Foxtail Palm

Foxtail Palm

Wodyetia bifurcata also known as the foxtail palm tree is native to Australia from an area called “Cape Melville”. In its natural habitat it grows in stony, sandy and wooded areas, a protected park in the Cabo Melville National Park grows richness of its fauna and flora. The park is located in Queensland northwest of Australia.

The palm tree has a thin and smooth trunk that can reach more than ten meters high and about twenty or twenty-five centimeters in diameter, is light gray and has narrow horizontal rings of dark gray, are the marks of the leaves falls. The plant usually has a single trunk, sometimes two. The crown of the palm tree can measure three or four meters in diameter in adult specimens. It has no thorns.

foxtail palm

The leaves are pinnate or composed of feathery appearance, develop at the upper end of the trunk and are joined to it by means of long petioles of twenty to forty centimeters in length, of gray color. The leaves are bright green in the beam and pale green on the underside, the spine “spine of the leaf” is brownish gray in adults, green in young leaves. They can measure more than two and a half meters in length.

foxtail palm tree

This plant is known as “foxtail” because of the arched shape of its leaves and the arrangement of the leaflets, they are leaves composed of elongated leaflets with irregular and jagged edges, the leaflets develop on the stem or rachis of the leaf in all directions giving an appearance of “foxtail” or “clean bottles”. The central leaflets in adult specimens are longer than the lateral ones and can measure about seventy centimeters in length. An adult tree can have up to ten large compound leaves.

foxtail palm

Adult plants bloom, their flowers are yellowish white or cream, they arise in horizontal clusters or pendulums up to a meter in length at the base of the palm tree’s crown, underneath their leaves. A single specimen can develop fruits, since it has male and female flowers. The fruits are green, are elongated and globose, when mature they change to orange or reddish color they measure about five centimeters in length and contain a single seed.

Sunny or partially sunny situation soil rich in nutrients with very good drainage. To fertilize the land in the spring with a slow release fertilizer, the young specimens are grateful for liquid fertilizers for green plants during the growing season. It does not tolerate salinity but resists calcareous soils. Regular irrigation keeping the substrate slightly humid especially in spring and summer with high temperatures, avoiding soaking the ground, can resist moderate and brief droughts.

Distance watering in winter. In flowering it is advisable not to neglect the irrigation so as not to lose the flowers and consequently the fruits. It is advisable to plant palm trees in places protected from the wind, it is very sensitive to wind, especially if it is dry.

It is a very ornamental palm tree cultivated for decorative purposes. It is a suitable plant for warm, tropical or subtropical climates with moderate winter temperatures, higher than six or seven degrees. It can resist some occasional below zero degrees, especially adult plants. It does not need pruning, although it is advisable to remove the dry or damaged branches to keep the plant in good condition.

foxtail palm

It is a fast-growing plant, very popular in gardening for the decoration of public or private gardens. Suitable for street alignments of warm temperature zones. It reproduces by seeds that germinate between two or three months depending on the temperatures. Seedlings grow quickly if they have water and nutrients.

Resistant to pests and diseases, monitor irrigation and drainage is essential to keep the plant healthy. Young specimens need protection, they are more sensitive to cold and direct sun exposure and drought. Well-rooted adult plants are more resistant to temperature changes if they are not extreme. MIDDLE DIFFICULTY


In addition to being a very attractive palm tree, the foxtail is easy to grow, with its leaves shedding from the crown when dry without the need for pruning, it is also little attacked by pests and diseases. Can be used in gardens, parks or sidewalks in full sun or half shade needing regular watering in the dry season and a good amount of chemical or organic fertilizer in the spring and summer to obtain a lush and lush plant.

The foxtail palm can also be grown indoors, provided there is good light and space.

Foxtail Palm Characteristics

Stem columnar, lightly gray with prominent dark rings and slightly dilated in the middle forming a bottle-like appearance. 

Its leaves, with extremely narrow leaflets, are arranged like a circular feather giving singular appearance.

Its huge bunch of oval fruits the size of a chicken egg become reddish when ripe provided yet another attraction to this graceful palm.

