I’ve had this Cat Palm for about 2 months. It was on clearance at Home Depot & wasn’t super healthy looking when I bought it. I thought I’d try to save it.

I have been inconsistent in watering it- it’ll go prolonged (2-ish+ weeks) without being watered, and then I’d give it a real good watering. About a month ago I noticed it was looking more sickly- at that point it was mostly just browning/ yellowing leave tips & some browning around the base of the stems - it was similar in texture & appearance to being like when you peel an onion- that’s the best way I can describe it.

I used an app to try & diagnose the plant. The app said it was “brown spot” which is a fungal infection & to first spray with a mix of soap and water, then with neem oil & if that didn’t take care of the problem, to use a copper fungicide. Also it said to remove all the dead parts. I peeled off all of the onion layer type stuff from the base of each stem. This wasn’t easy because it seemed to go all the way down to the roots but I managed to pull most of them out & I cut some of them off, which left a portion still on the plant, but what was left was more like an actual stem.

I sprayed with soap & water for 3 days. Then I started with Neem- I only sprayed the plant once. I sprayed everywhere including soaking the top of the soil with neem. The plant was soaked & dripping. I let it dry naturally. Since that time my plant has been getting worse & worse. Over the next few days, a lot of the stems started turning white. Now, I was supposed to follow up in 7 days & spray it again, but I never did. That was about 3 weeks ago.

I’ve been neglecting this plant. Today I decided I was ready to tackle this because I had several other plants that needed some love as well. The stems are now white in some places with a yellow/brown looking ring all around the white part. There are dark brown/black colored spots all over the stems. The app I used to try & diagnose my plant says it’s brown spot on the leaves. But it’s not the leaves, it’s on the stems. After watching some YouTube video I started chopping off parts & pieces of my plant. But I’m not sure how to deal with the onion type layers of the stems. Are they supposed to be that way?

Anyways, I watch a YouTube video that says you can pretty much revive any dying plant by soaking it in hydrogen peroxide & water for a bit because it gives oxygen to the roots or something like that. I pulled the plant out of its pot & there is way more root than soil. The roots were all curled up & real snug in the pot- it obviously needed to be repotted badly. I gently start loosening the roots with my fingers and I used water to help remove some of the soil. Then I put the plant into a clean bucket & I poured hydrogen peroxide & water over the roots. The top portion of the roots of the plant were not all the way underneath the solution - some parts were sticking out. So while I’m sitting & waiting & kinda watching the hydrogen peroxide bubble, I notice something moving. There’s a long worm type bug with a million legs sticking his body out over the solution, like he was checking out what was going on. I get closer to get a good look at him & just as I do, another one of the same exact bug comes crawling out from the inside of this big stem that I had cut off a few weeks ago. The outside onion part is white & the inside is brown & looks almost like it’s rotten. Now I’m super itchy & feel like bugs are everywhere. There’s also been some type of very small black flying bugs coming from this plant.

Should I just get rid of this guy? Or can he be saved? What on earth is going on with this plant? Please help!

where the bugs came from

the brown & white streaks on the stems

bugs that came out of the stem full photo of cat palm

enter image description here

  • The centipedes are harmless soil insects. Any Neem that landed on the soil was not good - mask with newspaper next time. A garage has no sun, which is all your plant needs to rejuvenate. Commented Oct 19, 2023 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


Urghh...Those centipedes.. freaking me out :(

Disclaimer: I have no experience with cat palm trees.

  1. Potting media looks no good to me, kinda mushy. Check if it is well drained, which means when you water it enough, it will get out like immediately, nothing remains there. The water just moists the soil. This is very important. I lost a lot of my plants due to this and learned this the hard way.

  2. If there is any rotten part, be it stem, be it roots, remove them. Put fungicide to that removed part and let it dry.

  3. The one with centipede looks to be wasted. Remove it. Check others if they are hollow inside near the root. If you press the stems with thumb you will feel if they are hollow or solid, though they look good to me.

  4. Handle the one with centipedes carefully, some of them are venomous and you can get stung by them. There can be more of them. Centipedes cause no harm to plant, they eat insects. So, there may have been insects in there.

My suggestion: Get rid of the centipede palm , and rot, put fungicide in any rot part,root or stem and dry for a day or two. Prepare a good potting mix, you can put a little amount of fungicide in there too. Now plant the good palms in this media. Good luck!

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