Southwest Florida residents love the show-stopping colors of foxtail palm seed pods, but should the pods be cut off or left alone?
The quick answer is, “It’s a matter of preference.” Here at ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design, we recommend cutting off the foxtail palm seed pods. Foxtails are heavy feeders and often affected by a range of nutritional deficiencies. Instead of putting all their “energy” into sustaining their clusters of fruit (or seed pods), they can “concentrate” on setting new leaves.
That said, if you’re intent on propagating your foxtail palm, it’s easy to harvest the seeds. A single seed exists inside each mature fruit. All you do is pick them when they’re ripe as the seeds will be more likely to germinate. Then soak for 48 to 72 hours to loosen the pulp and be sure to change the water daily. Pluck out the floating seeds and keep the ones that sink to the bottom. These are the ones that will germinate. Rinse and then dip into a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water. Rinse one more time and scarify the seeds (you can use sandpaper or a file, or nick with a knife tip). Then plant in full sun in a sandy soil that drains well. Seeds don’t store well, so plant them right away.
After that, we have great news to share. The foxtail palm can reach its full height of 32 feet in 20 years or less! All we can say is that you’ll have to be patient. Yes, you’ll see about 12 inches of growth a year, but no need to delay your vacation plans to avoid missing exciting growth spurts. Just go on about your life, send your kids to college and before you know it, you’ll have a mature, majestic foxtail palm to admire.
Or, you can purchase a beautiful “ready-made” specimen for instant gratification. In fact, several stately foxtails adorning your front walkway might be the perfect way to dress up your southwest Florida landscape. Intrigued? Call ArtisTree at 941.488.8897 and ask to speak with one of our professional landscape designers. You’re also invited to visit artistree.com or our Houzz page to see our complete design portfolio.