  • Scientific Name: Wodyetia bifurcata
  • Climate requirements: Tropical to mild subtropical
  • Size: height – 8- 12 meters canopy – 3 – 4 meters
  • Popular Name: Foxtail
  • Light Requirements: Moderate, High
  • Growth: Moderate, Fast
  • Origin: Northeastern Australia
  • Nutritional requirements: Moderate, High
  • Drought Tolerance: Moderate
  • Uses: Indoor environment well lit and in isolated landscaping, in groups or rows
  • Ground Requirements: Adaptable
  • Salt tolerance: Low, moderate


Characteristics: Palm treeless, grayish trunk, columnar, or slightly swollen in bottle form. The leaves are pinnate, arched, and feathery or foxtail. Palm tree of rapid growth.

foxtail palm

Fruit:  Globose fruits, orange in their maturity, which provide an ornamental touch to the palm tree.

Multiplication: By seeds, which germinate after 1 or 2 months.

Adult plant size: Can reach up to 15 meters in height.

Lighting: Full sun.

Temperature: Holds temperatures of -4ºC.

Soil: It is not demanding in terms of soil, but it is better established in the rich and well drained.

Subscriber: Thanks for punctual contributions of organic matter and mineral fertilizers.

Irrigation: It should be abundant in spring and summer, especially in periods of drought, without waterlogging. Moderate in winter. To avoid the fall of the buds it is advisable to water often.

Pruning:  Remove the dry or damaged branches, trying to leave the crown with its natural shape, and not damage the capital.


They are large, light green, arched, pinnate and with numerous leaflets that radiate at all angles from the central rake. Thus, they have the feathery appearance of bottle brush, or fox tail, as the name says. Your canopy is composed for 8 to 10 sheets. From the base of the crown, the inflorescences appear, with thousands of white-cream flowers. The fruits that follow are elliptical, red when ripe and with a single large seed . It is able to self-fertilize, generating fertile seeds.

The foxtail palm is the star of the current tropical gardens. Much sought after for its beauty and rusticity, it can be conducted isolated, as standout, or in row and group. It is interesting to plant them in sets of two or three, so curved growth becomes quite attractive. Even small seedlings can still be planted under full sun, unlike most other palm species. It can also be conducted in pots when young, beautifying courtyards, balconies and even well lit interiors with high ceilings.

It should be cultivated under full sun or half shade, in drainable soils, enriched with organic matter and irrigated regularly in the growing period. After adult, this palm tree presents excellent resistance to drought . By tolerating the sea and winds, it is an interesting option for gardens on the coast. It resists slight frost, but does not tolerate intense cold for a very prolonged period. Stimulate the growth of this palm, fertilizing it every six months and irrigating frequently. Thus, it is able to grow from 60 to 90 centimeters a year. It is especially sensitive to potassium deficiency. Special care should be taken with specimens grown in pots, as prolonged waterlogging causes rapid root rot. It is multiplied by seeds harvested, pulped, scarified and put to germinate in sandy substrate , kept moist. Germinates between 2 months and 1 year after planting.


It is a rustic species that grows in full sun or half shade, adapts to all types of soils, even calcareous, supports up to -2 degrees of temperature and resists drought but with abundant irrigation, in summer it reaches a rapid growth.

Due to its rusticity, it is a plant that does not require special care. Its multiplication is by seed and its germination is achieved in a period that goes from 90 to 100 days, its transplanting to the stock market is easy, using a light substrate to stay for a period of one year and where it can start its commercialization or and in order to increase its economic value, continue its development in soil with densities of 2,000 to 2,500 plants per hectare.

The sowing and development of this palm does not require a large investment in infrastructure, the greatest impact of its production costs is related to the transplantation in the stock market, its establishment and the banking of the palms in the field.

The commercialization of the product can be initiated after one year of its transplant to the stock market.

However, a banked palm of three years of development and transplanted into the stock market reaches prices ranging from 750 to 1,000 pesos per plant.

Perennial species such as this type of palm provide excellent profitability and make a great contribution to reduce the negative impact on the environment, because their hardiness requires little water and few chemicals. Those used can be replaced by organic products, such as the use of compost and vermicomposts to cover their nutrition.

Likewise, with its development it is possible to establish a vegetation cover, providing protection to the soil, capturing moisture, providing oxygen, forming microclimates, contributing to avoid the deterioration of the environment.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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