Cat Palm Turning Brown

Hi Judy!

I’ve been having problems with my Cat Palm basically since I got it. I’ve tried going a day or so without watering and then have tried watering daily and my result is still these sad looking, wilted brown leaves. It gets indirect sun daily in my living room. The other day I found these growths near the base of the plant. Any advice on how to save this plant?

Hi Kay,

Your plant is terribly over watered!!!!. Cat Palms like to have moist but not soggy soil at all times. Fronds turn yellow if the soil gets too dry and brown if the soil is too wet. Take the plant out of the pot and get rid of all of the wet soil. Allow it to sit out bare root overnight so the roots can dry out. Repot using dry loose soil. Use a container  that is only an inch or two larger than the root ball with drip holes in the bottom.

After a week, water well, until it comes out the drip holes in the bottom of the pot. Never let the plant sit in the excess water that drains out after you water. You will not need to water again for at least a week. Check the soil at least 1/2 way down before you water, it should be dry. If it is not dry, do not water!! Cut off all the brown fronds and place the plant in bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light..

You can read all my care tips in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.

https://www.houseplant411.com/houseplant/cat-palm-cataract-palm-how-to-grow-care