Learning how to care for a Majesty palm (Ravenea rivularis or Ravenea glauca) keeps the beautiful plant growing well. A Majesty palm leaves you in no doubt of its stately, flared form and attractively feathered fronds. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, Majesty palm grows 20 to 60 feet tall outdoors in the ground, but it's often grown as an indoor houseplant and container-growing restricts its size. To maintain deep green leaves and healthy growth, this palm needs regular fertilizer and water during the growing season.
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Fertilizing Outdoors and Indoors
Outdoor and indoor Majesty palms grow best with regular fertilizer. Fertilize an outdoor Majesty palm every three months or when its leaf color begins to fade. Sprinkle a ready-to-use, granular 8-8-8 palm fertilizer product that has added magnesium, iron and manganese at a rate of 1 tablespoon per 1 square foot (or according to label directions) within the area under the canopy of the palm, and mix it into the soil or mulch surface. Water the palm after applying the fertilizer.
An indoor Majesty palm needs fertilizer once a month while it's actively growing. Dilute a 30-10-10 fertilizer with added iron at a rate of 1/2 teaspoon in 1 gallon of water, and apply the solution every month. Don't fertilize an indoor Majesty palm in winter.
Care for Majesty Palm: Watering
A Majesty palm needs moist soil in summer and slightly less moisture during cooler months when it stops growing. Water a landscape palm when the top 2 inches of soil are dry, applying enough water within the drip line of the tree to moisten the soil to the depth of root zone, which is usually about 1 to 1 1/2 feet deep for a mature palm.
Plant an indoor Majesty palm only in a container with drainage holes or you risk fungal root diseases. During the growing season, water an indoor plant when the soil surface is slightly dry. Place the palm somewhere it can drain freely and pour water over the soil surface until it appears through the drainage holes. When the container no longer drips water, place it back on its drip tray. When the plant stops producing new leaves, water when the soil surface is dry to a depth of 1/2 inch.
Majesty Palm Leaf Care
As a self-cleaning palm, Majesty palm has few pruning needs. A Majesty palm naturally drops old, dead leaves and rarely requires pruning. You can prune the fronds with pruning shears when they turn brown and yellow if you want to improve the look of the palm before they fall off on their own. Light pruning also gives the new fronds more space to grow. Wipe the pruning shear blades with a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol before and after pruning the leaves at their bases.
An indoor plant benefits from a humid atmosphere and regular cleaning. To promote healthy, glossy leaves on an indoor palm, stand the plant in its container and drip tray on a shallow tray of pebbles filled with water. Every few weeks, wipe the fronds with a clean, damp cloth or rinse them with clean, tepid water.
Pests and Diseases
Diseases rarely affect a Majesty palm, and maintaining high humidity or spraying with insecticidal soap controls most pests. Red spider mite and scale insects can infest a Majesty palm. Red spider mites create fine webs on palm leaves, while scale insects look like tiny shells stuck to leaf veins and stems.
Increase the humidity around a palm infested with spider mites by spraying its leaves a fine spray of clean, tepid water every two or three days. To control scale insects, spray the palm with a ready-to-use insecticidal soap product containing 1 percent potassium salts of fatty acids.
It's important to note that insecticidal soap may damages palms, so first consult the product label for a listing of soap-sensitive plants to avoid. If you use insecticidal soap on your palm, always spray-test a small area first to see how your palm reacts. Cover all the leaves and stems, and spray the palm again after two months if the problem persists. While using insecticidal soap, wear protective clothing and goggles and spray outdoors, if possible.