All palm trees are beautiful. Whether we want to decorate our living rooms or outdoor spaces, we want them to bring their tropical touch and lush green colors to fill their surrounding space with beauty and aesthetics.
Plant owners are often indecisive when buying suitable indoor plants for their houses or offices, but the decision becomes even more inconclusive when a palm is in question.
Among other palm trees, cat palm and majesty palm is among the most popular palm varieties, but deciding whether to get one instead of the other can be tricky.
Cat Palm vs. Majesty Palm
There is a lot of similarity and difference between cat palm and majesty palm, as both have dark green and beautiful fronds and grow well in humid conditions, but they have different soil, watering, and light requirements.
But to sum it up, cat palms are a better choice of plants for indoor spaces, and majesty palms thrive outdoors. Let us take a closer look at their characteristics so that you can decide which palm tree best suits your needs.
Cat palms are smaller in size than majesty palms. They have fluffy and arching palm leaves, which resemble more to areca palms. The leaf stems of cat palms are green, and the plumed leaves appear bushy and can be used as a backdrop where areca palms cannot adjust. Cat palms can grow up to a height of 4 to 6 feet.
Cat palms are lower-growing palms that thrive in filtered light. It gets leaf burn in intense light, so placing cat palms in indirect and medium light is recommended. Ensure its soil is always moist but not too saturated, as overwatering kills cat palms.
Majesty palms are huge palms having feathery and graceful large fronds. The robust and tropical palm grows its leaves in an erect design that is sharp in appearance and forms an untidy crown. The leaves grow from a swollen trunk, and the palm can grow even larger than 10 feet outdoors.
Majesty palms like high levels of humidity and watering. They are also accustomed to a brighter light than cat palms, and their large size demands an accessible outdoor space where they can easily spread their long fronds.
Majesty palms require more water than cat palms and are very sensitive to humidity conditions.
The leaves of the cat’s palm are soft and feathery. They are much smaller than majesty palm leaves and grow in clusters, making them excellent houseplants to fill any barren corner of a room or provide the perfect foliage backdrop.
Both palms have dark green foliage, but their differences depend upon the leaves’ size, texture, and shape.
Majesty palms have tough and sharp fronds that grow in an upright fashion. Majesty palms require a lot of space to accommodate their large size, more giant fronds, and plenty of sunlight to avoid bending and wilting the beautiful leaves of this slow-growing plant.
This is why if you are planning to place a large palm in a high-ceilinged and brightly lit room, then majesty palm can bring a striking structural appeal indoors. Otherwise, it is an excellent outdoor plant.
3. Light Requirements
Cat palms are bushy, soft, and feathery palms often found growing under the shade and canopy of other large trees, which means that cat palms can maintain their clustering appearance and small size when they grow under low light conditions.
Conversely, the small size of the cat palm is why it needs less intense sunlight to thrive. You can place your cat’s palm in a well-lit area where it receives indirect sunlight for 4 to 5 hours daily. Intense direct light will scorch and burn the palm leaves.
Majesty palm, on the other hand, has straighter, longer, and more striking leaves, allowing the plant to grow even more than 10 feet tall if placed in suitable conditions. Majesty palm is hard to grow and contain in a pot. It is a giant palm and not very easy to manage.
Majesty’s palm requires plenty of sunlight to maintain its leaves’ upright shape, and exposure to direct and soft sunlight in the morning will be very favorable for its growth.
4. Humidity Levels
The demands of humidity levels from each palm are a striking difference between the cat palm and the majesty palm. The former doesn’t require a lot of constant humidity. When a cat palm is under temperature and humidity stress, it simply shows its concerns by its drying leaves. However, cat palms are more tolerant of different humid conditions than majesty palms.
Cat palms require humidity levels between 40 to 60%, which can be achieved simply by misting its leaves once or twice daily or placing the palm on a pebble tray or near a humidifier.
