Ravenea - Arecaceae - How to care for and grow Ravenea plants



Note 1

There Ravenea it is a beautiful palm that can be grown both in pots, thus maintaining a contained posture and in the ground, thus becoming a real tree.






: Angiosperms


: Monocotyledons


: Commelinidae






Arecaceae (or Palmae)





: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The genre Ravenea of the family ofArecaceae includes plants that in common parlance are called palms originating from Madagascar and the Comoros islands.

They are characterized by a rigid stem, thick at the base that tapers gradually and develops in height. They can be tall in different ways depending on the species and the breeding technique being able to find Ravenea just a few meters tall, like 30 meters high!

The leaves that start from the stem can be up to 2-5 m long, composed of a central axis (rachis) in which, on the right and on the left, numerous leaves are inserted, at first erect and then arched.

The flowers are gathered in inflorescence that develop between the leaves. The fruit is a drupe.


There are about 20 species in the genus Raveneaamong which we remember:


There Ravenea rivularis it is a species characterized by waxy ribbon-like leaves that form from long rigid stems.

Note 1

It is a monoecious species, that is to say that they insist on the same male flowering plant and distinct female flowers.It can be grown both in the ground and in pots in which case, it will have a more contained development and will grow very slowly while in the open ground, if the climatic conditions are appropriate, it could become a real tree.

Note 2


As for the cultivation techniques in this sheet we refer to plants raised in pots.

The Ravenea they need a good exposure to light, but not exposure to direct sunlight, with average temperatures ranging around 20-25 ° C.

They love the air so it is important to often ventilate the room where they are without creating drafts, especially cold, which are not welcome.

To clean the leaves from dust, use a soft cloth soaked in lukewarm water, or you can shower them in the bathtub (protect the soil of the pot with plastic so it doesn't get soaked) if you don't have a garden.

Never use foliar polishes because they damage the plant as they obstruct the stomata and therefore prevent abnormal physiological processes. When you go to the nursery shops and find the sales staff who, when they prepare the package for you, take the can of polish and start spraying it all over the plant, tell them to spray it on the nose because, personally I have tried many times to explain to them what the damage is. bringing to the plant but there is nothing to do ... they are traders so if the plant dies in the ground they are much happier!

Grown in pots and in apartments, they are able to maintain small dimensions while if planted in the ground, they can reach considerable dimensions.


The Ravenea they need regular watering, however, allowing the soil to dry up on the surface between one watering and another.

During the hottest period theRavenea will take advantage of frequent nebulizations to the leaves and to increase the humidity around the plant you can place the pot in a saucer where you will have placed some expanded clay or gravel where there will be water (which will never be in contact with the roots) that evaporating , will maintain a humid microclimate around the plant.


There Ravenea it is not particularly demanding in terms of terrain as it adapts quite easily to different situations. The important thing, about which nontransige is that it is well draining as it does not tolerate water stagnation in any way, so be careful to mix coarse sand or vermiculite with the earth and place pieces of earthenware on the bottom of the pot.

Repotting is done in early spring and usually every two years as it is a plant that develops a conspicuous root system.


The fertilization must be done from spring and throughout the summer every three weeks using a liquid fertilizer dissolved in the watering water and halving the doses compared to what is reported in the fertilizer package. During autumn and winter it does not fertilize.

It is advisable to use a fertilizer that in addition to having macroelements such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K) also contains the so-called microelements, that is to say those compounds that the plant needs in minimal quantities (but hapur always needed) such as magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), all important for a correct and balanced plant growth.


Usually the Ravenea it cannot be pruned. Only the parts of the plant that dry up or become damaged are eliminated to prevent them from becoming a vehicle for parasitic diseases.

It is common for the tips of the leaves to dry out due to excessive dryness of the air. In this case it is not necessary to cut the leaf but simply cut the damaged part using a clean and flame-disinfected scissors, to avoid infecting the tissues.


The multiplication of the Ravenea it can take place by cuttings or by basal suckers.


