The majesty palm is a slow-growing palm that is distinctive from other plants thanks to its long and arching green fronds, which are found on various stems. The plant is quite commonly grown indoors, though if it is grown natively outdoors, it can reach heights of up to 90 feet.
When grown indoors, the plant is quite similar to the kentia palm. The majesty palm has received a bad rap over time for its difficulty to grow, and it usually has a temperamental growth period.
When you grow the majesty palm indoors, it’s going to be a bit slow, and the growth might even seem stunted at times. In general, the plant adds around one foot per year, and it will generally reach around 10 feet in height.
The majesty palm actually has a pretty limited range, and is usually found in the arid climate of Madagascar. It is also located in humid spaces of swampy land, and it wasn’t until the 1990s when the plant was introduced as a houseplant in Florida.
The popularity of the majesty palm has continued to increase with time, but there are no cultivars that nurseries have developed as of yet. Even today, there are only a handful of outdoor locations where the plant can be grown with success, outside of the climate of Madagascar.
As you can imagine, the majesty palm isn’t the easiest plant to grow. If your plant is dying, it could be due to a number of different reasons.
If you notice that the fronds of your palm tree are browning or the plant is drooping, you should take remedial action right away. These are clear signs that your plant is close to death.
But, before you can take action, it’s important to figure out the cause of the problem. There are several things that might be going wrong with your majesty palm, and it’s important that you take appropriate steps.
Here are some potential causes and how to fix them.
1 – Improper Lighting
The majesty plant generally likes to soak up intermittent light. The plant doesn’t do well when it is exposed to direct sunlight, and it may succumb to sunburns. You have to find an area that is brightly lit, but the sunlight isn’t direct.
To ensure the survival of your majesty plant, it’s important that the plant receives adequate amounts of light. This is going to ensure its survival in the long run as well.
You need to understand that the plant usually comes from the region of Madagascar. It receives a lot of sunlight, and emulating those conditions is important. The plant will remain at its happiest when you place it close to a sunny window.
If you want your plant to thrive and grow indoors, emulating the same lighting conditions is important. To do that, you have to make sure that the plant receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight a day. If it doesn’t, the plant will likely begin to die.
The majesty palm is capable of adapting to lesser light. But, if the room falls too dark, you will notice that the growth of the plant will reduce significantly. That’s because the plant will redirect all of its energy into producing new leaves.
As a result, the oldest ones will begin to yellow and eventually wither completely.
2 – Lack of Moisture
Water is essential for the growth of all plants, and the majesty palm is no different. One of the best pieces of advice that you need to follow when growing your majesty palm indoors is to make sure that the plant never dries out completely.
Out in the wild, the majesty palm is usually found beside rivers and streams, so it’s imperative that you take its moisture requirements seriously. If you are going to pot it, you need to make sure that the pot has drainage holes underneath to allow the water to escape.
If that doesn’t happen, the water will remain stagnant in the soil, and the plant will eventually succumb to root rot and die. The excess water in the soil will prevent the roots of the plant from receiving proper oxygen.
But, how can you figure out if your plant is receiving little water? The best way to determine this is by looking at the fronds. If the fronds start drying from near the tips, and you notice this browning effect throughout the leaves, it’s a clear sign that your plant is way too dry.
On the other hand, if you notice the leaves of the plant turning overly yellow, it’s a sign that the plant is excessively wet. Remember, consistent soil moisture is necessary for the majesty palm.
It needs the water to keep its leaves green and to maintain a healthy appearance. The best way to care for this plant is to make sure that you keep the soil regularly damp. If you have drainage holes under the pot, you should just water it a bit during the day.
3 – Humidity
Another thing that can cause the majesty plant to die is a lack of humidity. When you trace back the origins of the majesty palm, you will realize that it is a tropical plant, and as a result, it really likes a bit of moisture in the air.
If the air around the plant is excessively dry, it might cause the plant to turn brown, and you will notice the majesty palm becoming dry too. The best way to handle this issue is to increase the humidity indoors.
If you want, you can keep an electric humidifier in the room so that the humidity in the room increases. But, if you don’t have one, there’s a less expensive and more effective way to boost the humidity of the place.
You have to take a tray and fill it up with pebbles. Use smooth stones so that it also looks good. Then, just fill it up with water so that the pebbles are covered with the water as much as possible.
