Majesty Palm Care

Majesty Palm

Majesty Palm Care

The Majesty Palm, also known as the Ravenea rivularis, is a tropical palm tree that is native to Madagascar. It is a popular indoor and outdoor plant due to its elegant and striking appearance. The Majesty Palm can grow up to 30 feet tall in its natural habitat, but when grown in pots, it typically reaches between 6 and 8 feet tall.

Ravenea rivularis, the majestic palm, or majesty palm, is a species of tree in the family Arecaceae. They generally grow to 10 to 12 feet tall and are often marketed in stores as a “houseplant” in a pot, in its natural state, the majesty palm may sometimes grow to 98 feet (30 meters) tall.

The palm has upward-arching leaves divided into long, thin fingers. It is native to Madagascar; however, it is believed only about 900 plants are currently alive in the wild according to an assessment conducted in 2010. The species grows in several regions of Madagascar, but because those regions are totally surrounded and separated by desert, the natural spread of the species is limited. Despite its fragility as a species in the wild, it has become a very popular houseplant due to its beautiful leaves and slow-growing nature.

Adult Ravenea Rivularis, Florida USA

Ravenea rivularis grows in somewhat isolated humid habitats that are found in the otherwise dry, hot semi-arid climate of southwest Madagascar. Often, they grow huddled along the edges of riverbanks and natural lagoons, but also grow in shallow swamps where they receive ample water and humidity year-round. Due to its love for warm, moist air which can be difficult to provide consistently in most homes, the most common problem affecting those kept as houseplants is browning leaf tips. To replicate its natural growing conditions, plants should be misted with warm water daily or kept near a humidifier. It should also be watered more frequently than average houseplants especially in the spring and summer. That being said, fast-draining soil is preferable, such as soil labeled for cacti, in a well-draining container to allow water to seep through the root system and out of the pot. Although they can also suffer from lack of sunlight, Ravenea rivularis is much more sensitive to lack of water and humidity.

Majesty palms are often sold as cheap lush tropical foliage house plants but are hard to take care of for long term survivability.
In addition to ample water, Ravenea rivularis kept as a houseplant requires specialty fertilizer for palm trees which contains more magnesium than all-purpose fertilizers. Slow-release palm fertilizer with an NPK ratio of about 8-2-12 with at least 4% magnesium is ideal. A pinch of epsom salt may also be used as an alternative source of magnesium.

The leaves of the Majesty Palm are large and feathery, reaching up to 4 feet long. They are a glossy green color and are arranged in a graceful arching pattern. The trunk of the palm is slender and smooth, with a gray-brown color. The tree produces small, insignificant flowers that are followed by small, round berries.

The Majesty Palm prefers a well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. It prefers a warm and humid environment, making it an ideal plant for a greenhouse or a conservatory. It can also be grown outdoors in tropical and subtropical climates.

When grown indoors, the Majesty Palm prefers bright, indirect light, and should be kept away from direct sunlight. It also prefers high humidity, so regular misting or placing a tray of water near the plant can help to maintain the necessary moisture levels.
The Majesty Palm is relatively low maintenance, but it does require regular watering and fertilization. It is also important to prune off any yellow or brown leaves as they appear, to keep the plant looking healthy and tidy.

Overall, the Majesty Palm is a beautiful and striking plant that can add a touch of elegance to any indoor or outdoor space. With proper care and maintenance, it can thrive for many years and become a cherished addition to any garden or home.

What Kind of Fertilizer for a Majesty Palm?

Palms are the kind of plant that does not go unnoticed in the landscape. Majesty palm (Ravenea rivularis) is a symmetrical, feather-leaved variety introduced from the rainforests of Madagascar. It is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, but is commonly grown as a houseplant in colder climates. Like other palms, it has exacting fertilizer requirements that are not met by generic, all-purpose fertilizers.

Nutrient Needs

Most garden centers sell fertilizer products formulated specifically for palm trees and these are perfect for majesty palms. These differ from most other fertilizers because the manufacturer includes magnesium, along with other trace elements. The ideal palm fertilizer has 8 percent nitrogen, 2 percent phosphorus, 12 percent potassium and 4 percent magnesium – these are indicated with the numbers 8-2-12-4 printed on the bag. Make sure to use slow-release fertilizers only.

