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Majesty Palm Root Rot – Common Causes and Care Guide

Majesty Palm Root Rot – Common Causes and Care Guide

The majesty palm is a regal-looking palm that is native to the humid rainforests of Madagascar. Here it is often found near rivers or streams where it can grow up to 50 feet in height. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, these trees normally only reach about 15-20 feet with optimal care when grown indoors. 

Some common issues that occur with majesty palms are root rot, brown crispy leaves, and yellowing leaves. In this article, we will go over how to solve these problems and how to give your palm the best care possible. 

Common Issues

Root Rot

The most common issue for majesty palms that are kept indoors is root rot. Many plant enthusiasts want to give their plants the best care possible and that often leads to overwatering. Soggy soil can, unfortunately, cause issues for your plant though, and if the soil is soggy for too long, the roots can begin to rot. 

If you think your majesty palm may be suffering from root rot it’s best to remove it from its pot and give its roots a once over. If any of the roots are mushy or black they are rotten and should be removed from the plant. 

Once the rotten roots are removed, you can replant the palm in fresh soil and cut back on watering. It should bounce back within a few weeks if it has some healthy roots left. 

Brown Leaf Tips

If your majesty palm has brown leaf tips it’s likely caused by low humidity. Plants absorb water through their soil and release it into their environment through their leaves. If the air around them is too dry, this can cause your plant to release more water than it can absorb, leaving the tips of its leaves looking burnt. 

The quickest and easiest solution to this problem is to add a humidifier to the room next to your plant. If you don’t have a humidifier, can’t afford to buy one, or need a solution until you get one, there are a few other easy solutions you can try. 

A simple mister can do the trick in the interim for your palm. Keep in mind when misting not to get your furniture or walls wet as this can damage the drywall or cause mildew. Another option is a pebble tray.

This option is really only viable for smaller palms, but to make one you simply get a tray that is a few inches wider than your plant pot. Fill the tray with pebbles and then with water to just below the rock line. Place your plant on the rocks and as the water evaporates it will add humidity to the air around your plant. 

Yellow Leaves

Yellow leaves on a majesty palm are usually a sign of overwatering or underwatering. Check your soil. If it is soggy, try to move your plant to an area with higher light to help it dry out faster or change the soil completely. 

If your soil is dry, your plant is likely to be very thirsty and the soil could even be hydrophobic. Hydrophobic soil is soil that is so dry and compacted that it will no longer absorb water readily.

One remedy for this is to place your plant pot into a larger container that is filled halfway with water. Your plant will absorb the water through the drainage hole slowly, allowing the soil to rehydrate. Another option is to place your palm outside or in the shower and water it until the soil is saturated. 

Whether your soil is soggy or overly dry, once you remedy the immediate problem, you will also need to adjust your watering schedule. 

Majesty Palm Care

Light

Majesty palms prefer bright indirect light but can tolerate slightly lower light levels. The ideal place for a majesty palm is a few feet from an east-facing window, however, they can do well in any room that stays bright all day. Avoid keeping your majesty palm in direct sunlight as this can cause the leaves to burn. 

If you live in a home or apartment with little available natural light, a plant bulb can be a great option to keep your plant happy. Plant bulbs can be purchased at most garden or hardware stores and can be placed in most light fixtures. If you prefer a specialty light, those are available as well, but can be a bit more pricey. 

Temperature

The ideal temperature for majesty palms is around 70-80 degrees, but they can do well in temperatures ranging from 65-85 Fahrenheit. 

Humidity

Majesty palms prefer medium to high humidity. They can sometimes tolerate lower humidity, but you will have to keep an eye on your plant to know for sure. If you see the tips of the leaves turning brown, it’s likely time to add humidity for your plant. 

Water

The most important part of any plant care regimen is your watering schedule. Plants like consistency and watering on a regular schedule will lead to better water absorption and better growth rates. 

For majesty palms, a good place to start with your watering schedule is every 1-2 weeks. You will want the soil to dry out about halfway before you water again, so if you notice the soil is still wet after a week, you will want to wait a bit longer. 

Water absorption in plants is directly related to lighting. If your plant isn’t getting enough light it will have a hard time absorbing the correct amount of water. 

Another reason your plant might be staying wet longer than you expect is poor soil or a pot that is too large. Ideally, you want your plant to be in a pot that is a few inches larger than your plant’s root ball and soil that is fast draining. 

Soil

Majesty palms like relatively fast-draining soil. When potting mine, I use a mixture of 2 parts FoxFarms Ocean Forest and 1 part perlite. You can substitute the Fox Farms soil for any potting soil you prefer, but keep in mind that some cheaper soils will need more fertilization. 

Repotting

You will want to repot your majesty palm every other year in the spring if possible. Even if your plant doesn’t seem to have grown much, fresh soil will be good for the health of your palm.

Every time you water, a small amount of soil is usually washed out of the drainage hole of your pot, and over time the nutrients are absorbed from the soil, so a good refresh is always a good idea. 

When moving your palm up a pot size you will only want to go up one size at a time. Using a pot that is too big can lead to overwatering and root rot, so just go up a few inches at a time. 

Fertilizer

The best time to fertilize your majesty palm is during the growing season, which is spring and summer. You will want to fertilize with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2-3 months or with a slow-release pellet once a year. The pellets are easy and good for beginners as you can just apply the amount on the bottle and then the fertilizer will be slowly released into the soil every time you water. 

 Pet-Friendly

If you want a majesty palm, but are worried about your four-legged friends giving it a nibble, I have good news. Majesty palms are pet-friendly and safe to have around cats and dogs. It is still a good idea to try and prevent your pets from chewing on or scratching your plant as it can damage the plant, but if they give it the occasional nibble, they should be fine.