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Care of Majesty Palm Trees

The majesty palm, known botanically as Ravenea rivularis, is a fast-growing tropical outdoor plant that reaches 10 feet at maturity. Majesty palms tolerate partial shade and will grow in the understory of taller trees where they receive dappled sunlight. Majesty palms like abundant water and require regular doses of fertilizer to maintain their deep green hue.

Water your majesty palm consistently so that the soil surrounding the root ball remains moist an inch down. For palms growing in warm, dry climates or in large containers, this may mean watering them every two days. A more common regimen is every four to five days. Monitor your majesty palm closely and adjust watering to suit its seasonal needs.

Feed your majesty palm regularly to maintain its lushness and prevent yellowing. Choose one of the many palm foods on the market and apply it according to the manufacturer's instructions around the pre-watered root ball. Look for fertilizer formulations with a 3-1-3 or 15-5-15 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Slow-release fertilizers are applied once or twice during the growing season instead of once a month, reducing maintenance time and ensuring that the fertilizer does not burn your palm. Also look for fertilizers that have magnesium and calcium, two micronutrients needed by palms.

Prune damaged, diseased or dying fronds by gently tugging them off the trunk if they are loose or cutting them off with loppers or a small hand saw. Since majesty palms only grow to 10 feet tall, you will likely be able to make most cuts while standing on the ground. If you are straining to make a cut, use a stepladder or a pole saw.

Grow Majesty Palm Trees Outdoors

The majesty palm (Ravenea rivularis) is native to Madagascar, and in the United States, most people grow it as a houseplant. When it grows indoors, it tends to remain small, but if it is allowed to grow outdoors where its root system can expand, it reaches heights of 50 feet or more. Because it comes from the rain forest, the majesty palm also likes wet soil and high humidity. The majesty palm is a popular indoor plant because its generous fronds spread out and fill whatever space the plant occupies. It produces small, white flowers that develop into bright red, spherical fruits that are about 1/2 inch in diameter. It obviously loves water, and outside its habitat, it prefers poorly draining soil with plenty of clay, which makes it a good plant to grow in low-lying parts of the property. Fertilize majesty palms with regular house plant fertilizer twice a year in early spring and late summer. ** If the air dries out, it's better to keep the ground wet than it is to mist the leaves, which can rot and turn brown if exposed to excessive water, particularly if the water comes from the tap and not from the sky.

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