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How to Plant and Grow Foxtail Palm (Complete Guide)

Foxtail Palm

In the realm of tropical wonders, the Foxtail palm stands as an iconic symbol of elegance and grace featuring perfect proportions, self-cleaning habits, and full-rounded fronds.

With its lush green fronds cascading like a plume of feathers, it captures the imagination and transports us to exotic locales where palm trees sway in rhythm with the ocean breeze. It’s truly a tropical showstopper that can make any landscape look incredible with its single or multi-trunk specimens.

Native to the remote Cape Melville National Park in Queensland, Australia, this palm has traveled far and wide to become a beloved addition to gardens around the world.

The Foxtail palm’s botanical name, Wodyetia bifurcata, pays homage to Wodyeti, an Aboriginal bushman from the palm’s native region, and bifurcata, which refers to the palm’s distinctively forked fronds.

This palm species, discovered only in the late 1970s, quickly won the hearts of garden enthusiasts with its striking appearance and resilience in the face of challenging conditions.

Within the grand family of Arecaceae, the Foxtail palm boasts an array of characteristics that make it an enticing choice for both experienced gardeners and novices alike.

Its adaptability to diverse climates, relatively low maintenance requirements, and exceptional ornamental value have firmly secured its place as a cherished addition to tropical and subtropical landscapes.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice, this guide will offer you all the information you need to plant, grow, and care for Foxtail Palm like a pro.

Botanical Name: Wodyetia bifurcata

Common Name: Foxtail palm

Family: Arecaceae

Plant Type: Palm

Hardiness Zone: 10-11(USDA)

Sun Exposure: Full sun

Soil Type: Well-draining soil

Soil pH: Neutral to slightly acidic

Height: Up to 30 feet (9 meters)

Spacing: Varies, depending on the desired effect

Foxtail Palm Leaf

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

Foxtail Palm Tree Care

Foxtail palms are easy maintenance thanks to their self-cleaning habits, which means that their dead leaves fall off on their own. And so, they require little care if they’re provided with the right light, soil, and weather conditions.

It features a smooth gray trunk with big tufted fronds that resemble the bushy tail of a fox, and hence why it’s called ‘foxtail’. It’s a stunning palm to use as a focal point in most landscapes, as long as its size doesn’t overwhelm the house or its surroundings.

They are moderately salt-tolerant and so they work can great palms to grow if you live in a coastal area. Consider growing them indoors only if you can mimic the right conditions or if you have a greenhouse. They’re moderately drought-tolerant once they’re established, but require regular watering.


Foxtail Palms are native to tropical regions and thrive in plenty of sunlight. Ideally, your palm should be planted in an area that receives full sun to partial shade throughout the day. Keep in mind that Foxtail Palm is not suitable for indoor cultivation unless you have plenty of natural light available.


Good soil is a crucial factor when it comes to growing Foxtail Palms. These palms prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. If you’re planting your palm in a pot, make sure to choose a high-quality potting mix that allows water to drain quickly.


Foxtail Palm requires regular watering, especially during the growing season. Ensure that the soil is moist but not soggy, as too much water can cause root rot. It’s a good idea to water your palm deeply once a week, depending on the weather and soil conditions in your area.

Temperature and Humidity

As mentioned earlier, Foxtail Palms are native to tropical regions and require warm temperatures to thrive. These palms can tolerate temperatures as low as 30°F but grow best in temperatures ranging from 60°F to 80°F. Foxtail Palm also thrives in high humidity, but it can tolerate drier conditions as long as the soil is kept moist.

When grown indoors as aa houseplant, it grows best in the 65°F to 85°F range and maximum amount of light. And remember, this tropical plant loves humidity and so try increasing indoor levels with a humdifier. In general, it’s a tricky plant to grow indoors unless you have a greenhouse.


Foxtail Palm requires regular fertilization to promote healthy growth. Use a high-quality palm fertilizer that contains micronutrients and apply it once a month during the growing season. Don’t fertilize your palm during the winter months when it’s not actively growing.


While Foxtail Palms don’t require regular pruning, you may want to trim off any dead or damaged fronds to keep your palm looking its best. Use a clean pair of pruning shears to make a clean cut at the base of the frond, being careful not to damage the trunk of the palm.

Wodyetia bifurcata

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

Where to Plant Foxtail Palm

When it comes to planting Foxtail Palm, location is everything. These palms grow best in warm, tropical climates, but they can also do well in subtropical regions.

Ideally, you should plant your palm in an area that receives plenty of sunlight, away from any structures or trees that could block its growth. If you’re planting your palm in a pot, make sure to choose a location that allows for proper drainage.

Before planting your Foxtail Palm, it’s important to consider the soil conditions. These palms prefer well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, you may need to amend it with sand or compost to improve drainage and nutrient content.

Another factor to consider when planting Foxtail Palm is wind. These palms are relatively resistant to wind damage, but they do best in areas with moderate wind conditions. If you live in an area with strong winds, consider planting your palm near a windbreak, such as a fence or wall.

When selecting a location for your Foxtail Palm, keep in mind that these palms can grow up to 30 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Make sure to choose a location that allows for adequate space for the palm to grow and spread out.

Finally, it’s important to note that Foxtail Palm is a slow-growing palm. It can take up to 10 years for the palm to reach its full height. However, with proper care and maintenance, your Foxtail Palm can provide years of beauty and enjoyment in your landscape.

