Plant Profile: How to Care for Chamaedorea Cataractum (Cat Palm)

The Chamaedorea Cataractum, otherwise known as the Cat Palm, is a beautiful plant that looks similar to a palm tree. It has large leaves that command attention and add tropical ambiance to any room. In fact, the plant is capable of growing to 6 feet high.

Cat Palms are not the most difficult to care for, but there are a few tips to keep in mind if you want the best from your plant. The tips in this article will allow your Cat Palm to thrive. Simply put, you need to replicate tropical conditions as much as possible.

In Victorian times, Palm plants had a direct relationship with social status. Having a Cat Palm displayed in your window was a way to show wealth and class. This sounds pretentious, but thanks to them, we know now how to correctly care for Cat Palm plants.

Cat Palm Care Guide

  • Ideal light: Bright indirect light
  • Ideal humidity: 55%
  • Ideal temperature: 70°- 80°F (21.1°- 26.7°C)
  • Watering: Moist, but not soggy
  • Propagation: Seeds
  • Pests:  Scale, spider mites, and mealybugs
  • Bloom? Yes
  • Toxic? Yes
  • Fertilise: Monthly with general-purpose fertiliser

Where do Cat Palms come from?

The Chamaedorea Cataractum plant is originally from the southeast of Mexico, but also found across Central America.

Best light conditions for Cat Palm plant?

Cat Palm plants need bright light, but it shouldn’t be from a direct source. Leaving your plant in direct view of the sun can cause leaves to brown. I recommend positioning your Cat Palm near to a window.

How to water Cat Palm plant?

Cat Palms thrive in moist environment. As such, the soil should be moist, but not waterlogged. It shouldn’t be left to sit in water. I recommend frequent watering with a little sprinkle at a time.

Best soil for Cat Palm plant?

You will want to use soil that quickly drains. I recommend making the soil lighter by adding some peat moss. To further assist with the water drainage, I like to use pots with drainage holes for my Cat Palm plants.

How often to feed Cat Palm plant?

Cat Palms don’t need to be given feed very often. I recommend feeding your Cat Palm once a month during the summer, but every other month during the cold season. You may want to use any high-quality houseplant feed at half the standard dosage.

Best temperature for Cat Palm plant?

As a tropical plant, the Cat Palm loves hot conditions. However, it is a balancing act, as too much heat can result in damaged leaves. I recommend to put your Cat Palm is a place that stays warm, but not in front of radiators. The best temperature for Cat Palms is around 80 degrees. Make sure to keep the temperature above 45 degrees.

Best humidity for Cat Palm plant?

As this is a tropical plant, you want to keep it in humid conditions. The best humidity for Cat Palm plants is over 55% humidity. You can use a humidifier to reach this level of humidity. Another great method to increase the humidity is to regularly use a spray bottle to create a misting effect.

Can I prune my Cat Palm plant?

Yes, you can prune your Cat Palm plant. In fact, I like to cut off any brown fronds as soon as possible. It is important not to prune green fronds, as they provide food for the new leaves and allow the plant to flourish. 

Be careful not to damage the Cat Palm’s trunk when you are busy pruning. Doing so can have irreversible effects. In fact, any damage to the trunk or root ball can result n your plant not being able to absorb any nutrients.

Does the Cat Palm attract pests?

Just like other plants, the Cat Palm can attract pests. It is not rare to find mealy bugs, scale, or spider mites on your Cat Palm plant. They like to hide under the fronds, so check there first if you want to get rid of them. A simple spray with some household insecticide should be enough to remove pests from Cat Palm plants.

Cat Palm diseases?

The Cat Palm plant is vulnerable to a fungal disease called Leaf Spot. This disease damages the leaves of the plant, which results in small, brown markings.

How to propagate Cat Palms?

This process involves creating new plants from the original Cat Palm plant. You can propagate a Cat Palm with its seeds, but it is no easy task. The best time to propagate was yesterday, but the second best time is today, as Cat Palm seeds germinate very slowly. It will take years for the seedlings to grow into a full Cat Palm tree.


So, that’s how to take care of Cat Palm plants. They typically require a lot of maintenance, but they are one of the best ways to transform any room into a tropical paradise.

They look amazing, but they have also been classified as a “clean air plant”, so they actually improve the air quality in your home. The tropical plant is best kept in hot and humid conditions with soil that is moist to the touch.