Wodyetia bifurcata or Foxtail Palm is an attractive palm native to Queensland, Australia. It is a fairly new species only to be introduced to botanists in 1983. In Australia, it is listed as a threatened species. Mature palms may reach up to 15-20 feet (4.6-6.1 m) tall with a spread of 5-10 feet (1.5-3.0 m). Fronds are pale green, with arching leaflets radiating from a variety of angles, resembling a foxtail or bottlebrush. Mature specimens have a crown of 8-10 leaves. Trunks are slender, thornless, closely ringed, and bottleshaped to columnar. Our specimens are only 2 years old and were grown from seed. They have become one of the most popular palms to grow because of their interesting habit. They are very easy to grow, whether in containers or in the landscape. Plants are hardy in USDA zones 9-11.
Blooming: White flowers are formed at the base of the canopy and bear both sexes. Once flowering is complete, the clusters of orange to red fruit bear only one seed per fruit.
Culture: Wodyetia bifurcata or Foxtail Palm need full sun to partial shade. They are not fussy about soil type and are very drought resistant when mature. In the greenhouse, we grow our specimens in a soil mix consisting of 1 part peat moss to 2 parts loam and sand. In containers, the palms should be watered and allowed to dry slightly before watering again. We fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the strength recommended on the label. During the cooler winter months, it is very easy to over water them, so care should be taken to ensure this doesn't become a problem. In the landscape, they need only average watering, with a good dose of fertilizer along the way. Once established, they are very drought resistant.
Propagation: Wodyetia bifurcata is propagated by seed. Seed should germinate in 2-3 months after sowing.
Wodyetia bifurcata was featured as Plant of the Week January 21-February 3, 2011.
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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.