Fellow plant fanatics, if you happen to’re something like me, you most likely have a delicate spot for the quirky and distinctive Ponytail Palm. I obtained my first one in a 6″ pot standing 10-12″ tall after I lived in San Francisco over twenty years in the past. Despite the fact that it grew painfully sluggish (the sunshine wasn’t as vivid as this plant would have appreciated), I fell in love with it nonetheless. Right here’s what I’ve realized about Ponytail Palm care through the years.
This funky plant has been a staple in my assortment (rising each indoors and open air) for years now. Ponytail Palms (Beaucarnea recurvatas) aren’t true palms; they’re succulents. That is good to know concerning the watering; extra on that beneath.
My 3-trunked magnificence grows exterior right here in Tucson. I don’t have it in full solar all day as a result of that might be too intense. It grows on my lined patio and will get a lot of vivid oblique mild and full solar within the early morning. My small one grows indoors subsequent to the hearth.
This plant is about as simple because it will get; this submit will cowl how one can take care of it indoors.
Botanical Identify: Beaucarnea recurvata Frequent Identify: Ponytail Palm, Elephant’s Foot Plant, Elephant Foot Tree.
Ponytail Palm Traits
They’re bought in pots starting from 2″ to 14″ within the houseplant commerce. The bigger crops are very heavy as a result of the bulbous bases develop because the plant grows.
They will attain 15-30′ when rising as an outside plant. You hardly ever see them above 5′ tall indoors.
Ponytail Palm Development Charge
Tips on how to make a Ponytail Palm develop taller? That’s a query I’ve been requested a couple of occasions! The reply is within the “mild necessities” part.
These crops have a sluggish progress charge, particularly as houseplants. That’s why the taller ones are so costly. When you may discover a 4′ Ponytail, the price would common $250. It received’t outgrow its house anytime quickly!
Makes use of
Ponytails are primarily tabletop crops. They’re thought-about to be accent crops – ones that steal the present due to their hanging look. The taller specimens, ground crops, will set you again a reasonably penny.
I’ve additionally seen them in dish gardens and used as bonsais.
The large bulbous base and the curly leaves that spray out from the highest of the trunk. This plant provides a enjoyable vibe to any residence.
Ponytail Palm Care Ideas
Ponytail Palm Gentle Necessities
This can be a nice indoor plant if in case you have a number of pure mild in your house. A Ponytail Palm does finest in vivid mild. Simply make certain it’s not in any or towards any sizzling home windows. Close to a west or south-facing window is okay; not touching it.
Ponytails are slow-growing, however excessive mild ranges are required to get them to develop sooner. They’ll tolerate reasonable mild ranges, however the progress can be slower. They don’t do properly in low mild over the lengthy haul.
Within the darker winter months, you could have to maneuver yours nearer to a location with extra mild.
In case your Ponytail is getting mild on one facet solely and leaning in direction of the sunshine supply, you’ll must rotate it as wanted to develop straight.
Ponytail Palm Watering
I’ll point out once more that Ponytail Palm crops are succulents. They retailer water of their onion-shaped bulbous base and trunk (or stem). When you overwater one, i.e., too typically, the bulb and stem will rot out. Despite the fact that they’re onerous on the surface, they’re delicate on the within and topic to stem rot, a bacterial root rot.
Planting it in a container with a minimum of one drainage gap on the underside of the pot is advisable so the surplus water can freely drain out. A well-draining and aerated potting combine can even assist.
Water a Ponytail Palm when the soil is dry. I water my Ponytail each three weeks within the brighter months and each four-six weeks in winter.
The above is a basic guideline for you – regulate it accordingly. Your plant would possibly want watering much less or extra typically. Many variables come into play, just like the pot measurement, the kind of soil it’s planted in, its rising location, and your own home’s surroundings. The extra mild and heat, the extra typically yours will want watering.
Bigger specimens in bigger pots and people rising in cooler temps want watering much less typically.
Right here’s a Information to Watering Indoor Crops. It will show you how to decide how typically you water your inexperienced infants.
Ponytail Palm Temperature
If your own home is comfy for you, the identical goes in your houseplants. My giant Ponytail Palm plant Seen within the photograph above) grows open air in Tucson, the place temperatures soar to 110F in summer time and may dip to 28F in winter.
