Help save my Majesty Palm!

tractatusFebruary 2, 2009

It looks good in the photo yes, but... for the last few months, my Majesty Palm has had the tip of all its leaves turn brown (even the new shoot is starting to turn brown right at the very tip!). One entire branch turned completely brown, and I had to cut the branch off (this was offset though by having a new branch open up and grow). I thought the problem might be too much sun, too close to the window (situated in the corner) - I'm just not sure (but I don't really have another place to put it anyway). I don't know if I did this right, but I cut off many of the leaves that had brown tips, hoping they will grow green. The last time I did this though, the leaves never really grew, they just turned brown at the edge.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pic of plant

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My guess would be that the problem with your majesty palm is that it's a majesty palm. They're difficult plants to begin with (need a lot of light, a lot of heat, a lot of humidity, regular watering but not too much water), but in the winter they're that much harder, and then in Montreal in the winter would be another level of difficulty beyond that.

Hopefully someone can disagree with me.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 6:47PM
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I totally AGREE with you mr subjunctive! I havn't found or known anyone up here that has been sucessful growing them indoors in my area, and I live in Mass. That is why Home Depot sells them so cheap. That is why the local nurseries do not sell them. They told me they only sell Palms that are possible to grow indoors..:-) Alot people I know buy them as throw away plants after the summer is over, because they loose them by the next one as they die all winter.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 7:27PM
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Many plants might be thought of as fussy and some just refuse to put up with them.
Others think such plants just need the proper care and don't avoid them; maybe as a way to knock down the skeptics.

Majesty Palm is a plant that has to have particular conditions. The placement in the corner is fine IF it receives the right amount of light.
This plant does not like direct light; it prefers more a backed-off kind of light. If the plant has no other choice but to accept what light comes through yon window, then try to put something between the plant and the light.
A curtain, a shade, a blind, or something outside that would offer a barrier to too much sun coming through the window. Even in winter, window glass can increase the intensity of light through it and if a plant is put too close to the glass, it can affect it. Also, avoid always placement where a heat vent or course of air from doors being opened and closed often can hit the plant.

The brown leaves suggests OVER watering. The M.P. does like it more of higher humidity...but this is winter, it isn't growing, the sun is still a month away from light it can use. Water to drainage ALWAYS, allow full drainage but don't let the plant sit in such drainage for more than 10 minutes. Dump the excess.
When you water, allow it to sit overnight to gain room temperature. Let the plant dry down between waterings but never allow it to dry out.
In place of watering so often, MIST the plant regularly.
Misting tho does not replace proper watering practices.
When it matters put a humidity tray near it. Fertilize only when it is growing. Fertilizer at this time will not be used by the plant and salts from it may build up and cause such browning.

Misting also can help prevent spider mites which does seem to like this plant.

Usually leaves that turn brown too much may drop off. In cases where the leaf is just turning brown at the edges or tips, simply take a pair of scissors and cut off the brown and leave the green as is.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 7:56PM
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I meant, hopefully someone who has successfully grown one indoors for an extended period can disagree with me.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 8:12PM
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I still AGREE with mr subjective. The day I meet anyone here in my area that has sucessfully grown one indoors including my local nursery, in which by the way has better conditions indoors than we could ever have, for an extended period of time, then I will disagree..:-)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 11:23PM
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Thanks for the responses. I feel much better now knowing that it isn't just me, it's a damn difficult plant to take care of. And I hate "difficult" plants! Which explains why I never liked taking care of this plant, but I'll try to do better with the information I've been graciously provided with here. Given what some have said, I guess I might be luckier than most, since it's been growing a new shoot despite the Montreal winter. Maybe its the live worm I found living inside the earth that's helping to keep it happy (it showed itself after I transplanted the plant to a larger pot). I had kicked the plant out of my apt. a week and a half ago (in favour of a braided Ficus Alii...), and into the hallway, where the majesty palm receives plenty of cold drafts from two floors below and the temp. is just under 60F and humidity 50%, I gotta say it does not appear to be doing any worse or any better than it was in the corner of my apt. And there's even less light now, because there's half the window there used to be.

Jeannie7: Thanks again for all the info on this plant. Unless I repot, I can't water to drainage though, because it's in a large pot that has no drainage holes. Instead, I had put plastic pop bottles or something like that at the bottom of the pot, to allow for some drainage.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 2:16AM
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These palms seem to be quite difficult to keep healthy in a reg home setting and really should not be sold as an "indoor" houseplant. Some plants are best left in nature.

