplant. However, because the Majesty Palm originally hails from the warmer climate found in Madagascar, the plant requires a limited temperature range and humidity to thrive. Palms of this sort can be grown indoors and outdoors, but they will be in better health if they are grown in temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit at day. The Majesty Palm can tolerate a 10-degree drop in temperature at night.

During the cold season, a Majesty Palm should not be subjected to temperatures lower than 55 degrees. Ideally, grow a Majesty Palm in a pot in case it needs to be brought indoors if there is the threat of extreme cold or frost.

Check out this elegant Majesty Palm on Amazon.

How Do You Winterize a Majesty Palm?

A Majesty Palm most certainly should be winterized. If your palm is growing outdoors in a zone that is not 9 through 11, the plant should be brought indoors over the winter, or transferred to a greenhouse. If your palm is only going to be subjected to less than desirable temperatures, and you are unable to move it indoors, wrap the palm in protective covers, and use stakes for added support.

Cold temperatures can cause a palm to die, or suffer intense damage that will require intensive treatment to reverse. Fronds can rapidly brown if exposed to cold and frost, and a plant lacking any green may find it too challenging to bounce back and recover.

Protect and prepare your Majesty Palm by giving it adequate fertilizer during the spring and summer season. Make sure that your plant is healthy, receives bright enough, indirect light during the day, and keep it far from drafty windows and air conditioner units. Wipe down the fronds and inspect for encroaching parasites, fungus, or other potential damage.

Check out this quality fertilizer for palms on Amazon.

Can Palms Survive Snow?

The Majesty Palm may be incredible enough to clean indoor air, but surviving snow presents a nearly impossible challenge. Exposure to frigid temperatures when snow is present may mean sudden death for an outdoor plant, even if it is covered with burlap covers or another form of protection. Cold weather and too much moisture can rapidly damage fronds and root systems. It is best to err on the side of caution and only grown palms outdoors that are cold-hardy or can be transferred indoors during winter if needed.

How Can I Best Prepare My Palm for Winter?

Ensure your Majesty Palm is healthy and free from visible signs of disease and robust when winter arrives. Give your Majesty Palm enough nutrients throughout the year, control drainage and moisture levels, and allow the plant to thrive in warm temperatures with humidity. If you live in a region where temperatures will plunge below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, you will want to grow a Majesty Palm indoor. Only choose palms that are hardy against colder temperatures outdoors, or have a greenhouse ready to protect and nurture palms over winter.

Check out this protective burlap material on Amazon.

Check out this rustic looking pot for plants on Amazon.

For more information on how to keep your landscaping looking beautiful, check out these posts:

Where to Buy Pumice for Your Garden

Can I Water My Lawn at Night?

Cat Palm

Palm Aphids:

Most Aphids are commonly known as the greenfly or black fly, and theyare one of the most common pest for indoor houseplants. The Palm Aphid is unique in the fact that the female doesn’t move and forms a distinctive ring of white wax around its body. They are not likely to kill your plant but these sap-sucking insects will infest the younger leaves of the palms as well as excrete a sugary waste product called “honey dew’. This waste often attracts the “sooty mold” fungus to those leaves.

Spider Mites:

Spider Mites look like tiny dots on the underside of your plant leaf. They usually live in large groups, so you will definitely see more than one of these tiny dots in a group on the plant. Spider Mites are known as such from the silk webbing that they leave behind on infested leaves. This presence of webbing is the best indication that your plant may be infested. Another good indication that your plant might be infested with this pest or another is by studying your plants leaf. If you begin to notice the leaves are covered a lot of yellow pin pricks that may be a good indication.

Spider mites usually become a problem on outdoor plants after certain insecticides have been sprayed that may have killed the natural enemies of the mite. The best thing to do when dealing with Spider Mites is to find an insecticidal soap that you can use to wipe down the leaves. It is advised that you test out the insecticidal soap on a small portion of the plant before applying it to the whole plant. For indoor plants the best course of action is to remove or isolate the plant from the home to minimize possible spreading to other nearby plants. If only a small portion of the plant is infested, clip that section and dispose of the clippings. If the entire plant is infested and the plant holds no sentimental value best thing to do is dispose of the plant. If you want to try and save the plant do not waste your time with pesticides as they usually won’t have any effect on this pest. Treat the plant with an insecticidal soap every couple of weeks to help kill or keep the mites in control.

