Cat Palm Care Indoors [Chamaedorea Cat Palm Growth Tips]

Would you like to add a truly tropical look to your home? Nothing brings on that tropical look like an indoor palm tree can.

Cat Palm Care Indoors
Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Would you like to add a truly tropical look to your home? Nothing brings on that tropical look like an indoor palm tree can.

The cat palm is a great choice and we will cover what you need to know about Cat Palm Care Indoors.

What Is The Cat Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum) 

Cat Palm Chamaedorea cataractarum Native to Mexico and Central America, the cat palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum) is a slow-growing evergreen that typically reaches heights of 3 to 4 feet indoors.

Cat palms are often grown as houseplants, where they can provide a touch of the tropics.

Chamaedorea cataractarum is not a typical palm “tree” as it grows without a single trunk but in a clumping bushlike way.

It grows wide rather than tall which makes it an ideal indoor houseplant.

Cat Palm Care Indoors In A Nutshell

Chamaedorea parlor palmThese palms are relatively easy to care for, but there are a few things to keep in mind when growing them indoors.

Cat palms prefer bright, indirect light and should be watered regularly, letting the soil dry out slightly between waterings.

When potting or repotting, use a well-drained potting mix.

Fertilize monthly during the growing season. Once every two or three years, cat palms may need to be repotted as they outgrow their containers.

With proper care, cat palms can make long-lasting and attractive houseplants.

Benefits Of Growing Cat Palm Indoors

1. The Cat Palm is one of the easiest palms to grow indoors
2. They are a great plant for filtering the air and removing toxins
3. They help improve indoor air quality by reducing dust and other allergens
4. They can improve your mood and create a calming atmosphere
5. Cat Palms are easy to care for and can thrive in a variety of environments

Cat Palm Care Indoors

Now that you have a brief overview of the cat palm we will go over caring for your cat palm in more detail.

Cat Palm Light Requirements

When it comes to light, the Cat Palm is not particularly fussy. It will do well in both bright light and filtered shade, although it may become leggy if it does not receive enough light.

If you are growing your Cat Palm indoors, place it near a south or east-facing window. Choose a spot that receives partial sun to partial shade.

Avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight for long periods of time as this can scorch the leaves. 

Cat Palm Care Watering

Watering times can vary depending on your indoor environment but generally water your cat palm every 5-7 days.

They like to be kept moist but not soggy so rather than watering on a set schedule it is best to check the pot and water when the top 2 inches are dry.

Cat Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum) Humidity

These palms prefer a humidity of 50-55% to grow best. If the air inside is dry like in winter when you’re heating your home you can place your plant in a pebble tray.

Misting your plant can also help increase humidity. Finally, you might consider adding a humidifier for your palm and the higher humidity can also benefit your breathing and skin.

Cat Palm Temperature

Cat palms grow best at room temperature so if you are comfortable your cat palm is too. They will grow at 50 to 80°F.

These plants are fairly hardy and are grown outdoors in Zones 9b (25 to 30 F) to 11. 

But if you want your plant to grow well keep it above 60°and away from heating or air conditioning ducts.

Cat Palm Soil Mix

The best soil mix for cat palms is light and well-draining. If your potting soil is heavy add some additional perlite.

You can grow these plants in coco coir with some perlite too. Coco holds water well but drains fast, provides good aeration, and can be used with or without perlite.

Cat Palm Fertilizer

Cat palms are not heavy feeders so if you are using a balanced fertilizer at half strength they should be fine.

Using a liquid fertilizer is easiest to use and you can add it when you water. Feed them every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.

Repotting Cat Palm

Part of cat palm care indoors is repotting Cat palms every 2 or 3 years. Use a pot that is about 2 inches larger around than the old one.

These plants grow in a clumping manner so you will eventually need to repot your plant as the pot gets full.

This is an excellent time to propagate your cat palm. More on this a bit later.

Propagating Chamaedorea cataractarum

Cat palms can be propagated by seed but they can take a year to germinate so division will be much faster.

Spring is the best time to propagate your cat palm because it is actively growing.

As mentioned before a good time to propagate your palm is when you repot it.

You will want to find a healthy stem or stems with roots that you can separate these suckers from the root ball.

You may need a sharp clean knife to do this. You can also divide the root ball into several sections making sure each has roots and leaves.

Then repot your suckers or division in a new pot with a fresh growing medium.

Water well to settle the soil and eliminate any air pockets. Keep the pots moist and they should soon start to regrow.

Cat Palm Pruning

Cat palm pruning is mainly limited to removing dead or damaged leaves.

If your palm is getting too wide for its space you can remove the offending branches by cutting them off at the soil line.

Are Cat Palms Toxic?

Cat palms are not poisonous to pets or humans according to the ASPCA.

Many common houseplants are toxic if eaten so it’s good to know the  Cat Palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum) is completely harmless.

Cat Palm Care Indoors Final Thoughts

If you want to add a touch of the tropics to your home Chamaedorea cataractarum or the Cat Palm is an excellent choice.

Cat palm care indoors is pretty easy. They are fairly tolerant of low light levels but they prefer bright, indirect sunlight.

They will need to be fertilized every month or two in order to reach their full potential. You will need to repot them every 2 or 3 years.

With proper care, the Cat Palm can make a beautiful addition to any home.

Their striking foliage and compact size make them perfect for use as houseplants or accent pieces in any setting.