Any success with Majesty Palm as a 'houseplant'?

subtropixFebruary 21, 2012

I had to succomb and try it once again. I have to say, for such a "common" plant, it certainly is a challenge. Frankly, cocconuts are easier in the North based on my own experience. It's a draw for me, do I overwinter it in the garage along witht the Washingtonias and Dates or in the house with the more tender palms. In the house, it gets spider mite (without fail), in my garage, it has to deal with temps that are probably cooler than it would like but at least there is no risk from the bugs. I lost one this past winter out in the garage though a smaller one in the same pot survived. In fairness, it might have been the dryness and not any cold that did it in this winter--I see this species loves water and some even recommend growing it in a saucer of water so it never dries. So, for those of you who feel bad because you lost a Majesty palm, I am here to say, give yourself a break! I have over 60 species of palms and the "Majesty" Palm (a Big Store standard), is a royal pain in the a/ss to keep alive outside of the tropics. So next winter, I'll try to overwinter in the garage but in a saucer of shallow water to keep up with its water needs and drought intolerance. Peace out.

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So far I've actually had no problems with my Majesty palm indoors. The tips of the fronds usually brown a bit, but it still remains healthy and grows about 2 fronds while indoors. I keep it very well watered, but its in fast draining soil so the soil is never really moist. Its also right next to a ton of other plants (and a skylight) so that takes care of humidity and light problems pretty well.
But I know a lot of people who have not been able to grow Majesty palms indoors and I have killed many majesty palms indoors too. Thats why if I ever by small majesty palms, I just use them as filler tropical plants and dont bring them indoors since they are cheap and arent really worth the trouble unless they are a nice sized palm.
Good luck! I hope this one does better for you. Spraying some Neem oil when it has bugs and misting lots of water once a week helps them out a bit. I have to admit that I havent done either of those things with my majesty palm this winter (but I did last year).

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 9:55PM
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I've tried them twice, but never did well for me. I had one die on me completely indoors. The other survived down my basement under a grow light, but they always seem to get brown tips, get root rot, or lose fronds completely. They seem to hate the dry air indoors due to the furnace. I moved the second one outside in the summer, in a shady spot to avoid sunburn, and it didn't grow at all, 2 months outdoors. I moved it to full sun, and it grew 1 frond, and remained unattractive due to sunburn. Finally I gave up on it and gave it to a family friend. He keeps it in his Florida room, which can be in the 50s on a cloudy day, and it seems to be maintaining. It will be interesting to see how it does in that room when it gets steamy on a sunny summer day. There is also a hot tub in the room, so I'm sure the humidity helps. Either way, they only look nice for me when I first bring them home from the store, and soon after start declining.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 1:30PM
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Really big Majesty palms are quite attractive! The trunks expand so much, they remind me of Bottle Palms or even Jubaea (Chilean Wine). I just keep reading that they love water and fertilizer, so as I said, I am sitting it in a saucer of water and keeping it cool for the winter and see what happens. Most palms have some degree of drought tolerance but a minority do not (for example, Cat Palms and Paurotis come to mind and not much else).

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 3:54PM
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ben44(8a Seattle WA)

I had three Majesty Palms and two died of scale infestations that got pretty nasty. The third one, which was actually the first one I got, is doing well though -- I've had it about a year now. Mine is like Alex's, in fast-draining "soil" (more like sand and chunks of debris) which I water frequently. And contrary to light care indications, I keep mine in a relatively low-light environment. I say low just because it's not very near the window, so although it's a well-lit room, it is very indirect light.

It does suffer a little from humidity problems, in that the fronds are a little crinkly, not as soft as when grown in a nice steamy greenhouse. And it has "lost some weight" as it were: some of the smaller suckers and lower fronds have died off completely, either because of my inadequate watering or just an adaptation to the lower light conditions. But overall it's a beautiful, graceful individual which I don't find to be too impatient or particular. I have much worse trouble with my Livistona chinensis palms, for example.

I don't have any experience with overwintering them, so I don't know how they behave when they go into dormancy, but I would think that the saucer treatment would be a formula for root rot. These guys seem to love the airiness of their soil as much as they love frequent watering. So I don't know that you're going to achieve a set-it-and-forget-it arrangement, but I'm curious what you find your results to be. Personally, I think you could overwinter these like people do their tea roses (another thirsty plant), that is, just keep the soil moist, watering it moderately a few times in the winter while in the basement/garage, and keep them propped up off the cold floor on a wood block or something.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 5:32PM
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I have read that they grow along riversides, thus the species name 'rivularis', and enjoy being waterlogged (again, not typical palm treatment to be sure).