Outdoor Fertilizer Application

Fertilize majesty palms planted in the ground every two months between April and September, for a total of three applications per year. Spread the fertilizer evenly over the root zone of the plant at a rate of 1.5 pounds of granular fertilizer for every 100 square feet of surface area. Spread the fertilizer on the ground in an area that corresponds to the size of the canopy, at a minimum. However, the roots of large majesty palms can extend far beyond the canopy, so spread the fertilizer to twice the size of the canopy on mature specimens.

Lawns and Palms

One challenge in growing majesty palms outdoors is the negative effects of lawn fertilizer on nearby palm trees. Lawn fertilizers have a high ratio of nitrogen to potassium that causes a nutritional imbalance in palms. Plus, they contain little or no magnesium, which is necessary for palm health. However, palm fertilizer can effectively meet the nutrient needs of lawn grass. As a general rule, use only palm fertilizer within 30 feet of the trunk of majesty palms – it will not harm grasses and other plants in the vicinity.

Potted Majesty Palms

Fertilize potted palms in a slightly different manner than plants in the ground; this holds true for the majesty palm as well. Potted palms need a higher proportion of nitrogen – use a liquid fertilizer labeled 18-6-12 for best results. The potting mix usually will supply magnesium in the form of dolomite, though the initial quantity may last only six months. You can repot majesty palm each year, or add dolomite at a rate of 1 pound per cubic foot of potting soil each year. Apply a slow-release liquid fertilizer every three months to potted palms.

It is, however, a somewhat tricky plant to grow successfully indoors, requiring humid air, lots of bright indirect light, and consistent moisture. It is often referred to by houseplant experts as a “challenging” plant.
When grown indoors, majesty palm will add about one foot of growth per year until it reaches four to six feet, then slows down dramatically. It is faster-growing as an outdoor plant where its roots are free to roam—it is occasionally used as a landscape tree in California, South Florida, and other tropical regions.

Types of Majesty Palm

There are no named cultivars of Ravenea rivularis. There are only about 20 species in the Ravenea genus, all of them considered seriously endangered. R. rivularis is the only species commonly cultivated for garden or houseplant use.


Pruning duties are generally limited to simply removing any fronds that have turned brown or yellow. This is all that’s needed to keep the plant looking good.

Propagating Majesty Palm

Majesty palms are raised exclusively from seed, and commercial production of seeds is somewhat limited. It’s highly unlikely that home growers can get access to seeds. Propagation through stem cuttings is also not an option. However, division, or separating the offset “pups” from the mother palm, is a viable option. This method is best done when you need to repot the plant so the plant is not stressed by moving it around too much. Here are the steps for division:

Remove the plant from its pot by gently rolling it out of the container while it’s on its side. Do not yank the palm from its pot from an upright position.

Look for pups, or offshoots, from the mother plant that you can potentially separate from the root ball.

Massage the root ball with your fingers to relax and soften it so you can untangle the pups. To help separate roots, use a disinfected, sharp knife if needed. You can even trim the roots of the pups if they are too long for new pots.

Place offshoots in pots with fast-draining soil. Water the pots in a sink until it starts to drip from the bottom, but do not let the pot sit in water.

Put pots in a bright spot, like its mother plant. Fertilize the baby palms in about a month.

Potting and Repotting Majesty Palm

This palm may need to be repotted annually, but more likely every other year since it grows slowly. When repotting, be careful not to damage the root ball and use a large, heavy container to prevent the palm tree from tipping over. Pots made from clay or ceramic will help stabilize these plants, which can get top-heavy.

A standard potting mix blended with additional peat moss works well as a growing medium.

In cold-winter regions, it’s quite common to move these plants back and forth between an outdoor patio and an indoor location as the seasons shift. Make sure to get your plant indoors before freezing weather arrives.


During the winter, a majesty palm likes a slightly cooler temperature, 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, winter care remains the same.