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How to Tell When It’s Time to Repot Your Majesty Palm

To get a noble Majesty Palm (Ravenea rivularis) ready for a celebration, you need a brand-new pot with fresh, rich soil.

If you repot these stately palms-on time with a regal touch, they will be ready to hold court for years to come.

Repot Majesty Palm trees every two years, preferably in late spring or early summer. An appropriately sized pot and new soil balanced for the specific needs of palm trees are both required for a successful transplant. Transplant shock can be avoided with gentle handling and thorough aftercare.

Repatriation of a Majesty Palm doesn’t have to be complicated.

In my opinion, nothing beats getting my hands dirty in the good soil of my indoor plants for some mental and physical relaxation.

Setting up my tools and supplies, checking roots, pruning stray leaves, and finally watering my Palm tree in its shiny new pot is all very meditative.

How often to Repot Majesty Palms

Almost every other year, Majesty Palms must be moved to a new pot. The soil must be in good condition for them to survive for up to two years in their pot without harm.

They grow slowly and steadily and don’t get wild or crowded in their pot.

They take a long time to use up the nutrients in their pot and are slow to become root-bound. So there’s no need to rush.

In addition, palms of all kinds can become enormous and challenging to handle if they are overfed.

Finally, because they’re real trees, they’ll eventually outgrow their indoor space if you give them too much room to grow.

So keep your Majesty Palm’s size compact and elegant by repotting it only when necessary.

When to Repot Majesty Palms

Digging a Palm from its pot is a traumatic experience that must be carefully timed.

No matter how carefully you handle the plant, some more delicate roots will get hurt.

It’s a good idea to repot the Majesty Palm in late spring or early summer to minimize the impact on the plant.

This is the growing season for the Majesty Palm when the plant is preparing to produce new leaves and roots. They’ll recover faster if they’re already on the move.

Adding fresh soil at the start of the growing season also gives the Palm essential nutrients at a critical point in its growth cycle.

When your plants have what they need to thrive, you’ll see better results throughout the season.

Signs That Your Majesty Palm Needs A New, Larger Pot

Protruding Roots

Visible roots peeking through the soil are the most unambiguous indication that your Majesty Palm has outgrown its pot.

They look like fat worms working their way up out of the ground and are usually quite pale.

They may also be seen sneaking out of drainage holes in search of more space.

This indicates that the Palm is root-bound and requires a new, larger pot. There is simply no more room in the old pot for new roots.

Broken Pot

Surprisingly, a Majesty Palm is more than capable of cracking open a too-small pot.

Their roots are vigorous and strong, and it is not uncommon for them to pop apart when trapped in a small pot.

As the roots force their way out, plastic pots may split from the drainage holes up.

Ceramic pots are more likely to develop fine cracks over time or to be dramatically divided in half by a single large crack.

It can be shocking to discover that a Majesty Palm has monstered the pot with its robust growth!

Take a look at the Majesty’s roots if your pot shows physical damage that seems to have no real cause.

For example, they could be attempting to break free from a pot that has turned into a prison.

Slow Growth

Majesty Palms are slow growers, but an old pot crowded with roots and tired soil will halt their slow growth.

As a result, a Majesty will typically gain only a foot or so of height yearly.

But if your Majesty hasn’t accomplished much, it’s worth looking into the soil.

To grow new leaves, the Majesty Palm requires nutrients from the soil.

Once those are gone, it will simply maintain its current growth. Check the roots if you haven’t seen any new leaves in a while.


Even if the Majesty Palm appears to be in good health, it’s a good idea to repot it every two years.

This will keep the soil in good shape and allow you to check the root mass regularly.

Without being refreshed, the soil can become stale and potentially harmful to your plant’s health.

It loses its ability to retain moisture at the precise rations preferred by the Majesty.

Other Reasons to Repot Majesty Palms

Root Rot

Root rot is a common problem that affects indoor palms. They prefer moist but not saturated soils, and it’s easy to overdo them if you’re not careful.

