Where to plant the foxtail fern has an easy answer, it is from South Africa so hot and dry is the place for it to survive. Many blogs will advise water to keep your plant healthy plus an occasional feeding, but if you are planting a drought tolerant landscape use the foxtail fern for accent and bright green color. It grows well among succulents and does not need extra water accept in the very hottest summer months.
And you know what? If you are vacationing for a few weeks don’t worry because it will be still be alive when you get back.
Use it in very open areas where there is at least 25 square feet of space. Wonder how you are going to fill up the whole front yard with color? This plant will take care of a 5 X 5 foot area. Put it towards the back of the line of view because it can lend height of three feet or more.
Once this plant is mature nothing can be planted near it because of a thick mass of roots and water collecting balls that are part of the root system.
The Foxtail in Southern California
If you are reading this because you live in Southern California a foxtail can be purchased from a nursery or dig up a section of an established plant. Get a good chunk of stalks and roots from a friend. Then be patient because it takes 4-5 years for it to fully establish itself to its home. Actually, it looks wonderful during this period.
With some 30 years experience with foxtail in my yard I discovered this plant does beautifully in full midday sun and only skimpy watering during the summer months. No need to water during the cooler winter rainy season. It has not occurred to me to give the three mature plants I own any plant food. They do fine without it.
I love looking at its bright green foliage. The color of the plant lends perfect contrast to succulents, cactus and other dry weather tolerant plants.
No gas trimmers are needed for maintaining its looks either. I wear a good pair of leather garden gloves to grab a dry spear and yank quickly in opposite line of growth. Most times it breaks off at the base of the root system. This method is easy cleaning and sprucing.
New shoots come up from the root mound with green delicate spears looking a little like asparagus.
Foxtail Fern Care
Get all the facts including propagation, growing in pots and general foxtail fern care at my popular 10 Reasons to Plant (and How to Propagate) the Foxtail Fern. The page is illustrated with many photos, a list of 10 reasons to own the plant and links for more to read.
Browse the the discussion area and I will do my best to answer any questions you may have.
Have fun gardening, Sherry