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
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Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

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

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers

This plant is suitable for growing indoors


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Foley, Alabama

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

Zephyrhills, Florida

Gretna, Louisiana

Quaker City, Ohio

Hermitage, Tennessee

Corpus Christi, Texas

Houston, Texas

Mission, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 25, 2016, wakingdream from Allentown, PA wrote:

From elderly neighbors, I inherited a large potted specimen of Chamaedorea cataractarum 18 months ago. It had many brown tips, dead sections within the base, bad soil and no new growth. I pulled it out of its pot and trashed the old soil. I surgically removed the dead divisions in order to keep just the vibrant, viable parts. I replaced the soil with a homemade mixture that included my own compost. The palm was placed on my shady patio, loving the rainfall and summer humidity. Improvement was immediately noticeable. New leaves began unfurling and multiplying and the overall tone of green was healthier. For each new leaf that opened, I removed one raggedy old leaf with brown tips (that had been trimmed repeatedly by the previous owner). I never knew the proper name for this Cat Palm until ... read more


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.


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.


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 welc... read more


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


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.


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.


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

These palms are marginal palms in Seattle.


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.


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 m... read more