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Overwintering Majesty Palm

Posted by lizzie_nh 5A (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 27, 11 at 10:42

This is just an informative/"inspirational" post rather than a question. A progress report, of sorts.

Last spring, I bought 3 Majesty palms for my deck in south/central NH (zone 5A, on the edge of 4B.) In previous years, I've always placed potted flowering plants on the deck, and treated them as annuals, discarding them in the fall. This past year, I wanted something that would last a little bit longer, but I didn't want potted evergreens, which are the only thing I could really keep out all winter long. The Majesty palms were on sale - even cheaper than usual - ($14 or so each, I think, for trees that are about 5 feet tall in pots) so no harm done if they didn't last, but I wanted to get them to last. But then I read all sorts of terrible things online about these plants, how huge they get, and how hard they are to overwinter, and I wondered what kind of a mistake I had made.

The trees absolutely thrived in our unusually hot and humid summer of 2010. I watered them regularly and they stayed nice and green. But, the trees aren't supposed to be in temps below 40 F (maybe 45?) so I had to start taking them in each night in late September, and finally brought them in for good in probably early-mid October. I don't anticipate being able to leave them out full-time again til late May... that's over 7 months inside.

They've done amazingly well inside. I have them in a corner room which has three large windows, two on one side and one on another, and gets northern/eastern exposure. I've placed the pots in (ugly) large plastic lid-less storage containers so that I can water them well without fear of water going all over the floor. I have to admit that I did have one scare - I forgot to water for a couple weeks, since we rarely use the room in which they live, and two of them were "suddenly" extremely dry and brown. I realized that those two were right next to the baseboard heat - I'd figured each tree should be right in front of a window to get the most light, and the heating is on one side of the room under the windows. The tree which was not near the heating source was just fine. So, I moved all trees away from the heating, and trimmed the brown (a considerable amount...) from the damaged trees. Now, they're just fine. The browning did not continue on the trimmed fronds - the rest of the frond remained green after the brown was cut off. The leaves are now soft and pliable again.

Early on I was misting with water, but I have stopped doing that, and they're still doing just fine. And trust me - my house gets VERY dry in the winter. We've been having unusually cold temps (-15F the other morning, not counting the windchill) and the furnace is working overtime. I haven't even fed them, although I probably should.

I'm so relieved - we're probably half-way through the winter, and maybe 2.5 months away from when I can start putting these out during the day on some days, and they're doing just fine. I anticipate being able to use these for awhile, at least until they get too large (although I'm not sure how large they can really get in pots.)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Overwintering Majesty Palm

Glad that your majesty palm is doing well! Misting really helps them out in the dry air in the summer, but my Majesty palm has been inside since mid november and I didnt start misting it until January and it was fine. I have noticed that it is opening new fronds faster and healthier now that I am misting it.

Majesty palms can handle temperatures around 25F , but I take mine inside when nights are predicted to go into the mid 30s. But 40s, especially mid 40s will not hurt this palm. Im not sure when the last frost is around your area, but once nights are above the mid 30s, you can leave them outside (and always take them in if a late frost comes). And if there is a nice warm day before the growing season begins, you can always leave them outside during the day (not in full sun because it will not be used to the strong sun after being indoors for so long), and take them in at night.

Majesty palms can get very large in pots. Mine is 7 feet tall from the soil line to the newest frond and around 9 feet tall including the pot! I havent been growing it for that long and I bought it at that size (for only 40 something dollars too!) so I wouldnt worry about your plant reaching this height for a while, especially if its growing in a sunny location. A sunny location will make the fronds shorter and the leaflets compact and a shadier location will make the fronds longer and the leaflets less compact. They grow slower in pots than in the ground, but they can grow to a nice size in a pot.

Majesty palms are great palms and even though they arent crazy about growing indoors (especially when the heat is on a lot), they can survive long enough to see the next growing season! I wouldnt give them fertilizer until spring and misting will help fight against potential spider mites and brown tips on the fronds.

Good luck!
-Alex


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RE: Overwintering Majesty Palm

Glad to hear about your success. They never do well for me indoors, or outdoors in pots for that matter. I only had one majesty do well, and it was planted in the ground. I have 2 larger majesty palms that most of the fronds died off after bringing them in the house for the winter, so I'm thinking about planting them in the ground for the summer and seeing if it makes a difference. I can always dig them up in the fall and repot them.


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