Cat Palm Turning Brown

Hi Judy,
My Cat Palm leaves are turning brown. I read where it needs to stay moist.
1.Should I use distilled water?
2. What type of plant food?
3. What to do with browning leaves?
4. Can I put it in the window for sunlight?

Thank you,
T Ellis


Hi Tom,

Glossy, dark green leaves on thin shoots
Cat Palm
Cataract Palm


Palm leaves turn brown because of incorrect watering and too much plant food. These plants like moist but not soggy soil at all times. Fronds turn yellow if the soil gets too dry. Over- watering causes entire fronds to turn brown.  Salty water or water containing chemicals such as fluoride causes leaf tip burn. Never use water that has passed through a water softener. If your household water has a lot of chemicals in it, allow it to sit out overnight before using it.

Less rather than more plant food is always better with palms. Feed a Cat Palm monthly in the spring and summer with a balanced  (10/10/10) diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. Fertilize only once or twice during winter and fall.

Trim off brown leaves with a WET scissors. Cat Palms need bright, indirect light but no direct sun.

You can read all my care tips for a Cat Palm in the Popular Houseplant section f the website.