Foxtail Palm

Wodyetia bifurcata

The enchanting foxtail palm is extremely popular for its perfect proportions, self-cleaning habit and full, rounded fronds.

Large triple foxtail palm in front of a large home

A tropical showstopper in the landscape, the foxtail is available in single or multi-trunk specimens. Its smooth gray trunk is topped with a bright green crownshaft and big tufted fronds that resemble the bushy tail of a fox.

The charismatic beauty of this palm works in almost any landscaping, as long as the house itself isn't overwhelmed by its size.

Plant specs

Foxtails are fast growers, reaching an ultimate height of about 30 feet.

They're best suited for Zone 10, though areas of Zone 9B that closely border Zone 10 will work with normal winter temperatures.

These South Florida palms like plenty of sunshine and they're moderately drought-tolerant once established, though a regular watering is ideal.

The foxtail is a moderately salt-tolerant palm and it's self-cleaning (old fronds fall off by themselves).

Large single-trunk palm in landscape

Plant care

"But it doesn't LOOK like a foxtail palm..."

When shopping for a young foxtail, don't be put off by the sparse appearance and "torn" ends of the leaves - they'll grow quickly into a full, rounded "tail."

Plant with organic peat humus or top soil added to the hole.

Foxtails can be heavy feeders. Fertilize with a granular palm fertilizer containing this in spring, summer and autumn.

Supplement feedings by applying manganese or magnesium every so often to keep the fronds their prettiest deep-green color.

You'll never have to trim a frond, since old ones fall off on their own.

Plant spacing

Fronds are large on this palm, so plant a single specimen at least 8 feet from the house (and even farther for multiple trunks, since they bow out) to allow the head of the palm room to flush out without fronds being damaged.

If planting a row of foxtails, place them at least 6 feet apart. If the "head" of the palm clears a fence or low structure, you can place it as close as 3 feet from the fence.

Clusters of red fruit containing seeds hanging from a palm

Foxtail palms will work well in large containers while they're young.

Like all plants, palms produce flowers and seeds.

After flowering, a more mature foxtail bears a large, heavy cluster of fruit containing seeds.

The fruit is showy and bright red, each one the size of a small tomato.

Landscape uses for foxtail palm

  • stand-alone specimen for the yard (especially nice with multiple trunks)
  • focal point and large anchor plant for a garden bed
  • architectural accent for a two-story house
  • center of a circular drive
  • lining a walkway or drive
  • along the property line
  • tropical accent near an uncaged pool
  • double-trunk framing a focal point (your front door?) or beautiful view
  • container plant (when young) for pool cage or patio


COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Golden dewdrop, dwarf oleander, Knock Out rose, Texas sage, dwarf firebush, cocoplum, star jasmine, and firecracker plant.

Other palms you might like: Alexander Palm, Queen Palm

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