The majesty palm is a stunning decoration in any home with its long arching, lush green fronds atop the stems. It’s slightly temperamental but with the best care, it can grow in your home for many years to come.
In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into the precise care requirements and ways to grow your majesty palm.
The majesty palm is also known as the majestic palm and belongs in the Arecaceae family just like the areca palm. Its botanical name is ravenea rivularis.
The majestic palm is native to wet areas in Madagascar making this palm unique. Unlike most other drought-tolerant palms, the ravenea rivularis is a tropical palm meaning it thrives in moist, humid environments as it’s found alongside rivers in its native environment.
Not only will the palm be an amazing addition to any home or patio but it’s beneficial for your health too! It removes these harmful toxins from the air you breathe; formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide.
Let’s take a look at the main features of this luscious houseplant.
How Big Do They Get?
This plant can reach a mature height of 10 feet (3m) when grown indoors and cared for well.
Fun Fact: When grown outdoors it can reach up to 80 feet (24.3m) tall.
How Fast Do They Grow?
When cared for it can still be a relatively slow grower increasing in size by 1 foot (30.5cm) every year.
How Long Do They Live?
A happy and healthy majestic palm can live in your home for 10 years, however, when planted outdoors it’ll survive for insane 80 to 100 years.
Are They Toxic to Cats and Dogs?
The ravenea rivularis is safe to any of your pets or to people.
Majesty Palm Care
We previously mentioned that the ravenea rivularis is slightly fussy and temperamental but with adequate care, it’ll shoot new buds and fronds each year.
We’ll guide you through the entire care process below.
How Often to Water
This tropical houseplant is native to wet areas, so it prefers to live in evenly moist soil just like the rattlesnake plant, but make sure that it doesn’t become waterlogged, or else its roots will rot.
Ideally, you should water it every 1 to 2 weeks or when the top 1 to 2 inches (2.5 – 5cm) of the soil is slightly dry to touch.
You shouldn’t let the soil get too dry or the poor plant’s leaves will begin to fall off. To prevent this, make sure that when you water it, you wait until the water flows through the drainage hole.
After watering your plant, always make sure to empty the saucer if any water has drained out.
Drainage is important for the ravenea rivularis to prosper and survive. To prevent your houseplant from withering away in soggy conditions, make sure to plant it in a container with a drainage hole to allow the excess water to drain out.
Additionally, the potting mixture must be well aerated and light. Try adding in some peat moss or perlite to enhance the aeration of the soil.
A great tip to provide your palm with adequate drainage is to add a bottom layer of gravel so that water can easily drip out the container.
How to Prune
The ravenea rivularis doesn’t require a great amount of pruning if any at all. The only time it should be trimmed is to maintain its look or if you notice any brown or yellow leaves.
The removal of any dead foliage ensures that more energy is directed at new leaf growth.
When pruning, make sure to use a sterilized pair of scissors or shears. Simply, wipe the blades down with a rubbing alcohol mixture or a diluted bleach solution.
This houseplant only requires repotting once a year before it reaches its mature height, and then about every two years after it reaches its mature height. It is best to repot this houseplant during the springtime, much like you would an elephant bush.
Just remember that when you notice any signs of your plant becoming pot bound, repot it straight away. You’ll know if this is happening when the roots begin to grow through the drainage hole.
The ravenea rivularis is fairly easy to repot, just keep in mind that the new pot should be about 2 inches (5cm) larger than its current pot, and make sure that it’s heavy so your palm doesn’t fall over.
Follow the steps below:
- Remove the plant by sliding it out of the pot on its side, and use your fingers to remove any excess soil surrounding the rootball.
- Take a quick look over the rootball and cut back any diseased roots with a clean blade.
- Find your houseplant a new pot and place it in the center. Fill it with enough potting mix so that the rootball is fully covered as it was in its previous container.
- Give the houseplant a deep watering until the water drips out the bottom hole, and put it back in its original sunny home.
The ravenea rivularis flourishes in bright, indirect sunshine. It can tolerate some shade, but it may not grow.
Keep an eye out for the amount of sunlight it receives, as too much sunlight or direct sunlight will cause its leaves to burn.
We previously mentioned that the majesty palm prospers in evenly moist soil, but it shouldn’t be completely saturated and soaked. It needs to be planted in well-draining soil.
