Last Updated on February 3, 2022 by Griselda M.
We will discuss cat palm vs. areca palm differences and similarities to help you get a clear idea before growing any of them.
Palm trees are a beautiful addition to your landscape or indoor plants. They are tall, green, and stunning, easy to grow and maintain.
These plants not only beautify your home but also purify the air indoors. Palm trees have a calming that is therapeutic to the mind. Taking care of houseplants can also have a positive effect on us.
With a large variety of palm trees, most of us get confused about which palm tree best suits our living area. In this article, we will look at two types that are commonly grown and elaborate on their similarities and differences.
What Is The Difference Between A Cat Palm And An Areca Palm?
Let’s look at some of the differences between cat palm vs. areca palm
The most significant difference between cat palm vs. areca palm is the leaves. Cat palm has a darker color and fewer leaflets in the fronds, whereas the areca palm has a light green color and more leaflets on the fronds.
The cat palm leaves are a bit wider than the areca. They are one foot long and one inch wide, while areca’s leaves are also a foot long or maybe longer but 0.5-0.6 inches wide. The Areca palm leaves, therefore, look sharper and more elongated. The smaller width of the areca palm leaves allows more leaves on the leaf stem giving this plant a more complex and fascinating appearance.
Cat palm leaves are denser than areca and more tolerant to fungal infection.
Size Of The Plant
The Areca palm is twice the size of the cat palm. The cat palm grows up to 3 to 4 feet tall when grown in a large pot. If grown outdoors, the plant can reach up to 7 feet tall and 8 feet wide. The areca palm is much larger, growing up to over 7 feet tall in a pot and about the same in width. Grown outdoors under favorable conditions, the areca palm can easily grow to over 30 feet in height.
Areca palm requires more space to grow indoors due to its large size. On the other hand, the cat palm needs a relatively small space in your home.
Cat palm grows like a sprawling bush than a tree and has thick stems at the base. In comparison, the areca palm is a full-fledged multi-trunked tree with thin stems that look more like bamboo stems.
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Cat palm vs. areca palm sunlight needs and tolerance is quite different. Cat palms thrive under indirect sunlight; their leaves burn and turn yellow in full sun. Areca palm tolerates the sun better than cat palm that does not like direct sunlight.
It is best to place them near a sunny window to receive either scattered or indirect light when growing indoors. The further north you are, the more light you should give to this plant, but not direct sun.
In the summer, take the cat palm outside in the blazing sun and place it under the canopy of another tree or on the north side of your house. If these palms grow out in the garden, they can tolerate the direct morning sun for a few hours. However, they will not be bright green but yellowish-green.
Areca palm tolerates direct sun without shade because it grows into a big tree. When growing this palm in a container, avoid the direct sun; however, it can thrive indoors in front of a southern window. It will do well because of the reflection of the sun’s rays.
Cat palm requires more water than the Areca palm and requires frequent watering. On average, you will need to water them twice a week, but they may require more frequent watering during the dry, hot weather.
Areca palm needs to be watered at least once a week. However, if the plant is large and the summer is hot, you can increase watering to at least every 5 days.
The best way to see if the palm trees need watering is to check the soil’s moisture content. You can use your fingers or a moisture meter. For potted plants, the soil in the pot should not dry out more than an inch deep. It is very easy to overwater your plants due to their higher water requirement.
Similarities Of Cat Palm Vs. Areca Palm
Here are some similarities found in cat palm vs. areca palm.
- Both require loose well-draining soils. Never plant any of these palms in heavy clay soil. Provide them with slightly acidic soils.
- These palms need regular fertilization. You will need to fertilize these palms at least a few times in a season or more often. There are many palm fertilizers on the market that you can use.
- Spider mites attack these two plants. These pests are a nightmare for any gardener as they are hardly visible and dangerous. As soon as you suspect spider mites, get rid of them right away.
How Do I Identify A Cat Palm?
The cat palm is a clustering palm with no trunk. It is just a dense clump of stems covered with feathery fronds. This palm grows up to 6 to 8 feet tall in a rounded form. It’s a slow grower that tolerates some sun mixed with shade, though it prefers shadier locations. You can grow it in zone 10 or warmer areas of zone 9B in a protected spot.
Is Areca Palm And Bamboo Palm The Same?
Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) is also known as the bamboo palm because of its soft fronds and tolerance to low light. This plant prefers moderate watering, fertile soil, and a monthly fertilizer application to maintain a lush look.
Over To You
Well, that’s a lot of information about the cat palm vs. bamboo palm or the cat palm vs. areca palm as most people commonly know it. As noted, you can see there are a few similarities compared to differences between these two common palms.
However, if you are looking to get one of these for your indoor decor, you can choose cat palm because it’s smaller in size or choose areca palm because of its beautiful stems that look like bamboo.
They are both stunning, especially when the sunlight falls on them!
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How do I identify a cat palm?
The cat palm is a clustering palm with no trunk. It is just a dense clump of stems covered with feathery fronds. This palm grows up to 6 to 8 feet tall in a rounded form. It's a slow grower that tolerates some sun mixed with shade, though it prefers shadier locations. You can grow it in zone 10 or in warmer areas of zone 9B in a protected spot.
Is areca palm and bamboo palm the same?
Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens) is also known as the bamboo palm because of its soft fronds and tolerance to low light. This plant prefers moderate watering, fertile soil and a monthly fertilizer application to maintain a lush look.
Caroline is a gardener who loves to get down to the nitty–gritty of gardening. She proudly proclaims herself as a ‘dirt worshipper‘ and can often be found deep in the garden, covered in soil and singing to her plants. As a self–proclaimed ‘plant whisperer‘, Caroline believes that plants need love and attention just like any other living thing, and she loves to give them both. When she‘s not tending to her garden, you can often find her researching the latest gardening trends, or teaching others how to make their gardens thrive