Planting a Foxtail Palm

By Renee Gerber , last updated April 22, 2011

The Wodyetia bifurcata, also known as the foxtail palm, is a lovely tree that can do well planted alone in your yard or as a landscaping plant. It originates from the northern part of Australia and sports beautiful leaves that resemble a foxtail, which gives the tree its name. If you want to grow one of these plants on your property, you can do so with relative ease.

Fortunately, the foxtail palm is a very easy tree to grow. Of course, it has its own specific needs, just like any other plant. However, you should find it simple to maintain. Most likely, you will want to use it to landscape the area at the front of your home, as it blooms a thick, healthy trunk and beautiful, graceful leaves. You can also expect fruit to grow, along with cream-colored blooms that later change in color to a red hue. Be sure to avoid consuming the fruit, as the seeds are thought of as being poisonous.

When you are planting a foxtail palm tree, be sure to dig a hole that is deep enough to accommodate it. The soil must be good and rich, with a mixture of peat moss, perlite and sand. Also, it must be a good draining type, as the foxtail palm requires an adequate drainage of its water. The addition of mulch and compost materials, particularly bark, can greatly help in draining the water you administer to the tree.

If you are transplanting a foxtail that is currently growing in a pot because it has grown too large for the housing, you must ensure that the hole is at least half as large as the pot. If the tree has a root ball, then you must make sure to dig the hole at a depth of at least two to three feet deeper than the roots. This is so that the root system can more easily grab the soil.

Since the foxtail is a palm tree, which is a tropical plant, it requires a good amount of sunlight. Make sure that when you plant it, you do so in a location in your garden or front porch that receives a good amount of directly sun on a daily basis. While the morning sun is bright and warm during the spring and summer, it may be a better idea to opt for planting the tree in a western location. That way, it is assured to receive the best possible direct sunlight during the afternoon hours, when the sun is at its brightest and warmest.

When you are planting, make sure to check the size of the hole first. Apply the soil over the area and the root ball, making sure that it does not become compact. You can also add fertilizer while planting your foxtail palm, although it should be placed about four to six inches beneath the surface of the soil. Do not allow the tree's roots to come into direct contact with the fertilizer.

Water your tree afterward, and allow for proper drainage in the soil. Repeat the process at least three times while you are backfilling the area.

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