How to Repot a Majesty Palm Plant

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You can repot your palm plants.
Image Credit: Carlsson, Peter/Johner Images Royalty-Free/GettyImages

Native to Madagascar, the majesty palm (​Ravenea rivularis​, USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 11) is a slow-growing palm tree that grows well in pots. Though a popular houseplant, it also adds a tropical flare to outdoor spaces like porches or patios and can grow outdoors year-round in frost-free climates. Fortunately, repotting a majesty palm is necessary only every few years.


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Majesty Palm Repotting Tips

The best time to repot your majesty palm is while it's actively growing spring through summer. There are several signs that it's time to repot the palm. Water quickly running from the pot's drain holes at watering time means the roots have taken up most of the available space and that it should be repotted. Also, if you see the palm's roots starting to crawl out the bottom of the container, it's time to repot. However, unlike many plants, palms don't mind being a bit root bound.


Any type of container works well as long as it has bottom drain holes to prevent soggy soil, which leads to root-rot problems. Select a container that is approximately one size larger than the current one, since containers that are too large can lead to soggy soil due to the large amount of unused space. It is important to note that, unless the palm is unusually small, it will probably need at least a 3-gallon container for proper growth.


With the height of the majesty palm in mind, be sure to select a container that is heavy enough to stay grounded. You don't want a container so light and small that the palm becomes top heavy and tips over. Additionally, if the majesty palm is large and the soil-filled pot heavy, you can place it on a plant caddy with wheels that will make it easier to move the palm from one location to another.


Steps to Repotting Majesty Palms

To repot your majesty palm, you'll need newspapers, an appropriately sized container, pruning snips and well-drained potting mix.

Step 1: Get Ready to Repot

Minimize the repotting mess by doing the repotting in the yard. In addition, you can spread out newspapers and repot on top of them, which makes cleanup easier.


Step 2: Water the Majesty Palm First

Water the majesty palm before you actually repot it into a new container and soil. Keep adding water until it runs out of the bottom drain holes of the old pot and wait approximately one hour after watering before repotting the palm.

Step 3: Prepare the Pot

Use a clean pot that is about one size larger than the current one. If you're repurposing a pot, be sure to wash it with soap and water before using. Fill the pot about a quarter full with a fertile, well-drained potting mix and moisten the soil.


Step 4: Check the Palm's Root System

Grip the majesty palm by its lower base and pull it from the container. Check the roots for wrapping, since wrapping roots can impede healthy growth. If some of the roots have begun wrapping, snip through them using clean pruning snips.

Step 5: Plant the Majesty Palm

Place the palm in the new container's center once you've surveyed the root system. Fill the container with potting mix and firm the soil around the palm's base. Make sure you aren't planting the palm deeper than it was originally.


Step 6: Provide Needed Light and Water

Add water to the container until it runs from the bottom drain holes. Water again when the top inch of soil becomes dry, since majesty palms prefer a moist — not soggy — soil. Place it in the same light conditions provided previously. The palm grows in full sun to partial shade outdoors and prefers a bright indoor location.