Ravenea rivularis. Copyright: Kremp Florist
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Although bright, indirect sun is ideal, throw in some morning or evening sun during the height of winter. If it's situated in a shady location, wash the leaves from time to time to improve light-capturing efficiency by hosing it down outside. Never allow a Majesty Palm to sit in strong sunlight for extended periods, as too much light will result in a pale, washed-out appearance with possible brown patches forming on the leaves.
Allow the top third of the soil dry out in between irrigations during spring and summer, with monthly waters in the cooler months. If you're struggling to know when to water, feel the weight of the pot, and if it's lighter than when you last hydrated it, irrigation may be needed. Majesty Palms are usually situated in a well-draining medium, meaning that standing water could be an issue beneath the pot. Under-watering symptoms include wilting, little to no growth and greying leaves - these issues are commonly down to too much light/heat, or forgetfulness. Alternatively, over-watering symptoms include rapidly yellowing lower leaves, wilting, brown spots on leaves and a rotten stem. Never situate this palm in dark locations with overly moist soil as root rot and soil mould will quickly arise. For more information on how to address this issue, click on the appropriate links!
As Majesty Palms originate from tropical regions in western Madagascar, high humidity is advised for quality growth. You can achieve this by creating a humidity tray and locating it three metres or more away from an operating heater. A quick hose down once a month will hydrate the leaves, eliminate dust particles and help reduce numbers of pests, most notably Spider Mites.
Twice a month in the growing period and monthly in winter to replicate its dormancy period. Either use 'Houseplant' feed or a general plant fertiliser at half strength. Never apply 'ready to pour' feed without a quick drink of water beforehand as this will cause the roots to burn.
Regular irrigations are key. Periods of droughts will quickly slip the Majesty Palm back into its dormancy period, causing stunted growth and a bewildered plant owner. If it hasn't repotted in a while, there may be too many roots and not enough soil to retain the moisture, thus leaving the soil to dry out quicker. Click on this link to learn more about a transplant.
Spider Mites are small, near-transparent critters, that'll slowly suck out the chlorophyll out of the leaves. Have a check under the leaves, most notably along the midrib, for small webs and gritty yellow bumps. Click here to read our article about the eradicating Spider Mites, along with some extra tips that you may not find elsewhere!
Too low humidity can cause browning leaf tips with yellow halos. Although this won't kill your specimen, you may want to increase the local moisture to prevent the new growth from adopting these symptoms. Mist or rinse the foliage from time to time and create a humidity tray whilst the heaters are active to create a stable environment for your specimen.
Dust the leaves regularly. Although this isn't too much of an issue, a build-up of dust particles can clog up the plant's pores, causing lowered light capturing-efficiency. Wipe the topsides of the leaves down once a month to keep levels down and improve growing conditions.
Yellowing leaves - it's difficult to accurately pinpoint why this is happening as it could be due to many different reasons. If the lower leaves are yellowing in quick concession, it may be over-watering. Do not allow the soil to become soil or waterlogged; failure to do so will cause root rot and possible death. For severe cases, take the plant out of rot pot to examine for root rot - a transplant may have to be performed. The second reason why its leaves are yellowing could be due to either too much sunlight or not enough water. As mentioned above, under-watering can cause a Majesty Palm to slip into its dormancy period, but persistent droughts with direct sunlight will cause further damage in the likes of yellowing leaves, stunted growth and wilting.
Mould developing on the soil means two things - too little light and over-watering. Despite the harmlessness of the mould, it'll prove unsightly to most gardeners and is therefore removed once known. To remove, replace the top two inches of the soil for a fresh batch of 'Houseplant' compost. Either increase the amount of light received (no direct sunlight for the first few weeks to prevent environmental shock) or decrease the frequency of waters slightly. If the mould is accompanied by yellowing lower leaves, you may also have a case of root rot.
Ravenea rivularis is a species of flowering plants that originate from western regions of Madagascar. It was first described back in 1913 by Henri Jumelle & Henri Perrier de la Bâthie, during a visit to the island.
12° - 25°C (54° - 75°F)
H1a (Hardiness Zone 13) - Must be grown indoors or under glass all year round. Never allow temperatures to dip below 12℃ or permanent damage may occur in the likes of flower loss, stunted growth and yellowed leaves.
Most species won't grow above 1.8m in height (if grown in a pot) and 1.2m in width. The ultimate height will take between 8 - 12 years to achieve, with up to two new fronds per year.
Remove yellow or dying leaves, and plant debris to encourage better-growing conditions. While pruning, always use clean scissors or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases. Never cut through yellowed tissue as this may cause further damage in the likes of diseases or bacterial infections. Remember to make clean incisions as too-damaged wounds may shock the plant, causing weakened growth and a decline in health.
Via Seed & Division.
Seeds (Easy to Moderate) - Soak the seeds in lukewarm water for around 24hrs in a dark location, preferably on top of an operating radiator. The best soil to use is a Houseplant-labelled potting mix, however, multipurpose compost with added perlite and sand is just as good. Set the seeds around an inch into the potting mix, resisting the temptation to compact the soil. Maintain evenly moist soil and allow the excess water to freely drain from the pot's base to prevent water-logged conditions. The ideal location for successful germination is in a bright, indirect setting with temperatures above 18℃ (64℉) with bottom-heat. Keep the pot in a transparent bag to provide a stable level of humidity, along with longer lasting soil moisture. Germination may take up to a six months, so don't discard any unsuccessful seeds until this threshold has been surpassed. Remove the bag once the seedlings produces its second leaf. Remove the bag once the seedlings produces its second leaf and then split them up into their own 3cm pots.
Small panicles of white flowers will appear in the spring or summer once the plant hits maturity in around eight years. If pollination is successful, the red fleshy fruits will bare seeds in late summer that can be sown in the following spring after a mandatory dormancy period during the winter. Unfortunately, it's very rare for Majesty Palms to bloom indoor due to the incorrect growing conditions.
Repot every three to four years in the spring using a houseplant-labelled and the next sized pot with adequate drainage. Hydrate the plant 24hrs before the tinkering with the roots to prevent the risk of transplant shock. For those that are situated in a darker location, add a thin layer of small grit in the pot's base to improve drainage and downplay over-watering. Click here for a detailed step-by-step guide on transplantation, or via this link to learn about repotting with root rot.
Keep an eye out for mealybugs, spider mites, scale, thrips, whitefly, vine weevils & root mealybugs that'll locate themselves in the cubbyholes and undersides of the leaves, except for the latter two which will be in the soil. Common diseases to look out for are root rot, leaf-spot disease, botrytis, powdery mildew & southern blight - click here to learn more about these issues.
Not known to be poisonous when consumed by pets and humans. If large quantities are eaten, it may result in vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite.
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