Foxtail Palms - A Tropical Showstopper for SoCal Landscapes

Foxtail Palms - A Tropical Showstopper for SoCal Landscapes

By Felipe Benavides on June, 13 2018

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Felipe Benavides

Felipe has been working in the Nursery and Garden center for many years and bring extensive knowledge to trees, plants, and landscape design.

30Gal-Foxtail-Palms-in-Nursery-650x650-MVNHomeowners give lots of praise to Foxtail Palms because they are among the best medium sized palms for adding beauty to any landscape. They are just as fantastic as palms for planters, and many people rave about using them as indoor palms. It’s easy to see why people all over the world love these palms. Their appearance is one that offers lush beauty no matter where they are placed. They feature sturdy, feathered leaves with hundreds of fishtail leaflets attached along the rib of the leaf. The leaf looks like a fox tail, which helps to explain how it got its name!

Wodyetia bifurcata Backstory

The Foxtail Palm’s botanical name is Wodyetia bifurcata, named in honor of the Australian aborigine that brought the world’s attention to this beautiful palm. Believe it or not, this species went undiscovered until 1978! Yes, even world-renowned palm specialists were unaware that this beautiful palm with fluffy leaves existed. Well, Wodyetia was the last man of his tribe to know the flora and fauna of the region. Once he brought the attention of this palm to the authorities, pictures of it spread all across the palm enthusiast community. This is one of those medium sized palms that people could not get enough of! Demand exceeded supply, and the seeds entered the black market, prompting the Australian government to protect the species by placing a ban on seed exports. The good news for those of us residing outside of Australia is that seeds grown from plants elsewhere were available to meet this demand. The rest is history.

The Difference is in the Leaves


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Copyright: noppharat / 123RF Stock Photo

The Foxtail Palm is a standout in any landscape. They get praise from homeowners and landscapers alike for their beautiful green leaves with a feather-like appearance. These arching fox tail-like fronds can help to create a relaxed atmosphere anywhere. Their trunk is an impressive sight, too. The trunk can develop circular leaf ring scars that add to its visual interest. Add value and beauty to your property – plant Foxtail Palms!


Planting Foxtails Palms in the Landscape


In Southern California, palms sign the sky, much like iconic buildings make the skyline in cities such as New York so memorable. In SoCal, we see palms lining famous avenues, in parks, beaches, deserts, and of course, in people’s yards. They are very much a large part of the California lifestyle. The Foxtail Palm is perfect for almost any size yard in SoCal. People plant them to create a backyard tropical oasis, where anyone can enjoy the California sunset while it creates an impressive silhouette, all without blocking too much of your view. Light them up with spotlights and nighttime landscape lighting to create drama!

Get ready to enjoy your personal tropical retreat. There is no need to travel to some far-off destination to experience the look of a tropical land. Planting these medium sized palms in your landscape can bring the exotic look of the tropics to your property in SoCal. These Foxtails are relatively tolerant of wind and salt and can grow in a wide range of soils. From La Jolla to Irvine, Calabasas to Palm Springs and all points in between, homeowners rave about having this palm in their yard. In fact, its size, smooth gray trunk, and bright green canopy have made this tropical showstopper a favorite palm for all types of Southern California landscapes.

If bringing a tropical feeling to your landscape is your goal, plant them in your yard. Homeowners can plant them as a single specimen in a small garden, where it is an attractive contribution! Mass planting is an excellent way to create a relaxing retreat, complete with plenty of shade created by the feathery leaves. For the most shade possibility, plant them with varying heights so that fronds don’t entangle. Allow the fronds to droop gracefully so they can provide the shade coverage you will want during the brightest days. Plant them along a fence to complete the look and feel of a tropical oasis. Feel free to plant a few along the pool and take in the view – their roots are very fibrous and do not tend to lift hardscape. Another excellent way to add curb appeal is to plant them in lines and along the driveway, where they can create a regal look fit for royalty! These palms add plenty of appeal no matter where they are planted!

