cat palm care

chuy415January 26, 2006

i am hoping there is someone out there that can help me on caring for a cat palm. i just bought it at costco, looks very very healthy in a 10" pot, please help anyone!

i probably will have it indoors, but are there any suggestions?? thanks

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They like a good, fast draining organic soil. Filtered sun light and moist air.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 1:12PM
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thanks fawnridge, i think i will transplant it to a little bigger pot that has good drainage. wish me luck, i had 2 others a couple of years ago, exactly the same and they did not do well at all.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 2:22PM
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rlriffle_FL_zone10(z10 FL)

They need a LOT of water. In habitat they grow on stream banks, often being submerged IN the water some of the time.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 9:12PM
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Actually they don't need any more water than most palms. I got 2 growing behind a waterfall. They are up on a raised area and get only rain and 20 minutes of irrigation every 3 or 4 days.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2006 at 9:16PM
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I am wondering can I place my cat palms out doors for the summer in full sun because I don't have any shade trees on my patio. I have them indoors right now but they recive filtered light and I don't water them as much ,maybe once a week or once every two weeks , because the soil stays moist not wet for a long period of time. I had them for a month now , no problems yet. Do you have any advice for me? by the way both have produced three new leaves.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 7:03PM
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flound_1129(10a/sunset17 CA)

Chamaedoreas are understory plants and thus most of them do not like full sun. If you put them outside, put them in a shaded spot.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 12:10PM
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I have a cat palm in a large terra cotta pot (around 18"). I had it in full sun in zone 10 for over a year and it did fine. I didn't even water it that often...only when it got pretty dry. It actually started out in a 12" pot and outgrew that pot under the above growing conditions. It even flowered this spring. As for fertilizer, I fertilized it only twice in the last year with Miracle Gro and threw it some epsom salts once or twice. Nothing fancy. I have recently stepped up the watering frequency and I moved it to where it only gets full sun for half of the day instead of all day because I know it will be happier under those conditions. That's my experience with it. I think it's a great plant and it could do fine indoors in a window where it will get filtered sunlight since it really does prefer lower light levels. Good luck and enjoy!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2006 at 11:17PM
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If you live near the coast, you can grow this species in full sun... I have a friend growing one in full sun in inland Simi Valley now for over 15 years... doesn't always look great when temps get over 100, but it survives. However, I think they look a LOT better in shade. They take a ton of water, or little water. However, I find they seem more lush, the more water they get. Easy palm in your area.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2006 at 2:47AM
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I am in need of advice. I live in central Florida and I have 2 cat palms that have done wonderful for two years. A couple weeks ago we had a hard freeze (very rare). The plants were covered but suffered mimor frost bite. Most of the foliage is brown. There are new green shoots. Should I prune all the frost bitten foliage? The plant will be left to stalks. What should I do?? Thank you

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 7:20PM
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I just bought a Cat Palm from Target on Clearance and it's slightly dead... What can I do to help save it?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 4:44PM
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how tall do they get and does it make for a good privacy hedge? also, can they take full,direct sun? i think they are very nice and would love to put them around my pool.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 10:41PM
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dizzy83(5a CA)


I just bought 4 gorgeous cat palms at Lowes. About 5 ft tall and I only paid $10.99 each , The price seem very low to me for a palm that size, I would like to keep them healty as they are right now, Any advice will be apprecitad!!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 5:30PM
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I purchased what I do believe is a cat palm from looking at pictures. It was purchased a H.D. was beautiful in the store, then when I re potted in into a large clay pot 2 days latter it's turning brown and yellow. what do I do? I have another which is doing very well same kind of pot and size.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 11:51AM
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Cat palms will do even better outside if you live in zone 9B and up. I try to keep mine out of the full sun as much as possible, but usually sun doesn't bother it unless it is going to be 100+. On those days, I just cover it with a cloth so i can keep it green as possible.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 2:05AM
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To make the tips of the cat palm "leaves" look better if they have browned, trim with scissors. I learned this at professional plant renting biz which cared for plants in malls and office buildings. Sometimes the cut end will brown a little, but usually not as badly as they were. They cannot tolerate humidity below 40%, the higher the better.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 4:58PM
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Water them regularly--they like it moister, more continuously than the vast majority of palms. Otherwise, they are easy, shade-tolerant plants.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 9:29PM
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Not cold tolerant. I recommend zone 10 or higher for a Cat Palm. Mine grows in FULL sun in Miami, Florida. It only gets the water that the rain provides and does quite well. Mind grows in sandy soil and I fertilize is 2 - 4 times per year with palm fertilizer.