Scales:

There are many species of scales that are commonly found in indoor house or greenhouse plants. Some species of the insect can have an armored shell like covering that will protect its entire form while others will have none at all. Those with the waxy shell can have its protection removed by simply scraping it away. It is easiest to tell the difference as the soft scales (no armored protection) produce honeydew while the armored scales will not. Scales feed on your plant by sucking on the plant’s sap. This will promote poor growth which will eventually stunt the growth of your plant. It can also lead to your plant being infested to sooty mold.

The most practical thing to do for your first attempt at cleaning up your plant from its infestation is to use soap and water to wash off the leaves and stems. If your plant is heavily infested, you can try an insecticide spray schedule on your plant that involves 2 to 3 sprays a week every two weeks. It is usually best to discard the plant however before the infestation can spread.

Indoor Palms

Palms give a wonderful tropical feeling to the indoor garden. They are bold houseplants that command attention.

The Cat Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum) is one of the hardiest parlor palms to grow indoors.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Height/Spread

Palms suited to indoor cultivation are slow-growing while young or have a small mature size. Some palms will, in time, outgrow their space. An overgrown plant should be discarded, or if a hardy type, moved outdoors. Because new growth occurs from a high central growing point, palms can not be pruned back to reduce their height.

Ornamental Features

Palms are grown for their exotic and boldly textured foliage. Palm leaves, also known as fronds, are either fan (palmate) or feather (pinnate) shaped. The triangular leaflets of fishtail palms (Caryota species) resemble the tail fin of a fish.

Problems

In the home, plant diseases are very rarely a problem. Too much or too little water plus insects and mites are the main problems. Root rot usually results from a soil mix that does not drain quickly or overly frequent watering.

Several scale insects attack palms. Mealybugs are another common pest. Mites are often a problem in the home because of low humidity and warm temperatures. By moving palms outside for the summer, predators and rainfall will help control many houseplant insect pests. For more information see HGIC 2252 Common Houseplant Insects & Related Pests.

Cold injury will cause reddish-brown dead areas on leaves after a few days. Most houseplant palms need temperatures above 45 °F to prevent chilling damage.

Palms grow best with warmth. Protect them from drafts near doors, windows, and air conditioning. Most palms prefer temperatures of 60 °F at night and between 70 and 80 °F during the day. Many palms will benefit from cooler temperatures of 55 to 60 °F during the winter, when not actively growing.

Tips of lower leaves may turn brown and die from excessive fertilization. Excessive iron fertilization can cause foliage spotting.

Browning of leaves can also be caused by dry air and/or lack of water. Indoors, if the humidity level is below 50%, the pot saucer can be filled with gravel to increase the moisture level without rotting the plant roots. A room humidifier may also be used or weekly misting with a spray bottle will be beneficial.

Culture

Most palms need bright natural light year-round. Filtered light near a south-east-or west-facing window is suitable for most indoor palms.

Palms need to be kept moist. They should never be allowed to dry out or allowed to stand in water. Excessively wet soil can lead to root rot. Water thoroughly when the surface of the soil dries, and discard the water in the saucer after the pot drains. Soil mixes for palms must be porous with plenty of organic matter to ensure both adequate moisture and excellent drainage. For more information see HGIC 1459 Indoor Plants – Watering.

Palms, like many houseplants, benefit immensely from spending the summer outside. When they are moved outside for the summer, gradually accustom them to higher light levels. Indoor palms should not be placed in direct sun while outside nor sit in the saucer that will collect excess water and rot the roots. For more information see HGIC 1454 Indoor Plants – Moving Plants Indoors & Outdoors.

Fertilize with a slow-release palm fertilizer with an analysis like 12-4-12 or 8-2-12. It should contain micronutrients, such as iron, manganese, zinc, boron and copper to maintain a healthy plant. Fertilize only two to three times a year while the plant is actively growing during the spring and summer months. Excessive fertilizer can be harmful to palms.

Palms do best when their roots are confined and may only need repotting every two to three years, if roots fill the pot. Repot when needed in spring or early summer. Many palms have fragile root systems and can be easily damaged, so care should be taken when re-potting the plant. Most palms are propagated from seed. Some can be divided to create new plants.

Do not use any of the leaf shining products on palms as they can severely injure the foliage. For more information see HGIC 1450 Indoor Plants – Cleaning, Fertilizing, Containers & Light Requirements.