With so many planting possibilities, it is easy to see why Foxtail Palms are the top medium sized palms for residential and commercial properties!


Excellent Indoor Palms


The Foxtail Palm is a favorite for outdoor landscapes. However, many people love to use them as beautiful indoor palms. Of course, we recommend placing them in a location with higher ceilings. They will rarely grow over 30-feet tall, and a great spot for them is in the corner of your home. Plant them in a beautiful pot, and they become one of the best palms for planters. Plus, when they get too big, it will be much easier to move them to your preferred spot outdoors. Are Foxtail Palms suitable indoor palms? If given enough light and space they can flourish, and are sure to strike up a conversation when you’ve got guests. When you are ready to transplant it outdoors, you will be glad to know that it can transplant easily with little to no shock.


Caring for Foxtail Palms


It is easy to keep your bushy-frond palm looking elegant and healthy. Caring for Foxtail Palms properly ensures that it can keep your area shaded while bringing the exotic look of the tropics to your landscape. These palms are members of the Arecaceae/Palmae family, so they are well suited for growing in our U.S.D.A hardiness zone. Once established, mature Foxtails can tolerate a light frost without suffering any significant damage. These are generally disease-free palms, so enjoy one of the world’s best medium sized palms!

Light Requirements: Foxtail Palms love the sun! And, although they thrive in a location where there is plenty of full sun exposure, they can tolerate a partially shaded area, too. For those that are growing indoor palms, they can benefit from supplemental plant growing lights in the winter, when there is less light exposure available.

Trimming Foxtail Palms: Trimming is not necessary as these are self-cleaning palms! When it is time, these palms will naturally drop their old leaves. All you must do is pick the leaves up and throw them in the green waste recycle bin! If you feel like you must trim, do so sparingly and always clean the saw blade or pruning shears with a cleaning solution that is part rubbing alcohol and fresh water. Always be sure to clip the front at least six inches away from the trunk. Clipping at least six inches away can prevent damage to the trunk. Note: a nick or cut in the trunk can create an opening for an infestation of insects and disease to enter the tree. For best results, hire a professional.

Fertilizing Foxtail Palms: Regular fertilization is an excellent way for your palm to flourish and grow fast.  We recommend fertilizing with our Moon Valley Nursery Super Palm Juice. Use it in combination with Moon Dust, and it will optimize palm tree performance. Potassium, Manganese, Iron, Sulfur, Zinc, Copper, and Boron are essential nutrients for palms. Super Palm Juice is very easy to use, so use it to keep your Foxtail Palm looking healthy and beautiful.

Watering Foxtail Palms: Too much water is a problem for palms growing in a container. Established Wodyetia bifurcate palms are quite drought tolerant, so they are an excellent palm for Southern California. These palms will benefit from an application of mulch spread around the base of the tree. Spread about three to six inches of organic mulch. During the winter, rainfall is enough for outdoor grown Foxtail Palms. It is a good idea to water them once a month during extended periods of drought. Make sure that the area the palm is planted in drains well and resume watering once the top of the soil is completely dry.

foxtail palm

Now that you have gotten to know the Foxtail Palm a little better, it is time to see them for yourself. Visit your nearest Moon Valley Nurseries location and allow our nursery pros to show you around. Have you paid a visit to our Palm Paradise location? At Palm Paradise, we grow exotic and rare palms that you will not find anywhere else – in sizes that can create an instant tropical oasis! Allow our landscape design specialist to help you build your dream tropical retreat with Foxtail Palms and the other plants and trees that can transform your yard!

Can you imagine Southern California without palm trees? Our region would look so much different without these iconic plants! Luckily, we do not have to think about SoCal without palms; they love to grow in our area. At Moon Valley Nurseries we are passionate about growing the best-quality palms. We grow them in our local climate from superior seedlings so that they will thrive in your landscape. We value engineer our products, so you get the best-quality Foxtail Palm at the best price!

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