In spring, the suckers that form at the base of the plant can be removed and planted in single pots using the same soil indicated for adult plants.

The jars are then placed in an environment where the temperature is around 10 ° C and the soil is always constantly humid. Keep them in this condition until the roots are well formed.

It is preferable that the plants are kept in a protected environment in the first winter and in any case to wait at least a couple of years before planting them outdoors.


The tips of the leaves dry out

This symptom (which is not a disease but a physiopathy) in most cases is caused by an environment that is too dry.
Remedy: the tips of the dry leaves cannot be repaired you can only increase the ambient humidity as indicated in the paragraph "watering" to prevent it from happening in the future.

Radical rot

If you notice that the plant manifests widespread suffering and there are no apparent symptoms, remove the plant from the pot to check the roots. If you notice rotten roots (they are soft to the touch), remove them with a clean and flame-disinfected scissors by cutting them at least an inch above the damaged area and then sprinkle the wounds with a broad spectrum fungicide. After that repot with new dry and clean soil and wait at least a week before proceeding with the new irrigation to give the wounds time to heal. For the future, better regulate watering.

Leaves starting to turn yellow, appear mottled with yellow and brown

If the leaves begin to turn yellow and after these manifestations they are crumpled, assuming an almost dusty appearance and fall, an infestation of red spider mite, a very annoying mite, has probably incurred. Looking closely at the leaves you should also notice some thin cobwebs, especially on the underside of the leaves.

Remedies: increase the ambient humidity around the plant as the lack of humidity favors their proliferation and possibly, only in the case of particularly serious infestations, use a specific acaricide.If the plant is not particularly large, you can also try to clean the leaves to eliminate the parasite mechanically using a wet and soapy cotton swab. After that the plant must be rinsed very well to eliminate all the soap.

Brown spots on the leaves

Brown spots on the leaves, especially on the underside, could mean that you are in the presence of scale insects, brown scale or mealy bugs. To be sure, it is recommended to use a magnifying glass and observe them. Compare them with the photos shown, they are characteristics, you can't go wrong. Also if you try to remove them with a fingernail, they come off easily.

Remedies: if the plant is not too big you can remove them using a cotton swab soaked in alcohol or washing it with water and neutral soap rubbing very gently with a sponge to remove the parasites, after which the plant was rinsed to remove all the soap. For larger plants, use specific parasiticides available from a good nurseryman.


The name of the genus is dedicated to the German officer L. Ravene (1826-1879).

Unfortunately numerous species of Ravenea are endangered or considered vulnerable. You can see the full list on the following page of the IUCN Red List.

1) Image taken from the Palamiers & Bananiers website
2) Image by Forest & Kim Starr licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (CCBY 3.0)


Those that we commonly call Palms have the scientific name of Arecaceae and belong to the order Arecales. The genera are 202 and the species as many as 2,600 species divided in turn into 8 subspecies which are mostly found in tropical or subtropical climate areas, a small part has adapted to colder climates.

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Environmental needs, substrate, fertilizations and special precautions

Temperature: the minimum winter temperature must not be below 10-16 ° C. It does not tolerate drafts.
Light: good, but without exceeding, absolutely sheltered from the sun's rays.
Watering and environmental humidity: water frequently. The substrate should never dry out, but it shouldn't be waterlogged either. It will be necessary to take great care of the drainage of the soil and the pot. The water to be used should be boiled for a long time and added with a teaspoon of vinegar for each liter. Ambient humidity must be high with every means available: an excellent system is to place the vase on a bowl containing pebbles that are kept constantly wet. Even the spraying of the foliage is very welcome, but you must always use lukewarm water, because the cold one causes irreparable damage.
Substrate: non-calcareous compost, made up of equal parts shredded peat, moss and sphagnum.
Fertilization and special precautions: it is repotted every year in spring and at the same time a pruning of the overdeveloped branches is practiced (up to half of their length), in order to maintain a harmonious and compact shape. Every 3-4 weeks, administer liquid fertilizer (a quarter of the indicated dose), with the water from the watering.

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