Types of Indoor Palms

Burmese Fishtail Palm (Caryota mitis): The large pinnate leaves have individual leaflets that are triangular with a wavy edge. They look very much like fishtails and give this palm a unique texture. This interesting palm grows 6 to 10 feet tall indoors and arches 3 to 6 feet wide. This palm grows 6 to 8 inches a year.

Fishtail palms do best in bright indirect sunlight. Plants need a minimum temperature of 60 °F. Night temperatures of 65 to 70 °F and day temperatures of 75 to 85 °F are ideal. Keep their soil moist at all times. Fishtail palms are prone to spider mites, so watch carefully for them.

Parlor Palms (Chamaedorea species): These graceful palms are frequently grown as houseplants. Parlor palms have thin stems and large, elegant feathered leaves. Their spread is quite wide, making them suitable for large spaces. These are the classic palms that graced Victorian parlors. They need a minimum winter temperature of 60 °F. Parlor palms tolerate lower light levels well. They prefer high to moderate humidity, but are adaptable.

  • Cat Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum): This palm grows in stemless clumps, and will thrive in bright light. The soil needs to be kept evenly moist, but not soggy. It is one of the easiest parlor palms to grow indoors.
  • Parlor Palm or Neanthe Palm (Chamaedorea elegans): This is a small indoor palm, often with several single stems per pot that do not form clumps.

    The foliage of a Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) is similar to that of the Bamboo Palm.
    Barbara H. Smith, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension

  • Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea erumpens): Tall plants form clumps of stems that are smooth, slender and green. The long, arching leaves are held in upright clusters on the stems. Individual leaflets are short, broad and curving. This palm has a narrow growth habit that is appropriate for most homes.
  • Grass-leafed Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii): Their clustered, slender, cane-like stems with long narrow leaflets will grow to 8 to 10 feet tall.

European Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis): European fan palms are dependable palms for indoor use. Fan-shaped fronds are carried on 4-foot high stems. Each leaf is about 2 feet across, gray-green and deeply cut.

Fan palms need three to four hours of direct sunlight daily. Normal room temperatures with a winter rest period at 55 to 60 °F are preferred.

Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens): This very popular palm grows 6 to 7 feet tall indoors. The fronds are long, feather-shaped, and arching with narrow leaflets. The light green fronds are borne on slender, clumping, yellow-orange stalks. Arecas grow 6 to 10 inches a year and often outgrow their allotted space. Give them plenty of room. Areca palms are very susceptible to spider mites infestations.

Areca palms do best in bright indirect sunlight. Place them near an east-, west- or south-facing window. Temperatures at night of 65 to 70 °F and 75 to 85 °F during the day are ideal.

Kentia or Thatch Leaf Palms (Howea forsteriana): The kentia palm has a slender trunk and a graceful crown of dark-green, drooping, feather-shaped fronds. They will grow slowly in a tub for many years. This is one of the most tolerant and adaptable indoor palms.

Kentias will tolerate relatively low light and humidity, but they grow best with bright light and regular care. Water kentia palms abundantly during the summer, but only water when their potting mix is dry during the winter.

Pygmy Date Palm (Phoenix roebelinii): The pygmy date palm is a miniature of the palm grown throughout the Middle East for its fruit. It can eventually become a 12-foot tree, but takes many years before it begins to form a trunk. The arching, feather-shaped fronds are quite fine in texture. They grow up to 3 feet long in a thick crown.

Pygmy date palms are adaptable and easy indoor plants. This palm grows best in bright indirect sunlight, ideally from an east window with morning sun. Keep the soil moist at all times, but do not let the pots stand in water.

Lady Palms (Rhapis species): These multi-stemmed fan palms are quite adaptable and easy to grow, if given excellent care and good-quality water. Lady palms have large, thick, shiny leaves with blunt tips. Their sturdy clumping stems are covered with dark brown fiber that appears woven. This is the only palm species that has cultivars in green and variegated forms. The variegated Rhapis are slower-growing than the green forms and need less fertilizer and lower light levels.

Most lady palms grow best in bright, indirect light near a window or skylight. The large lady palm is the most adaptable to low light areas, and the Thailand lady palm must be kept constantly moist. The other lady palms should be allowed to become somewhat dry between thorough waterings. Heavily and repeatedly drench lady palms with water twice a year to leach excess fertilizer salts from their potting mix.