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 8:59PM
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These giant palms were for sale for $10 last spring in our local box store. I ran home and read up on them (they were over 6 feet tall - I wanted one for 10 bucks!). After I got off the gardenweb, I didn't want one anymore, next week I sadly watched these (mostly) unsuspecting customers happily carry theirs out. One knew what she was doing, she was buying 10 to decorate a hall for her daughters wedding, she knew they wouldn't survive past summer. And I guess I've read some people in warmer zones with longer summers will buy one or two to sink in the yard for a tropical feel, knowing come fall it will succumb to the cold. A better ending than sitting on a pallet in the store for the summer?

Anyone know how fast these plants grow? Like, 6 feet in a year? How can the grower make money on these? I'm way up north, they'd be shipped in pretty far, I assume. I'm just curious.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 9:11PM
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I have begun trying an experiment on mine to see if it will stop turning the tips of its leaves brown. I've encased the entire thing in a plastic bag (with bamboo sticks in the earth to hold the top of the bag up), sealed around the pot. All in an effort to increase the humidity (50%) its receiving.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 9:31PM
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You know, I have always wondered, why in Gods name do all the box stores up here sell these " Majesty palms", if they know we will have problems growing them indoors? They don't carry the ones easy to grow indoors. I can never seem to purchase ones in these box stores that are easy such as Parlor Palms, or a Kentia Palms. These ones you can only find at a greenhouse or nursery, and cost a mint to buy. They are selling 3 foot Kentia Palms at my local nursery for 130 bucks!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2009 at 10:17PM
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Well . . . if they sold you plants you could keep indoors, then you'd only buy them once, right?

I'm not surprised about the kentias for $130: they're actually very expensive wholesale, too.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 6:38AM
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Trac, I think you are taking the issue of browning tips a little too serious. Such is the problem of houseplants where they don't necessarily receive the exact needs that might avoid such.
If you accept that such browning of the tips is a moisture problem, there are ample ways to increase the moisture level for the plant.

The first and easiest is to spritz the plant. A spray bottle that has a fine spray nozzle can defeat dryness where watering is not called for.
Most plants are helped by misting. It can often defeat spider mites and other pests that hang on to undersides of leaves and suck the juices from.

We have all learned about moisture trays...the plant sits on pebbles in a tray that has water just at the near top of the pebbles--the plant doesn't make contact.
It needn't be a tray, a saucer, a cereal bowl, a dog's bowl, can be placed alongside. A container of water can be so placed at the heat vent where the air passes over the water and increases generally the air in the room.
A humidifier can be placed on the cold return of the furnace.
A small mistifier (electric) can be placed in the room.

OK, increase the moisture level as best we can.

But you are not helping the plant by encasing it in plastic.
If the plant is receiving any kind of direct light, the plastic can heat up to drastic heights.
This method is good for defeating bugs that have invaded the plant while outside and such encasing is used to confine the bugs while you spray insecticide into the envelope.
Putting plants into a plastic bubble is not recommended.

If you feel this plant is not for you, then perhaps you could make a present of it to a neighbor, a friend or relative who wont blame you for handing off a troublemaker.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 1:08PM
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Trac, not to beat the subject into the ground but I forgot to discuss what you said about no drainage holes.
To say you are playing with fire---especially if you don't know th express wishes of the plant, is putting it mildly.
ALL plants should drain well. The must-have drainage holes in pots delivers that. If a plant doesn't drain excess water it cant use, then eventually trouble is on the way.

You re-potted. I must ask, why did you not think of putting drainage holes in the pot before putting the plant in.
OK, no drainage hole. Many people have pots that do not drain. But, they know their plants. They are aware of what water is used by the plant and keep a check on the moisture level. Watering in dribs and drabs is not a recommended way of treating a plant.
Usually, we water excessively, wanting to ensure the roots get sufficient water and it ends up the plant is overwatered.
The water sits under the roots...eventually the roots cannot take up any more. Yet the water sits there and is drawn up into the soil which, over time, causes root rot.
The first sign of such problem is told by the leaves.
The leaves feed the plant oxygen and water. Where they are fed too much, just like you if you were force fed continuously, they die.
First tho they turn brown or yellow and eventually drop off.

To say your trouble is all in not having drainage holes is underscoring the problem.

Repotted. Hopefully you did not increase the pot's size more than one size up...usually a 6" pot, go to 8"...
a 10", go to 12". Anything more than the one size up can spell trouble. The roots are given more soil than they can properly take nourishment from...especially when it is soggy from too much water.

I'd say the plant can be helped immensely by simply removing it from its present pot, put drainage holes in, and re-pot it.
Drainage holes can be put into most materials very easily...even ceramic, or metal.

