Ravenea rivularis commonly known as the Majesty Palm heralds from the Arecaceae palm tree genus and is native to Madagascar. It is highly valued for its attractive characteristics, such as its feather-like fronds, elegant trunk, and distinct ring pattern of old leaf bases.
This tropical beauty has gained popularity in recent years among indoor gardeners due to its structural elegance, ease of care, and tolerance for lower light levels.
In this article, I’ll provide a step-by-step guide to help you successfully propagate Majesty Palm by division and some insights on seed propagation. I’ll also offer my expert tips to ensure your new plants grow healthy and strong.
Methods of Propagating Majesty Palm
Although much of palm propagation is done through seed germination, seeds can be challenging to obtain, and the process is time-consuming and often unsuccessful without the correct environmental factors.
Fortunately, Majesty palms may produce side shoots or pups that can be easily separated into new plants.
Propagation through division is quick and the success rate is higher even if they do require specific circumstances in which to grow.
Propagating Majesty Palm by Seeds
Propagating Majesty’s palm from seeds involves first collecting fully ripe seeds, then removing the mesocarp, and allowing them to dry out.
Once dry, the seeds can be scarified using sandpaper and then soaked in water with rooting hormones for 7 days. Water should be changed daily to keep it fresh.
After 7 days the seeds can be planted in a well-draining soil mixture to a depth of 1/2 inch below the surface. It’s a question of being patient and waiting for the seeds to germinate.
This can take between 3 to 6 months but to ensure optimal conditions, place the container in a warm, sunny location and water regularly to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Cover with a plastic bag and remove every few days to allow air to circulate.
After one leaf has grown, it can be transplanted to a new pot and the plastic bag can be removed.
How To Propagate Majesty Palm by Division – Step by Step
Propagating palms by division or ‘pups’ provides a fast way to expand your collection. It involves carefully separating offshoots from the parent plant and replanting them to grow into mature palms.
Offshoots and ‘pups’ are most often seen growing from younger plants or those with a thin trunk.
Ready to propagate your Majesty’s palm? Let’s begin with the equipment you’ll need:
- Parent / mature plant
- Sterilized and sharpened cutting tools
- Rooting hormone
- Well-draining Potting Soil
- Pots for planting
Once you have assembled your kit and have a decent-sized workspace or table you can begin propagating:
1. Prepare Your Palm for Propagating
I like to divide Palms a couple of days after I have watered them. This makes it easier to remove them from the pot as the roots are moist and less likely to get torn when eased away from the soil and edges of the pot.
Now is a good time to prune away dead fronds using sterilized tools. This will tidy your plant up as well as allow it to focus energy on the growth of new shoots.
In addition, a tidier plant makes it easier to inspect as you decide where to divide it.
3. Remove from Pot
Gently tap or squeeze the sides of the pot, hold the palm securely at the base, and tip onto one side. If you have watered it a few days before, easing it out of the pot will be a cinch.
Rest the palm on its side and carefully brush the soil away by massaging the root ball with your fingers. Remove as must soil as possible to expose as much of the roots as possible.
I like to take this opportunity to thoroughly inspect the roots at this point. Healthy roots are cream and white and firm to the touch. Damaged or diseased roots will be mushy and black or brown.
4. Splitting Majesty palms
Untangle the roots as gently as possible and tease away any offshoots that have their root system.
If you are having trouble getting the roots to come apart, use a pair of clean, sharp scissors or a knife to cut the root ball.
The key is to cause as little damage as possible to the root system and to ensure that each offshoot has a network of roots attached to it. Pulling and tearing will likely result in propagation being unsuccessful.
If you have rooting hormone, now is the time to use it, then plant the newly separated pups in pots that are 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the roots.
Use a loamy, well-draining soil mixture and add a little extra perlite or sand to help with drainage.
Make sure the roots are covered to a depth of about 2 inches but avoid burying them at the bottom of the pot. Water well and keep the soil moist.
Best Time For Propagating
The best time to divide Majesty’s palm is in late spring or early summer, at the start of the growing season.
This will provide your newly separated plants with enough time to establish their roots during the active growing season when temperatures are naturally warmer, and days are longer.
Regardless of where you live in the world Majesty palms grow best during the summer when growing conditions are optimal. Palms go dormant in cooler climates and when temperatures drop.
Majesty Palm Care After Propagation
To ensure the health of your propagated Majesty palm, consistent humidity, and temperature are important. Follow the tips below to ensure your plant thrives during this period.
Majesty palms require ample indirect light and prefer to be close to a sunny window, receiving 6-8 hours of sun exposure or bright light daily. A lack of light can lead to darkened leaves or brown tips while too much light can cause leaf bleaching.
Develop an irrigation schedule based on soil moisture and water deeply when the top two inches of soil become dry.
You can determine if you are watering your palm correctly by checking the leaves. Brown tips indicate dryness, while yellow leaves indicate excessive moisture.
Temperature & Humidity
Majesty Palms thrive in temperatures ranging from 65-85°F. They favor high humidity with levels around 60%. In regions with dry air, use a humidifier or mist the plant daily.
For optimal growth, plant your Majesty’s palm in well-draining and acidic soil with a pH level of approximately 5.0.
Two months after propagation, start using a slow-release fertilizer every two to three months during the growing season.
According to the University of California, palms require fertilizers that contain nitrogen to maintain healthy growth.
Using palm-specific fertilizers with an NPK ratio of 3-1-3 can help to prevent nutrient deficiencies, which can cause yellowing and speckling of leaves.
Avoid fertilizing in winter when your palm is dormant as this can lead to issues with over-fertilizing such as yellow leaves. Your palm will not be absorbing or utilizing nutrients because it doesn’t grow during dormancy.
Problems After Propagation
Propagated plants can face issues like diseases or pests due to stress or contamination. Take a look at some of the most frequent problems and learn how to solve them.
Pests And Disease
It’s always a good idea to check parent plants for infestations before propagating. An infestation that is transferred to an offshoot will compromise the health of the young plant and is unlikely to survive.
It’s quite normal for a newly propagated plant to look a little droopy and be slow to grow immediately after transplanting. Follow my care tips above to provide your newly propagated plant with the best chance of success and be patient.
If you are keeping the soil moist and you have got the temperature and humidity levels right, then your plant should recover within 4-6 weeks after propagation.
If you enjoyed this article, here’s a link to one of our other houseplant propagating articles called How to Propagate Hoya.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Majesty Palm indoor or outdoor plant?
Majesty Palm thrives in hardiness zones 10-11 when grown outdoors. To thrive, they need a minimum temperature of 65F and 60% humidity. In colder regions, grow as houseplants or in pots or containers that can be moved indoors when temperatures drop.
- Cal Poly State University Ravenea rivularis Tree Record
- HortScience Palm Seed Propagation
- HortScience Pre-germination treatments
The University of Florida Palm seed germination
- The University of California General Care and Maintenance of Palms
Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.