It feels all shades of wrong when a plant with ‘majesty’ in its name droops.
On a good day, which is most days, the tall fronds of the majesty palm effortlessly stand out like royalty watching over minions.
When it droops though, it carries the sad air of a crumbling empire.
This is a roundabout way of saying a majesty palm drooping is not normal and should set alarm bells ringing when it happens.
As a tricky or challenging plant to grow though, problems like this should be expected from time to time.
But this doesn’t imply gardeners should let it slide because a drooping majesty palm could be just a symptom of serious underlying problems that could be fatal to the plant.
This article would be about answers to questions like, ‘Why is my majesty palm drooping?’ and ‘How to revive a drooping majesty palm.’ Keep on reading to find out more.
Majesty Palm Drooping: Causes & Solutions
Majesty palms (Ravenea rivularis) are slow-growing tropical plants that are typically grown indoors but are also quite adaptable to the outdoors.
They are native to Madagascar in Africa growing along riverbanks where the soil is constantly moist and humidity is high.
This makes them perfect for certain parts of agricultural zones 9 -12.
The plants are considered challenging to grow due to their peculiar care and maintenance needs.
This is not a houseplant for newbies. Majesty palms are quite sensitive.
It doesn’t take much prompting to exhibit symptoms indicating that one or more of the care and maintenance routines is out of sync.
However, most often, these symptoms are limited to the fronds and stem.
These include leaves turning yellow or brown, browning leave tips, brown spots on leaves, and drooping.
Of all the common symptoms of an ailing majesty palm, drooping is the most serious and it’s indicative of something very wrong.
The best bit of advice you can get when faced with a drooping majesty palm is not to treat the issue with levity. You want to switch into diagnostic mode instantly and start looking for solutions asap.
Reason Your Majesty Palm is Drooping
When a majesty palm droops, it is more than likely because the trunk can no longer support the weight of the plant due to a weak or decaying stem.
This problem is known as trunk rot caused by a advanced root rot disease.
The root rot is in turn the consequence of over-watered or soggy soil.
While majesty palms thrive best in soil that is constantly kept moist by regular watering, the roots hate it when the soil is waterlogged or soggy.
Soggy soil promotes the growth of harmful, opportunistic fungi like Phytophthora and Armillaria.
These fungi proliferate in soggy soil and subsequently attack the root system to cause root rot.
The early symptoms of root rot include leaf and stem discoloration, falling of older fronds, stunted growth, and an awful stench emanating from the soil.
Majesty palm trunk rot is the product of untreated root rot progressing upward and affecting the main stem. The stem of a majesty palm affected by trunk rot sounds hollow when tapped.
How to Save Drooping Majesty Palm
Unfortunately, the news is not so good. By the time the majesty palm’s stem can’t support the plant due to trunk rot, it is too late to do anything about it.
The best course of action is to uproot the plant and dispose of it immediately. The potting soil must also be discarded.
If your majesty palm is outdoors in the garden, you’ll need to dig up and destroy the plant and the root system still in the ground.
This is to prevent the disease from spreading to other plants in the garden.
Since there isn’t a treatment for majesty palm trunk rot, preventing the disease is the best option. That means ensuring the soil is never soggy or over-watered.
To prevent over-watering, the trick is to keep the soil evenly moist all the time.
First, though, the soil must have excellent drainage for best results.
And for the potted plants, the drainage holes must be free of blockages.
Also, never allow the soil to get too dry between watering sessions because dry soil can lead to a new set of problems.
And how often to water majesty palm? This depends on the weather.
Simply check the soil regularly (every 5 days in the growing season, and every 10 days in winter) and only water when the top 1 inch is dry.
Finally, always ensure that the drip tray or saucer beneath the pot is always emptied.
However, when faced with thoroughly soaked soil or roots, you might want to consider repotting the majesty palm.
This is the best strategy to halt the budding root rot disease in its tracks.
Repotting Majesty Palm with Root Rot
If the early signs of decaying roots (discoloration of stem and leaves, smelly soil, overly wet soil, etc) are present, you might save the plant by repotting it immediately.
The steps below show how:
- Remove the plant from the pot.
- Wash out the soil from the root with water. Use a gardening hose or under a tap and examine the exposed roots for signs of rot. Roots beginning to root would appear dark in color.
- Prune all unhealthy roots with sterilized shears or a pair of sharp sterilized scissors.
- Spray the remaining roots with a strong fungicide
- Repot the plant in fresh potting soil in a new pot. You can use the old pot after discarding the soil and washing it with a soap solution.
Allow it to dry before filling it with new potting soil.
If you are using a new pot, make sure it has drainage holes at the bottom.
Any standard potting mix is suitable for growing majesty palms in pots.
But consider mixing in extra peat to promote drainage and airflow.
- Place the pot where it’d get at least 8 hours of bright, indirect light daily. Continue with the standard majesty palm care and maintenance.
Wait for it to start growing new fronds.
Majesty Palm Care & Maintenance Tips
- Prune old, yellowing, aging fronds so the plant focuses resources on growing new fronds
- Your majesty palm is probably not getting adequate water if the leaf tips turn brown
- Move the plant to a location that is less sunny or shaded if the leaves turn brown and crispy.
- To promote growth in the growing season, apply cacti-specific liquid fertilizer diluted to half its strength 1-2 times monthly during the growing season.
- Cease fertilization in winter or when the plant begins to stretch out.
- Majesty palms are susceptible to relocation stress. When moving them outdoors or vice-versa, do it gradually and in stages to give them time to acclimate to the new environment.
- A neat trick for preventing yellowing leaves is to apply Epsom salts to the soil monthly during the growing season.
A majesty palm drooping is often an indication that something is very wrong.
Immediate troubleshooting is recommended to halt what might turn out to be fatal and the best place to start is the soil.
Specifically, you are looking for signs of over-watering. If the soil is soggy, that is likely the cause, and taking action immediately is the smart move.
Resolving the issue might involve repotting the plant and in extreme cases, you might have to dispose of the majesty palm if the roots have decayed completely.