The majesty palm has long green fronds and it is a wonderful addition to your indoor décor. This plant grows slowly and thrives as long as you give it the right amount of light, humidity, water, and fertilizer. If you want to grow one of these palms in your home, continue reading this full indoor care guide for the majesty palm.
History of the Majesty Palm
The majesty palm is also called the majestic palm and its scientific name is Ravenea rivularis. It is a species of tree in the Arecaceae family. In the wild, the majesty palm can grow up to 98 feet tall. It is native to Madagascar but as of 2010, there were only around 900 growing in the wild.
It grows in several different regions that are separated and surrounded by desert. This geography prevents the majesty palm from spreading. It needs the humidity so it mostly grows near natural lagoons or on the edges of riverbanks. It is also found in shallow swamps.
Although it is a fragile plant in the wild, it makes a very popular houseplant because it has beautiful fronds and grows very slowly. However, it is important to replicate the growing conditions that allow it to thrive if you want to grow it indoors.
Challenges to Growing a Majesty Palm Indoors
As with most plants, there are challenges that you need to overcome if you want to grow a majesty palm indoors. It is important to consider its needs. One of the problems is that it has a thick trunk so it doesn’t like to be restricted in a pot. In addition, it needs humidity, water, fertilizer, and light.
Supplies for Growing a Majesty Palm Indoors
If you want to grow majesty palms in your home, you will need to have the following supplies:
- Peat moss
- Spray bottle
- Neem oil
If you have these supplies, you will be able to plant your majesty palm.
Although you can buy potting soil for your majesty palm, some studies claim that the potting soil composition is one of the most important factors in making sure that your plant does well. This plant needs rich soil and the best way to do it is to use the supplies above to make it yourself. You can combine the following:
- 1 part coarse sand
- 2 parts milled peat moss
- 1 part loam (garden soil)
You can combine these ingredients and mix them together well. Make sure that you check the drainage; you can adjust the ingredients if the drainage is too slow or too fast. You want the soil to retain moisture without becoming soggy.
Once the potting soil is mixed, you should add slow-release 14-14-14 fertilizer. This is the best mixture for the majesty palm. The slow-release fertilizer is a little more expensive but it is ideal for this plant. You can use regular flower and vegetable food fertilizer if necessary.
Where to Place Your Majesty Palm
Next, you need to decide where to place your majesty palm. This plant likes full sunlight. It can adapt to low light levels but it will do best in a sunny spot. You should try to make sure that it receives four to six hours of bright indirect light each day.
Don’t place it in a window where the sun beams on it because this direct sunlight can scorch its leaves.
How to Water Your Majesty Palm
Your majesty palm needs moist soil. You have to find a balance where the soil is never soggy but it should not be dry either. You want the soil to retain its moisture all the time. Check to make sure that you have drain holes in the bottom of the pot and look at your majesty palm often.
You may notice that your plant gets brown tips on its fronds and this might mean that it needs more water. If the tips are yellow instead of brown, it might mean that you are overwatering it.
Check to make sure that the roots aren’t sitting in water. Generally, you can soak it once a week and give it normal water twice a week.
How Much Humidity Does the Majestic Palm Need?
Humidity is important to the majesty palm. The plant prefers high humidity but it can live and do well in your house. You can provide extra moisture by misting the palm fronds every week. If your air is too dry, you will notice your plant’s fronds turning brown and becoming dry. If you have a humidifier in the room with your tree, it will thrive.
If you don’t have a humidifier, you can try using a humidity tray. Take a wide, shallow container and fill it with gravel or sand and water. You can place it under the pot your palm is in. As the water evaporates, the moisture in the air will surround the tree and make it happy.
What Is the Best Temperature for Majesty Palms?
Majesty palms do not like cold drafts so you should keep it away from open windows, doors, and air conditioning vents. It can tolerate temperatures down to 40 degrees but it does best when the room temperature is between 65 and 80 degrees.
What to Feed Your Majesty Palm
You should feed your majesty palm a general houseplant fertilizer that has iron in it every two or three months in the spring and the summer. You can also give it a pinch of Epsom salt once a month and your plant will get the magnesium it needs. You do not need to feed it during the cooler winter months. Your plant will rest during this time.
What to Do If You Notice Brown or Yellow Fronds?
