How to Fertilize Majesty Palms (Ravenea rivularis)

Want to add a bit of tropical drama to your home? Look no further than the majesty palm (Ravenea rivularis). This Madagascar native’s green, arching fronds and ability to filter the air make it an extremely popular houseplant. But for a majesty palm to thrive, it needs the proper environmental conditions, from well-draining soil to plenty of moisture and bright indirect light. Palms also require regular feeding. Read on to learn when and how to fertilize your majesty palm at home.

When and How to Fertilize Majesty Palms (Ravenea rivularis)

Fertilizing Majesty Palms – The Essentials

Feed majesty palms two to three times during the growing season with a slow-release fertilizer designed for palms. An 8-2-12-4 blend (8 percent nitrogen, 2 percent phosphorus, 12 percent potassium, 4 percent magnesium) is ideal. Do not fertilize during the winter. If your palm starts to “stretch,” skip the next feeding.

The Role of Fertilizing In Plant Health and Development

The Role of Fertilizing In Plant Health and Development

Along with air, water, and soil, plants need nutrients and minerals to survive. When majesty palms — and all types of palms and other plants — grow in nature, they draw nutrients and minerals from the soil and decomposing plant and animal matter known as biomass. 

When grown indoors, we try to replicate these conditions as best we can. One way to keep plants healthy is to feed them using fertilizer.

Fertilizer contains a mix of the nutrients plants need. These include the three primary macronutrients, which plants need the most of:

  • Nitrogen (N)
  • Phosphorous (P)
  • Potassium (K)

Plants also need lesser amounts of secondary macronutrients, or:

  • Sulfur (S)
  • Calcium (Ca)
  • Magnesium (Mg)

Finally, plants need smaller amounts of micronutrients, such as:

  • Boron (B)
  • Chlorine (Cl)
  • Copper (Cu)
  • Iron (Fe)
  • Manganese (Mn)
  • Molybdenum (Mo)
  • Nickel (Ni)
  • Zinc (Zn)

Each plant type needs a different mix of these macro and micro-nutrients to survive and thrive. Other types of fertilizer contain various combinations of these components, identified by what’s known as a “nutrients analysis.”

The make-up of each fertilizer is marked on the outside of the package. Ingredients are listed by weight or by the ratio in the order N-P-K. For instance, 10-10-20 indicates a ratio of 1 part N (nitrogen) to 1 part phosphorous (P) to 2 parts potassium (K). Look for the ratio that most closely matches your specific plant species’ needs.

Common Types of Fertilizer: 

There are several common types of fertilizer. These include:

  • Complete: Contain all three primary macronutrients
  • Granular or dry: Can be sprinkled on by hand or using a spreader
  • Soluble or quick-release: Powder or liquid that can be mixed with water and applied at the base of the plant or through the foliage
  • Slow-release: Add nutrients to the soil over time; may be in spikes, tablets, or coated particles

As a general rule, plants grown indoors have lower fertilizer needs in the winter months and require more fertilizer input during the growing season of spring and summer.

Signs Your Majesty Palm is Lacking Nutrients 

Signs Your Majesty Palm is Lacking Nutrients

How do you know if your majesty palm needs fertilizer?

Look for signs of nutrient deficiency, such as yellowing leaves. This may indicate that your plant lacks magnesium, a common issue with this type of houseplant. Browning leaf tips on yellowed leaves may point to a potassium deficiency.

If your palm is low on iron, you may see yellowing foliage with leaf drop. A boron deficiency may lead to small foliage that appears crumpled. Slow or no growth, wilting leaves, and faded foliage may also indicate that it’s time to apply fertilizer.

When and How Often Should You Fertilize Majesty Palm?

Add a slow-release fertilizer two or three times during the growing season.

If you choose a quick-release fertilizer, you may add to the palm’s water supply every other week during the growing season. 

You may want to supplement Magnesium by adding a tablespoon of Epsom salt to the plant’s water supply once a month. Don’t fertilize your majesty palm in the winter.

The Best Fertilizer for Majesty Palm

The Best Fertilizer for Majesty Palm

The best fertilizer for your majesty palm provides the right nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium ratio, with a little extra magnesium.

Look for an 8-2-12-4 blend containing 8 percent nitrogen, 2 percent phosphorus, 12 percent potassium, and 4 percent magnesium.

There are several ready-to-go blends of fertilizer that are appropriate for your majesty palm, such as:

(Editors Note: Petal Republic participates in partnership programs with Amazon and other merchants to help connect readers with relevant products and services we may recommend).

How to Apply Fertilizer

If you’re using slow-release fertilizer, add it to the soil two or three times during the growing season. Simply spread the fertilizer evenly over the soil in the palm’s container. If you’re using quick-release fertilizer, add it to water about once per month.

Key Considerations 

Key Considerations

Under- or over-fertilizing your majesty palm can lead to plant health problems. Not enough fertilizer and your plant won’t grow. Too much fertilizer can burn the palm’s roots and foliage. Over-fertilization can also result in a plant that looks leggy or stretched. If you notice your palm “stretching,” take a break from fertilizing.

Using the wrong type of fertilizer can also have an adverse impact on a majesty palm. It may lead to a nutrient deficiency. Worse, the wrong ratio may lead to burned roots and foliage.

Fertilizing Majesty Palms FAQs:

Do majesty palms need fertilizer? 

When grown in containers, majesty palms do need fertilizer to thrive. Most palms benefit from a slow-release fertilizer with a ratio of 8-2-12-4. This provides the right amounts of macro- and micro-nutrients that the plant needs.

When should I fertilize my majesty palm? 

When using a slow-release fertilizer, feed your majesty palm two to three times during the growing season or the spring and summer months. Stop fertilizing the plant during the cooler winter months.

What is the best fertilizer for palm trees? 

Palm trees need a fertilizer that provides more potassium than nitrogen and phosphorous and adds some magnesium. An 8-2-12-4 mix is a good blend for your majesty palm.

Is Miracle Gro good for majesty palms? 

Miracle Gro’s Palm Mix has the correct ratio for a majesty palm. To ensure your palm gets enough magnesium, you may consider dissolving a tablespoon of Epsom salt in your palm’s water supply once a few weeks during the growing season.

Are used coffee grounds good for palm trees? 

A small amount of used coffee grounds won’t harm a majesty palm; they contain nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper, all elements a palm requires. They also tend to be on the acidic side, and majesty palms love slightly acidic soil. However, too much coffee grounds can have an adverse effect. They may introduce caffeine into the soil, mold, or attract fungus gnats. Just be careful not to add too much.

Wrapping Up

If you love a tropical look and want to purify the air in your home or office, a majesty palm is a perfect choice. Native to Madagascar, these lush plants grow slowly and are require a relatively low level of maintenance. However, for a majesty palm to thrive, you must provide the proper environmental conditions. This includes moist well-draining soil, bright indirect light, adequate humidity, and the right kind of fertilizer. Choose an 8-2-12-4 blend that’s designed for palms and apply a slow-release fertilizer two or three times during the growing season. For more, see our in-depth guide on where to position Majesty Palms in the home for optimal care and Feng Shui benefits.

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