The Q&A Archives: cat palm

Question: My husband purchised 2 cat palms about 3 weeks ago. One of them is still green, but the other is already dying. We put them on our patio, and the one dying is the one closest to the sun. Can too much sunlight kill it?

Answer: Chamaedorea cataractarum, or cat palms can be challenging to grow. They like lots of bright, indirect light so I think the affected plant is getting too much sun. Cat palms will not tolerate dryness at all. When properly potted, they should be watered thoroughly as soon as the surface of the soil feels dry. But that does not mean the soil should remain saturated for an extended period of time because the roots will then rot and that is fatal. Like most palms, the Cat Palm is very susceptible to spider mites. To discourage spider mites, simply hose your plants off with plain water every 7-10 days. Every few weeks, check the undersides of the fronds for early signs of spider mites. Look for tiny dust-like particles. If you find any, spray all of the fronds with a solution of soapy water until they are dripping wet.

Best wishes with your cat palms!

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