Archontophoenix care – The care of the ruler palm

The Archontophoenix, also known as the Ruler Palm is very suitable as an indoor palm, especially when it is a young plant. However, as it ages, it becomes too large for most homes.

In this care guide we show you how to get the most out of your Archontophoenix!

Archontophoenix care
(Image: © HVPM dev –

Origin of the Archontophoenix

The home of the Archontophoenix is Queensland, a state in Australia. Especially in the warm and humid rule forests of Australia, the Archontophoenix is most common. Under these optimal conditions it reaches heights of up to 66 feet! As a houseplant it reaches a height of about 13 feet.

It belongs to the palm family.

Appearance and distinguishing features of the window leaf

The window leaf has a wide variety of leaves, depending on the species. Some species have the typical holes in the leaves, others do not. There are also varieties with variegated leaves.

These are particularly rare and therefore all the more desirable. Some species also form aerial roots.

What all species have in common is their upright growth. They can reach a height of up to three meters. In homes, however, you keep it smaller with the right location and pruning, as well as conscious care.

The roots give it stability. However, its large leaves not infrequently give it an unstable appearance. Aerial roots help it hold onto trees or stone walls.

When aerial roots touch soil, they turn into normal roots. In nature, the window leaf thus provides itself with the necessary nutrients through humus deposits on branches and branch forks.

Flowers and fruits

The ruler palm forms small creamy white flowers. If these are pollinated, red-purple berries form under the leaves.

The interplay between flowers, berries and the palm’s leaves can be quite stunning.

However, as young plants, unfortunately, bloom very rarely and only under optimal conditions. When it does bloom, it happens between June and August.

The right location for a ruler palm

The location of an Archontophoenix should be chosen carefully. Since it grows up to four meters high, one should check before the acquisition whether the space is given.

The ruler palm prefers to stand in a sunny to semi-shady location. In the summer months it is also possible to place the plant on the balcony or terrace.

Young plants should not be placed in direct sunlight. The probability of sunburn is very high. Older specimens can stand it longer in the blazing sun.

A medium to high level of humidity should always be maintained. This can be achieved by regular spraying or by placing water bowls.

The Archontophoenix feels most comfortable at temperatures of 66 °F to 75 °F.


If possible, the ruler palm should not be exposed to frost. The plant should also be protected from rain and snow. Therefore, wintering in a winter garden or bright basement room is optimal. The temperature should not fall below 59 °F.

You should also make sure that dry air does not reach the plant. This improves conditions for pests such as spider mites and aphids. Unseen, they quickly conquer your plants over the winter.

Therefore, during wintering, you should spray your plants regularly with low-lime water. This will increase humidity and create worse conditions for pests.

After the hibernation, you should slowly accustom your palm to the sun and light again. Therefore, place it first in partial shade before you choose a brighter location. After two to three weeks you can change the location.

ruler palm
(Omage: © denyshutter –

The perfect substrate

The Archontophoenix is undemanding when it comes to substrate. standard soil or garden soil, to which No products found. has been added, are sufficient.

In general, the substrate should be slightly acidic and have good drainage. This is especially important for young specimens.

Watering the ruler palm

During the summer months, the ruler palm should be watered abundantly. As with most plants, however, waterlogging should be avoided. If the waterlogging lasts too long, root rot is often the result.

As soon as the substrate has dried out, watering can be resumed. If water collects in the saucer, it should be removed.

Watering should always be done with low-calcium water, because in the long run the lime harms the plant. If you want to do something especially good for your indoor palm, you can water it with rainwater. This is particularly soft.

Archontophoenix fruits ruler palm berries
In its native habitat, the fruits of the ruler palm are a popular food source among native birds! (Image: © devnenski –


Fertilize a ruler palm

As with many other plants, you have the possibility to support the growth of the Archontophoenix with fertilizer. For this you should use liquid palm fertilizer.

Fertilize up to twice a month. If the plant is still young or the substrate is fresh, you should fertilize less.

Also, fertilize only in the growth phase from April to October.

Repotting the Archontophoenix

Since the Archontophoenix grows quickly, it must also be repotted regularly.

The best time to repot is just before the growing season in April. This gives it enough time to adapt to the new pot. Possible injuries heal faster than usual during the growth phase.

