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Best Cat Palm Care [Guide for Plantsmen]

Cat Palm can’t help earn elite social status like in the Victorian Era, but the plant can offer tropical vibes under little maintenance and care.

Generally, the Cat Palm plant prefers 4-6 hours of bright indirect light with 65-80°F, 50% humidity, and weekly watering. Also, it needs well-draining soil with 6.1-7.5 pH, monthly fertilizer with every three-year repotting, and occasional pruning. 

Following these guidelines, your Cat Palms should thrive and invoke the wonderful summer vacation feel.

Learn more in detail to leave no growing mistakes. 

Overview of Cat Palm 

Also known as Cascade Palm or Cataract Palm, Cat Palm is no different from air-purifying plants. It is native to the tropical forests of southeastern Mexico. 

Scientific NameChamaedorea cataractarum
USDAUSDA zones 11 and 12
Average HeightIndoor: Over 3’ feet tall
Outdoor: Over 6’ feet
FoliageCluster of slender, arching green fronds
BlossomSmall, bright yellow spikes in late winter or early spring
Pest/DiseasesSpider mites, browning of leaves, salt accumulation
Propagation Seed, Stem Cutting
Appearance Compact, bushy appearance

Cat Palm: Best Grow & Care Guide

If you grow Cat Palm indoors, locate it in a sunroom or sunny window to match the tropical requirements. 

Cat Palm Care Guide Chart
Cat Palm thrives in well-light rooms with warm temperatures and high humidity.

1. Sunlight & Location

Cat Palm thrives in a room that faces south or west. It can handle some direct sunshine first thing in the morning, but too much sunlight will burn the leaves.

To avoid direct sunlight exposure, position it about 2 feet (60 cm) away from the window. Use a thin curtain and place the plant in partially shady places to welcome the dappled light. 

Also, rotate it regularly so the rear leaves get all the required light and avoid yellow leaves. 

You can use artificial or grow lights to keep your Cat Palm in a darker space requiring a green splash.

The recommended temperature range is 65-80°F.

Cataract palms thrive in USDA zones 10 and 11, where they may be grown outside. However, if you can plant them in a safe area in Zone 9, Cat Palms will thrive in your backyard.

Avoid exposing it to extremes of temperature since this can cause the leaves to be yellow.

Your Cat Palm should never be placed near a radiator or heating vent, nor should it be placed below an air conditioner.

Similarly, keep the plant away from drafts and cold sources like single-paned windows. Water whenever the soil partially dries in a sunny place in your garden or patio.

When the temperature drops below 50°F (10°C) at night, the Cat palms are kept inside as they cannot bear cold.

2. Watering & Temperature

The Cat Palm is drought resistant, although overwatering may also stress it.

You may water Cat Palm every five to seven days in the summer, but you can water it once a week in the winter.

As tap water may include fluoride, chlorine, or other pollutants that harm palms, it’s best to water your Palm with distilled or rainwater.

When watering your tropical home plants, use lukewarm water since cold water shocks them.

To keep your Cat Palm moist, mist it daily, especially in dry and hot weather. 

In addition, always test the soil with your finger or a digital moisture meter if unsure.

Because Cat Palms are tropical plants requiring at least 50% humidity to grow.  

Here are a few ideas to increase the humidity for the betterment of the plant:

  • Invest in a humidifier
  • Use a pebble tray. 
  • Keep your Palm in the bathroom or kitchen.  
  • Mist once a day to see any long-term results.

3. Soil Mix & Fertililzation 

Cat palms, sometimes called cataract palms, require a light, quick-draining potting mix. A blend of potting soil, peat moss, and perlite is great for these low-maintenance Cat palms.

  • 3 parts African violets soil mix to 1 part garden loam
  • 1 pound of potting soil, 1 pound of cactus soil, and 1 pound of perlite
  • 1 tbsp. Sand, 1 tbsp. Pine bark, 1 tbsp. peat

In addition, this mix of components keeps the growth medium moist without getting soggy or excessively wet. The ideal soil pH for Cat Palm development ranges from slightly acidic to neutral (6.1-7.5).

You can feed the Cat Palm with diluted nitrogen-rich fertilizer or a balanced houseplant fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer, pausing in the fall and winter.

Likewise, ensure the soil is moist when feeding your Palm since fertilizers will burn the roots if applied to dry soil.

Fertilizer salts in the soil might make Cat Palm susceptible, so flushing the soil once or twice a year is suggested during the plant’s growing season.

Thus, put the pot in a large sink or bathtub and slowly run water through the soil for a few minutes. Then, allow the pot to drain completely before returning it to its container tray. 

4. Potting & Repotting

This Palm thrives in a snugly fitting container. It would be best to repot Cat Palm once every three years, on average, in the spring or summer.

Similarly, only replace it with a fresh pot if you see the roots emerging through the drainage hole or suffering.

Choosing a new container that is just 1 size larger or 2 inches (5 cm) broader than the old one is essential.

Plastic, ceramic, or terracotta are all acceptable materials for the pot. However, pots made of plastic or enamel hold more moisture and are ideal for your Cat Palm.

Before repotting your Palm, hydrate it for a day or two, loosen the soil, and eliminate transplant shock, making it simpler.

Steps: Remove the plant from the pot slowly, remove part of the old dirt gently, place the root ball on top of the potting mix in the container, and fill up any gaps at the top and on the sides. 

