Skip to Content

Royal Palm vs Foxtail Palm: 4 Key Differences

Hey everyone! Today, I’m excited to share a side-by-side look at two amazing palm trees: the Royal Palm and the Foxtail Palm.

The main thing that sets them apart is their size; the Royal Palm towers over the Foxtail Palm. Also, the Foxtail Palm boasts denser and fuller fronds compared to the Royal Palm.

Royal Palm vs Foxtail Palm

Royal Palm and Foxtail Palm

Royal Palm Foxtail Palm
Botanical Name Roystonea regia Wodyetia bifurcata
USDA Hardiness zone 10-11 10-11
Mature height 50–80′ (15–24 m) 15-25′ (4.5-7.5m)
Mature width 19.5′ (6 m) 10-16′ (3-4.8 m)
Growth rate fast fast
Light exposure full sun full sun
Soil well-drained well-drained
Soil pH 6.0-7.5 5.5-7.5
Watering one time per 10 days in drought one time per 10 days in drought
Diseases fungus fungus
Pests insects, mites insects, mites

1. Size

The Royal Palm can soar up to 80 feet high, given there’s ample space for both its crown and roots to spread out. On the flip side, the Foxtail Palm is more modest in stature, maxing out at 25 feet.

When it comes to the spread of their fronds, Royal Palms boast fronds that can stretch over 10 feet in length. However, due to their drooping nature, the overall width of the tree doesn’t go beyond 20 feet. The Foxtail Palm, with its fronds around 8 feet long, can have a total tree width just over 15 feet, making the width difference between the two palms less pronounced than their height disparity.

For those of you in suitable climates thinking of adding one of these palms to your outdoor space, keep in mind the Royal Palm’s grand size. It demands much more room to flourish and requires a bit more effort in terms of maintenance than the more manageable Foxtail Palm.

2. Foliage

Both palms feature slender, elongated leaves attached to lengthy fronds. The leaves of the Royal Palm are significantly longer and a tad wider compared to the Foxtail Palm’s. This larger size makes Royal Palm leaves more susceptible to drooping, and they don’t carry a high leaf count on each frond.

Conversely, the leaves of the Foxtail Palm are shorter and narrower, leading to a more robust structure that fans out in various directions. This palm has a higher leaf count on its fronds than the Royal Palm, contributing to its bushier appearance.

Moreover, the Foxtail Palm’s fronds are shorter and don’t droop as much as those of the Royal Palm, resembling the bushy tail of a fox.

Overall, the Foxtail Palm boasts a denser, more lush crown, setting it apart with a distinctive look. The Royal Palm, with its less crowded foliage, presents the classic palm silhouette.

3. Fruits

The Foxtail Palm produces relatively large fruits, about 2 inches in diameter. Initially green, these fruits ripen to a vibrant red-orange. However, the yield of fruit from the Foxtail Palm is significantly less than that of the Royal Palm.

In contrast, the Royal Palm bears smaller fruits, typically not more than 1 inch across, with a somewhat pale coloration, making them less conspicuous than those of the Foxtail Palm.

The Royal Palm is notable for its abundant fruit production, generating large clusters that serve various uses. In certain parts of the world, its fruit is utilized as livestock feed, as a source for oil, and even in the making of medicinal products.

Besides its fruit, the Royal Palm also has other parts like roots and leaves that are harnessed for medicinal purposes and other applications. On the other hand, the Foxtail Palm is primarily valued for its decorative appeal.

4. Differences in Care

First off, it’s important to note that the Royal Palm requires a good deal of room to thrive. Make sure to plant it at least 10 feet away from any buildings or other trees. The Foxtail Palm, however, is much more flexible in terms of space and can flourish even in smaller gardens.

While the Royal Palm’s roots aren’t known to be invasive, they do need plenty of space to spread out. The ideal planting spot is a good distance from your home’s foundation in well-drained, fertile soil.

On the flip side, the Foxtail Palm might not need as much room for its roots, but it’s pickier about the soil quality. In certain regions of the U.S., this palm might struggle with nutrient deficiencies, meaning you might have to put in extra effort to enrich the soil.

When it comes to watering, the Foxtail Palm prefers a lighter touch and can be quite sensitive to too much water. The Royal Palm, with its larger stature, naturally requires more water but similarly doesn’t fare well with overwatering.