They deal with temperature fluctuations simply tremendous. When rising indoor ponytail palms, maintain them away from chilly drafts and air-con or heating vents.
Ponytail Palms are native to the semi-desert areas in Mexico. As a result of they’re desert crops, they will deal with the dry air in our properties simply tremendous.
Their leaves get brown suggestions, which is a response to the dry air. It doesn’t make sense, nevertheless it occurs. As you’ll be able to think about, mine rising open air right here within the desert is loaded with them!
Fertilizing / Feeding
I fertilize my tropical houseplants with Develop Massive, Liquid Kelp, and Maxsea or Sea Develop 5 to seven occasions throughout our lengthy rising season. I alternate these liquid fertilizers and don’t use all of them collectively.
I feed my Ponytail Palms much less typically, thrice a yr in early spring, mid-summer, and early fall.
I give them a lightweight software of worm compost with a lightweight layer of compost over that each spring. Simple does it – a 1/4″ layer of every is lots for a Ponytail in a smaller-sized pot.
Relating to fertilizers, don’t overdo it as a result of salts construct up and may burn the plant’s roots. It will seem as yellow and/or brown spots on the leaves.
Keep away from fertilizing a pressured houseplant, i.e., bone dry or soaking moist. You don’t need to fertilize houseplants in late fall or winter as a result of it’s not the energetic rising season.
Repotting Ponytail Palm
The perfect occasions to repot a Ponytail Palm are spring and summer time. Early fall is okay if you happen to’re in a local weather with hotter winters like I’m.
This well-liked houseplant doesn’t want repotting actually because it grows so slowly. It’s tremendous rising barely tight within the pot. That is evidenced by images of good-sized Ponytail Palm specimens rising in shallow bonsai dishes.
The bulb grows because the plant grows, so you could have to repot it into an even bigger pot sooner or later to maintain all the pieces in scale. When repotting, I plant with the rootball sticking up about an inch above the soil line. The burden of the bulb and stem will trigger it to sink a bit within the mild combine.
Different causes for repotting: a plant too tight in its pot has issue taking on water and receiving sufficient oxygen to the roots. And, generally, the soil will get outdated, loses nourishment, and must be changed.
I’ve repotted my 3-headed Ponytail Palm thrice, which I purchased on the Santa Barbara Farmers Market seventeen years in the past. I’ll repot it into a brand new pot this summer time, nevertheless it’s about the identical measurement. Only a freshen-up on the potting combine!
You possibly can see how I transplanted my giant Ponytail Palm right here.
Soil for Ponytail Palm
That is vital: Ponytail Palms do finest in a well-draining, mild soil combine. An aerated combine will assist to forestall water retention and assist forestall root rot.
I might suggest utilizing a cactus and succulent combine in your indoor Ponytail Palm. Alternatively, you could possibly use 1/2 potting soil and 1/2 succulent and cactus combine.
You possibly can plant a Ponytail Palm in potting soil (with pumice or perlite added in), however you need to be very aware to not over-water it. Keep in mind that the bulbous trunk rots out simply.
I make my very own Succulent & Cactus Combine. Under are some to purchase on-line if you happen to can’t discover any domestically or don’t need to make your individual.
Bonsai Jack (this 1 could be very gritty; nice for these susceptible to overwatering!)
Hoffman’s (that is cheaper if in case you have a number of succulents, however you might need so as to add pumice or perlite)
Superfly Bonsai (one other fast-draining one like Bonsai Jack which is nice for indoor succulents).
Ponytail Palm Pruning
I’ve by no means pruned my Ponytail Palms as a result of they haven’t wanted it. The bottom leaves progressively flip yellow and die off (this occurs very slowly) because the plant grows. I pull the yellow leaves off the trunk; I don’t prune them as a result of they arrive off simply.
Ponytail Palms, like dracaenas, are infamous for brown leaf suggestions. In the event that they trouble you, trim them off. Simply don’t make blunt cuts; they don’t look pure.
You possibly can prune the pinnacle and trunk (stem) off of a Ponytail Palm plant and propagate it. If sufficient of the trunk is left on the bulb, new progress within the type of a number of sprouts will seem off the trunk of the mother or father plant.