Root rot symptoms include yellowing or browning leaves, soft stems, and a musty odor in the soil.

A sick Majesty Palm has brown or black roots that are squishy to the touch after being removed from the pot.

They often fall apart or come off the plant in slimy clumps when touched.

I write more about this here, but in general, the best way to help a sick Majesty Palm is to move it to a new pot.

Soil is Exhausted

Poor soil can’t support a Majesty Palm. The soil must be able to retain moisture without becoming soggy, and it must also be able to drain correctly.

Also, it needs to have a mildly acidic quality that aids the Palm in obtaining its essential nutrient intake.

After two years, you may find that the Majesty Palm’s pot soil is no longer performing as expected.

In most cases, the soil becomes compacted due to the early breakdown of organic matter.

Warm weather and high humidity hasten decomposition, which isn’t harmful to your Palm but causes soil structure issues.

When water is poured in, it goes right through before it can soak in, and when you touch the soil, it feels more like concrete than dirt.

The lack of air pockets in the soil will also make it difficult for the roots to function correctly.

Even though regular bottom watering and hand tilling can loosen compacted soil, it is best to repot.

It is critical to maintaining the proper acidity of our soils through the slow, natural decomposition of organic matter in the ground.

In addition, it’s essential to keep the process going so that the Majesty can take up additional nutrients from the soil.

Finally, freshening up the soil will restart the process and keep your Palm in good condition.

Time for a New Pot!

A stylish new pot can turn a modest Majesty Palm into a decorative centerpiece. Their natural grace and beauty should be brought out more often with a fresh new pot.

If the old pot is damaged, you may also need to repot it. When dropped or knocked, ceramics shatter, and plastics crack. We can repot and move on when things go wrong.

How To Repot The Majesty Palm Tree

Taking your time and planning will go a long way toward making the process less stressful.

I prefer to pot outdoors because it is easier to clean up, and there is more room to work. If you live in an apartment or other small dwelling, put down a tarpaulin or some newspaper to protect counters or floors.

It’s also a good idea to prepare ahead of time, so you’re ready for anything.

For example, even if I don’t intend to cut the Palm, I keep clean shears on hand just in case. It pays to be prepared for any unexpected situations!

What You’ll Need:


You’ll need a pot no more than an inch or two larger than the Palm’s current home.

Majesty Palms are prone to root rot and fungal issues if placed in large pots, even if it’s tempting to give your regal Palm a spacious palace.

The soil will retain its ideal moisture levels best when placed in glazed ceramic or plastic containers.

Additionally, make sure the pot has a minimum of three evenly spaced drainage holes.

Finally, ensure you have a large enough drip tray or saucer if you plan to use your Palm to decorate an indoor area.

Soil for Planting

Majesty palms need soil that retains just the right amount of water while allowing for adequate air circulation.

It’s a challenge to strike the right balance, but the results are profound once you do.

To make my potting soil, I add one part cactus or succulent mix, one part sand, and a third part peat moss or coco coir to the mixture.

Peat or coir retains the right amount of moisture while providing excellent drainage. Commercial palm blends are fine if you don’t want to make your own. (See Amazon prices)

Clean water

Water quality is an important consideration when growing Majesty Palms. Rain, distilled, or filtered water is the best.

Additives such as fluoride and chlorine are commonly found in city water supplies. However, they can accumulate in potting soils and cause problems with your Palm over time.

Pruning Shears

Having clean pruning shears or sharp scissors on hand when repotting is a good idea.

If your Palm is root-bound, it may be necessary to trim the roots away from the drainage holes.

If you have any old leaves, now is a great time to eliminate them. Use rubbing alcohol to clean and sanitize pruning shears before use.

Digging tool

A small shovel or trowel can help free root-bound Palms from their pots.

It will also help you ensure enough potting soil under the root ball and between the roots.

Step by Step Guide to Potting A Majesty Palm

Step One

Prepare the Majesty Palm for repotting by watering it deeply the day before the big event.

Ensuring the Palm is well hydrated is a great way to prevent transplant shock.

