Houseplants forum: Potted Majesty Palm Help

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Name: Lauren
Bordentown, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Lpnj42
Oct 18, 2016 4:53 AM CST
Help! I'm not sure what has happened to my majesty palm but it's not looking healthy anymore. I bought it last year and it was near-death. I managed to bring it back and it was thriving until about a month ago. The leaves have been turning dry and brown at the edges, and some entire fronds (shoots?) have needed to be cut off. I've probably lost nearly half the plant already. I know I haven't under watered it. Could I have over watered it and given the poor thing root rot? Or maybe it just needs a bigger pot? I haven't noticed any pests. However, when I was cutting off one of the dead fronds, I did notice some fuzzy white stuff near the base. Any advice is much appreciated. Have I killed my plant, or is there hope?
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Name: Carter Mayer
Houston, TX (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Adeniums Plant Identifier
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Carter
Oct 18, 2016 6:38 AM CST
Fuzzy white stuff sounds like mealy bugs, which commonly attack indoor plants. How often do you water? Do you have any new fronds sprouting from the center? It sounds to me like it might be crown/root rot (the crown just happens to be at soil level on a younger palm like this). If that is the case and you have rot in the crown, the palm is lost. Palms are pretty susceptible to rot - particularly indoors - if they aren't allowed to dry some between waterings. Not bone dry, but at least somewhat dry.

If you have a new frond sprouting from the center, does it look healthy? From the third pic, it looks like the new frond is one you had to cut - which if that is the case, is a bad sign itself. *Gently* wiggle it or give it a little tug. It should feel firmly in place with some tension not allowing it to move much at the base. If it feels loose or wobbly rot is probably the culprit.

Sorry to be such a barrel of bad news, it just doesn't sound good from my experience with palms. *Blush* but hopefully I'm wrong!
[Last edited by Carter - Oct 18, 2016 7:46 AM (+)]
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Oct 18, 2016 6:51 AM CST
Your Dwarf Majesty Palm (Ravenea hildebrandtii) still may be fine if you can figure out what's going on with it.

The browning leaf tips may be due to lack of humidity. The Majesty (as with other tropical palms) thrives on high humidity. The white stuff you are seeing beneath the sheath might be mealy bugs but I can't see well enough to tell for sure.

I am curious as to what all the white is on top of the soil? Is it some type of crushed rock or pebbles? I'm not sure it's necessary to hold in moisture but hopefully others will chime in with advice and tips.

You can find information on this page regarding different pests of the Majesty Palms http://homeguides.sfgate.com/majesty-palm-tree-bugs-41577.ht...
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Oct 18, 2016 6:53 AM CST
I see Carter answered a lot of your questions while I was typing. Good advice!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Lauren
Bordentown, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Lpnj42
Oct 18, 2016 10:35 AM CST
Thanks guys! I'll take a closer look and see if the new growth is healthy. I did recently cut off a new frond because it turned brown and dry. The soil is covered with Gnat Nix, as we previously had a fungus gnat issue and I was trying to keep them out of that soil. I haven't seen any gnats recently so at least that's done with.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
plantladylin
Oct 18, 2016 11:13 AM CST
I've never heard of Gnat Nix but if it's a chemical ... well, that could be detrimental to your plant.
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Lauren
Bordentown, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Lpnj42
Oct 18, 2016 2:46 PM CST
Nope, no chemicals, which us why I chose it. It's basically gravel you put on top of the soil to help prevent fungus gnats from getting to the soil.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Image
plantladylin
Oct 18, 2016 3:03 PM CST
I wonder though if the gravel around the palm trunk would cause issues by holding in too much water?
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Oct 18, 2016 4:45 PM CST
I don't know of any plant that is more difficult to to keep looking healthy for more than a year when used indoors than a Majesty palm. You may be fighting a losing a battle regardless of what you do. In any case, you will have to provide maximum light and ample water to have any chance with it.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]
Name: Lauren
Bordentown, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Lpnj42
Oct 18, 2016 5:59 PM CST
Yeah, it might be holding in too much water, not allowing it to evaporate. It is also not in the sunniest spot--that is mostly taken up by my fairly large hibiscus and the handful of smaller plants. I'm actually pretty sure that area gets almost no direct sunlight. But it had done well for the past year/ year and a half.
I wiggled the plant a bit and it does seem very firmly wedged in there. It didn't seem loose or soft at all.
Name: Lauren
Bordentown, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Lpnj42
Oct 18, 2016 6:02 PM CST
Well, worst case, I can get a new one for less than $15 if it does die. I just hate losing a plant, especially one I brought back from the brink of death!
Name: Lauren
Bordentown, New Jersey (Zone 7a)
Lpnj42
Oct 19, 2016 4:01 PM CST
Upon closer inspection, the underside of the leaves feel grainy and there are tiny webs between each leaf, close to the stem. Spider mites I guess? I was unable to find any live spider mites but I guess there was an infestation at one point.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional interior landscaper
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WillC
Oct 21, 2016 2:34 PM CST
The chances are very good the spider mites are still there. They are so tiny that a half dozen would fit on the head of a pin, so they are hard to see. They often appear as white dust on the undersides of leaves. Spraying the fronds with a very fine mist in sunlight will help highlight the webs and the mites.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
[url=www.HorticulturalHelp.com]www.HorticulturalHelp.com[/url]

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