It is important to remove any fronds that turn yellow or brown right away. When they turn these colors, they actually drain extra energy from the plant. Removing them allows your plant to have the energy it needs for new growth. In addition, your majesty palm will look a lot better.
When to Change Pots
The majestic palm is slow-growing but it will still grow. You will need to make sure that the roots don’t become too crowded. You should consider moving it to a larger pot every other year. You only need to increase the size of the pot by two inches. You will know when you see the root starting to appear through the soil in the pot.
How to Prune Your Majesty Palm
It is very simple to prune your majesty palm. You should always cut off any fronds that turn yellow or brown and make sure that you do it right away. This keeps your majesty palm looking great and gives it space to grow new fronds.
Keep an Eye Out for Pests
You can protect your majesty palm from pests such as spider mites by keeping it fertilized and checking it often for signs of an attack. You can mist it regularly to keep these spider mites at bay and you can wipe the underside of the leaves with a clean cloth. They usually attack dry plants so moisture will help.
Spider mites are little arachnids and when the fronds are dry, they provide the ideal habitat. The tiny mites look a lot like little dots on the underside of leaves. They make their webs on the leaves near the trunk of the tree. If you find this problem, you can take your plant outside and spray it with a hose. Sometimes this isn’t possible because the plant is too big to move. In this case, you can spray the leaves with soapy water or use a commercial miticide.
Another potential pest is the palm aphid. These tiny bugs will suck the sap from a tree and weaken it. The fronds will turn yellow. They have secretions that can cause a black fungus to grow. This pest is less common on indoor palms but if you notice one, use a spray bottle with soapy warm water or an insecticidal soap.
Scale insects are also a pest that can attack your majesty palm. Some have hard scales while others have soft ones. They look similar to small bumps on the leaves. They suck the sap from the leaves and cause them to turn yellow and drop. They also have secretions that can cause mold fungus. You can treat your palm with the soapy water concoction if you see signs of this pest.
There are a few other pests such as palm leaf skeletonizers, rotten sugarcane borers, and mealybugs. These pests often come with the tree if you purchased it at a nursery that is infested. When you choose trees to buy, make sure that they do not have broken, yellow, or wilting fronds.
Other Diseases to Watch for
The biggest thing to look out for with this plant is the leaves turning brown or yellow. The leaves will turn yellow If the plant is too wet and they will turn brown if it is too dry. This discoloration is also a sign that the plant isn’t well.
Most of the time, you can simply remove the discolored fronds and this will encourage new growth.
Alternative Trees to Have Indoors
There are a number of palms that you can grow indoors. Each has different needs but people often look for a lower-maintenance alternative. Take a look at these great options.
1 – Cat Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum)
Cat palms are similar to palm trees, but they are plants. They do have clusters of green leaves so they look very tropical. They come from Southeastern Mexico and it is also known as the cataract or cascade palm. They can reach up to six feet tall over time.
The cat palm needs a lot of indirect sunlight. Direct sun will scorch the leaves. It also needs moist soil all the time. It will not tolerate dry soil. You will want soil that drains quickly so that you can keep it moist enough without making it soggy.
You will want to place it near a window with a curtain or in a window that faces east or south. It likes humidity and should be fed in the spring and summer.
2 – Parlour Palm (Chamaedora elegans)
The parlour palm is a beautiful plant that tolerates low levels of light well. It does well indoors. It doesn’t need as much water as the majesty palm so you can let the top inch of the soil dry before you give it water again.
The parlour palm was first discovered in Central America and it became popular quickly because it can handle low light and lower temperatures, and it is attractive. Most of the time, you will find it growing in a few small clumps.
This is one of the best houseplants for beginners because they don’t require bright light. Filtered sunlight is perfect. They do not require a lot of water; in fact, they are sensitive to being overwatered. They can tolerate lower temperatures and they only need fertilizer once or twice in a growing season.
3 – Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
The lady palm is easy to grow and it does well in indirect sunlight. It likes moist soil with most of the moisture at the bottom of the pot. You should make sure that it has good drainage so that the moisture gets to the bottom. You can place this plant near an east-facing window. It will do well indoors if the temperature is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
4 – Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea Seifrizii)
This plant comes from the forests in Central America and it is in the same family as the majesty palm. They can grow to about seven feet tall indoors. They do flower, with the male and female plants being different. The males have yellow flowers. The females have orange fruits and turn to black when they are ripe.
