I'm looking to buy a new palm to keep indoors in a 9-10 pot.

I've narrowed my selection down to two palms, I'm wondering which would be easier to take care of between the 2 plants:

  • Cateracterum Palm
  • Areca Palm
  • What size do you need? What location are you in? Is it going to be indoors or out? Potted or in a bed? Please add more detail. – J. Musser Jan 7 '15 at 20:44
  • looking to get 9-10 in pot for indoor – Joseph Wit Jan 7 '15 at 21:07

I would not choose either palm as an indoor plant. They are smaller and fast growing which makes them popular with the growers but if they are grown in less than optimum conditions (which is typical of indoor conditions, dim and dry) they can be stressed easily.

Areca palms will get spider mites if conditions are not optimum and there is a source. Once that happens they are hard to control.

The cat palm is not a good choice for indoors as it needs to be moist and have good diffuse light.

The bella palm is another small fast growing palm that will tolerate low light for a while.

My experience with most palms that are used indoors is that the small stock size(3 inch to 8" pot size) are not well established and can easily be stressed with low light, low humidity, pests or poor watering practices.

If you are able to get larger size material (12" to 16" + pot size) these plants are more stable and able to withstand less than optimum conditions.

In all cases check your purchase for spider mites which live on the underside of the leaves and scale which can be found anywhere.

The kentia palm is the Rolls Royce of indoor palms:

  • tolerates lower light levels
  • Thicker fronds are more resistant to physical injury and pests
  • slow but steady growth
  • long lived (ten years or more) under ideal conditions
  • what about a Neanthebella Palm? – Joseph Wit Jan 8 '15 at 17:48

Assuming you want it as a houseplant, choose an Areca palm - compared to Chamaedora cataracturum (Cat palm), its easy care. The so called cat palm requires a tropical environment, with very bright light, whereas Areca will do fine in lower light conditions in normal temperatures, without requiring excessive humidity. I wouldn't say either was better than the other; grown in the right conditions, both are good plants, but from the care point of view, Areca is best.

  • what fertilizer wuld you recomend i use? – Joseph Wit Jan 7 '15 at 21:10
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    I give mine Baby Bio houseplant food, only in spring/early summer, and only once a week for about 6 weeks. I largely ignore it the rest of the time, watering when the surface of the compost feels a bit dry to the touch (probably once a week), but it is on an unheated stair landing 6 feet from an almost always open window (summer and winter), so doesn't dry out too much most of the year. Repot only when absolutely essential... – Bamboo Jan 8 '15 at 11:30
  • Bamboo, is it true what kevinsky said below – Joseph Wit Jan 8 '15 at 15:57
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    Not exactly the right formulation for a palm - something like 10-10-10 is closer. My feed is 10-4.6-1.7. Whatever Kevinsky has said, you can trust - he knows his onions! Certainly, Kentia is probably the easiest of all the indoor palms, I'd agree with that. – Bamboo Jan 8 '15 at 19:37
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    I'd just add, I haven't any infestations of any description on my palm, and I've had it 15 years, but its in a pretty coolish spot... not sure which bit of the other answer you're checking up on. – Bamboo Jan 8 '15 at 19:50

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