How to Grow a Foxtail Palm


Foxtail palm trees (Wodyetia bifurcata) are native to Australia and bear a different shaped palm frond from other palms, making them a unique landscaping choice. These trees bear thick fronds that resemble a fox tail and give the tree its name. Gardeners in hardiness zones 10 and 11 can grow these trees; those in zone 9 can try growing foxtail palms with some winter protection. Purchase young trees from a palm broker or local nursery and plant them in the spring.

Step 1

Select a site that offers full sun to dappled shade and enough room for your palm to mature. These trees can grow up to 30 feet tall and the fronds spread 15 to 20 feet. Foxtails are fast-growing palms.

Step 2

Dig a hole twice the size of the palm tree's root ball, removing rocks and weeds from this hole.

Step 3

Pull your foxtail palm from its container and loosen its roots by massaging the root ball between your hands. Trim the ends of any broken roots using clippers.

Step 4

Place the foxtail palm in the prepared hole and backfill the hole with soil, firming the soil around the base of the tree.

Step 5

Water the newly planted palm until the soil becomes saturated with water and compresses around the palm trunk.

Step 6

Water the foxtail palm whenever the soil becomes dry and crumbly to the touch, watering until it becomes saturated.

Step 7

Fertilize the foxtail each spring using palm fertilizer. Apply the manufacturer's recommended dose range for your palm tree, which depends upon the tree's size and age. To apply the fertilizer, scatter the suggested dose around the palm trunk then water the ground to disperse nutrients through the soil.

Step 8

Wrap young palms in burlap to protect them from winter frosts. Floridata notes that these palms can tolerate chills up to 27 F before sustaining damage. Wrap the entire trunk in burlap and drape it over the leaves, securing the layers with safety pins. Remove the burlap when the frost passes.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Foxtail palm tree
  • Water
  • Palm fertilizer
  • Burlap
  • Safety pins


  • Floridata: Foxtail Palm
  • College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources: Foxtail Palm
Keywords: grow foxtail palm, plant foxtail palm, foxtail palm tree

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.