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Cat Palm Tree · Wiki

Botanical Name: Chamaedorea Cataractarum

Cat palm tree makes a dramatic house plant and is easy to grow if you give it what it needs.

This lush, tropical palm will thrive in bright light, and would thrive in a sun-room, or in front of a sunny window. Give your palm a quarter turn once a week so that all sides are exposed to sunlight; a large plant can be placed on a plant caddy to make it easier to move.

Cat palm trees grow in stemless clumps, and the pinnate leaves have leaflets that will reach up to 1 ft (30 cm) long and 1 in (2.5 cm) wide.

This palm needs more moisture than others, be sure to water enough to keep the soil evenly moist, but never soggy. Palms are not desert plants as some people believe, so regular watering will help to prevent fronds from turning brown.

Re-potting your palm is needed only every 3 years or so. Keeping the roots crowded helps to limit the plant's size, so use a pot that's only 1 size larger than the old pot. Don't pot the palm too deeply -- try to keep it at the same depth as it was in the old pot. Also, don't try to spread out those roots. Palm roots are brittle, so keep the root ball intact as much as possible.

Cat palms are among the most common palm house plants. You'll sometimes find them for sale with the tag "Indoor Tropical Palms" stuck in the pot. Look for the botanical name Chamaedorea cataractarum to be sure you're getting this palm.


Care Tips

Origin: Southern Mexico

Height: Up to 6 ft (1.8 m) indoors

Light: Bright light

Water: Keep soil moist all year long. Place the Cat Palm tree in a pot with drainage holes to prevent soggy soil; Palms don't like their feet wet.

Humidity: Moderate humidity, if the relative humidity drops below 50%, use a humidity tray or room humidifier. Palms also loves to be misted.

Temperature: Average room temperature 60-75°F/16-24°C year-round.

Soil: Use a peaty mix that drains well. Mix 1 part sand to 3 parts African violet mix.

Fertilizer: Feed once in spring and again in summer with a time-release fertilizer. Jobe's Indoor Palm Fertilizer Spikes contains micro-nutrients that palms need to keep them lush and green.

Propagation: Palms can be grown from seeds, but seeds are slow to germinate and seedlings so slow-growing, you'll wait several years for them to grow into trees. Although Cat palms grow in clumps, I wouldn't try to divide them. Cat palm tree roots are fragile and are easily damaged by pulling apart the root ball.



Brown leaf tips can be caused by dry soil, dry air, or tap water that contains fluoride. Increase humidity around the palm, if the air is too dry. Use distilled or rain water to water your palms.

Salts: Palms are sensitive to salts that accumulate in the soil. This build up of soluble salts come from the chemicals in tap water and fertilizers. They can damage foliage and roots. Fortunately, getting rid of excess salts is easy.
Posted By Gremelin Posted on July 24th, 2018 · Updated on September 2nd, 2020
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