Cataractarum Palm Care Tips

The cat palm botanically Chamaedorea Cataractarum [kam-ee-DOR-ee-uh, kat-uh-RAK-tar-um] is a palm grown for use indoors and in the landscape.

The palm produces an abundance of 4′ feet tall fronds which grow in a cluster. 

Potted Chamaedorea Cataractarum Legoland Orlando FloridaPin
Potted Chamaedorea Cataractarum getting too much sun and heat at Legoland Florida

Belonging to the Arecaceae family, the plant is a native of Central America and southeastern Mexico. 

Displaying cane-like, green foliage, these plants rise up to 6.5′ feet.  

Often confused with areca palm or very durable but pricey kentia palm. Chamaedorea Cataractarum is an attractive plant which requires a tropical environment with plenty of water and bright light.

Even though the plant lives near the stream, it is a common houseplant, mainly because they require easy care and low maintenance. 

Since they require bright indirect plant, they are perfect for decoration in a living room with a south-facing window which lets the plant enjoy bright indirect light. 

Take a container with adequate drainage holes and plant it in it and enhance the look of your room with bright green leaves of this palm.

Unlike other palm trees, Chamaedorea Cataractarum doesn’t have a trunk. 

Since its short-height, it usually used as a hedge plant. 

It is usually known by following common names:

  • cataract palm
  • cat palm
  • cascade palm

Cat Palm Care

How Big Do Cat Palm Get?

Cat palm makes a good patio palm plant. 

It is a trunkless palm with pinnate leaves which have 1′ foot long and 1″ wide leaflets. 

If you keep the plant 3′ feet apart from each other, this will easily build a hedge or a privacy screen. 

With its cascading fronds, the cat palm improves the aesthetic appeal of your room – if kept indoors.

The cat palm is well-known for its ornamental foliage and not for flowers. 

Its glossy green leaves bring elegance and beauty to your landscape.

How Much Light Does A Cat Palm Need and What Temperature Does It Like?

While cat palms require bright indirect light or low light, they don’t perform under the full sun as the direct sunlight often ends up burning its leaves. 

Putting it in shade is a good way to prevent its green leaves from turning brown. 

They are an understory plant and are happier in shade. 

The ideal temperatures for these plants are 80° degrees Fahrenheit (27° C) during the day and 45° degrees Fahrenheit at night (7° C). 

Also, the plant loves humidity. 

If you are keeping it as an indoor palm, there is a possibility for room’s humidity to drop below 50%. 

If so, keep a room humidifier in your room.

The plant is well adjusted to USDA hardiness zone 9-11.

How Often Should You Water and Feed Chamaedorea Cataractarum?

Cat palms thrive in moist but not soggy soil. 

If left in dry soil, the leaves of the palm will turn yellow. 

While tap water is suitable for watering plants, it is a bit harmful to the cat palm and new growth.

Since the water contains minerals such as fluoride, these harsh minerals often cause leaf tip burn. 

Instead, use distilled water for misting.

Overwatering will cause the green foliage turning brown. 

When it comes to feeding needs, the cat palms need a dose of time-release palm fertilizer, especially in the early spring and summer. 

Regular fertilization will keep the plant healthy and green.

Soil & Transplanting

The cat palm prefers soil moist but well-drained.

It doesn’t suit well to the heavy, clay-like soil so to keep the soil light, mixing peat moss to any regular potting soil is a good option.

Grooming, Removing Brown Leaves and Maintenance

The cat palm is a low-maintenance plant. 

You have to take care of a few things to let the plant glow brightly. 

Prune the plant as required to remove yellow or dried fronds or to remove the brown leaf tips. 

You might see wilted or dead leaves at the base of the stem, cut them off immediately.

How to Propagate Chamaedorea Cataractarum

The cat palm usually expands in the pots they are planted. 

This provides you with the new plant material so the plant is propagated by division. 

Be very careful when doing so because the cat palm has fragile roots. 

The plant will also propagate by seeds. 

But seeds take time to grow as the plant has a slow germination time. 

Also, if you are looking for propagating the plant by seed, it’s best to call a professional for the job.

Chamaedorea Cataractarum Pest or Diseases

Spider mites, mealy bugs, scale, and ant infestations may create problems for the plant especially ficus.

In addition, it is also susceptible to catching a fungal disease attacking the leaves of the cat palm. 

Often called leaf spot, Helminthosporium is a type of fungus causing 1/4th to 1/8th” inch reddish-brown lesion on the leaves.  

Cat Palm Uses

The cat palm tree is one of the most common indoor houseplants as it’s easy care. 

It is used as an indoor palm for decorating the interior of the house and looks great with a dracaena companion plant.

It is also kept in multiple containers close together to form a private fence.

During Victorian times these palms were seen as a status symbol.