How To Take Care Of A Cat Palm Tree Indoor & Outdoor?

Cat palm care
Native to Southeastern Mexico, Cat Palm is botanically known as Chamaedorea Cataractarum. It thrives in USDA Hardiness zones between 10 and 11.


With its giant green and bold fronds, Cat Palm is a versatile plant, giving a tropical vibe. It can elevate the home’s visual appeal. In the Victorian Era, owning a Cat Palm equated to high social ranking. It is one reason most Cat Palm owners placed it right at the house entry.


Many even confuse it with the expensive lookalike Kentia Palm, while others find it similar to the pocket-friendly Areca Palm. It is because of the neat resemblance between the three.


But, it needs immense love and care to thrive and grow better. But they are easy to care for. So, how to care for a Cat Palm? This guide will address some tips on Cat Palm plant care.


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Why Is It Called A Cat Palm?

Before we giveaway the guide for Cat Palm care indoors, there is a question that may be hovering in many of your heads. Why is Cat Palm called so? Scientifically Cat Palm or Cataract Palm is called the Chamaedorea Cataractarum. It is how it gets its name.


All You Should Know About Caring For A Cat Palm

All You Should Know About Caring For A Cat Palm

How to take care of a Cat Palm tree? Here is a detailed guide on Cataractarum Palm care. Let us discuss everything you need to know about Cat Palm care.


How To Care For A Cat Palm Starting With The Right Pot Size

The selection of the pot size is a vital aspect of Cat Palm care. You need to pick a pot according to the plant’s current size.


Ideally, a three-to-five-gallon pot is ideal for accommodating the present plant and leaving space for further growth. Ensure that the container has several holes to ensure proper drainage.


Ideally, for right Cat Palm maintenance, you can choose anything from terracotta, ceramic, or plastic containers. However, the material choice will determine the watering frequency.


Over terracotta pots, the enamel and plastic pots can retain higher moisture content. Further, earthenware pots have a higher water requirement than plastic pots.


How To Water Cat Palm?

Meeting the water requirements is a quintessential step in Cat Palm care outdoors and indoors. So, how to take care of a Cat Palm tree watering needs?


Understand the Cat Palm’s water requirements, and do not overwater or underwater it. Both soggy and dry soil can be bad for the plant.

At all times, the soil should be moist. So, before rewatering, you must inspect the soil. If the top two to four inches feel dry, you know it is time to rewater.


The Best Soil For Cat Palm

Cat Palm should have well-draining soil, and it should not be clay-like or heavy.


How to care for a Cat Palm if the soil is weighty? Well, you can add peat moss or sand to the soil. The ideal potting mix involves using bark or perlite.


African Violet potting mix is the best choice for Cat Palm maintenance. You can use it in a 3:1 ratio with soil. The pH can vary from slightly acidic to neutral.


How Much Light Does A Cat Palm Need?

Sunlight is another vital factor in Cat Palm plant care. Even though the Cat Palm loves a warm and bright environment, it does not need direct sunlight.


Bright, indirect sunlight and partial shade can help with Cat Palm care indoors and outdoors.


For regular care, keep it guarded against the harsh afternoon sun. The breezy morning and evening sun suffices Cat Palm care outdoors.



The right care for Cat Palm involves constantly exposing the plant to moderate or high humidity. It is easier to achieve that outdoors.


But, maintaining a good moisture indoors may not always be possible, especially if you live in colder regions or have a fireplace at home.


So, for Cat Palm set up indoors, you must repeatedly mist the palm or install a humidifier to maintain the moisture in the air.



In warmer, tropical regions, Cat Palm plant care is easy. It is because these palms love warm weather. The ideal temperature for them is between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.


For Good Cataractarum Palm care needs that the temperature does not drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In the winters, they can tolerate a temperature of 60 degrees. Cat Palm is not cold-hardy.


Hence, it wilts when exposed to a temperature lower than 50 degrees. For Cat Palm maintenance indoors, keep the palm away from doors, vents, and windows that leak cold air.


How To Care For A Cat Palm Feed & Fertilizer

Feeding the plant the right food is quintessential. However, for Cat Palm plant care, lesser feed works better. In the growing season, you must fertilize it every month.


A slow-release, water-soluble, liquid fertilizer is the best choice for Cat Palms. You can opt for a dedicated palm fertilizer or cactus-specific fertilizers.


Follow the package manual guidelines, and feed as recommended. Generally, in winters, the fertilizer needs of the plant are tiny. So, feeding once or maybe twice works.


How To Repot A Cat Palm?

For proper Cat Palm care indoors or outdoors, caution while repotting is a must. Cat Palms enjoy being root-bound. So, they do not like being repotted early on.


Further, since Cat Palm is a slow-growing plant, repot only after three years. At least a day or two before repotting, thoroughly water the plant. It moistens the soil and simplifies the repotting process. You can take a pot about an inch or two bigger in diameter than the current pot.


Cat Palm has sensitive, brittle roots, which may be damaged if disturbed. Be careful with the root ball during repotting. The idea should be to maintain the same depth as the current depth of the plant. It helps prevent root rotting.


Further, for good Cataractarum Palm care, change the soil before repotting. Add a rich organic mix to add to the nutrition value of the soil.


Lastly, please remember to perform repotting activity in the growing season only. As the plant is at its growth pace, it is easier for roots to recover from the transplantation shock.



Pruning is your answer if you are wondering how to care for a Cat Palm with wilting leaves. Pruning helps maintain the visual appeal of the plant. Using fresh, clean scissors, you can chop off all the dry and dead leaves.



When repotting the Cat Palm, you can also propagate it by dividing. Palm propagation is straightforward. You have to push the root ball out to water cleanse it.