In addition, its roots are less brittle after a good drink and are more resilient to handling. The old soil will also be easier to work with if it’s damp.

Step Two: 

Prepare your equipment. Pots, shears, and other tools must be clean and have lots of water available.

If you’re working indoors, now’s the time to lay out a tarpaulin or some old newspaper to catch spills.

Step Three:

Gently tap the Majesty Palm free from the old pot. Root-bound plants often have roots that wind through drainage holes, so if your Palm becomes jammed, you may need to cut those away.

Step Four

Lay your Majesty Palm out on the tarpaulin and look at the roots. Gently loosen the root mass to free any trapped soil so the inner rootstock is visible.

For badly root-bound Palms, you may need to rinse the root ball under running water to loosen it up sufficiently.

Suppose you see pale roots that are cream or white; well done! Your Majesty Palm has healthy roots.

On the other hand, brown or black roots that feel dry and brittle are damaged and must be trimmed away carefully. 

Step Five:

Fill the bottom of your new pot with two or three of fresh soil. Moisten it gently so that the soil is damp without being soggy. 

Resist the urge to re-use the soil from the old pot – that soil is tired and worn out and needs to be discarded.

Thrifty gardeners are welcome to compost soil from healthy palms, but if you are repotting a sick Majesty, it’s best to throw out the old soil with household garbage.

Step Six:

Carefully position the Majesty Palm in its new pot and use the spade or trowel to fill around the roots with fresh soil.

Please ensure the new soil finds its way into the root ball. Once the pot is filled to about an inch from the top, pat it down the surface to ensure the Palm is stable.

Step Seven:

Water the Majesty Palm with plenty of clean water. You may find the soil settles, and the Palm becomes wobbly in the pot.

If this occurs, add more soil until the Majesty Palm is stable, pressing down gently on the surface as you go.

Step Seven:

Allow the Majesty Palm to drain thoroughly. Empty drip trays or saucers regularly as it drains; once no more water is left, you can return it to its location.

This is also an excellent time to trim away any old and worn-out leaves you may have spotted while handling the Palm.

Fronds that are more brown than green should be trimmed away at their base.

Step Eight:

Allow the Majesty Palm to dry out before watering once again. Allow the top three inches of soil to dry out entirely.

The potting process leaves roots vulnerable to fungal infections and injury from over-watering, so it pays to be stingy with the watering can immediately after potting.

Tips For Reducing Transplant Shock

What is Transplant Shock?

Transplant shock occurs when a newly potted plant does not quickly adapt to its new environment.

Root damage makes it difficult for the Palm to absorb water and nutrients from the soil.

As a result, they go into shock, resulting in limp leaves and slowed growth.

Transplant Shock Symptoms in Majesty Palms

Always keep an eye on a newly potted Majesty Palm. They aren’t as expressive as other houseplants, so they may be challenging to identify. Watch out for the following warning signs:

How to Prevent Transplant Shock

The key to avoiding transplant shock is to be as gentle as possible with Majesty Palm’s roots.

If at all possible, avoid cutting the roots. It also helps remove the Palm from its pot slowly and steadily, never yanking or pulling it roughly.

How the Palm is cared for after repotting is often overlooked in preventing transplant shock.

Majesty Palms prefer a humid environment with plenty of bright, indirect light.

Keep the Majesty Palm in a temperature range of 75°F-85°F with plenty of bright indirect light.

They also prefer slightly higher humidity than most palms, so aim for 50% or higher.

It’s tempting to elevate your newly potted Majesty to a more prominent throne, especially if your new pot is stunning.

However, moving adds a new set of stressors to your poor Palm.

It must deal with damaged roots and changes in temperature, humidity, or light, all of which can overwhelm the Majesty Palm and send it into transplant shock.

Make every effort to restore Majesty Palm to the same conditions before repotting.

Allow a few weeks to adjust to the new pot before moving this lordly Palm to a more prominent location. If allowed to adapt, it will rule elegantly.

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