Cat Palm

A Beginner's Guide to Cat Palm Plant Care | All you Need to Grow

Family: Areacaceae          
Common Name: Cat Palm
Botanical Name: Chamaedorea cataractarum

Did you know that there’s a plant that will instantly turn any space into a tropical oasis? Well, there is! The plant is a Cat Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum). The transformation is like plant magic! Place a few carefree palms in a brightly lit room and feel a wave of relaxation sweep you! This indoor plant requires lots of bright indirect light to prosper indoors. You must also water this plant regularly as it will begin to drop leaves if the soil stays dry for long periods of time. 

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Give your Cat Palm as much indirect light as possible. It will grow faster and stay green and vibrant when it has access to at least 6 hours of very bright indirect sunlight each day. Avoid placing this plant in the sun’s direct rays, especially in the summer when the sun’s rays are intense. You can still have your Cat Palm plant in your home if you have a light-challenged space. The caveat is that it will not grow fast or large, but the good new is – you will not need to water it as much!


Cat Palm plants are thirsty! They have a lot of leaf surface area and they transpire moisture throughout the day. Depending on the environment, you may need to water your plant once a week or every other day. Keep an eye out for dry soil and water the soil slowly to give the soil time to absorb the moisture. Soak all soil areas evenly and ensure that all the water drains from the pot. The roots should never sit in a puddle of water, as this will cause root rot. 


Palms like Cat Palm plants love good drainage and a soil mixture containing pumice, perlite, or wood chips to provide the drainage this plant needs! Most bagged potting soils will be fine for transplanting your Cat Palm. Consider mixing in cactus potting soil to help with drainage.  If you decide to transplant your Cat Palm, (we do not recommend transplanting your new plants for at least 3-6 months after receiving them), make sure you do not damage the roots. 


The ideal temperature range for your Cat Palm is between 70-80°F – this plant likes it hot! The warmer it is, the more likely it will continue to grow but beware of extreme periods of heat, as this can dry out the soil very quickly! It is good to move it to a shady spot during heat waves to prevent excessive moisture loss! If you keep your plant outside, make sure you bring it back inside for the nighttime temperatures drop below 50 degrees. If you keep it inside and the temperatures are over 75 degrees, ensure good air circulation around your plant. Stagnant air can be a breeding ground for bacteria and pests.


Cat Palms LOVE moist air. If you can keep the humidity levels over 50% in the air space around it, all should be fine! Any signs that the leaves look brown around the edges are an indication that your humidity levels are too low! Learn how to increase the humidity for your indoor plants! 


You absolutely should be fertilizing your Cat Palm! Feed it a complete liquid fertilizer diluted to ¼ strength once a week. We recommend watering it first before you use a diluted liquid fertilizer. You can apply slow-release fertilizers or nutrient-rich compost as the beginning of the growing season! If you use a granular or compost fertilizer, water the plant after fertilizing it. Cat Palms and Palms in general, need extra potassium, and micro-nutrients when they are actively growing. There are special fertilizers for Palms in the market, and you may need to use fertilizers with these added nutrients if you notice browning on the frond tips! 

Growth Rate

Cat Palms are fast-growing plants! This plant can reach a mature height ranging from 4 to 6 feet. However, Cat Palms are known to be a relatively small palm species, which is why it is such a popular choice for indoor houseplants!

Pet Friend or Foe

Cat Palms are considered to be pet friendly! Friend!

Pro Tips

  1. Avoid placing your Cat Palm in the direct sunlight as it can scorch the plants delicate fronds.
  2. If there isn’t enough humidity in your home, you can use a humidifier or provide your plant with a pebble tray to increase the humidity levels.
  3. When fertilizing your Cat Palm, be sure to follow the directions carefully on the fertilizer package!
  4. Even though Cat Palms are pet friendly, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your pet when it’s around the plant. Make sure that your pet doesn’t chew on the plant!

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