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Nothing breaks a gardener’s heart faster than seeing a plant wilting, and seeing a Majesty palm turning brown is quite a sad sight.
The problems can range from lighting to fertilizer, but you’ll have to figure out what it is before you can save your plant.
The Majesty palm has been a favourite for plant owners all across the U.S for a very long time. But despite popular opinion, it’s not the easiest houseplant to keep. Their needs are quite demanding, and they can be quite sensitive to their environment. You’ll have to have a basic knowledge of these plants to understand their needs and how to treat them when they start wilting.
What is a Majesty palm?
The Ravenea rivularis or Majesty palm originates from the island of Madagascar. They grow in hot deserts and enjoy high-humidity and moisture in their natural environment. In the right circumstances, a Majesty palm can reach up to 90 feet in height! But because they grow so slowly, they can be kept indoors for years and one day, if your garden is big enough, be planted outside.
Due to this specific climate need, the palm can be tricky to keep happy indoors and can easily become sickly if not cared for properly.
A quick indicator of an unhappy Majesty palm is brown and yellow leaves. If you see this discoloration, chances are high your palm is asking for help. But how can you help if you don’t know what’s wrong?
Here are a few reasons why your Majesty Palm has lost its majesty.
Why Is My Majesty Palm Leaves Turning Yellow or Brown?
Lighting is important to all plants, and we do so like to put our plants right up to a window, to ensure they soak up enough of those vitamin Ds. But this palm requires a very specific type of light source; indirect. Direct sunlight can burn the plant, and as a result, will discolour the leaves. If your palm is sitting right next to a window, rather move it to a more secluded area away from the sun. But don’t hide it away from light completely.
As said before, all plants need sunlight. So, make sure the room you put the plant in has adequate sunlight, just no direct beams. With little to no sunlight, the plant will also begin to turn yellow and will slowly die.
A medium to a well-lit room will be fine for your palm.
As we know, the Majesty palm lives in a high-humid environment, so it requires high moisture to survive. Dry heat and dry winters can make this plant suffer. Keeping the plant well-watered will go far in keeping it happy and healthy. The soil can also be kept moist and soft, to keep the plant from drying out. Just don’t overdo it, it needs to be moist not swimming.
Dried out soil or simply too little water will make the plant wilt. Also, make sure you water the plant consistently with a set schedule. Watering once, letting it dry out and suddenly pouring water in again can stress out the plant and will also cause yellow fronds. The soil should be moist at all times.
The Majesty palm will also appreciate a bit of misting every once in a while, especially when it’s very dry. This will help keep the moisture level of the plant high and will result in a happier plant.
Fertilizer is the best way to keep a plant happy. It gives the plant nutrients, helps it grow better and keeps it healthy and strong to fight against parasites. But putting in too much fertilizer can also cause the leaves to turn brown or yellow.
Be sure to fertilize only when the plant will be growing. Like in spring and summer. In winter there is no need to fertilize as the plant will be dormant and won’t need the extra nutrients to grow. Think of it like overeating in the winter. It’s never a good thing for anybody, especially for your bikini.
At the same time, make sure your plant gets enough nutrients. Starving it isn’t the answer either. Rather get the proper soil for your plant. Soil designed for cactus or succulents will do fine, as the Majesty palm also requires good drainage to prevent root rot. Although they like it wet, they don’t want to get their feet too wet.
Root rot is a big problem and very difficult to treat. So, don’t overwater your plant and make double sure you have the correct soil.
Tip: While checking the soil, also take a moment to make sure the plant’s pot is big enough for its roots. Although the Majesty palm likes its roots to be snug, it still needs room to grow. When buying a pot, pick one that is about 3 inches larger than the root ball of the plant.
Sometimes your problems are a little smaller, and at the same time much bigger. Spider mites and mealybugs can do some serious damage to your plant. If you suspect a pest might be the cause for the discolouration, you’ll need to act quickly.
Spider mites will drain the Majesty palm of moisture and can quickly kill off the leaves of the plant, which in turn can kill the plant outright. These mites usually appear on indoor plants and can be picked from cats or other pets. But a plant is far more susceptible to pests when it is already weakened by poor sunlight or nutrients.
How to get rid of mealybugs and spider mites:
The quickest way to get rid of Spider mites is with rubbing alcohol. Simply take a few cotton balls and wipe the plant clean of the mites. Let the alcohol lie for a few hours and then rinse the plant. Repeat the process as needed.
For Mealybugs, you can use insecticidal soap or spray. Rub or spray the plant down, leave for a few hours and then clean with water. Repeat as necessary.
The aphids are small insects that create black marks on your leaves, ruining the aesthetic of the plant. Although usually found on outdoor palms, the aphids can get on a household plant as well. You can remove them with either insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.
Overall, the best way to keep your plant from picking up pests is to keep it healthy in the first place. But you can also give your plants a quick wipe with clean water every once in a while, to keep them clean. Also, if you suspect your plant is infected, and you have other household plants, be sure to quickly quarantine the infected plant lest it spread to the others.
5. Natural Browning
Sometimes the browning is minimal, secluded to one or two leaves and focused on the tips of the leaves. This is quite natural for your Majesty palm! All leaves will eventually die to make way for newer leaves. Once they drop off, the palm can then grow sturdier leaves to better absorb nutrients and sunlight, keeping itself healthy.
If your plant has some excess brown leaves, you can trim them from time to time. It is quite healthy for your palm to do so, as it makes way for new leaves and it won’t have to waste nutrients on a dying leaf.
To trim your palm, you’ll need the following
Tools: pruning shears or scissors, and alcohol.
1) Clean shears/scissors with rubbing alcohol before starting to cut.
2) Check the plant over for dead or dying leaves.
3) Cut leaves that are entirely brown or yellow at the stem. Don’t leave too much of the leaf on the plant, this can open the door for parasites.
4) Don’t remove more than 20% of the plant. Rather do it in stages to prevent damage to the health of the palm. It still needs its leaves to stay healthy.
The Majesty palm is a beauty to keep in our homes. It can spruce up just about anything and fits in most aesthetics from rustic to modern. But despite its beauty, it needs some TLC to survive. Be sure you understand what type of plant you’re bringing into your home, take the time to read up and know what environment is best suited for it. Twenty minutes of reading will save you a lot of headaches and will ensure your Majesty palm will stay there to continue to bring that Livingroom together.