Originally from Southeast Asia, the fishtail palm thrives in Central Florida’s tropical climate. It received its name because its unusual leaves are shaped like a jagged fish tail. No other palm tree grows these distinct leaves. So, if you’re looking for a unique palm tree to incorporate into your landscaping, this tree is one to consider.

This eye-catching palm clusters and produces creamy flowers that grow among the leaves. As it grows, the whole leaves emerge as a stick and unroll resulting in the feathery fishtail leaves. Mature trees are dense and full, growing at a moderate rate that reaches heights of 20-25 feet.

These specs make this the perfect natural barrier if you’re seeking some privacy between your home and your neighbor’s. They look great as a privacy screen near the pool or patio and are perfect as a hedge along your property line. Fishtail palms are also lovely as a single tree—a great choice as an accent near the corner of your home.

A slow grower when indoors, these palms are a striking addition to a sunroom or any brightly lit indoor room. Place it near a window where it will receive plenty of sunshine. You can always transfer it outdoors if it outgrows its welcome.

A few tips for growing fishtail palms:

  • This beauty does have a bad habit! Its fruit is irritating to the skin and eyes, so handle with care.
  • They grow best in full sun to part sun.
  • Plan enough room for the palm to spread out and fill in – at least 6 or more feet from the house or structure. If in a row, plant 5 or 6 feet apart. For a privacy screen you can plant as close as 4 feet apart.
  • Add topsoil or peat humus to the hole when planting.
  • This palm needs plenty of water and good drainage.
  • Fertilize three times a year with a quality palm fertilizer in the spring, summer, and fall.
  • Trim browned leaves occasionally.

We use a lot of these palms in our landscaping projects to meet our clients’ needs. Fishtail palms add a tropical flair to any outdoor living space. They are popular as natural walls and barriers, and they break up the monotony of a long fence line. Easy to care for and able to sustain the Tampa area’s cold snaps, fishtails are a versatile and popular choice for many homeowners.