Majesty palms or Ravenea rivularis add a tropical flair to any room and are known as air-cleaning plants. These Madagascar natives thrive when provided with the right growing conditions, including well-draining soil, bright indirect light, slow-release fertilizer, and consistent moisture. It’s easy to over or under-water a majesty palm, and both issues can lead to poor plant health. Here’s what to know about when and how to water your majesty palm indoors.

How to Water Majesty Palm Plants at Home (Ravenea rivularis)

How to Water Majesty Palms – The Essentials

Water your palm when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil feel dry (every few days in warm temperatures, every 1-2 weeks in cooler months). Use distilled water or tap water that’s been allowed to sit; pour from the top until water runs through drainage holes. Mist the palm regularly to increase humidity.

About Majesty Palms (Ravenea rivularis)

About Majesty Palms (Ravenea rivularis)

Majesty palms belong to the Ravenea genus, which contains about 20 species of palms. All are native to the African islands of Madagascar and Comoros. Ravenea is a member of the Arecaceae family, which has about 2,600 species of palms. Most are evergreen and native to tropical or subtropical climates.

In the wild, majesty palms can grow to almost 100 feet tall. They’re found beside rivers and streams in their native Madagascar, thriving in the partially shaded understory.

When grown indoors in containers, majesty palms grow slowly to heights of up to 10 feet. These popular houseplants have bright green arching fronds with pinnate leaves and gray, woody stems.

The Role of Water in Plant Health and Development

All life on earth needs water to survive, and plants — including majesty palms — are no exception. But why, exactly, is water essential to plant life and health?

The importance of water starts before plants even sprout; plant seeds depend on water to germinate. After plants start to grow, they absorb moisture through their roots. The water helps plants maintain their shape and form while delivering essential minerals and nutrients throughout the plant.

The process of photosynthesis also depends on water. Plants take in water through their roots, absorb the necessary elements, and transpire the excess moisture into the atmosphere. It’s a key component in Earth’s carbon and water cycles. 

When to Water Majesty Palms 

When to Water Majesty Palms

In their native habitat, majesty palms grow beside rivers, streams, and swampy areas. That means that, unlike many other palms, majesty palms don’t like their soil to dry out between waterings. 

Instead, they prefer moist soil that’s well-drained and never water-logged. Water only when the two 2 to 3 inches of soil feel dry, and never let the entire container dry out.

How Do You Know When a Majesty Palm Plant Needs Watering

Water your majesty palm when the top two to three inches of soil feels dry to the touch. In warmer months, this may be every few days. In cooler months, this may be every week or two,

If you notice browning fronds, that’s a sign you need to water your palm.

How to Check When to Water a Majesty Palm

Before you water your majesty palm, stick your finger into the soil. If it’s dry 2 to 3 inches down, it’s time to water. 

You can also insert a wooden chopstick into the soil. If it comes up dry, it’s time to water. If it comes up damp or with soil sticking to it, wait another day.

You can also use a moisture meter to measure for water. An even easier method is simply to pick up the container; if it’s heavy, the soil is likely moist. If it’s light, it’s likely time to water.

How Often do Majesty Palm Typically Need Watering

During the cooler months, majesty palms will probably need water every week to two weeks. 

During the summer, or if temperatures inside the home are high, you may need to water every few days. Before watering, check the top 2 to 3 inches of soil. If it’s dry, it’s time to add water.

Environmental Considerations That May Impact Watering Cycles

Environmental Considerations That May Impact Watering Cycles

If your majesty palm is placed in bright light exposure, such as in front of a west– or south-facing window, the soil may dry out quickly. Placement near a heat source, such as a vent or radiator, may also cause soil to dry quickly. In such cases, you may need to water your palm more frequently.

If the palm is placed in a darker or cooler spot, you may need to water less frequently. 

Soil type also plays a role; if the soil in your majesty palm’s pot doesn’t drain well, water less frequently. While majesty palms prefer moist soil, they don’t like wet roots.

Seasonal Considerations That May Affect Watering Cycles

During the summer, you may need to water more frequently. During cooler times of the year, majesty palms usually require less water. Checking the two 2 to 3 inches of soil and watering when dry is a good guideline at any time of year.

How to Water Majesty Palm

How to Water Majesty Palm

Watering correctly isn’t just based on how much and often you water. Drainage plays a key role, as well. If containers and soil hold too much water, plant roots can’t get the oxygen they need. This may lead to plant health problems.

