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How to Plant Foxtail Palm Seed

foxtails palms. image by mdb from

Plant stately foxtail palms (Wodyetia bifurcata) in your tropical backyard--the palms are hardy within USDA zones 10 through 11--to add an architectural element to your landscape, thanks to the palms' bare, vertical trunks and large crown. Though foxtail palms can be bought as started trees, it's more budget-friendly to plant foxtail palm seeds harvested from the fruit of an existing palm tree.

Gather a foxtail palm fruit from beneath a mature fruit-producing palm. Pick a fruit that has just fallen to the ground and is dark orange and several inches in width. Removing all of the fallen fruits under a tree, then revisiting the area several days later, can help you determine which fruits have recently fallen.

Soak the fruit in water for 48 hours to soften the fruit's flesh. Insert a knife into the fruit until you feel resistance--this is the seed inside the fruit--and work your way around to cut the fruit's flesh in half. Remove the flesh to reveal the foxtail palm seed. Rinse the seed under running water and remove any bits of flesh that remain.

Rub the entire foxtail palm seed with a coarse sandpaper so that the seed's surface is grooved. This helps water penetrate the seed and hastens the germination process.

Fill a gallon-sized pot with two parts perlite and one part peat moss. Stir the two together to thoroughly mix them.

Plant the foxtail palm seed. Bury it 1/4 to 1/2-inch below the surface of the potting mix. Orient the seed so that it's horizontal in the potting mix.

Water the potting mix until it is moist to a depth of 1 to 2 inches. Place the pot in a plastic bag and knot the top of the bag to seal in the moisture. Place the bagged pot in a warm area in your home, such as near a water heating tank. For best results, the pot's temperature should be 86 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.


The foxtail palm seed will sprout within 1 to 3 months.

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