How to Propagate Cat Palm Tree?

cat palm tree

Ah, the Cat Palm Tree – a popular tropical beauty that brings the essence of the lush, green outdoors into our living spaces.

Over the years, I’ve developed a soft spot for this lovely plant, also known as Chamaedorea cataractarum, for its versatility and ease of care.

But what is more exciting than owning a Cat Palm? Propagating it, of course! Propagation allows you to multiply your Cat Palm, share it with others, or perhaps just ensure its longevity. Also, here is a detailed article on how to care for Cat Palm Tree

But how do you do it effectively? Stay with me as we delve into the fascinating process of Cat Palm propagation.

Cat Palm Tree Propagation Basics

MethodTime for PropagationWorking TimeTotal TimeDifficulty LevelMaterials Required
Seed Germination6-8 weeks2-3 hours2-3 monthsIntermediateSeeds, potting mix, pots, plastic bags, and a heat mat
DivisionInstantly1-2 hours1-2 hoursIntermediateMature plant, knife, pots, and potting mix

Propagation Methods

Seed Germination

cat palm tree seed

One of the most exciting ways to propagate your Cat Palm Tree is by seed germination. Here’s how you do it:

Materials Required:

  • Cat Palm seeds
  • High-quality potting mix
  • Small pots or seed trays
  • Clear plastic bags
  • Heat mat


  1. Fill the small pots or seed trays with potting mix.
  2. Place the Cat Palm seeds on the surface of the mix. Cover them lightly with some additional potting mix.
  3. Water the mix thoroughly. The mix should be moist, but not waterlogged.
  4. Cover the pots or trays with clear plastic bags to create a mini greenhouse environment that will retain moisture and warmth.
  5. Place the setup on a heat mat to maintain a consistent warm temperature, around 75-85°F (24-29°C).
  6. Be patient. Germination can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks. During this time, make sure the potting mix stays moist.
  7. Once the seeds have sprouted, remove the plastic bags. Move the pots to a location with bright, indirect light and continue to water as needed.


cat palm tree divison

Division is another effective method of propagating your Cat Palm Tree. This method is relatively faster and easier as compared to seed germination. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Materials Required:

  • A mature Cat Palm plant
  • Sharp knife or pruning shears
  • Potting mix
  • Pots


  1. Choose a healthy, mature Cat Palm plant.
  2. Using a sharp knife or pruning shears, carefully cut the plant at the base to divide it into two or more sections. Each division should have an adequate number of fronds and roots.
  3. Plant each division into a pot filled with potting mix.
  4. Water the new plants thoroughly and place them in a location with bright, indirect light.
  5. Continue to water as needed. Your newly propagated Cat Palm Trees should start to establish themselves in a few weeks.

Problems in Propagating Cat Palm Tree

Growing Cat Palm Trees can be a rewarding journey, but like all worthwhile ventures, it’s not without its challenges. As a seasoned houseplant enthusiast, I’ve seen and overcome various hurdles in the propagation process. Let’s navigate them together:

Poor Seed Germination: Sometimes, despite our best efforts, seeds just don’t germinate. This could be due to a variety of factors including poor seed quality, incorrect temperature, or inadequate moisture.

Stunted Growth Post Propagation: After successful germination or division, your new plants may experience stunted growth. This could be due to inadequate light, incorrect watering, or unsuitable soil.

Leaf Browning or Yellowing: Browning or yellowing leaves are often a sign of stress. Overwatering, low humidity, or exposure to direct sunlight can cause this issue.

cat palm tree 3

Disease and Pest Issues: Like any plant, the Cat Palm Tree can be susceptible to diseases and pests, such as root rot, spider mites, or mealybugs.

Solution: Maintain good plant hygiene by cleaning your plant’s leaves and inspecting it regularly for signs of pests. If detected early, most pest infestations can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil. For disease issues, ensure you’re not overwatering and that your plant has good airflow.