Straight cuts normally deliver a number of sprouts the place reduce and generally a couple of on the base. Be warned: any indicators of latest progress can take a couple of months to look, so be affected person.
Listed below are a few of our houseplant guides you might discover useful: Information To Watering Indoor Crops, Newbie’s Information To Repotting Crops, 3 Methods To Efficiently Fertilize Indoor Crops, Tips on how to Clear Houseplants, Winter Houseplant Care Information, Tips on how to Enhance Humidity for Houseplants.
Ponytail Palm Propagation
The growers propagate them by seed. Or, within the case of my 3-headed Ponytail Palm, they are often divided.
I’ve solely achieved this as soon as, however they can be propagated by eradicating the pups (the infants or new progress through sprouts) on the base. You possibly can pull them away from or reduce them off the bulb utilizing Clear & Sharp Pruners or a knife.
After I reduce, I used to be positive to get some roots together with the newborn plant. I planted it in a 4″ pot crammed with succulent and cactus combine and stored it comparatively moist till the roots grew extra established.
Mine have by no means gotten any, however I’ve seen Ponytail Palms with Mealybugs and Spider Mites. Scale can reportedly be a difficulty too.
As with every pests, maintain your eye out for them and take management instantly. They’ll unfold from houseplant to houseplant very quickly.
Ponytail Palm Toxicity
Hip, hip, hooray, this can be a plant that the ASPCA lists as non-toxic for each cats and canine.
In case you have kitties, bear in mind they’ve been recognized to chew on the lengthy, crunchy leaves. This would possibly make them sick. My kitty Ivan, who lived with us in San Francisco, beloved to munch on PP leaves and bromeliads.
Ponytail Palm Care In Winter
There are two vital issues to know. You will have to maneuver your Ponytail to a location with brighter mild in the course of the darker winter months. Additionally, cut back the watering frequency so the soil can dry out in between waterings.
Ponytail Palm Video Information
Issues to Know About Ponytail Palms
* Ponytail Palms do flower with age, nevertheless it hardly ever occurs indoors.
* This plant is a sluggish grower. Don’t anticipate a 1′ plant to succeed in 3′ any time quickly, particularly when rising indoors.
* Ponytail Palms don’t want babying and like to be a bit uncared for. They’re low upkeep and are a fantastic plant for these with hectic schedules and individuals who journey.
*The leaves are lengthy and slender and have a little bit of a tough really feel to them. Watch out of their barely sharp edges if you happen to’re dealing with them for the primary time.
*The bulb develops a cracked look because it grows and ages. That is regular.
*Decrease leaves will shed, and the trunk turns into extra pronounced and visual because the plant grows.
* Ponytail Palms want a lightweight soil combine that forestalls root rot.
* With correct Ponytail Palm care, that is a particularly long-lived plant.
Ponytail Palm Care FAQS
Ponytails thrive in excessive mild indoors. They love a sunny room, however maintain them out of sizzling home windows as they will burn.
Oh sure! An excessive amount of water will do that desert plant in. It shops water within the bulb, trunk, and roots, really easy does it on the watering frequency.
Ponytail Palms are long-lived if rising in the precise situations. I’ve had my 3-headed Ponytail for round fifteen years now. I’ve seen specimens over 10′ tall, so they’ve been round some time!
You possibly can trim off the brown suggestions if you happen to’d like. It seems to be a bit extra pure if you happen to don’t make blunt cuts.
One among mine grows open air year-round right here in Tucson. Winter temps have dipped as little as 28F. And, summer time days can see temps above 100F.
They positive are!
That is easy – Ponytail Palm care is a breeze. The 2 most vital issues to recollect to develop one efficiently are: 1) They do finest in vivid pure mild (thought-about excessive mild), and a pair of) They’ll rot out in a heartbeat if you happen to overwater them.
I like this wacky low-maintenance houseplant, whether or not it’s rising indoors or out. In case you have sufficient mild, give one a attempt. With correct care and a focus, your Ponytail Palm will thrive for years to come back!
Observe: This submit was revealed on 9/7/2019. It was up to date on 5/24/2023.
Completely happy gardening,
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