If the idea of placing a saucer under such drainage holes is not your cup-a-tea for the room you have the plant in, then think "sleeve". A decorative pot, larger than the pot your plant is in, is used to hold the plant pot.
Raise it sufficient to receive the water that drains from the pot and yet, not so that it sits in such drainage water.

Make sure there is some form of clearance between the soil and the drainage holes. Otherwise, soggy soil will collect around the drainage holes and block it/them.
One of the best ways to raise the plant soil from such holes, is with the use of wine corks. Any wine residue will not harm any plant. The acidness in fact, can help it.
Another well-used method is with the use of clay shards.

The key to good watering is to not let the plant sit in such drainge water much more than 10 mminutes before it is dumped.

If you are determined to let the plant survive as best it can, then at least, give it a chance and look to your watering.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 1:32PM
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A small mistifier (electric) can be placed in the room.

[Rodney Dangerfield] I have a small mystifier, but not an electric one. I call her my wife. *rimshot*

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here through Tuesday. Try the veal.[/Rodney Dangerfield]


Sorry. With a set-up like that, I can resist maybe five, six seconds tops.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 2:23PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Misting has few benefits for plants, and may even cause problems for some. Relatively few species absorb an appreciable amount of water through their leaves, and those that do are quite specialized.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 3:40PM
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Trac. before you believe what has been offered by Rhizo about misting, might I suggest you do your own research on this score.
Misting has a lot of qualities to offer for plants--and not just specialized versions of any.

Misting is one of the most common methods to give a plant moisture and can often delay giving water when its not time to do so.
But, that's my opinion and I suggest you look into it further.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 8:00PM
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I am sorry!
But I have almost been pushed to the edge with this forum. I think there has been some brutality lately and I don't like it.


I if I feel I can benefit someone from experience, I will, or I'd be chicken, afraid of being attacked.


Do you see how much worrying you have to do with the use of soils that contain small particles that cause "PWT" in your pots here! Not to copy Al's words, nor am I a clone, but someone who tried someone elses "proven product, or advice, and saw a miracle happen for my plant hobby!
The same people that are encouraging "PEAT MOSS" or bagged soils, and somehow think we are "peatmoss haters", are the same ones telling how careful you have to be with root rot and watering problems, even size pots you use.

I have potted some of my 2 inch potted plants into 10 inch ones with no issues using , yes, Al's gritty mix. I intend on not transplanting every year with a long lasting soiless mix. If you're using the right particle size, as outlined in the container thread, you NEVER have to worry about drainage rpoblems, overwatering, and root rot, that is of course if you have drainage holes as we all know here. Even those that know nothing about plants, know water has to drain.

I am not piggy backing Al's idea,nor a clone, or that of many other members who use it or rave about it, it is the TRUTH through sucess and experience. NOthing scientific in my instance, but who cares..It works for me!!

If you want to constanly worry about pot size, overwatering, root rot, and plant nutrition problems, along with in soil insects, leaf pests, and yes even mold on your plants, then use the soil suggested by the ones who say they have sucess with peatmoss based soils, and spray your plants all you want. I will stillrespect your choice. We should all.

Maybe the same ones who encourage this type of soil,or who knock Al, can show you how to avoid suffocated roots in your zone climate, and show you how to avoid plant disease from misting or anywhere for that matter. Someone here lives in near the north pole, and seems to never have a problem.:-)

If I can pot a small 6 inch high plant highly susceptable to root rot such as "Brouvardias", even in "logees greenhouse, and see them thrive in a 10 inch pot with as much watering as I want, then so can you. I choose to be worry free about my plants feet!

It is up to you on how much of a challange you want to make for yourself growing plants in a container. We all have free will. You will find what works for you.:-)

I wish some here would back off, and stop insulting others, and judgeing the very ones who care enough to see others doe well based on years of exsperience, or just a few, but we ALL should make this a place of refreshment.
If not , then disappear please, or you'll find yourself alone, that is the ones who want to belittle others!

