How to Care for an Indoor Majesty Palm
Give me all the palm trees! To anyone not living in "palm tree land", they're sort of a novelty and highly sought after. Since I live in Florida now, they're in my yard, but I wanted them in my house for that tropical feeling year round. The only problem was that once I bought my first indoor potted palm tree, I had zero clue what to do with it. I'm certainly no gardener and I had only managed to keep my one and only potted ficus tree alive by sheer luck and its natural ability to survive extreme conditions, such as being knocked over in a hurricane, me forgetting to water it, etc. :D So I've learned through trial and error how to keep my Majesty Palms alive and I'll share with you what has worked (and not worked) for me.
After doing a bit of research online, I decided that Majesty Palms are my favorite in terms of how the leaves look in comparison with other palms like Kentias and Parlor Palms. I would definitely consider trying either of those out if I find a good sale, though.
I purchased both of my Majesty Palms in the standard black plastic container with holes for drainage and have not felt the need to re-pot them yet. One of my palms is several years old and is still doing fine in it's container from last year. These plants do need to be re-potted once you notice any roots showing above the soil, or coming out of the planter. You'll want to have a plastic tray or liner for under your pot so that any residual water can drain out and not leak into the decorative basket or other containers you may want to use to disguise the original plastic pot. I found some at Lowe's when I bought my latest Majesty Palm. They are just a couple dollars depending on the size you need. If you have an old round pie tin or pan, you can line it with foil and use that instead.
IKEA sells plastic lined baskets which are ideal for housing your original drainage pot, but you can find them much cheaper at HomeGoods, TJMaxx, Marshalls, or on sale online, and then purchase one of the plastic trays from Lowe's or Walmart to insert into your basket if you don't want to use a round pan.
This is one area that I learned about the hard way. Do NOT over water your Majesty Palm. The best way to avoid over watering is to remove your plastic container with drainage holes and place it in your sink. Gently soak all of the soil until the entire pot has been saturated. Now let it sit! That's the most important part! Allow 10-15 minutes for the water to fully drain from the pot, then go ahead and place it back into it's tray and basket. You can check the tray a day later and if there is any sitting water, you need to let it drain longer in the sink next time. I water my palms almost every single Sunday, just so that I make a habit out of it. Test the soil by sticking your finger in an inch or so and if it's dry feeling, then you can soak it in the sink like I explained above. If the soil still feels most, just wait a few more days and test it again until it feels dry. This method has worked for me, but depending on the amount of humidity in your air, your plant could require more or less frequent watering.
Palms like humidity. After having the heat on for a few weeks straight this winter, it finally warmed up enough for the plants to have a sit out on the patio when rain was about to head our way. I brought them back in as soon it began to sprinkle. Just be careful to never sit them outside in direct sunlight or when it is still under 70 degrees! If you're in a dryer or colder climate where you have the furnace running a lot, you could put a humidifier in the room with your palms to keep them from drying out.
The Majesty Palm loves bright light. Since I live in Florida where the sun's rays are more intense, it's not optimal to keep the palm's leaves in direct incoming sunshine. We only have one room that gets a beating from the sun, so that isn't an issue for me.
They seem to thrive best in rooms where the sunlight is bright for at least 4-6 hours each day. We've installed Sun Tunnels in our dining room and one of the palms is doing really great there! No heat comes from the Sun Tunnels, just natural light, so it's a perfect atmosphere that doesn't suck the moisture from the plant, either.
You can also let your plant "vacation" in a brighter room for a day or two each week and then place it back where you've intended it to live for aesthetic purposes. For example, last winter was pretty brutal here in Florida so I let my plants vacation in our sunniest room while I was at work. It allowed them to get the light they needed, and then I'd move them back into their real homes that would otherwise look naked without them! Just don't forget to check their soil like I did! :)
Another little trick that I learned from accidentally letting the leaves turn brown (when it was vacationing in that front room that gets a beating from the sun, so it dried out much quicker than normal) is to trim off the brown, dead portions of the leaves with scissors by cutting them into their natural shapes. In other words, don't bluntly cut them off - cut them into points so that each leaf will blend in with the others. The actual leaves of a palm will not grow back. Palms grow new shoots that spiral up from the base of a plant and look sort of like a pointy green stick at first. So don't hack off half of a frond expecting it to grow back! If you need to trim an excessive amount of the frond, you might be better off cutting the entire frond (or stalk) at its base. The goal is to ensure that your plant stays green and shapely!
Other Tips and Observations
I keep a list of measurements in my phone and like to include the diameter of my plant pots (including the tray or pan into the measurement), so that when I'm out and about and spy a cute basket, I can measure it to make sure it'll fit my plant before purchasing it.
Choose a basket with handles so that you can easily transport your plant to and from the sink for watering.
Rotate your plants. Literally turn them in circles if they are up against a wall so that the plant will grow evenly toward the light source.
I have not noticed any kind of insect in, on or near my palms, but if you notice anything you should research the insect right away. I've read that misting the plant and keeping it humid will keep spider mites at bay.
Once you get the hang of it, the little work that Majesty Palms do require is very minimal and their beautiful fronds add a vacation-like feel to any room of your home! I just love mine! If you have any questions or tips of your own, please share them in the comments below!