The Q&A Archives: Dying Palms

Question: No one seems to have any information on majesty palms. Mine are indoors, very low light and I have no idea how to care for them. How long are they supposed to live? Mine always die within eight or nine months.

Answer: The botanical name for Majesty Palm is Chrysalidocarpus lutescens. The plant grows outdoors in California, and indoors in other parts of the country. Majesty Palms are also called 'self-cleaning palms' because the fronds fall off the trunk when they die. Your Majesty palm should be quite happy growing in these conditions: Average household temperatures, low light, ample moisture in the summer and slightly drier soil in the winter, avoid drafts, and mist the leaves occasionally. If your palms are not thriving, try moving them to a slightly brighter location. When you apply water, make it a thorough application (so water runs out the bottom of the pot), and then wait until the surface of the soil dries slightly before watering again. I take my 15 year old palm outdoors in the spring and hose the dust off the leaves, then take it back indoors after it dries. It's important to keep dust from collecting on the leaves and blocking the light to the plant. You can refresh your plant during the winter months by placing it in the shower and turning on the water (tepid, not hot or cold) for a few minutes. Hope you have better success with your next Majesty Palm!

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