Soil type and container design are essential. Even though these plants prefer moist soil, majesty palms require excellent drainage. 

That means choosing potting mix that drains efficiently and using a container with adequate drainage holes in the bottom. 

The Fundamental Importance of Good Drainage

When potting a majesty palm, choose a container with adequate drainage holes. Holes should allow water to flow freely.

Water can build up around the plant’s roots if the flow is blocked. This essentially suffocates and drowns the plant, as wet roots cannot take up the air the plant needs to survive. Over time, waterlogged plants may develop root rot and die.

What Type of Water is Best for Majesty Palms?

Majesty palms thrive when provided with water free of fluorides and other common contaminants. Use distilled water or tap water after letting it sit out overnight.

Options & Techniques

Options & Techniques

Bottom watering leaves soil too soggy for majesty palms. Instead, water from the top using a watering can or another similar container.

Step-by-step Guide for Top Watering

  1. Fill a watering can or similar spouted container with distilled water or tap water that’s been sitting out for at least 12 hours. 
  2. Slowly pour the water around the base of the plant. Avoid pouring water on the foliage or directly on the stem.
  3. Add water until the excess flows freely through the drainage holes.

How Much Water Do You Add?

Water until the excess disperses through the drainage holes. While amounts may differ, a small or medium plant may need a quart of two. A larger plant may require a gallon or more.

Remove any excess water from the tray. Majesty palms shouldn’t sit in water, which may lead to root rot.

Signs You Might be Overwatering Your Majesty Palm

Signs You Might be Overwatering Your Majesty Palm

Majesty palms don’t like to be dry, but they also don’t want to be overwatered. 

If you’re watering too often, your majesty palm’s leaves may start turning yellow. Take a break from watering and let the top two or three inches of soil dry out before adding more water.

Signs You Might be Underwatering Your Majesty Palm

In their native habitat, majesty palms grow along river banks and even in boggy areas. That means they love humidity and hate dry soil. 

Signs you are underwatering your majesty palm include leaves turning brown at the tips. Fronds that look crispy or turn brown signify that your palm needs a drink.

Majesty palms that are underwatered may also be more susceptible to pests such as spider mites and mealybugs.

What to Do In Between Watering Cycles

Should You Consider Misting Majesty Palm In-between Watering Cycles?

Majesty palms thrive in tropical humidity. Replicate that inside by occasionally misting between watering cycles. Just be sure not to saturate the foliage that can attract pests and diseases if stagnant water pools. 

Will Majesty Palm Benefit from sitting on a humidity tray?

You can place your majesty palm’s container on a humidity tray, as long as the pot can still drain. Avoid letting the soil get waterlogged.

Main things to keep an eye on

Be sure not to let the soil in our majesty palm’s container completely dry out. Keep an eye on foliage color; crispy brown leaves indicate underwatering, while yellowing fronds may indicate overwatering.

Watering Majesty Palm FAQs: 

What are the most common signs a Majesty Palm plant needs watering? 

Water when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil are dry. Leaves that are browning or crispy indicate a majesty palm needs water.

What is the best way to water Majesty Palm? 

Water a majesty palm from the top, avoiding leaves. Add water around the base until the excess drains from the bottom of the pot.

How much water do Majesty Palm need? 

Water majesty palms sufficiently to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Aim to saturate the soil base thoroughly and stop pouring when the water starts to disperse through the drainage holes.

Is it ok to get water on Majesty Palm plant leaves? 

While it won’t harm your palm, try not to get water on its leaves.

What do I do if I over water my Majesty Palm? 

Let the plant dry out. Don’t add any more water until the top 2 to 3 inches of soil feel dry.

Can I water my Majesty Palm with tap water? 

You can use tap water, just let it sit overnight. Distilled water is best.

Should I mist my Majesty Palm? 

If conditions are dry and warm, you gen gently mist your majesty palm in between watering. This will provide humidity.

Wrapping Up 

Majesty palms add a lovely tropical feel to any room, while cleaning the air. Provide these Madagascar natives with moist, well-drained soil, bright indirect light, and the right amount of water to watch them thrive. For more, see our in-depth guide on where to position Majesty Palms in the home for optimal care and Feng Shui benefits.

Editorial Director | Full Bio | + posts

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

Author Andrew Gaumond

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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