Once done, just keep the tray close to the plant. As the water continues to evaporate, it will increase the humidity around the area, and your plant will feel fresher.
More importantly, you have to be careful about where you keep the majesty palm. If you keep it in a position where it is blasted by cold, dry blasts of air, the plant will suffer.
The good thing is that the plant is capable of recovering very quickly if it is damaged due to the constant blasts of cold air. However, it needs attention almost immediately. To tend to the plant, the best thing to do is direct warm and wet air toward it.
Humidity trays are a fantastic choice as well. All you need to do is to fill up a tray with gravel or sand, and then add water. When you are done, just keep the pot of the majesty palm on the top of the tray.
The bottom of the tray will always remain above the water line. With time, the moisture inside the tray will continue to evaporate, and this will increase the temperature right above where the plant is kept.
Remember, you have to replace the water after every few days to keep the humidity levels up.
4 – Fertilizers
Nutrient deficiency can be a potential cause of the majesty palm’s death, and it’s important that you take care of these things. At the very least, you need to fertilize the plant at least twice a year.
The best way to care for the majesty palm indoors is to make use of a balanced fertilizer that contains iron and feed the plant twice, once in the springtime and once in the subsequent summer months. More importantly, you also need to add some Epsom salts to improve the magnesium content in the soil.
If the amount of magnesium reduces in the soil, it could cause the fronds to turn yellow as well. During the winter months, you should know that the majesty palm also needs quite a bit of rest.
The plant is not suited for cold winters, and it is going to suffer a bit, so it’s important that you keep it indoors and maintain the temperature. Don’t leave the windows open and move it to a warmer location.
Furthermore, there’s no reason for you to fertilize the plant during the winter months as the plant just needs to rest.
5 – Pests
Another thing that can cause damage to your plants is pests. If the plant becomes excessively weakened or stressed over time, it will become more and more susceptible to pests and insects.
Bugs that like to suck on the sap, primarily spider mites, can cause serious damage to your plant. Other bugs that you need to be wary of include mealy bugs, as they can drain all of the moisture from the majesty palm.
Eventually, this is going to cause the plant to turn yellow. If you are not able to deal with the pest problem as quickly as you can, it’s soon going to turn into a serious issue. The real problem with these pests is that they tend to spread really quickly.
So, your already compromised plant will not just die, but the problem will increase and other plants might succumb to a slow death as well.
When it comes to getting rid of a pest infestation or preventing your plant from being exposed to pests in the first place, there are several simple things that you can do.
First of all, you have to periodically inspect the plants. Make sure that you check the top of the leaf, and the bottom as well. You even need to check the stems carefully because that’s where these insects like to hide most often.
If you see these tiny insects running about, treating the infestation won’t be a problem. If you don’t want to use chemical-based insecticides from the outside, all you need is a neem oil product.
There are plenty of those available in the market, and you can easily buy one and use it on your houseplants. Or, if you don’t want to do that, there’s also a homemade remedy that you can use.
It involves taking around two tablespoons of baking soda and adding a tablespoon of mineral oil. Mix them together in a spray bottle, and then add a bit of water to dilute it slightly.
Then, just spray the solution all over the infested areas of the plant. You also have to make sure that you isolate the infected plant because, as mentioned above, these bugs are going to spread very quickly from one to another.
They usually tend to get on the fabric or clothing and move around the house. If you are going to use neem oil on your plants, you have to understand that the smell is generally unpleasant. Therefore, it might be a wise idea to keep the plant outdoors when you apply the mixture.
Wait at least a couple of weeks before you inspect the plant. If you see any of these insects around, you just need to repeat the entire process again.
6 – Repotting
The majesty palm needs a considerable amount of space to thrive as time goes on. With the passage of time, the roots of your palm are going to spread all around the pot.
If you don’t repot your majesty palm after a while, the roots will begin to suffocate. To prevent the majesty palm from overcrowding, you have to be very particular about the repotting.
Make sure you repot the majesty palm every year or so. It shouldn’t really be a big problem either; you just need to replace the pot and get a slightly bigger one (by a few inches) every time you repot the plant.
But, how does one figure out that the plant is in need of being repotted? The answer is fairly simple: just look for the roots appearing out of the soil. If they are, you need to repot it!
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.