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* Edible * Deer Resistant * Native * Rare* Plants
Cat Palms are originally from Southeastern Mexico. It is also known as the Cascade or Cataract Palm. It can grow up to 6 feet high, even if it does take a while to get there.
An interesting aspect about the Cat Palm and palm plants, in general, is that in Victorian times, palms were equated to social status. If you were rich and well-respected, you had palms throughout your house, especially in your windows so all could see them. It is mostly due to wealthy Victorians and their experimentations that we know how to take care of these plants.
This is a plant that can be a bit challenging due to needing a more tropical environment. But, if you know what you’re doing you should have great success.
This plant needs bright indirect light but not direct sun. That could cause the leaves to burn. This plant would be great in a sunroom or near a window like the Victorians.
This plant likes to live in moist - but not overly soggy - soil at all times. This plant is not tolerable to dry soil. Be careful with the type of water you use, too much salt or too many chemicals will cause the plant’s leaf tips to become burnt. Also, never let this plant sit in water, it doesn’t like that.
You should get a soil that drains quickly. You can add peat moss to the soil to keep it light instead of heavy and clay like. Also, you can use a pot with a drainage hole at the bottom to help with the draining.
Less is more with this plant. You should feed this plant monthly in the spring and summer with basic houseplant food at half the recommended strength. It only needs to be fertilized one to two times during the fall and winter.
This plant like heat, but too much of a good thing can cause leaf damage. You should avoid putting this plant near areas that are in front of heat vents or near drafts. The ideal temperatures are 80 degrees during the day and no lower than 45 degrees at night.
Humidity may be the most important thing to this plant. This is one of the main reasons why these plants do not do well indoors. Ideally, the room should have around 55 percent humidity, but since that is not always possible you have to get creative. You can use a humidifier or place this plant on a wet gravel tray. Make sure it sits on the gravel and not in the water. You can also try misting this plant with a spray bottle.
You should cut off any yellow or brown fronds quickly. Burned leaf tips can be trimmed, but they never look quite the same afterward.
This plant can get infested with spider mites, scale, mealy bugs, and even ants. You should check all over the fronds, especially underneath because they like to hide there. You can try spraying your plant with an insecticide to get rid of these pests – but be cautious to use on that is safe around your other plants, your pets, and your children. You can also scrape off any scale with a child’s toothbrush.
This plant can suffer from Leaf Spot, which is a fungal disease that affects the leaves of this plant. They appear as small reddish-brown lesions.
Propagation means to create more plants from the original one. This plant is propagated through seeds and can be difficult. The seeds are slow to germinate, and the seedlings are slow growing, meaning you have to wait years for them to grow into trees. You can’t propagate through division because the plant is too fragile.
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Seth H. Richards
Locally owned and Family Operated Since 1932.
Dr. John Richards established Richards Tree Farm in Middle Smithfield, PA as an evergreen farm. Building on those roots, his Great Grandson, Seth Hastings Richards, has grown the farm into a full service Garden Center and Landscape installation business for the past 25 years. The farm specializes in Organic Gardening, Edible, Native, and Unique plants.