I would recommend that you give it plenty of space to grow. From its looks and size and description it is a relatively small palm. Mine has only gotten to be 6 to 7 feet tall in 13 years, but its spread is the same as its height, so you should have a circle of about 8 feet in diameter to grow it in

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 12:28PM
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In California this is a pretty hardy Chamaedorea, handling most frosts fairly well, but definitely getting badly damaged or killed if a severe freeze were to come along (not as wimpy as let's say Chamaedorea metalica or arenbergiana, which keel over at the first mention of a freeze). In California, where the humidity is often low, or if near enough to the coast to get salty winds, it tends to brown tip badly. Best here to keep it in full shade and water it heavily. It can get large here, too, but probably takes 2-10x longer to get there than it does in a more humid climate like that found in southern Florida.

This is a shot of this plant in Busch Gardens, Tampa, Florida, in half day sun... looks perfect.

Here it is in California grown in full shade (never sees sun at all other than a peek through the overhead trees)

And here it is near the coast getting less than ideal water and more than ideal sun and wind

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 2:40PM
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These are definintely not sun lovers. Mine get sun only until about 10am or 11am. They are very good flowerers but I dont think the seeds are viable. If they are then Im going to have lots of new baby plants sprouting!
These palms love sun but they can dry out without too much damage. Still probably best for a nice spot in the shade where the leaves stay dry but the ground is moist. You would think the best specimens of this palm would be in Cali since its cooler but the one you posted in Tampa's bush gardens is pretty hard to beat!

Good luck and thanks for posting pics of it!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 6:27PM
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I put mine in a 10" black nursery pot inside a decorative tera cota pot behind my above ground ponds little waterfall and in full shade. That was years ago and i wondered why it always looked so good no matter the watering. And dark green.Other than snails-easy care. Well, I was doing some spring cleaning on the pond and moved some rock...and what do I see? the potted cat palm-at least 20" above the ponds edge,had followed the wet rock down to the pool and sent large roots into the pond! a jungle Ficus,only a palm!...not sure if or when I will get around to re potting it as it takes care of itself-lol.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 5:06PM
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Palms will do a lot to get there way and it looks like your cat palm found a good source of water! You probably dont even have to repot it if its taking care of itself so well but if you want to, I dont think there will be any problems.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 7:07PM
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I bought a cat palm about a week ago and the other day noticed something weird growing in it. The stem divides, one is divided into two and the other into 7 and the stems have bumps on them. Don't really know if that's part of this tree or a weed or what it is. Anyone else know what I'm talking about?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 5:55PM
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Its an inflorescence. You can get seeds from it (I think its self pollinating since mine did actually make a few seeds), but unless you want to experiment, the seeds probably arent worth growing. But getting seeds does mean that your cat palm is healthy and happy so your doing something right!!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 7:54PM
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No, actually it is not self pollinating. Need both male and female to make fertile seed (same with all Chamaedoreas), though sometimes nearby chamaedoreas will be in flower at the same time and a bee or ant may inadvertently pollinate your plant

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 8:01PM
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Thanks lzrddr for the info. Any idea on how easy the seeds are to germinate?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 1:35AM
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My palm is in some sun, gets watered about once a week, and it is starting to yellow. What can I do?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 12:57PM
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