Cat Palm vs Parlor Palm: Comparing Indoor Plant Benefits

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Are you struggling to decide between Cat Palm vs Parlor Palm for your home or office? Look no further! In this blog post, we’ll compare the two popular indoor plants and help you choose the perfect one for your space.

Cat Palm and Parlor Palm Overview


The Cat Palm, or Chamaedorea cataractarum, originates from Mexico and is best suited for outdoor growth in USDA zones 10 and 11 (Leafy Place). On the other hand, Parlor Palm, also known as Chamaedorea elegans, is native to Central America and can adapt better to indoor environments, making it a popular house plant.


cat palm appearance

Cat Palms feature clump-forming, soft fronds with little in the way of stems, and usually grow up to 10 feet (Garden for Indoor). In contrast, Parlor Palms have a more uniform and tidier appearance, often with multiple seedlings planted together in the same container to create a fuller look ( Their fronds are not as spiky as those of Cat Palms, making them easier to maintain.

When it comes to price, Cat Palms are generally more affordable due to their less appealing appearance as table palms, while Parlor Palms are sought after for their adaptability to indoor placements, such as desks and tables, causing their price to be slightly higher (Better Planter).

Growing Conditions

Watering Requirements

Cat Palm

Cat palms typically prefer moist soil and should be watered consistently to maintain this moisture level. Parlor palms, on the other hand, require less frequent watering and can tolerate a slightly drier soil condition. Do not overwater either of these plants, as this can lead to root rot.

Light Requirements

cat palm next to a window

Both cat and parlor palms grow well in environments with varying light conditions. The cat palm, however, thrives in bright light, preferably in a space with light coming from the west or south of your home (Better Planter). The parlor palm is more adaptable, capable of growing in different lighting situations, including low and indirect light (The Spruce).

Temperature Requirements

Cat palms grow best with temperatures ranging from 70°F to 80°F (21°C – 27°C) (Leafy Place). Parlor palms also prefer room temperatures, specifically between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It is important to keep both plants away from drafts, vents, or fluctuating temperatures for optimal growth (The Spruce).

Soil Requirements

For both the cat palm and the parlor palm, well-draining soil is essential to promote healthy root development and prevent overwatering issues. Consider using a mixture of peat, potting soil, and sand, or perlite, to ensure proper drainage for these tropical plants.

Maintenance and Care

Both cat palms and parlor palms are popular choices for indoor plants due to their low-maintenance nature, making them suitable for busy homeowners and beginners alike.


When it comes to pruning, cat palms have spiky leaves that require trimming to maintain their appearance. In contrast, parlor palms have a more uniform and tidier look, needing less frequent pruning.


For both cat palms and parlor palms, repotting should be done when the plant has outgrown its current container. Carefully remove the plant, keeping the root ball intact, and transfer to a larger pot with fresh soil. This is vital for healthy growth and preventing root circling.


To ensure proper nutrition, both plants benefit from regular fertilizer application. A balanced, slow-release granular fertilizer or liquid houseplant fertilizer, applied as per the manufacturer’s instructions, suffice for providing essential nutrients to the palms.


Cat palms and parlor palms typically need water once or twice a week. It is essential to monitor the soil moisture and avoid overwatering. For cat palms, water when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch, ensuring the soil is moist but not soaked. On the other hand, parlor palms thrive in average humidity and room temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

By following these simple maintenance and care guidelines, both cat palms and parlor palms will reward you with their attractive appearance and air-purifying qualities.

Potential Problems

Both Cat Palms and Parlor Palms have their own set of potential problems that should be taken into consideration when caring for these plants. In this section, we will discuss the most common issues faced by both types of palms, focusing on pests and diseases.


Common pests that may infest Cat Palms and Parlor Palms include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. Spider mites are typically found in dry or dusty conditions, while mealybugs and scale insects can be found around the stems and leaves of the plants. To combat these pests, it is recommended to regularly check for their presence and use appropriate pest control methods, such as horticultural oils or insecticidal soaps. In severe cases, a systemic insecticide may be necessary.


Both Cat Palms and Parlor Palms are susceptible to several diseases, such as root rot and fungal infections. Root rot can occur when the plants are over-watered or left in poorly-draining soil. Signs of root rot include yellowing leaves and a wilted appearance. To prevent this issue, be sure to use well-draining soil, and avoid over-watering. Fungal infections can develop under high humidity and poor air circulation conditions. To avoid fungal growth, maintain proper humidity levels and provide adequate airflow around the plants.

Regular inspection and proper care can help prevent these potential problems from negatively impacting your Cat Palms and Parlor Palms. Follow the guidelines mentioned in this section to help your palms stay healthy and thrive.

Suitability as Houseplants

Air Purification

Both cat palms and parlor palms are known for their air purifying abilities. They have the capacity to remove pollutants and toxins from indoor air, contributing to a healthier environment. However, parlor palms may have a slight edge, as their more uniform and tidy growth habits make them easier to maintain and care for in a household setting.

Pet Safety

Cat palms and parlor palms are both considered safe for pets. This means that pet owners can confidently include these palms in their home decor without worrying about potential harm to their furry friends. Whether you choose a cat palm or a parlor palm, you can rest assured that your pets will remain safe around these attractive plants.

Some differences between the two palms include that cat palms tend to be slightly cheaper than parlor palms, mainly because they are not as easily suited for use as table palms. Their spiky leaves need to be trimmed, compared to the tidier appearance of parlor palms. Furthermore, parlor palms are slow growers and can live up to 75 years, while cat palms have a lifespan of about 20 years.

When selecting a houseplant, it’s important to consider factors like appearance, ease of care, and pet safety. Both cat palms and parlor palms offer benefits in each of these areas, making them suitable options for houseplants.


When choosing between a Cat Palm and a Parlor Palm, it’s important to consider their distinct characteristics. Cat Palms have spiky leaves that need trimming, while Parlor Palms have a tidier appearance with uniform fronds. Parlor Palms can live up to 75 years, whereas Cat Palms have a lifespan of about 20 years.

From a cost perspective, Cat Palms tend to be slightly cheaper since they are not as suitable for table displays as their Parlor Palm counterparts. As houseplants, Parlor Palms feature elongated, arching fronds, while Cat Palms have long, upright, pointy leaves.

In summary, Parlor Palms are considered more versatile due to their ability to thrive in various indoor spaces and maintain a tidy appearance. However, choosing between the two ultimately depends on personal preference and the specific requirements of the space where the plant will reside.