Fishtail Palm, Clustered Fishtail Palm
Caryota mitis

Family: Arecaceae (ar-ek-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Caryota (kair-ee-OH-tuh) (Info)
Species: mitis (MIT-iss) (Info)

Category:

Perennials

Trees

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

This plant is suitable for growing indoors

Height:

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

Spacing:

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade

Full Shade

Danger:

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us

Foliage:

Grown for foliage

Evergreen

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

This plant is monocarpic

Seed Collecting:

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Grenoble,

Tucson, Arizona

Encino, California

Huntington Beach, California

Indian Wells, California

Rancho Cucamonga, California

San Luis Obispo, California

Santa Barbara, California (2 reports)

Ventura, California

Big Pine Key, Florida (2 reports)

Boca Raton, Florida

Bradenton, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Hobe Sound, Florida

Key West, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Miami, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Port Charlotte, Florida (2 reports)

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida (2 reports)

Winter Haven, Florida

Agana Heights, Guam

Honomu, Hawaii

Bay City, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

Harlingen, Texas

High Island, Texas

Richmond, Texas

St John, Virgin Islands

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

9
positives
3
neutrals
2
negatives
RatingContent
Neutral

On Apr 3, 2015, Emma500 from Key West, FL wrote:

I have several fishtail palms in my yard n Key West, but something is eating the leaves -at 20'to 30' up! Can anyone tell me what is could be?

Positive

On Aug 17, 2014, rw93003 from San Buenaventura, CA wrote:

My caryota mitis grows fine in Ventura, California. It's planted beneath the outer branches of a huge Hass Avocado tree (50-60 ft tall) in my back yard so it receives dappled sunlight or shade most of the day. It is in full sun for less than an hour each day. It receives little or no care. If I happen to water a citrus tree (couple of lemon trees and an orange tree) nearby I'll sometimes throw the hose on the ground at the foot of palm "trees" for a few minutes and I don't do that very often.

Positive

On Dec 24, 2012, sbutler323 from Port Charlotte, FL wrote:

Easy to fall in love with this palm, great specimen plant. Have one sitting by itself in a grassy area, the clustering habit allows it to be unsupported by additional landscaping nor groundcover...grass grows up to leaf drop off and no weeds grow near. Have taking two root growth cuttings and successfully potted...have not planted either but will update once they're established in the ground. Tons of seeds, hopefully not sterile.

Positive

On Jan 17, 2011, ritaknits from Big Pine Key, FL wrote:

We bought a fixer-upper here a year ago. The yard has lots of mature fishtail palms as well as coconut palms, hibiscus, mahogany trees, bougainvilla, and plumeria. I love the berries hanging on the fishtails. The palms are very healthy; we have to keep pruning them to keep them from hanging over the pool.

The Key deer love the fishtail palm fronds; they keep them from growing through the fence! I've never had any reaction to handling the fronds; the berries are just now maturing and I now know not to touch them!

Positive

On Jan 4, 2011, opihi from Duluth, GA wrote:

I have this plant in Duluth, GA as a houseplant. It's been in my house for six years now. I usually don't have much luck with palms as houseplants but this is one that is easy to grow. Mine is about 8 feet tall now and very green and healthy. I'm just worried that it will continue to grow and not fit in my husband's office anymore. If it does, I will transfer it to my master bathroom which has a cathedral ceiling. I love that I can have a tropical look even in Georgia. I think this palm thrives on neglect because it requires minimal care and still grows beautifully. Mine is growing next to a window which faces south.

Positive

On Jan 9, 2010, birdstalker from Hobe Sound, FL wrote:

Unlike many palms, the fishtail definitely prefers shade or semi-shade. Our landscape architect designed ours to be planted in full sun by our pool. One year later, it is not nearly as full and dark green as it was at the nursery. It has turned pale, with brown tips.

I'm not sure what kind of fertilizer our landscaper is using, but I suspect it also may be in need of the special nutrients another member suggested below. Although, our foxtails are looking yellow, too.

On the upside... It is a large, gorgeous tropical that does an excellent job of adding privacy around our hot tub. Other than the berries that drop, it is basically maintenance free.

On the downside: Raccoons seem to love eating the "toxic" berries and then depositing them back in ... read more

Positive

On Sep 14, 2008, FLplantjunkie from Titusville, FL wrote:

I planted one in my yard about 3 years ago. I am moving and renting my place...am interested in taking my palm with me. I have read that it may get stressed, flower and die...in which case I'd rather leave it. Any suggestions? I have 5 clusters and it approx. 12-15 ft tall.

Positive

On Apr 8, 2007, billowen from Port Charlotte, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Dispite the negatve remarks, this is a beautiful and fast growing Palm in South FL. Hurricane Charley took most of the clump down to the ground, but now it's back with an incredible recovery. Requires no special attention at all.

Neutral

On Aug 26, 2006, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

In southern California maybe it is best to plant them in dappled shade. Full low humidity sun is too much for them.

Positive

On Jun 11, 2006, FLtropics from Pompano Beach, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

It survives in my yard without much care or maintenance. I never water it either. Wear gloves to trim dead fronds and remove seeds. It's a beautiful tropical plant.

Positive

On Jan 27, 2006, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

This has been a great indoor plant for me. Growing in a large pot and sitting by a west facing window. I water every 2 weeks or so and that seems to be enough. I find it very low maint. I've had this plant for about 1.5 years.

Neutral

On Aug 23, 2004, Kylecawaza from Corte Madera, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

These palm are usualy devoid of nitrogen manganese and potassium in Southern CAlifornia. So if oyu want a green one fertilize it a lot more than you would with other palms.

Negative

On Aug 14, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

I tasted that oxalate today... I like fishtails and all, but... lets just... put a negative here... yuck

Negative

On Jul 9, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a relatively commonly sold palm in the southern US, but it is not really one of the more ornamental of the Caryotas. It is one of the few suckering species, which helps to prolong its life- being monocarpic most Caryotas only live 10-30 years, but this one will keep suckering as other stems flower and die. This species is one of the less hardy ones, and doesn't look good in marginal climates. South Florida and Hawaii are about the only climates in the US this palm looks good in... though it does passably indoors. Not too many growers of this species in California would describe it as a nice looking tree.

Like all Caryotas, the seeds are very irritating (oxylates) and it is recommended to not touch the fruits with bare hands.

Note that the majorit... read more