Two species of majesty palm (Ravenea rivularis and Ravenea glauca) are well-suited to living in pots indoors. Very bright light with even soil moisture is key to the palms' success in your home's dry air. One species that has a twisted frond is more tolerant of overwatering than the other. Majesty palms will eventually outgrow your interior space.
Origins and Native Habitat
Majesty, or majestic, palm is a name assigned to plants in the botanical genus Ravenea. Most of these palm species grow in partially shady, moist forests with limited tolerance to dry conditions. Simulating these habitat conditions in your house promotes healthier plants.
Household majesty palms commonly found in plant stores are Ravenea rivularis and Ravenea glauca. The former has horizontal fronds that twist 90 degrees so that the top half of the fronds are perpendicular to the ground. The latter has fronds that flat and horizontal.
Provide majesty palms with partial sun to very bright light in the home. One to three hours of direct sunlight through a window is ideal, but a brightly lit room with only indirect light is acceptable. The consistently moist soil in the container should be fertile, peat-based and drain well. A lack of water and low humidity causes fronds to brown, especially at leaf tips. Use a granular or liquid fertilizer per product directions only in spring and summer.
Ravenea rivularis is more tolerant of wet soils and is a better choice for homes since overwatering is difficult. Conversely, if you often forget to water houseplants, Ravanea glauca is a better choice.
Size of Palms
Majesty palms are good houseplants only in their youth. Often sold in a three-gallon-size container, they will need repotting every eight to 16 months to support root growth and addition of more fronds. Once they reach heights of 8 to 10 feet, they may be out of scale in the home, or hit ceilings and light fixtures. They cannot be pruned and maintained at a shorter height, so replace them with younger, smaller plants.
Majesty palms acclimate to low light areas of the home, but growth will be much slower and there will be fewer fronds. Avoid placing them in drying drafts near heating and air-conditioning vents. Dry air and palms lacking soil moisture can succumb to spider mite infestations as well as scale insects, even indoors.