A rich houseplant potting mix, such as an African violet mix, is ideal. Lady palms are slow-growing and need very little fertilizer. Scale insects are a major pest of lady palms. They may hide in the fibrous leaf bases, so inspect carefully for them.

If necessary, lady palms should be divided in spring or early summer when they are actively growing, and they can also be air-layered.

The Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa) easily adapts to most indoor growing conditions.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension

  • Large Lady Palm & Miniature Lady Palms (Rhapis excelsa): These are the most widely grown species of the lady palms. They easily adapt to most indoor situations and so are popular for its ease of care, durability, insect resistance and long life.

    Rhapis excelsa is divided into two groups: the large lady palms and the highly refined miniature lady palms that are developed and prized by collectors. Large lady palm has large, thick leaves on sturdy canes. They can grow to be more than 8 feet tall and as wide as they are tall.

    Cultivars of both the green and variegated miniature lady palms have unique leaf shapes and growth habits. Japanese hobbyists often artificially dwarf these plants by growing them as bonsai. Many are true dwarfs that will grow only 4 feet tall in several decades.

    ‘Zuikonishiki’ is popular, easy to grow and a prolific producer of offshoots.

    ‘Chiyodazuru’ has narrow stripes on green leaves. Intense sunlight and heat can fade leaves, and strong fertilizer can mask the stripes. For best color, this variety needs cool temperatures, medium light and medium fertilizer rates.

  • Thailand Lady Palm (Rhapis subtilis): Thailand lady palm is a small species, seldom more than 6 feet in height. The stems are narrow with a smooth, brown fiber covering. It is almost impossible to divide, and requires high humidity and abundant moisture. This species especially can be severely affected by spider mites. It prefers temperatures of 60 to 80 °F. It can be difficult as a houseplant because of its need for humidity.

Cat Palm

Chamaedorea cataractarum

  • Other common names Cascade Palm, Cataract Palm, Cattail Palm, Mexican Hat Palm
  • Small palm tree
  • Cold hardy
  • Low-maintenance
  • Can be grown indoors or out

The Cat Palm is a small, attractive clumping palm without a trunk, and this tropical beauty is also an excellent choice for planting near swimming pools, ponds or streams! Native to Mexico, Chamaedorea cataractarum (botanical name), can also be used as an indoor houseplant in a bright room, such as a sunroom, though it shines in the landscape when used as a backdrop for other tropical plants. We like to plant them with the Bismarck Palm, where they can be used to create one of the lushest privacy hedges you can find! We also like to use them as an attractive understory plant and in borders.

This Chamaedorea has many versatile uses, whether grown indoors or out. If used as an indoor houseplant, the Cat Palm will thrive in a room with plenty of bright light. Outdoors, this plant prefers to grow in a spot with shade to partial shade exposure. These are cold hardy palms and may be the toughest of all the Chamaedorea. With its graceful dark green and glossy tropical foliage, it is easy to see why this is a favorite plant, indoors or out!

Chamaedorea cataractarum is a slow growing plant, so if you want the characteristics of a mature Cat Palm, buy as big as you can. Moon Valley Nurseries grows and nurtures them in our local climate so that they are ready to thrive in any landscape! We also grow the palms, trees, and other plants that are the perfect complement to this small palm tree! Visit any of our Houston nursery locations, and we will be glad to help you handpick what you need to realize your landscaping goals!

We are your one-stop shop! We design, deliver and you can relax while our professional planting crew does all the work!