5. Pruning & Maintenance

Spiders Mites, Scales, Mealybugs, and White Aphids are one of the prime culprits making your Cat Plans die. 

Besides, leaf spots, brown leaves, and root rot are other symptoms of the sick plant. 

You can wipe the infected area with cotton balls dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove the infestation. Also, apply neem oil or other horticultural oil before investing in fungicides. 

Ultimately, you need to prune the Cat Palm on the affected area; this may give the plant a healthy shape. 

Pruning is best done in the spring and summer, avoiding the winter. 

Cut the fronds of the Cat Palm at its base using sharp pruning scissors, remove the trimmed fronds from the cluster, and toss them in the compost.

Cat Palm: All About Growth Habits

The Cat Palm is a slow-growing plant that might take up to ten years to fully mature. When cultivated inside as a houseplant, it can reach a height of over 3′ feet.

cat palm plant indoor s
Likewise, it can reach a height of over 6′ feet outdoors.

Cat palm has a clump-forming growth habit and typically develops big and dense clumps when mature, with green cane-like leaf stalks and glossy, dark green pinnate leaves with long thin leaflets.

The dioecious Cat Palm produces a brilliant yellow pendulous inflorescence in late winter or early spring.

Similarly, the formation of sessile fruits on the flower stalks follows the blooming phase.

When young, the fruits are glossy and oval and dark green. However, they turn black as they mature.

Learn the difference between Coconut trees and Palm trees!

Is Cat Palms Poisonous?

The Cat Palm does not harm animals. For example, the Palm does not feature on the lists of poisonous plants for dogs.

According to ASPCA, Cat Palm (Chamaedorea) is non-toxic to dogs and cats.

However, do not allow your pets to consume plant parts unnecessarily. Vomiting and stomach pain may occur with other symptoms.

Also, keep your children away from messing with the plant. 

Consult with professionals or anyone in the respected field. Here are the given numbers to help you in an emergency. 

Propagation Methods for Cat Palm

Cat palms should always be propagated in the spring when growth is at its peak.

Cat palm plants are grown from seeds that take a long time to develop, and seedlings take years to mature into gorgeous plants.

Out of all of the mentioned propagation methods, separating new growth from the base of the plant, known as suckers or offsets, is the best technique to propagate Cat Palms.

It’s as simple as removing the suckers from the primary plant. Likewise, Cat Palm propagation is simple since these offsets generally have their roots.

Root Propagation

  • Remove your plant from the container and search for the sucker with the most roots.
  • Cut the offset away from the main plant using a sharp knife.
  • Fill a new container halfway with Cat Palm soil and insert the new palm plant.
  • Similarly, fill the rest of the space with potting soil and water well.
  • To improve humidity, place the propagating plant in a plastic bag and set it in a bright, sunny location that is not in direct sunlight.
  • If the soil around the plant becomes dry, water it.
  • Remove the plastic cover after a few weeks and continue caring for the plant.

Seed Propagation

The seed propagation strategy is time-consuming and not consistently effective. Cat Palm seeds must be gathered fresh from the fruit, and until your palm tree has fruited, you are unlikely to locate healthy seeds.

The seeds take many weeks to germinate, and the young plant takes a long time to establish itself.

  • Plant the seed to sprout in a tiny container with a very thin layer of soil or even half-buried.
  • After you’ve planted the palm seed, set the container in a warm, humid environment.
The time it takes palm seeds to germinate varies significantly between species, but it’s longer than you’re used to.

Don’t be concerned if the seed looks ragged while you wait. Palm seeds frequently shrivel and appear to be dead before they sprout.
  • After sprouting the seedlings, place them in a warm (at least 75°F) and humidified environment.
  • Although palm seedlings do not require fertilizer initially, putting them on a light liquid fertilizer is a good idea once they develop actively.
  • Lastly, you may bring the Palm inside and transplant it into a larger pot once it has acquired several sets of leaves and the leaves have begun to take their mature appearance.

Cat Palm Vs. Areca Palm Vs. Parlor Palm

ParametersCat PalmParlor PalmAreca Palm
Plant Size3 feet10-12 feet6-7 feet
Flowering SeasonsSpring, Summer & FallLate winter to early springSummer & Spring
FoliageGlossy, dark green & pinnateDark green and with parallel veinsDark green with yellow or purple tinges
FlowersYellow colored, blooms in late winter to springYellowish and unimpressive Inconspicous and bright yellow

FAQs about Cat Palm Care

How much light does a Cat Palm need?

You must provide at least 4-6 hours of bright indirect light daily to make Cat Palm healthy.

Should I mist my Cat Palm?

Not necessarily in the winter. When the sun is up, you must compensate for water evaporation by misting the foliage on summer days.  

Are Cat Palms easy to care for?

The plants are easy to grow and care for in tropical habitats. Only providing water weekly and giving a humid atmosphere is enough to help these palms grow.

From Editorial Team


The Cat Palm is a high-maintenance plant, but it will reward you with a taste of heaven if you put in the effort.
It accumulates dust, so note it on your cleaning to-do list. You may wipe clean the fronds with a moist towel.
Thus, this information implies that if you maintain Cat Palm clean, healthy, and happy, it will reciprocate by cleaning your home’s air for you!
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