Madagascar Palm Care: Everything You Need to Know

Are you one of the many people who are interested in owning a Madagascar palm but have difficulty finding information about growing them? If so, this article will help educate you on the basics of caring for this plant.

The scientific name for Madagascar palms is Ravenea rivularis. These palms are evergreen and typically grow around 5 – 6 feet tall. They are characterized by their glossy appearance and narrow leaves.

In terms of how you should go about caring for this plant, Madagascar palms grow best when they receive enough sunlight and water, though they can also thrive in low light conditions. If you want to know more about what it takes to grow these palms, read on!

What you Need to Know About Madagascar Palm

The sap from a Madagascar palm is poisonous and can cause irritation if it comes into contact with your skin. Be careful when handling these plants to avoid getting the sap on you.

Although this type of palm isn’t poisonous to the touch, it may attract insects that are potentially dangerous or harmful, such as flies and mosquitoes. This can be problematic for people who are allergic to the bites of these insects.

Where should I place my Madagascar Palm?

How to Care for Madagascar Palm

Here’s everything you need to know about growing and caring for a thriving Madagascar Palm:


Madagascar palms prefer bright, indirect sunlight. If you place them in direct sunlight, their leaves will burn and they will appear pale and unhealthy. With that being said, these plants do well in conditions with low light as well! They grow best when exposed to about 4 hours of sunlight per day.

Water and Soil Needs

What type of soil does it grow best in? What Soil PH? How much water does it need?

These palms grow best in soil that is well-drained and nutrient-rich. They thrive in soil with a PH value of 6 or 7.5. These palms require about 1 inch of water per week, so be sure to water them at least once every 7 days.

Temperature Requirements

These palms can survive in temperatures ranging from 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature falls outside of this range, the leaves may burst or become discolored and fall off.

What USDA climate zone can it survive in?

Madagascar Palm

Madagascar palms can survive in USDA climate zones 9 through 11.


Fertilizers that are high in potassium are ideal for this plant. You can purchase these fertilizers at local garden centers or online.

Regular Houseplant fertilizer will do well.

Madagascar Palm Common Diseases + Problems

What pests should I be aware of? How can I prevent an infestation?

If your Madagascar palm becomes infested, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil to kill the insects such as mealybugs and scale.

How can I treat a pest infestation?

You can purchase insecticidal soap and neem oil at local garden centers or over the internet and use them to kill any bugs that may be living on your plants. Make sure you read the label before using these products!

Spider Mites: Spider mites leave brown or yellow spots on the leaves of Madagascar palms. You can control this pest by washing off your plant with a mixture of soap and water, allowing it to dry in an area with low humidity levels, installing mesh screen overs your plants, and using insecticidal soap to kill the mites.

How can I prevent Spider Mites?

Spider mites are attracted to dry, humid conditions. If you want to avoid an infestation of these pests, make sure to give your Madagascar palm 1 inch of water per week and ensure that its leaves are properly ventilated

What diseases affect the leaves?

If your Madagascar palm is infested, it may experience leaf drop. Insects such as spider mites and thrips are some of the most common culprits behind leaf drop. You can treat these infestations by spraying your palm with water and using insecticidal soap or neem oil.

What to Do if I Have a Diseased Madagascar Palm?

If you have a diseased Madagascar palm, there are three things that you should do: identify the disease, test for soil deficiencies (if necessary), and add any missing nutrients to the soil. If your plant is healthy, it should recover within a few weeks!

Does the Madagascar Palm Ever Bloom?

These palms only produce flowers and fruit during the summer months (May through September). However, they can also produce flowers and fruit during other times of year if conditions are optimal. If you see your palm producing blossoms or fruit for an unusual amount of time during the year, you should let it continue growing.

Does It Lose its Leaves? What Should I do if my Madagascar Palm loses its leaves? If your palm is losing some of its leaves during colder months (late fall and early winter), there’s no need to worry! This is a completely normal occurrence. However, you should prune off

Madagascar Palm Propagation

Here are the steps involved in properly propagating a Madagascar Palm:

  • locate a small shoot that is between 1 and 3 inches long;
  • cut off the shoot at its base;
  • remove all of the leaves from the shoot (so only the stem remains);
  • place the shoot in a pot filled with wet soil; and
  • water your plant daily. It should grow roots within one month

Madagascar Palm Flower Description

The Madagascar palm tree produces small, white flowers that grow in large clusters. These clusters only appear during the months of June through September, so be sure to watch for them!

How to Repot Madagascar Palm

When it comes to repotting this plant, you should do so when the soil in its pot becomes completely dry. You can also make sure the soil is dry by pressing down on it with your finger. If no moisture appears when you press into the soil, then it is time for a repotting!

To reduce transplant shock, it is best to place your Madagascar palm in a pot that is one size larger but has the same shape. Once you have transferred your plant, fill in the empty space around the roots with a mixture of soil and peat moss. This mixture should measure about 50 percent soil and 50 percent peat moss. You can then water it once per week.

How Fast Does a Madagascar Palm Grow?

Madagascar palms grow slowly, so you may not notice any changes for several weeks after you begin caring for them. If you are growing these plants indoors, it will take even longer to see visible growth!

Reasons Why Your Madagascar Palm is Dying

Too Much Light

If your Madagascar palm is in too much sunlight or not receiving enough light, you will likely see discoloration and leaf drop. To correct this problem, move your plant to a location where it receives appropriate amounts of light and allow it time to adjust before assessing its health again.

Wrong Soil Type or PH Level

If your plant’s soil is too alkaline or acidic, it may be dying. You should correct this situation by using a mixture of half sand and half peat moss for growing conditions.

Too Much Water or Too Little Water

Watering problems are another common reason why Madagascar palms die. If the soil around the roots becomes dry, the roots will begin to rot. To avoid this issue, you should water your plant daily.

Diseased or Insect Infested Plants

If your plant is developing discoloration, wilting, spotting, holes in leaves, white cotton-like substances on its leaves or fruit, it is likely diseased. You can provide treatment by using an insecticide spray that targets spider mites.

Madagascar Palm Pests

See “Spider Mites” above.


In summary, Madagascar palms are tropical trees that thrive indoors. They produce long-lived leaves and fragrant flowers.