Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cat Palm, Cascade Palm, Cataract Palm
Chamaedorea cataractarum

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Chamaedorea (kam-ee-DOR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: cataractarum (kat-uh-RAK-tar-um) (Info)

Synonym:Chamaedorea atrovirens

8 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade


Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 21 photos.
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7 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Patricia1671 On Feb 15, 2013, Patricia1671 from Quaker City, OH wrote:

I have three cat palms in my home. I recently noticed that three seed stems have grown in the largest and oldest palm. Two are still green and the third was a brown color. After doing some research I found that these seeds are only viable when they turn brown. If the seed stems are removed from the plant before they are brown they will not germinate. Germination of viable seeds is 1 to 3 months at 82 to 90 degrees F. My other two palms have no seed stems appearing on them at this time as they are younger divisions of the original plant. I am going to plant the seeds that I have collected in a couple of weeks in my new greenhouse and see how well they will do.

Positive QueenThumb On Nov 5, 2012, QueenThumb from Saint Petersburg, FL wrote:

Just picked up 3 gallon Cat Palm at good ol' Home Depot for $7 clams. They also have Arecas and Majesties but this was the only Cat they had among the bunch. Hard to pass up for under $10.

Positive Gwaychee On Apr 23, 2012, Gwaychee from Union Park, FL wrote:

I purchased my Cat Palm at a local "Membership only," large scale store.

I am disabled and mostly home bound.

My caretakers re-potted it to a nice new large pot. But, they left part of the root ball exposed. And, the poor plant was fading away on that same side.

I ended up buying and PROPERLY, re-potting the Cat Palm in a same size pot out on my porch in like 100 degree heat. I even managed, I don't know how, considering it;s size, my partial paralysis, and the incredible heat, to get my baby back inside to its cozy shaded corner, just next to the glass wall in my condo.

Doing all this, I ended up hospitalized with a minor heat stroke.

To my surprise, they day I got home, about a week ago, my Cat palm gave me a welcome home present. It had said thank you, and had bloomed for me.

This made my entire ordeal worth the pain.

Neutral tropicsofohio On Feb 27, 2010, tropicsofohio from Hilliard, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

i have a very sick plant.. attacked by cats, and infested by scale... solution, move to a cat free area of house, and clean scale off with rubbing alcohol.. most of the leaves were cut away, leaving 2 reletively healthy leaves. this palm needs alot of help, and am hoping i can keep it alive till i can put it back outside in spring

Positive rcharding On Aug 22, 2008, rcharding from Mobile, AL wrote:

The cat palm performs very well here in Mobile. It loves our wet, humid summer weather and the mild, wet winters. I have two in large pots in continuous shade. Highly recommended if you can keep it wet.

Positive pheitmeyer On Mar 28, 2007, pheitmeyer from Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Bought this plant in January @ home d for $12. Repotted it in a slightly larger container in a west facing patio with direct drip and misting. So far it is loving it, as someone else noted, you can't overwater this plant. It would be hard to keep this as wet inside the house.

Positive Kylecawaza On Aug 23, 2004, Kylecawaza from Corte Madera, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

These palms are marginal palms in Seattle.

Positive Scarlete On Aug 9, 2004, Scarlete from Tampa, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Does excellent in my 9b (Tampa) zone. I have two planted at my front porch and in front of a window. It gets absolutely no sun at all --except that it's daylight--, but no direct exposure.

Provides a little noise reduction and lots of light reduction.

I don't see them much in the yards locally, but I see them in the nurseries when I venture out.

Neutral palmbob On Jan 15, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Relatively common palm, sometimes sold at outlet nurseries. Pretty versatile suckering palm for shady areas- does great in zone 9b for me, and does very well in Hawaii, too. Some here in California grow it in full sun, and though it sometimes blanches in heat, it tolerates full sun, even in low watering conditions... just doesn't always look that great. Tends to be more stunted and have stiffer, short fronds in full sun. Does better, I think, in sunny positions along the coast and particularly the east coast (more humidity).

Makes a green, drooping hedge. Never really gets a trunk and spreads slowly.

Also performs well as an indoor palm, though sometimes it's hard to keep it as moist as it would like... but it does take a good deal of dark without too much problem. Sometimes has water issues indoors- as salts build up in the pot, leaves brown tip and look bad. Need to take it outdoors and thoroughly water then, to get the salts to rinse out. Best if you have non-tap water to use (bottled, or reverse osmosis).

Can grow in boggy situations without a problem, either. This is how it grows in nature (Central American jungles)


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Mobile, Alabama
Glendale, Arizona
Mesa, Arizona
Berkeley, California
Hayward, California
Los Angeles, California
Martinez, California
Redondo Beach, California
Reseda, California
San Anselmo, California
Santa Barbara, California (2 reports)
Santee, California
Tarzana, California
Temecula, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Big Pine Key, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
North Palm Beach, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Stuart, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Venice, Florida
Gretna, Louisiana
Quaker City, Ohio
Hermitage, Tennessee
Corpus Christi, Texas
Houston, Texas
Mission, Texas
San Antonio, Texas

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