Monday, May 2, 2016 Houseplants

Majesty Palm Care

Majesty palms are one of the most popular plants we grow here at Costa Farms. In fact, we grow more than a million of them every year! We also get a lot of questions about how to care for these gorgeous plants.
Majesty Palm Care: Watering
The biggest thing to know about majesty palm care is that these trees like lots of water. Unlike the visions of desert palm trees many of us have, majesty palms actually come from wet areas — along streams and rivers in Madagascar. (One of the more common palms that don’t mind arid conditions is pygmy date palm.) In fact, the tree’s botanical name, Ravenea rivularis, gives some insight as “rivularis” means found besides streams. While you don’t want your majesty palm sitting in constantly soggy soil, good care does mean regular waterings.
Majesty Palm Care: Light
Another majesty palm care tip is that we grow ours in the shade so they’re not stressed when you buy one as a houseplant. But that also means they’re not adapted to the sun — so if you want to enjoy your majesty palm outdoors in a sunny spot, such as on a deck, patio, or balcony, your best bet is to acclimate it first. You can do this keeping your majesty palm in a partially shaded spot for a week or so, then expose it to a little more sun. (Or, alternatively, keep your majesty palm indoors for a couple of weeks, but let it spend a couple of hours outside each day. Increase the outside time each day until you no longer bring it in.) If you want to bring a majesty palm indoors for winter after a summer outside, give it good care by doing the transition in reverse to help it become adapted to low light inside.
Majesty Palm Care: Humidity
I’ve heard a lot of folks say majesty palms aren’t good houseplants. One of the main reasons for this is that if these trees are grown in the sun, they do have a hard time with low light inside a home unless they’re acclimated. Another reason is that, like most tropical plants, they like plenty of humidity. As a houseplant, care for your majesty palm by making sure the air doesn’t dry out too much. (Dry air is especially common in the North where homes are heated with forced-air furnaces.)
Easy ways to boost humidity around your plant include growing it near a small humidifier, grouping your majesty palm with other plants (all plants release a little moisture into the air as they breathe), or setting the majesty palm’s pot on a tray of sand or pebbles that’s filled with water. The bottom of your pot should sit on the sand/pebbles, above the water.
Majesty Palm: Brown Tips
Brown tips on your majesty palm fronds is a common occurrence. It can happen because of a number of factors, including:
– Dry air: When the air is too dry, the leaf tips on majesty palm and many other houseplants can turn brown.
– Fertilizer: When the plant receives too much fertilizer over time, or all at once, the high concentration of nutrients stresses plant roots, causing the leaf tips to burn.
– Dry soil: When the potting mix is too dry to support the lush green fronds, they often start turning brown at the tips and edges. If a majesty palm stays too dry, the browning will continue throughout the entire frond.
Use these majesty palm care tips and you should be able to enjoy these lush, healthy, beautiful plants in your home or favorite outdoor living spaces.
If you have questions or comments, email us! And sign up now to get our monthly email newsletter full of gardening tips.

Written by:
Justin Hancock

plant library get growing

How to Care for a Majesty Palm

Use these instructions to care for a Majesty Palm plant. This guide will tell you how to water your Majesty Palm; its light, temperature, and humidity preferences; and any additional care your plant might need to help it grow.

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS

Majesty Palms can adapt to low light levels but will be happiest in a sunny spot in your home. Avoid extended exposure to direct sunlight, as it may scorch the leaves. Your Majesty Palm will thrive indoors if they receive approximately 4-6 hours of bright, indirect light per day.

WATER REQUIREMENTS

Maintaining the correct soil moisture is key to keeping your palm happy and healthy. The soil should be constantly moist, but not soggy—never let the soil dry out completely, or sit in water. Make sure that the soil can drain properly through the drain holes at the bottom of the pot. Brown tips mean the plant needs more water and yellow tips usually mean the plant has been overwatered or roots are sitting in water. A good, weekly soak is recommended.

HUMIDITY PREFERENCE

Majesty Palms do best in high humidity, but can grow well in basic household humidity. If you wish to provide your palm with additional moisture, mist the fronds weekly.

OPTIMUM TEMPERATURE

Protect your palm from cold drafts from windows, air conditioning vents, or doors. This plant can tolerate a low of 40 degrees, but prefers normal room temperatures between 65-80 degrees.

PLANT FOOD

For best results, use a general houseplant fertilizer that includes iron every 2-3 months in the spring and summer. Give a pinch of Epsom salts once a month to supply adequate magnesium. No fertilizer is necessary during the winter months—it’s important to give your palm a chance to rest during the cooler time of year.

ADDITIONAL CARE

Quickly remove any fronds that turn brown or yellow. Doing so improves the look of your plant and allows a clean space and more energy for new leaf growth. The brown fronds do not necessarily indicate a problem if it is being watered properly. Like other palm trees, the fronds on your Majesty Palm will eventually turn brown and die.

TOXICITY

Completely non-toxic to humans and pets.

THE MAJESTY PALM –
RAVENEA RIVULARIS

DESCRIPTION OF THE MAJESTY PALM, RAVENEA RIVULARIS

Common Names:

The Majesty Palm

Type of Plant:

This is a single trunk palm species with no crown shaft.

The Genus:

It belongs to the genus Ravenea which has about twenty individual species native to Madagascar, the Comoros and possibly some other nearby islands.