Majesty palm demands high humidity levels, at least 50% or more. Low humidity levels can put your plant under extreme stress if you live in a state with lower humidity than others, like Arizona, Nevada, or New Mexico.
When growing a majesty palm outdoors, a hygrometer must be used to check the surrounding humidity levels. Use water in trays or humidifiers to saturate surrounding air with moisture if the humidity drops below 50%.
Majesty palms are pretty dramatic when it comes to their reaction against low humidity levels, which is why if you cannot handle the needs of this plant promptly and effectively, then a more tolerant cat palm would suit you better.
Both palms share a common enemy: the sap-sucking spider mites.
Spider mites attack the foliage of plant leaves, and even though the pests are hard to see and tiny enough to detect with the naked eye, they suck the leaves’ sap, developing brown spots on the beautiful foliage.
Spider mites reside on the underside of plant leaves and grow in rapidly dividing colonies. If not treated and removed promptly, spider mites grow on other surrounding houseplants and infect them.
Spider mites are easy to tackle using insecticidal soap or neem oil. The good news is that both cat palms and majesty palms grow in humid environments, and spider mites cannot survive in such conditions, so high humidity levels already give them a challenge infecting and growing on these plants.
Washing off the mites with garden spray and using insecticidal soap regularly will keep the disease at bay.
Furthermore, fungal diseases are also commonly found in houseplants. Cat palms and majesty palms are no exception. Letting the palms stand in water, overwatering them, and not ensuring that their soil drains properly are the reasons for fungal diseases development. Severely overwatered palms can develop root rot diseases, leading to trunk rot in majesty palms.
6. Watering Conditions
Cat palms cannot survive well under extreme overwatering conditions. The standard practice to water cat palms is doing so after every 5 to 7 days, depending upon temperature and light conditions. The plant thrives in medium light, which means it doesn’t require much water for sufficient growth.
Cat palm requires wet potting soil, but overwatering can kill it. Cat palms require a drainage hole at the base of their pot, and plant owners must ensure they check the top 4 inches of the soil before watering it. This technique helps them protect their plants from overwatering.
On the flip side, Majesty palms are large and upright palms that require more light and even more water to grow properly and maintain their appearance. Those who have majesty palms must ensure to water their palm more frequently, as it demands a high amount of water that is free from toxins and heavy minerals.
Majesty palms require even more frequent watering when placed outdoors in bright light. However, checking the top 2 inches of soil is recommended before watering this palm.
7. Soil Ph
Cat palm demands well-aerated, well-draining, and loose soil. Using heavily compacted clay soil will not allow the water to flow and drain properly, leading to waterlogged conditions that are highly dangerous for cat palm health.
Cat palms enjoy slightly acidic to neutral soil, and adding perlite to any regular potting mix will increase its drainage characteristics.
Majesty palms also require well-draining soils and sand-based and porous soils are preferable for all palms, including majesty palms. Majesty palms enjoy slightly acidic soil, and the acidity can be increased by adding compost or peat moss to the soil.
Lowering the pH of Majesty’s Palm soil can be a tricky challenge for beginner plant owners. It takes adjusting and tweaking the soil conditions to ensure maximum stability.
If you are enthusiastic enough to buy one of these two palm categories and are willing to cater to the specific requirements, then a cat palm or a majesty palm will be a well-thriving and easy-to-grow palm tree.
However, most plant owners cannot take care of their houseplants’ challenging requirements, resulting in their wilted or lifeless appearance due to poor growing conditions. It is essential to properly understand the growth requirements for cat palms and majesty palms and the specific conditions and areas in which you can house your palm.
Considering all options, it is safe to say that majesty palms are more suitable palm trees to grow outdoors, as their demanding conditions are better managed in ample space and well-draining soil.
Cat palms are more suitable to grow indoors, where their watering and humidity levels are better managed due to their small size. All in all, it is always up to you to consider your options and decide which palm is better suited for you.
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Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.