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House Plants/Chamaedorea cataractarum under artificial lighting


CFL light
CFL light  

CFL and Philips Florescent
CFL and Philips Flores  
Two weeks ago I have bought a cat palm from wal-mart for my new apartment room, problem is that it gets almost no natural light. I am very dependant on artificial light. Right now I have it under a 100 watt equivalent 24 watt CFL florescent bulb (Cool white spectrum) and a 32 watt philips Linear cool white Fluorescent Light, will this do??, what can you suggest in terms of artificial lighting for this type of palm?.
The lighting is timed on a 8/16 cycle every day.
I do not plan on growing under artificial light for long, just until spring/summer comes along.
-In need of advice. Thank You!

Hi Melcher,

Let me start by saying that your existing setup is probably just fine for the next several months.

Cat Palms prefer lots of bright, but indirect natural sunlight. Artificial lights do not provide the full spectrum of light that sunlight does. However, fluorescent lights do provide lots of light in the blue range that plants require and some in the red range that plants also need. If you have the option, changing one of the cool white bulbs to warm white would provide a better balance of blue-red light quality.

You might want to move the CFL a bit more above the plant so that the light is not so concentrated on one section of the Palm at the expense of the other sections. You didn't indicate if the CFL is a flood or a spotlight. Flood lights are preferred because they spread the light over a wider range.

The fluorescent tube covers a broader area and is good in that respect. However, because light intensity drops off significantly with every foot of distance, the closer the tube is to the plant, the more helpful it will be for your Palm.

Finally, I would suggest a 12 hour on, 12 hour off cycle for your Palm.

I have written detailed articles on light and on Palm care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

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