Tips to Propagate

As a houseplant aficionado, I’ve found that cultivating plants is a journey full of lessons and delightful surprises. Among the many plants I’ve propagated, the Cat Palm Tree holds a special place in my green heart. Here are some tips I’ve gathered from my experiences to help you propagate this tropical beauty successfully.

Basic Level Tips

Water Propagation: Though not commonly used for Cat Palm Tree propagation, water propagation is a popular method for many plant species due to its simplicity. Essentially, it involves rooting a plant cutting in water before transferring it to soil.

However, it’s important to note that Cat Palm Trees are generally propagated through seed germination or division. But if you’re up for an experiment, you could give water propagation a shot with a healthy stem cutting and see if it roots. Just remember, it’s a bit of a gamble!

Soil Propagation (Seed Germination): This is the most conventional method of propagating Cat Palms. Here’s the step-by-step process, simplified:

  1. Fill a pot with a good quality potting mix.
  2. Place your seeds on the surface and cover them lightly with the mix.
  3. Water the mix, ensuring it’s moist but not waterlogged.
  4. Cover the pot with a clear plastic bag to create a mini greenhouse and place it on a heat mat.
  5. Wait for the magic to happen! Seeds should sprout within 6-8 weeks.

Advanced Level Tips

Propagation by Division: As an advanced level propagator, division should be a part of your repertoire. It’s a faster method compared to seed germination, and it can provide you with a new plant that’s an exact clone of the parent. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Carefully uproot your mature Cat Palm Tree.
  2. Gently separate the root ball into two or more sections, ensuring each has roots and fronds attached.
  3. Plant each division into a pot filled with potting mix and water thoroughly.
  4. Watch your new Cat Palms flourish!

Rhizome Propagation: Cat Palm Trees have underground stems called rhizomes from which new shoots can grow. While rhizome propagation is usually more applicable to certain species like ferns and bamboos, some houseplant enthusiasts have been known to try this method with their Cat Palms. The process involves dividing the rhizomes and planting them separately, similar to the division method.

cat palm tree 4

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Cat Palm easy to propagate?

Propagating a Cat Palm Tree can be moderately easy, depending on the method you choose. Seed germination can be a bit tricky and time-consuming, requiring specific conditions for success. In contrast, the division method, while potentially more stressful for the parent plant, usually yields quicker results and has a higher success rate. As with any propagation project, patience, attention to detail, and persistence are key.

How long does it take to propagate a Cat Palm Tree?

The timeline for Cat Palm Tree propagation varies depending on the method. If you’re propagating by seed, expect germination to occur in about 6-8 weeks, with a full-grown plant taking several months to a year. If you’re propagating by division, your new plant will be established as soon as it starts growing new leaves, typically within a few weeks.

Can I propagate Cat Palm Tree in water?

Cat Palm Trees are typically propagated by seed germination or division, both of which occur in soil. However, some gardeners enjoy experimenting with water propagation. It’s less commonly used and success rates can vary, but if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s no harm in giving it a shot!

Why are my Cat Palm seeds not germinating?

Several factors could be inhibiting your Cat Palm seeds from germinating. These include poor seed quality, incorrect temperature, inadequate moisture, or a combination of these. Using a heat mat, maintaining consistent soil moisture, and sourcing high-quality seeds from a reputable supplier can increase your chances of successful germination.

Why is my newly propagated Cat Palm not growing?

If your newly propagated Cat Palm is not growing, it may be due to unsuitable growing conditions. This could include inadequate light, improper watering, or unsuitable soil. Ensure your Cat Palm is receiving bright, indirect light, regular water (but not overwatering), and is planted in a well-draining soil mix.

About Christopher Evans

Hello, I'm Chris, the green-thumbed Founder of I'm passionate about bringing the beauty of nature indoors through houseplants and indoor gardening. Let's create healthier and more beautiful living spaces, one plant at a time!

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