How to repot successfully:

  1. Carefully remove the plant from its old pot.
  2. Remove the substrate from the roots as best you can.
  3. Choose a pot that is about 10% larger than the previous pot (preferably with a drainage hole).
  4. First add a layer of expanded clay to the pot.
  5. Then fill in a layer of substrate until the plant is level with the watering rim.
  6. Then gradually add more substrate and fill the voids between the roots.
  7. The last thing to do is water the plant. This sets the substrate again and gives the palm stability.

Pruning the indoor palm

Many people get itchy fingers when their houseplant gets too big. As much as you would like to cut the indoor palm – you should leave it alone. Only dead and diseased leaves should be cut off.

When you do cut, you should use a sharp, clean knife. This will prevent not only bruising, but also infection of the cut.

If you cut the stem of the Archontophoenix, there is a good chance that it will not resprout. It has only one vegetation point. This is located at the top of the palm.

The propagation

The propagation of the Archontophoenix is difficult. It is usually done by seeds. These can be purchased from selected dealers.

The seeds can be used all year round. The only thing that is important is a constant temperature.

We will show you how propagation by seeds works:


First, you should separate the good seeds from the bad ones. The easiest way is to put the seeds in a glass of water. The seeds that sink to the bottom are suitable for propagation.

Next, you should fill the glass with lukewarm water and let the seeds swell for 24 hours at room temperature.


After the 24 hours, the seeds are taken out of the jar. Now the seeds are planted 1 inch deep in growing soil.

From now on, there are only two things to keep in mind: Temperature and humidity.

The temperature should be kept constant between 72 °F to 81 °F. If the temperature fluctuates too much, the seeds will not sprout.

In addition to temperature, it is important to keep the seeds constantly moist. However, care should be taken to avoid waterlogging.

After two to 12 weeks the seeds germinate.

After nine weeks, the young plant should then be planted in a larger container. During the first growth, direct sun should be avoided. Partial shade is optimal during this time.

Diseases, pests and care mistakes

In this part of the guide we would like to inform you about possible diseases, pests and care mistakes of Archontophoenix.


The ruler palm is considered very resistant to diseases. Only the eyespot disease occurs rarely. This can be recognized by small, round spots, which are first yellow and then turn brown from the center.

Infected leaves should be removed.


Especially in the cold season plants are often attacked by pests. Archontophoenix is no exception to this rule. The most common pests are spider mites, aphids as well as mealybugs.

You should check your plant for these pests every now and then. This way you can react quickly in case of an infestation.

An infestation of spider mites is easily recognizable by the white threads and webs in the leaf axils. Aphids can be recognized by yellow and wilted leaves. Here, the underside of the leaves should be checked in particular.

If the infestation is still small, the pests can be removed by hand. Afterwards the palm tree should be rinsed to get the last pests.

If this measure does not help, various home remedies such as a soap and water mixture can help.

If this also fails, only a No products found. will help.

Care Mistakes

The most common reason why a houseplant doesn’t do well is because of improper care.

If your Archontophoenix gets brown leaves, this is often due to a wrong location or overwatering.

If the water cannot drain off, it accumulates in the pot. This causes the so-called waterlogging. If this condition lasts too long, root rot can develop.

In this case, the roots of the plant die due to the excessive moisture.

In this case, you should place your indoor palm in fresh substrate as soon as possible. You should also reduce the amount of watering from now on.

Another reason may be that your plant is weakened by pests. In this case you can support it with some fertilizer. In time, its health will improve.

If your plant lacks nutrients, it will show yellow and limp leaves and slow growth. In this case, you should put your plant in fresh substrate.

Let me answer your questions!

Why does my Archontophoenix get brown leaves?

If the Archontophoenix gets brown leaves, this can be due to a wrong location or root rot caused by waterlogging. Other reasons are overfertilization and lack of nutrients.

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Letzte Aktualisierung am 2023-03-20 / Affiliate Links / Bilder von der Amazon Product Advertising API

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About the author
Richard Schmidt
Hey, my name is Richard! In my spare time, I write about the care of indoor plants on this website. Indoor plants have long fascinated me. That's why there are many plants in my little urban jungle - from the mainstream Syngonium to true rarities. Besides my passion for houseplants, I'm a real sneakerhead.

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