Foxtail Palm – Arching, Tail-Like Fronds
The Foxtail Palm tree, also known as Wodyetia bifurcata, is a magestic,
fast-growing palm native to Australia.
This palm tree can grow up to 40 feet tall with a spread of 15 – 20
The smooth, light-gray to light-brown trunk is 12 to 18 inches in
diameter, thicker at the base.
The crownshaft is 3 feet tall, bluish green in color. The crown is
formed by eight to ten arching evergreen fronds that emerge from the
Like the name suggests, the palm fronds resemble the tail of a fox.
leaflets are wedge-shaped with jagged ends and dark green to bluish
green in color in top, silvery underneath.
The flowers are attached to branched spikes that are 2 – 3 feet long.
The small male and female flowers are yellow-green in color. Fruit is 2
inches long, deep orange to deep red when ripe, and grows in large
Foxtail Palm looks similar to Royal Palm (Roystonea regia); however it
is not as massive. Partial shade is sufficient in subtropical and
tropical climates when this palm is young, full sun exposure when older.
This palm tree grows quickly. It can start as an indoor plant; however,
it will eventually need to be transplanted outside. A full-grown
foxtail palm tree will reach a height of up to 40 feet.
Pruning is not required since this palm is self-cleaning and drops
leaves naturally. The leaves turn from green to yellow, fade and fall
from the tree.
Growing and caring for Wodyetia bifurcata is easy with proper planting,
watering and feeding.
Wodyetia bifurcata – Basic Care and Information
palm trees add majestic tropical appeal to residential and commercial
landscape designs. Specimens can be planted in groups as a
mass planting, or featured as a focal point in the landscape.
Several trees can be planted in a row along a driveway or winding road
in large residential and commercial landscapes. This fast growing palm
thrives in full sun to partial shade. It grows best in well-drained,
sandy soil that is slightly acidic.
Tips for Planting
USDA Hardiness Zone
Can be planted year-round in zones 10 – 11.
Choose a location that receives partial to full sun – full sun is
ideal. The location should be large enough to accommodate
Choose a spot where the full height of the plant will not interfere
with power lines or other overhead obstructions. Allow a minimum of ten
to twelve feet between plantings.
Wodyetia bifurcata likes sandy, well-draining soil.
Steps for Planting
Choose a location that receives partial to full sun; one that will
accommodate the height and spread of the palm tree.
- Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball. Note:
The hole should be as deep as the root ball is tall. The soil
surrounding the roots should be loose to allow for easy establishment.
- Use a shovel and score the sides of the hole to loosen the
dirt. This will help the roots to penetrate through the soil in its new
home. Mix the soil from the hole and the pot the tree came in with sand
to create a mix of 2 parts soil, 1 part sand. This will allow for
- Add a small amount of water to the bottom of the hole and
shovel in a thin layer of the soil mixture. This will help reduce the
shock to the palm tree when it is planted.
- Get the roots of the palm wet and place it in the center of
the hole – make sure the tree is standing straight. Fill the hole
halfway with soil and pack firmly. Fill in the hole with the remaining
soil and sand mixture while packing firmly around the base of the palm
Add three inches of
organic mulch around the palm tree. Water the plant
thoroughly. Large, newly planted palm trees may need to be
protected from winds and storms by using a brace.
- Water thoroughly after planting is completed.
Newly planted palms like lots of water. For the first two to
three weeks, water daily. Continue watering three times a
week. Once established, palms require minimal
watering. During the warmer months, water palm tree
approximately two to three times per week. Water
approximately once a week during the winter.
- Apply a light application of controlled-release fertilizer
3 – 4 months after transplanting. When new leaves start to appear, a
regular fertilization schedule should be established. A fertilizer rich
in micronutrients that contains slow-release potassium is ideal.
Growth rate will be slow after transplantation as the plant acclimates
to its new environment. Specimen-sized foxtails will dedicate most of
their energy to new root growth.
Note: Choose the location wisely; transplanting palm trees once they
are established is risky.
Palm Tree Care
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry palm out between
watering. Water Foxtail palm occasionally during cool months.
Apply a light application of controlled-release fertilizer 3 – 4 months
after transplanting. When new leaves start to appear, a regular
fertilization schedule should be established. A fertilizer rich in
micronutrients that contains slow-release potassium is ideal.
Fertilize Foxtail palm trees during the growing season (approximately
three to four applications). A single application of a high-quality,
continual-release formula (rich in micronutrients) that contains
slow-release potassium will feed palm trees for a few months at a time.
Apply fertilizer to the soil in a large ring at least 2 foot from the
Do not fertilize newly planted palm trees regularly until new growth
appears – approximately six to eight weeks after planting.
Propagate Wodyetia bifurcata by seeds. Germination occurs in three to