Foxtail palms are extremely hardy, require little maintenance and are fast growers, making them a great option for homeowners who want to quickly fill in their landscape. If you’re looking to add foxtail palms to the gardens around your home, you can either buy a foxtail seedling or mature plant at a nursery, or you can start the palm from seeds. Gardeners who go with the latter option need to know the horticultural facts about what foxtail palm seeds need for successful germination and healthy growth.
Temperature and Sunshine Requirements
For germination, your foxtail seed will grow best at temperatures between 86 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This is maintained using a heating pad or space heater. Adult foxtail palms can survive in temperatures as low as 30 F. While the palms can handle some shade, they thrive best in full sun conditions which is where they reach their maximum height of approximately 30 feet.
Ideally, start your foxtail palm seed in a pot where you can better control its growing environments. Choose a pot that’s a minimum of 6 inches deep, and fill it with a mixture of two parts perlite and one part peat. Keep this planting substrate consistently moist and never let it dry out. Once your foxtail seed germinates, you can transplant it outdoors into its permanent location, a planting site with soil that’s well-drained and slightly acidic, although a pH ranging anywhere from 5.6 to 7.8 will suffice.
Foxtail palm seeds have a very hard, impermeable surface. By gently breaking up this hard surface, you allow water to better penetrate the seed, which enhances the germination time. Before planting, rub the entire outer surface of the foxtail palm seed with sandpaper until it’s rough in texture.
In nature, palms propagate from falling seeds, so don’t bury the foxtail palm seed too deeply. Instead, sink it to approximately one-quarter inch below the surface of your planting substrate.
While adult foxtail palms grow quickly, the opposite is true of its germination time. After planting your foxtail palm seed and keeping the planting substrate moist at all times, expect to see results after approximately three months.
1. Gardening Australia: Fact Sheet – Palms
2. Palm Plantations of Australia: Foxtail Palm Seeds and Seedlings
3. University of Florida Extension: Foxtail Palms
4. University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture: Foxtail Palm