Now, take a clean knife, and cut the root ball in half. Take containers of the desired size that can root snug the palm, and repot the two in separate containers.


Should I Mist Cat Palm?

Like most other tropical houseplants, even the Cat Palms enjoy good humidity. Unfortunately, the air in the atmosphere might be dry in some months. For Cat Palm care indoors, you can mist the Cat Palm with a spray bottle. You can mist at least three to four times a week.


Related care guides: Date palm, Ponytail palm, Areca palm, Sago palm, Parlor palm, Majesty palm


Cat Palm Care Indoor Vs. Cat Palm Care Outdoors

There is not much difference in Cataractarum Palm care indoors and outdoors. You have to adequately feed the plant with a dedicated fertilizer, expose it to the bright, indirect sun, frequently water and mist the palm, and maintain a well-drained soil.


It is a self-cleaning plant. So, the Cat Palm maintenance needs little input.


Cat Palm Diseases & Concerns With Treatments

Regardless of the steps, you may take towards Cat Palm plant care, mistakes happen. It can hamper the palm’s health and growth. Below, we will discuss some key diseases and concerns with their requisite treatment option.


Why Are My Cat Palm Leaves Turning Yellow? Should I Cut Them?

The leaves of the Cat Palm may turn yellow because of dry soil. It probably means you underwater your plant. To assess it, touch the topsoil layer. If the top few inches feel dry, you can rewater the plant.


Also, overexposure to sunlight can cause the leaves to turn yellow. You must instantly move the plant to a shady spot where the Cat Palm gets indirect sunlight.


Ideally, there is no need for you to cut the yellow leaves. Older leaves on the plant turn yellow over time. Fortunately, the plant self-cleans them and drops them over time.


At the same time, newer leaves will replace these older, yellow leaves. But, if underwatering is the reason for the yellowing of the leaves, watering them can help get back their green hue.


Should I Cut Off Brown Cat Palm Leaves?

The Cat Palm fronds may turn brown because of overwatering. Further, using water from a water softener, dry air, or water with high chlorine or fluorine content can result in brown tips. At times, a recent repotting activity might shock the plant and cause browning.


So, firstly, ensure that you are not overwatering the palm. Also, if the humidity is a concern, you can mist the leaves or install a humidifier.


If repotting causes brown leaves, you need to water the plant thoroughly and expose it to the right conditions. In six weeks, the plant will hopefully recover.


Lastly, if the hard water is causing brown tips, using rainwater or distilled water can help with Cat Palm plant care.


Whether you cut the brown leaves or not would depend on the degree of browning. If only the tips are brown, you can avoid pruning.


You can trim the brown part to save the plant’s aesthetic value. But, if the whole leaf has turned brown, you cannot bring it back to green. So, it is best to chop it off.


How Do You Treat Cat Palm Fungus?

Overwatering and poor drainage can result in waterlogging. It can result in root rot and reddish blotches and become a breeding ground for fungal infections. You can check this by inspecting for the grayish-white dusty coating on the leaves. To overcome this, you need to eliminate all the excess water. If the situation is adverse, you can consider repotting. Using a commercial fungicide can also help.


Spider Mites, Mealy Bugs, Scales

Like other houseplants, even the Cat Palm is susceptible to pests and diseases. Slight bacteria or fungal infections are tolerable. However, for right Cat Palm care indoors wash the leaves by dabbing alcohol. However, if the situation aggravates, you must use insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Related: Cat Palm vs Majesty Palm


Frequently Asked Questions

Ques 1. How tall does a Cat Palm grow?

Ans. Cat Palms are compact, slow-growing plants. They can make for a beautiful patio palm. Its fronds are about a foot long and a foot wide. Usually, with good care, they can grow about four-six feet with a width of eight feet.


Ques 2. Are Cat Palms cat-safe?

Ans. Yes, Cat Palms are non-toxic and non-poisonous. They are pet safe.


Ques 3. Is a Cat Palm a good indoor plant or outdoor, or both?

Ans. Cat Palm is an excellent indoor and outdoor plant. If you can offer the proper Cataractarum Palm care, it can thrive indoors and outdoors.


Ques 4. Are Cat Palms hard to care for?

Ans. The Cat Palm maintenance is straightforward. Your plant needs moist soil, bright light, high to moderate humidity, frequent watering, and an excellent drainage system.


Ques 5. Do Cat Palms clean the air?

Ans. Cat Palms are natural air purifiers. So, yes, they do cleanse the air.


Ques 6. Can Cat Palms survive winter?

Ans. Cat Palm is not a cold-hardy plant. If the temperature drops below 50 degrees, it can stunt the plant’s growth.


Ques 7. What is Cat Palm good for – any specific benefits?

Ans. Cat Palms add a vibrant, lush, and tropical appeal. It also purifies the air. It removes the toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon dioxide from the air. Further, it is a low-maintenance, forgiving palm. Hence, it is an excellent pick for someone new to gardening.


Ques 8. Why does my cat eat Cat Palm?

Ans. Cats usually eat the Cat Palm or the other houseplants because it is in their natural instincts. They are bored and find the texture of the leaves appealing. So, there is no specific relation in their name and cats eating it! Fortunately, it is a non-toxic palm. So, it is safe for cats.


Ques 9. Do Cat Palms bear flowers?

Ans. Cat Palms bear both male and female flowers in early spring and late winter. They have yellow blooms. After the blooming period, you will see sessile fruits on the flower stalks.



Cat Palm is a household delight. With the necessary Cat Palm care indoors & outdoors, it can last you a decade or so. They are low-maintenance palms that need only a little time and effort from you. It is a pet-safe and child-safe plant.


Moreover, its health benefits are endless. So, there is no reason you should not have this stunning tropical beauty at your home.