How and When to Plant Foxtail Palm

Foxtail Palm is a beautiful and popular palm tree that can add a tropical touch to any landscape. Native to Australia, this palm is well-suited for warm climates and can grow up to 30 feet tall.

When it comes to planting a Foxtail Palm, timing is important. While it can be planted any time of the year, it’s best to plant it during the warm season when the soil is warm and moist. This will give the palm the best chance to establish itself and thrive.

Before planting your Foxtail Palm, choose a location that provides full sun or partial shade. The palm prefers well-draining soil and does not tolerate wet feet. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, consider adding sand or perlite to improve drainage.

Buying a nursery plant from a garden center is the simplest and quickest)way to have a foxtail palm in your landscape. Although a foxtail palm from a nursery can be planted at any time of year, it is best to put it in the spring or early summer to offer the plant the maximum heat after planting. Choose a place with full sun exposure and healthy, well draining, sandy soil.

Dig a hole double the width and depth of the nursery container. If necessary, amend the soil and place the tree in the hole at the same depth as it was in the container. Press down on the soil to remove air pockets and thoroughly water it and then apply a 4 inch layer of mulch.

Foxtail Palm Fruit

Foxtail Palm Fruit – Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

How to Propagate Foxtail Palm

Propagating Foxtail Palm can be a fun and rewarding experience for any gardener. There are two common methods of propagating Foxtail Palm – by seeds or by division of mature palms.

Propagating Foxtail Palm by Seeds

Seed propagation is the most common method of propagating Foxtail Palm. To propagate by seeds, you will need to collect ripe fruits from your palm. The fruits of Foxtail Palm are bright red or orange and usually appear in clusters.

Once you have collected the fruits, you will need to extract the seeds by soaking the fruit in water for a few days. This will soften the fruit and make it easier to remove the seeds.

After the seeds have been extracted, you will need to prepare a potting mix. A good potting mix for Foxtail Palm seeds should be well-draining and rich in nutrients. You can use a commercial potting mix or make your own by mixing equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite.

Sow the seeds in the potting mix, and keep them moist. You can cover the pot with a plastic bag or wrap to help retain moisture. Place the pot in a warm, bright spot, but out of direct sunlight. The seeds should germinate in 2 – 12 months.

Propagating Foxtail Palm by Division

Another method of propagating Foxtail Palm is by division of mature palms. This method is best done in late winter or early spring, before the palm tree begins to grow new fronds.

To propagate by division, you will need to carefully dig up the mature palm tree and separate the offsets or suckers from the parent plant. Offsets are small palm trees that grow at the base of the parent plant. Suckers are shoots that grow from the roots of the parent plant.

Once you have separated the offsets or suckers, you will need to plant them in a well-draining potting mix. Water the new plants thoroughly and place them in a warm, bright spot, but out of direct sunlight. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged. The new plants should begin to grow new fronds within a few weeks.

Foxtail Palm Trees

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases for Foxtail Palm

When it comes to landscaping, few trees are as striking and visually appealing as the Foxtail Palm. With its unique, bushy fronds and towering height, it’s no wonder that this palm has become a staple in many tropical and subtropical regions. However, like any other plant, Foxtail Palm is susceptible to pests and diseases that can cause significant damage if left unchecked.


One of the most common pests that can attack your Foxtail Palm is the palm leaf skeletonizer. This insect feeds on palm leaves and can cause significant damage if the infestation is severe.

You may notice that the leaves of your palm have become ragged and tattered, with large holes and patches of missing tissue. If you suspect that your palm has been infested with palm leaf skeletonizer, it’s essential to act quickly to prevent the problem from spreading.

Another pest that can attack your Foxtail Palm is spider mites. These tiny insects are difficult to spot with the naked eye, but you may notice that the leaves of your palm have become speckled with small, yellowish dots.

Spider mites feed on the sap of the leaves, which can cause them to wilt and die over time. Scale insects are another common pest that can attack your palm. These insects feed on the sap of the leaves and can cause significant damage if the infestation is severe.

Other pests including mealybugs, banana moths, whiteflies and ambrosia beetles can affect your foxtail palm.

To prevent pest infestations, make sure to keep your palm well-watered and fertilized. A healthy palm is less likely to be attacked by pests than a stressed or weakened one.

If you notice any signs of pest infestation, use an organic insecticide to control the problem. Avoid using harsh chemicals, as these can harm the palm and other plants in your garden.


Fungal diseases can also be a problem for Foxtail Palm. One of the most common diseases is Ganoderma root rot, which can cause irreversible damage to the roots and base of the palm.

This disease is caused by a type of fungus that attacks the roots of the palm, causing them to rot and decay. If left untreated, Ganoderma root rot can cause the palm to collapse and die.

To prevent fungal diseases, make sure to plant your palm in well-draining soil and avoid overwatering. Foxtail Palm prefers soil that is moist but not waterlogged, so it’s essential to strike the right balance.

If you notice any signs of fungal disease, such as yellowing or wilting leaves, it’s essential to act quickly to prevent the problem from spreading.


Other Palm Tree Guides from Planet Natural:

20 Most Popular Types of Palm Trees for Homeowners

How to Grow and Care for Majesty Palm – Complete Guide