Sorry, maybe now I will back off these forums for a while, like some others are doing, and chicken out, for fear I may be rudely addressed also, such as I already have been on this forum and in my e-mail...:-(

This use to be a fun place to visit.!!:-(

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 7:16PM
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ok... so my palm, which i bought at lowes for $2! and drove home with it sticking out my sunroof! has no leaves anymore, as i had cut them off after having all turned brown... my kids were constantly messing with it, mangling leaves and what not as well. i had a humidifyer going in the room, and a fern doing wonderful in the same conditions... from what i've read here, perhaps i had it too close to the window, although being a n facing window i didn't think it'd be a problem. right now there is one tall stalk looking like its about to open up to two new leaves....seems a little soggy within the trunk though. this is what worries me...any further advice would be most welcome! i would think it was overwatering, but that cannot be the case as it is almost entirely dry right now...
i've seen at local malls where they have chopped their palms right down to the soil almost and they are sprouting up new growth.... this palm has suffered much loss, just hope it makes it to the summer...this forum seems to have helped some, so thank to all who have contributed! one point i must make to the one who said she never liked caring for the plant, all i have to say is that may just be the root of failure... i love every one of my plants and they love us back by providing clean oxygenated air for the household! every plant i have is doing great, save for my palm, and i am determined to keep it alive. LOVE YOUR PLANTS, or don't bother at all!
also repotting- i have read that palm like to be root bound, but i didn't know this until after i had repotted it, and i think this may be part of the problem? well i'll winter it with some of your advices in mind... we'll see... it is such a beautiful plant to add to the household flora

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 11:24AM
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Ok majesty palms or picky!! I'm a newby too. But mine has a sticky substance on it and it has happened before then it dies. Is this scale or mites or something? Is there something to do? What is it? Thanks guys.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 12:02PM
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I'm sorry those of you in colder winter climates are having so much trouble with your Majesty Palms. I admit that I haven't had mine for a full year yet, but it lasted through the winter fine here in Northern California (Petaluma). Something odd is happening to it now in the summer. I suspect I might be watering it too often after reading this thread, but has anyone found a thin webbing at the upper edges of the leaves of their palms. I noticed a leaf was not doing very well and found this web on it and wiped it off, but it reappears on other fronds. I keep removing it with plain old water and a cloth, but it worries me a bit and it seems to have yellowed the first frond where I didn't notice it for a while. It's usually only on about the top 1 - 1 half feet of the frond. My palm is in a window corner and gets evening sun.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:07PM
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I may have about 40 different species of palms (representing genera such as Phoenix, Sabal, Trachycarpus, Seranoa, Butia, Dypsis, Rhapidophyllum, Cocos, Hyophorbe, Chamaerops, Chamaedorea, Livistona, Roystonea, Syagrus, Syagrus x Butia, Jubaea, Raphis, Howea, Caryota. and Washingtonia. Wait, I don't see any Majesties around. So, don't feel bad that you can't grow'em...try something else! Contrary to popular palm culture, Majesty Palm requires constant moisture. Let it sit in a shallow saucer of water for best results. Outside for the growing season, not difficult, but is very prone to spider mites indoors at warm temps and low, indoor humidity. If you have a chilly room for overwintering, it's better. My winter shelter though is too cold for Majesties.

This post was edited by njoasis on Fri, Jul 25, 14 at 13:47

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 1:35PM
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Idawilde it sounds like you have spider mites neem oil works great for those

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 8:27PM
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Thanks LilBit7765. I just bought some online and will see how that works. I really appreciate your feedback.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 11:40AM
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I was looking for the answer to my question about the webbing on the top of my palm's fronds and I saw a lot of talk about misting and misting trays, so I thought I would just share what I have done. I mist the plant every day, mostly because I have a money tree that needs misting so I figured I would mist my Majesty palm as well. All the plants seem happy with this, but I have no experimental data that shows they would be any less happy without it. I did not transplant my Majesty palm so whatever soil it came in, it's still in. I did put small rocks (3/4 inch diameter) in the tray under the palm to catch the drainage because it's a heavy plant and I didn't like having to move it so much to dump the water every time I watered. That has worked well. I have recently started using a turkey baster to remove some of this water when needed. I will let you know if the neem oil I ordered for what seems to be spider mites works.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 11:56AM
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Spider mites don't like water either so that misting should help also. Hope you beet them. Also you should be able to get neem oil at just about any nursery, the one I use is by bonide. Hope this helps! :)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:36PM
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Spider mites don't like water either so that misting should help also. Hope you beet them. Also you should be able to get neem oil at just about any nursery, the one I use is by bonide. Hope this helps! :)

    Bookmark   August 12, 2014 at 9:49PM
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ellenr22 - NJ - Zone 6b/7a

well this explains why Lowe's was selling MP's for $5.00.
I was so caught up in thinking to myself "aren't I lucky to get here when they're having a sale" I didn't think about - Lowes' NEVER puts plants on sale. So now that I got home, and am reading about the MP, I see I got 'took'. . :) ya live and learn.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2014 at 10:00AM
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