Palm Tree Plant Turning Brown

Hi Judy I purchased a Cat Palm tree over a month ago and it’s been giving me the sheer flukes dealing with its pritzy, arrogant behaviors. I’ll tell you this tree has a mind of it’s own. She’s like a little delicate princess with all the spoiled behaviors. When I first brought it, it was green and thriving in an small pot with the roots emerging from the bottom, so I repotted with a much larger pot after a couple of weeks.,I made potting soil mix with a 8 inch layer of rocks at the bottom of the pot because it had no drainage holes. Then I mixed in a bag of sand with 2 bags of soil and 1 bag of peat moss. I found this mixture also on a Cat Palm tree web site.
Then the first problem I had with it she developed a case of Spider mites and I made a homemade organic insecticide recipe I found on one of the plant web sites, it worked like a charm. Not to mention she only likes distilled water. Now she is growing but they are now turning brown. I water the plant every two weeks with distilled water. Weather conditions for her are between 60 to 75 degrees. She also has an excellent source of filtered light. Can you diagnose, recommend, help me with saving this Cat Palm Tree.

Hi Valencia,

Brown fronds on Cat Palm
Over watered Cat Palm

I think your problems started when you re-potted your palm plant into a much larger pot. She probably liked her cozy home. When you move a plant to a new pot, you should only go to the NEXT SIZE CONTAINER. So if a plant is in a 4” pot you move it to a 6” or if in a 6” pot to an 8”. When you move a plant to a pot that is too large the roots never have a chance to dry out, they develop root rot, and the plant fronds turn brown and die. Always put a cat palm in a pot that has drip holes in the bottom. 8” of rocks doesn’t work. When you do put in a layer of rocks for drainage it should not be more than 2”. Here’s my recommendation: take the palm out of the current pot. Get rid of all the wet soil. Allow the plant to sit out over-night, bare-root, and dry out. Re-pot in a container with drip holes in the bottom that is only an inch or two larger than the root ball of the plant. Use any good potting soil you can buy at a garden center. Keep the soil barely moist but never soggy. The roots are going to be very fragile for a long time. You can read all my care tips for a Cat Palm in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.