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 7:07PM
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This is a very late response as it has been 2 years since the conversation started but I figure if I am reading it someone else may still be wanting information as well.
I live in Colorado so humidity is very low and temperatures get to both ends of the extremes (usually either too hot or too cold and obviously very dry). I don't have a lot of success with Majesty Palms here at all less than a year actually. We also have hard-very hard water issues in my area. I water my plants with reverse-osmosis cleaned water for that reason and when I can't I use the shower and fill the pot a couple of times letting the water run out of the pot (not sitting in water) over night in the tub before returning them back to their south facing window where they get filtered sunlight. They tend to turn brown on the edges when the salt builds up in the soil. They can tolerate drying out briefly between watering but here they must be misted regularly. I don't repot them after letting them adjust to the new environment of my home, which is different from the nursery, which is of course very different from the Florida distributors. One is likely to kill or have many a Majesty die before getting it just right. I have had my best luck with Cat Palms from Wal-Mart. Though they do die back and I have one after 3 years that died all the way back but still making new healthy growth. None of my palms have ever experienced anything worse than fruit flies I attribute the lack of spider mites and other bugs infestations to the showers but I also attribute the fruit flies to those showers. So I have learned regardless of which palm I have they should be misted regularly but showered no more than once a month. I hope my experience will help my newest majesty palms survive longer but also help someone else care for theirs or at least help someone determine that Cat palms are easier to care for indoors especially in a dry climate.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 4:43PM
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Hi, I just bought a Majesty Palm. I am new to indoor gardening, and didn't know anything about them, but Lowe's had them for $5.00, so I figured I could take a chance.

I've been doing some research and found this about the soil:
"Majestic palms do best in a rich, moist mix of soil with good drainage. A mix composed of 1 part loam to 2 parts sand and 2 parts peat moss works well."

Has anyone tried that? Or do most of you use regular potting soil?

I see from this forum, and from another forum I checked into, that this plant is not so easy as a house plant.

Well, since I have it, I'll give it a try.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2014 at 2:22PM
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That sounds like a lot of peat moss to me.
I just use a sandy mix but do not let it dry out. They need more constant moisture than most palms. Try a cooler room that is somewhat humid if possible.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2014 at 5:45PM
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I would think that peat moss would give more constant moisture than sand. Then again, I don't have a majesty. I gave up on them. From what other members have said, and as Njoasis stated, they need to be kept moist.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2014 at 11:03PM
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Island, it's just that a peaty mix makes for some interesting problems. I put my palms outside in the growing season
(many are still outside in fact), but in the heat of summer, peaty mixes have a tendency to bake. Contrary to it being too moist, once peat dries, it becomes extremely hydrophobic (it repels water) and plants actually are easily UNDER watered. I would err on the side of a coarse, sandy mix...even if you have to keep this one in a shallow saucer of water (something which you would not wanna do for 95% of all palm species).

    Bookmark   November 12, 2014 at 5:12PM
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So far my majesty palm is making it.
altho I notice now that the leaf tips are brown.
I left it in the pot it was bought in.

I have it in a corner where it gets bright light but no direct sun. I watered it Nov 9, have not watered since.
It feels dry to my first knuckle, so I suppose I should water.

I am new to house plants, and I keep reading that over-watering is the biggest killer so... I am torn.

I mist it every couple of days. The humidity is probably low in the apt bec. I have forced air heat, which however I keep off unless I really need it.
Temps is about 70 day, about 68 at night.
I'm also going to make a pebble tray.

so I wonder if the brown tips could be from under-watering?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2014 at 8:49AM
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Make sure it's planted in a fast draining soil and keep it watered, don't let it dry out. Growers use sphagnum peat moss, which seems to hold moisture but still stays pretty airy, so maybe try that. Some potting mixes are too heavy and dense, which causes rot. Several members on this board have said that they have success by keeping them watered.

Brown tips are probably from either under-watering or dry indoor conditions, so you need to increase humidity.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2014 at 9:05AM
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