majesty palm

Growing and Caring for the Majesty Palm (Ravenea rivularis)

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If you crave that tropical paradise look in your home, a miniature palm tree could be the perfect showpiece. The majesty palm (Ravenea rivularis) is a beautiful tropical palm that can be grown indoors, even though a full grown majesty palm is a rather challenging houseplant. Read on to learn how to keep these plants growing. 

The majesty palm is an impressive plant. These palms can reach up to around the 100-foot (30m) mark in their native Madagascar but are nevertheless possible to grow indoors. They are also slow-growing but relatively fast as far as palms go.

They aren’t going to reach their maximum size indoors of course. In fact, these plants don’t seem to grow to the same mighty heights anywhere outside of their natural habitat. 

The fronds of this palm have a delicate texture and a rich green color. The single trunk is usually hidden by the stems of the large and graceful fronds on young indoor specimens. These palms are very affordable plants and have the added bonus of being non-toxic for pets and people. 

Plant Facts

Scientific nameRavenea rivularis
Common namesMajesty palm, majestic palm
Plant TypePalm tree
Height and Width10 ft. tall (indoors), 5 ft. wide (indoors)
Flower colorsWhite
Foliage colorDark green 
Sun ExposureDirect sunlight or plenty of bright indirect light
Soil Type & pHWell-drained, acidic soil
Special featuresTropical look, evergreen

How to Grow a Majesty palm

The secret to success with this plant is to make it feel at home indoors by creating the kind of environment it is adapted for. Many growers keep these plants in containers outdoors and overwinter them indoors with good success. Read on for more about growing your own majesty palm.  


The only way to grow new majesty palm plants is from seeds. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to do. 

The seeds should be collected from ripe fruits and cleaned thoroughly. Palm seeds grow best when fresh and germinate well in a 50/50 mix of peat moss and perlite. Keep the seeds constantly warm and moist for the best results (1). 


The majesty palm needs plenty of water, but should nevertheless be potted in a free-draining medium. The kind of substrate used for succulents and cacti would be appropriate. 

If you prefer to mix up your own soil, a standard potting mix that has been mixed with plenty of sand, and even some perlite for good measure will improve drainage. This mix has the added benefit of providing plenty of organic material.  


Majesty palms do not need much in the way of pruning. Simply remove any dead or yellowing fronds to keep your plant looking neat and vibrant. 

Repotting and Transplanting

If you are not happy with the container your plant came in, or you feel it has outgrown its current pot, you will need to repot. When roots are visible above the soil line, the plant probably needs to be moved. 

Repotting will probably need to be done every one to two years or so, depending on how much you are increasing the pot size. Select a pot that is slightly larger than the original and has good drainage holes. This is especially important for a plant like this that requires plenty of watering. 

How to Care for a Majesty Palm Indoors

The majesty palm is not the easiest house plant to care for. Maintaining the right balance of moisture, temperature, and light are the most important requirements for keeping your plant in great health. Read to learn these majesty palm care tips.


The majesty palm likes plenty of water. This palm species grows along watercourses and in moist areas in nature where it has plenty of access to water. 

These plants need to be watered frequently, but it is important that the plant’s crown not be kept perpetually saturated.  The soil should never be allowed to dry out completely, but less water will be required in the winter when the temperatures are a little cooler and growth slows down. 


The majesty palm light requirements are simple. These palms prefer plenty of direct sunlight when mature. When they are young, they must be able to survive in the understory until they are tall enough to compete with their neighbors for light. By this logic, these palms are better suited to temporary indoor cultivation. 

Fortunately, they are slow-growing and can survive in bright indirect light when grown indoors. Nevertheless, they should have access to as much light as possible to really thrive. Rotating the container from time to time will provide more even access to light for plants grown near windows. 

If you are overwintering your plant indoors, it is important to adjust the exposure to light gradually when you move it back outdoors in the spring. A sudden increase or decrease in light exposure and temperature can be stressful to your plant. 

Temperature and Humidity

These majestic plants need both high humidity and high temperatures to replicate their preferred natural environment. These conditions are not always easy to recreate in the home environment.

A south-facing room with large windows and increased humidity by means of a humidifier or daily misting will bring the best results. If you have the space, a position in the bathroom or kitchen would be ideal. 

These ndoor plants are not frost-tolerant, which is why so many growers choose to overwinter the majesty palm indoors. They do well in regular household temperatures but will prefer even warmer conditions if possible.


Palms do best with plant-specific fertilizers because they require higher magnesium levels than other plants. Fertilize in the spring or summer unless you live in a tropical climate where the growing season includes fall and winter. 

Pest and diseases

The most common issues seen in these palms are caused by a failure to recreate their favorite warm, bright and wet environment. They can, however, also be affected by pests. Read on to learn more about the most frequently reported issues. 


Majesty palms can be affected by a range of different pests. Spider mites, scale, and mealybugs are common offenders. Application of neem oil and washing with a good shower can be effective means of control on smaller plants. 


Brown leaf tips are a common issue and are often the result of a lack of humidity. Yellow leaves, on the other hand, often indicate too much water. Longitudinal yellow streaks on palm leaves are a typical sign of a manganese deficiency (2). 


The majesty palm is not the easiest plant to care for indoors simply because it needs such a bright, warm and wet environment to flourish. These aren’t the kinds of qualities most of us have in our indoor space, but if you are dedicated, this beautiful tropical indoor palm can make a wonderful impact in your home. 

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*image by Faithie/depositphotos


Reference list:

  1. Meerow, A. W. & Broschat, T. K. Palm Seed Germination.

  1. Broschat, T.K. Manganese Deficiency In Palms


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