This houseplant, much like the monstera plant, loves acidic soil with a low pH level of 5.0 – 6.0. This is great because you don’t have to worry about it being too sensitive to a peat-based potting mixture. For a happy and thriving palm try adding some peat moss into a cactus or succulent soil mix.
Additionally, you should keep in mind that the potting mixture is well aerated, light, and fluffy. This will prevent root rot from occurring as the water can drain out.
If you’re concerned that your houseplant may not be getting enough nutrients, simply add in some compost.
Add in any of the following to a cactus potting mixture for the perfect potting soil: perlite, vermiculite, coco coir, or peat moss.
Your ravenea rivularis only requires feeding once a month during the spring and summertime, as the houseplant is actively growing during those seasons. Do not fertilize it during the cold winter months.
It is best to make use of a balanced liquid fertilizer or even a cacti fertilizer mix. The optimally balanced fertilizer is 12-4-12-4.
Top Tip: Add some Epsom salts in the potting mix once a month during the active growing seasons. This will ensure that your palm is getting all the magnesium it needs, which prevents the yellowing of leaves.
Pot Size and Type
A plastic pot is perfect for the ravenea rivularis as long as it has one large drainage hole or multiple smaller drainage holes at the bottom of the container. This will prevent your plant from becoming waterlogged or diseased.
This houseplant needs some room for its roots to grow, so the ideal pot is about 2 to 3 inches (5 – 7.5cm) wider than the rootball.
The optimal temperature for the houseplant is between 65 to 80°F (18.3 – 27°C). It can tolerate and survive a lower temperature of 40°F (4.4°C), however, it will not grow or thrive.
Remember that this tropical plant is native to a moist and humid environment, so it absolutely thrives in an area of about 50% relative humidity. It can survive in the average household humidity but keep a careful watch over your houseplant, if you notice that its leaves are turning brown, this may be due to a dry environment.
In winter or colder climates, the air may get slightly dry. If this happens, try the top tips below to increase humidity levels surrounding your plant:
- Mist your houseplant with lukewarm water a couple of times a week.
- Make sure that it’s in an area free from any drafts, air vents, or heaters.
- Place your humidifier close to the houseplant.
- If you don’t have a humidifier, then fill a shallow container with water and stones. Place the container on top of the stones and as the moisture evaporates it’ll go through the air surrounding your plant.
Outdoors vs. Indoors
The ravenea rivularis grows in USDA hardiness zones of 10 to 11, so it is preferably grown indoors.
Its demands and care requirements make the plant suitable to grow inside as when it’s outdoors you risk the soil becoming too dry. Another issue is that the sun may be too harsh, resulting in the leaves becoming scorched or burnt.
The palm may survive on your patio, but during the summer it’s best to move the houseplant indoors again.
How Can You Grow It Indoors?
You can multiply your collection of majestic palms by simply propagating the offsets/pups. It’s best to do this during the springtime so that the offsets can root in the soil before winter sets in.
Check out this simple step-by-step guide on dividing pups:
- Remove your majestic palm by rolling it out of the pot while on its side.
- Use your hands to gently remove any excess soil surrounding the rootball, and untangle the offset’s roots.
- Give the rootball a little massage to relax it, and cut off the pups with a sterilized knife. Cut back the pup’s roots if they’re too long.
- Find a new pot and fill it with a moist potting mixture half of the way, and then place your offset in the soil. Sprinkle over any soil necessary so that the rootball is fully covered.
- Water the baby palm until it flows out the drainage hole, and place your plant in a bright, sunny spot.
- Make sure that you wait at least one month after propagating the baby palm before you fertilize it.
The great thing about the ravenea rivularis is how easy it is to grow from seed. You must remember to be a little patient because you will have to wait a while before the seed germinates, and make sure to plant the seeds during the spring or summertime.
Let’s get straight into it, check out the easy steps below to grow your palm from seeds.
- A day before you plan on planting the seeds, make sure to soak them in room temperature water overnight.
- Get out a container and fill it with a peaty potting mixture.
- Plant the little seeds 1 inch (2.5cm) deep into the soil, and evenly water the seeds.
- The best home for your pot is somewhere bright where the seeds will receive ample amounts of indirect light.