Sun Tolerance:

This species prefers full sun along the coast but does quite well in half day sun. Far inland areas would require only part day sun or very bright filtered light.

Cold Tolerance:

This species takes temperatures into the mid-twenties. Below this poses a risk. The chances are, if you can grow a King Palm, you can grow this species.

Mature Height:

In habitat, some individual plants are over fifty feet tall. There are reports of trees over sixty feet tall. It’s not altogether clear how tall this species gets mature in our locality (no mature trees as of yet) but our estimates are a similar height.

Leaves:

The leaves are of the pinnate type, rather flat in cross section and six to eight feet long with a short bare petiole. Leaves are minimally arched if at all and lower leaves will hang dependently when old.

Leaf Stem:

There is a short bare petiole and there is no armor or barbs on the leaves

Leaf Color:

Leaf color in green. Leaves are not glaucous (silver color). Leaf stems are tan to light brown.

Trunk:

The trunk is fattest at it’s base and tapers as one looks upward. The trunk diameter right below the leaves is the thinnest part of the trunk. There may be some bulging in the mid-trunk. The base of some domestically grown plants in our area can be over 30 inches thick.

Suckers:

This species does not produce suckers. It only has one trunk.
This species tolerates temperatures into the mid-twenties. Absolute cold tolerance is probably a few degrees cooler than this.

Fruit:

Mature fruit is red in color and about 1/3 on an inch in size. The seed is smaller than this and tan in color. Large fruits are produced by a single tree. But, it is dioecious, so a male and female plant are needed in the same area to produce viable seeds.

Growth Rate:

Medium to fast, particularly with good culture.

Native Habitat:

Moist or humid along river beds and in valleys in Madagascar. These areas see good rainfall.

Landscape Usages:

This species should be given plenty of space to grow and demands good culture. Most people plant it as a single specimen because of its mature size. From a nursery plant, in five to ten years somewhat should have a plant that is ten to fifteen feet tall.

Peculiarities of This Species:

For some unclear reason, the Majesty Palm does very poorly close to the ocean. It may be due to the salty air. In time one sees crown rot and decline of the plant. In all areas, plants that don’t get adequate water languish and look bad. If there’s a lack of or shortage of the proper fertilizer, plants will turn yellow or a “bleached out”. (see photo below). This responds to ample nitrogen (i.e. blood meal) applications.

Usage as a House Plant:

When it became clear that the Majesty Palm was not the easiest palm to grow outdoors, nurserymen who wanted a quick growing plant began marketing it as an interior plant or house plant. Such growers had too much invested in their efforts and had to sell to someone. Unfortunately it is a very mediocre house plant and there’s much better species for interior usage.
See photographic representation of this species and nursery plants below.

If you received a plant at our National Indoor Plant Week event on Monument Circle Tuesday September 17th, you’re probably wondering how to take care of it. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Below are general care instructions for your newly acquired Neanthe Bella Palm.

Container: At full size, a Neanthe Bella Palm can reach three to four feet in height, but it will take several years to get there. To start your plant on the road to reaching its full potential, it should be re-potted in approximately a six-inch container with good drainage. Eventually, your plant will need to be transplanted into a larger container to continue fostering growth, but it should do just fine in a six-inch container for quite some time.

Lighting: Neanthe Bella Palms thrive in a variety of indoor lighting conditions, but a room with medium to bright light and a north or west facing window is best. Do not keep your plant in direct sunlight.

Water: The plant should stay evenly moist, meaning the soil should never be completely dry or overly wet. Over-watering can lead to a whole host of problems. The amount of water your plant will need depends on a lot of factors: the amount of light it receives, the temperature of the room, humidity levels, among other things. A good rule of thumb would be to water the plant once a week and adjust according to how quickly the soil dries. Eventually you should be able to get into a watering routine based on the plant needs. Do not keep the plant in standing water for more than 15 minutes as this can lead to root rot and pests.

Fertilizer: The Parlor Palm needs more fertilizer than most indoor palms. Feed monthly in spring and summer with a slow-release fertilizer. If the leaf tips are brown, you could be over fertilizing.

If you have questions concerning your newly acquired Neanthe Bella Palm, please leave a comment below and we will work to have an answer to you as quickly as possible.

Thank you again for coming out to our National Indoor Plant Week event. Plants are our passion and we love being able to share that passion with others!

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