They do well in bright indirect light. It is adaptable and can handle temperatures from 55 to 80 degrees. They do well just about anywhere in the house because they adapt to different levels of light. They prefer moist soil that is not soggy and you can let the top few inches of the soil grow dry before watering. They also prefer a humid climate so you can use a humidifier with these plants.
5 – Kentia Palm (Howea Forsteriana)
The kentia palm is a beautiful palm that is grown in Hawaii and California. It does really well as a potted plant and it likes medium light. However, it is very tolerant of low light conditions. If you have a shaded area outside, you can put this palm out in the summer.
The best thing about this plant is that it requires very little care. Make sure that it has soil with good drainage to prevent water from soaking the roots. Otherwise, this is an easy palm to care for.
Can You Keep a Majesty Palm Outdoors?
People love this majestic palm and they often want to know if they can put it outside. It is such a popular houseplant and it adds a tropical feeling to your home all year round.
You can also place it outdoors in the warmer months as long as you have a shaded area. You should avoid placing it in direct sunlight but if you have an overhang or a nice shady spot, you can let your majesty palm sit outside.
What Causes Majesty Palms to Turn Brown and Yellow?
Sometimes people find that their majesty palms start showing brownish or yellowish coloring on their fronds. This plant can be sensitive to conditions that don’t mimic its natural environment in Madagascar. Take a look at some of the problems that lead to issues with your majestic palm:
1 – Improper Light
Majestic palms need bright yet indirect light. If you place it in the direct sunlight, you might see that the fronds are burnt. Make sure that you have a barrier such as a sheer curtain to keep the light bright but indirect. On the other side, if you place it in a dark area with low light, you will notice that the growth slows and all of the plant’s energy is spent on making new growth so the existing fronds will start to turn yellow.
2 – Too Little Moisture
The majestic palm is dependent on constant moist soil. It doesn’t want to be drowned in water but the soil needs to always be moist. If the soil becomes too dry, you will notice the fronds turning brown. In addition, you will want to spray the leaves with water once a week to keep them moist. It is important to keep the soil moist all the time and spray the leaves so that they never dry out.
3 – Nutritional Deficit
It is important to make sure that you feed your majestic palm a few times a year during the spring and summer months. You should choose a fertilizer with iron and you can supplement with Epsom salts. Epson salts have magnesium, which is important to prevent the fronds from yellowing.
4 – Pests
If your majesty palm is weak, it will be more likely to attract insects and other pests. You need to check the plant for pests regularly so that you can eliminate them right away. You can put a few tablespoons of mineral oil in water and spray it on the leaves. You can check it in a couple of weeks and if any stragglers are there, you can spray it again.
5 – Diseases and Fungal Infections
Majesty palms can develop fungal infections from overwatering and as a by-product of spider mites. Make sure that your majestic palm is in a location with good air circulation and make sure that you water it properly. You need to keep the soil moist all the way through but you also need to make sure that the roots do not sit in soggy soil.
The key to this balance is to use the right soil with good drainage. You should also make sure that the pot has drainage holes to let out excess water. When you are checking for spider mites, make sure that you treat the leaves right away to eliminate them before they cause a fungus to grow from their secretions.
The Verdict on the Majesty Palm
The majesty palm is a beautiful plant to have in your home. It brings a tropical flair into your home and it will add to any décor. If you want to bring this wonderful plant into your home, you need to learn how to take care of it. It’s not difficult to care for but it does require an effort.
The majestic palm needs moist soil at all times. You can accomplish this by watering it regularly and making sure that you have soil with good drainage. It also needs bright yet indirect sunlight, which you can accomplish by placing it near a window without letting the rays of the sun beat down on it directly. It needs to be fertilized a few times over the summer and spring growing months but it will slow down and rest over the winter.
If you want to bring this plant into your home, you can do it as long as you raise it with care. It is slow-growing and will do well in your home as long as you give it what it needs. They are not toxic so you won’t have to worry about your children or animals. This plant looks amazing and if you have a few fronds that turn yellow or brown, you can prune them easily to encourage new growth.
When a plant has to expend energy on dying fronds, it is harder for it to grow new ones. By pruning your majestic palm, you can help to thrive in your home. Keep it away from direct light, make sure that it has enough moisture and humidity, and feed it a few times a year. Your majestic palm will bring tranquility to your home.