- Put a clear plastic bag over the pot to create a moist environment.
- You may have to wait up to 6 months before the seeds germinate, but once you’ve noticed 2 leaves produced by the seedlings then you can repot each seedling in its own pot.
How to Revive
The ravenea rivularis can be a tad demanding and finicky, so there are a few things to look out for. Don’t worry if you notice that your houseplant isn’t looking too good, we’ll fill you in on exactly what you should keep an eye out for and how to fix any issues.
First, let’s take a look at the three ways to check whether your majesty palm is dying, and then we’ll dive into the potential diseases and how to revive the houseplant back to good health.
How Do You Know if the Plant Is Dying?
There are three parts of the plant that you can check up on to determine whether or not your houseplant is dying.
Take a quick look at the leaves and if they’re still green your plant is most likely healthy.
If you notice any discoloration or spots, you may need to take a closer look at what could be causing this.
When your plant’s fronds are falling off consistently then this may also be a sign that your houseplant may be dying.
Take a look at the trunk and feel for any soft spots, this may be a sign that your plant’s health isn’t looking too good.
Try knocking on the trunk to hear whether it sounds solid or hollow. If it sounds hollow, then figure out what may be wrong and fix it as soon as possible.
The majesty palm typically grows new buds during the spring and summer months when it’s actively growing. Take a look at the top of the trunk for new growth, and if you see that your plant isn’t producing any new buds then there may be a problem.
Let’s take a look at some commonly asked questions regarding the ravenea rivularis’s health and how to revive it.
Why Are the Leaves Tips Turning Brown?
Have you noticed that the tips of your houseplant’s leaves are browning? Don’t stress because this is a common issue that may be caused by a few factors.
The first thing that may be causing leaf tips to brown is the lack of humidity. When your home’s air is too dry, make sure that you mist your plant regularly or place a humidifier nearby.
You may be feeding your plant too much. A fertilizer overdose will damage the majesty palm’s roots as they’re sensitive to a high concentration of nutrients. You may need to flush the potting soil. Simply, deeply water the container for 5 minutes and let all the excess water drain out.
Another reason may be improper watering. The ravenea rivularis loves a moist environment so check that the potting mix isn’t too dry. You may need to adjust your watering schedule, so make sure that you keep the soil moist by watering your houseplant every 1 to 2 weeks.
Always ensure that you cut off any damaged foliage or fronds to encourage healthier growth.
Why Are the Leaves Yellowing?
Your houseplant’s leaves may start to turn yellow due to a lack of sunlight, improper watering, a lack of humidity, or it is deficient in nutrients. You need to cut back any yellow leaves to direct energy to new, healthy leaf growth.
Make sure that it’s placed in a well-lit area where it’ll be able to soak in plenty of indirect sunlight.
Ensure that your houseplant isn’t being over- or underwatered. Make sure to water it when the top of the soil is slightly dry before doing it again.
If the air in your home is too dry, maybe move your plant to a humid area like your bathroom, or mist it with lukewarm water once a week.
If you are worried that the majestic palm may be lacking in some nutrients, all you need to do is add compost to its potting mixture.
Why Are the Leaves Drooping?
Your majestic palm may be suffering from trunk rot. The leaves begin to droop when it’s being overwatered. Remember that the ravenea rivularis thrives in moist soil but it doesn’t do well in a soggy environment.
You can tell if your plant’s trunk is rot by feeling for any soft or squishy spots. You’ll also notice some liquid oozing out of the trunk.
Immediately repot your houseplant in new moist soil if it’s suffering from trunk rot and water it once the soil is slightly dry.
What Is Causing Root Rot?
Root rot is due to excessive overwatering. The soil has become waterlogged causing the roots to retain way too much water. The rootball will become mushy and damaged.
You need to repot the houseplant right away, and cut back any damaged roots.
To prevent root rot from occurring, choose a container with a drainage hole, place your plant in a well-draining and aerated potting mixture, and always check that the soil is slightly dry before you water it.
A Final Note
The ravenea rivularis has a few demands such as an adequate amount of bright, indirect sunlight, and moist soil is super important too. Keep in mind that your houseplant doesn’t suffer in extreme temperatures.
If it receives all the care it needs, it’ll be a happy, thriving plant in its home.