How to grow and care for Ponytail Palm Indoors

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Ponytail Palm Care, Beaucarnea recurvata Care

Photo Credit: Succulent Native

Botanical name: Beaucarnea recurvata
Family: Asparagaceae

Ponytail Palm Description

Ponytail Palm also called Elephant Foot is an easy to grow houseplants that does not require a lot of attention which makes it ideal for a beginner or the forgetful plant parent.

The Ponytail Palm has a large, swollen bulb that stores water which resembles an elephant's foot and hence the common name 'Elephant Foot'.

A thin trunk arises from the swollen bulb and is topped by a plume of long strap-like leaves which give this plant its common name 'Ponytail Palm'.

Though called a palm, Ponytail Palm is not a true palm. It is a member of the Asparagaceae family along with Yucca, Asparagus and Spider Plants.

Ponytail Palm is a slow-growing succulent which requires very bright light with some direct sunlight and moderately moist free-draining soil. It does not like soggy soil.

Ponytail Palm Size

Under the right conditions Ponytail Palm can grow to a height of 6 ft or more.

Ponytail Palm Origin

Ponytail Palm is native to the states of Tamaulipas, Veracruz and San Luis Potosi in eastern Mexico.

Ponytail Palm Care, Beaucarnea recurvata Care

Photo Credit: Bloomscape

Ponytail Palm Care Indoors

Ponytail Palm Light Requirements

The best light for growing your Ponytail Palm indoors is bright light with some direct sunlight.

Ponytail Palm can also tolerate direct sunshine. However, it needs to be acclimatized before moving it under direct sunlight. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water Ponytail Palm

Water your Ponytail Palm liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.

Reduce watering for your Ponytail Palm during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is reduced at this time.

Avoid soggy soil for your Ponytail Palm as it can lead to rotting of the bulb. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature for Ponytail Palm

The best temperature for growing your Ponytail Palm indoors is an average warmth with a minimum of 150C. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Ponytail Palm

Average room humidity is ideal for your Ponytail Palm. Mist the leaves occasionally and clean them by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Ponytail Palm Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed your Ponytail Palm with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period.

Withhold feeding for your Ponytail Palm during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to Repot Ponytail Palm

Repot Ponytail Palm during the growing season only when the plant has become pot-bound.

The best soil for Ponytail Palm is a fast draining soil that is rich in organic matter.

The pot for your Ponytail Palm should allow 1 in. of space between the plant's trunk and the rim of the pot.

Ensure that the Ponytail Palm trunk remains at the same soil level as it was in previous pot and that the bulbous part is not covered under soil to avoid rotting.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.

Refresh the soil for the large Ponytail Palm by removing the top 2-4 in. of soil and replacing with fresh soil.

How to Prune Ponytail Palm

Prune your Ponytail Palm by removing dead and dry leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

Avoid wounding the Ponytail Palm trunk as it can result in fungal infections.

Ponytail Palm Propagation

Ponytail Palm is not easy to propagate but can be propagated from offsets (pups) at the beginning of the growing season.

How to propagate Ponytail Palm from offshoots (pups)

Allow the Ponytail Palm pups to grow to a length of about 4 in. or more to ensure the best chance of survival.

Remove the soil around the base of the Ponytail Palm to expose where the pup joins the mother.

With a sterilized, sharp knife, cut the Ponytail Palm pup away to separate it from the mother.

Pot the Ponytail Palm pup in moist, potting mixture which is sand-based and free-draining to prevent rotting.

Cover the set up with a clear plastic bag in order to create humid conditions that are necessary for rooting.

Keep the soil surface moist through out until Ponytail Palm pup is well established after which routine care can begin.

Ponytail Palm Care, Beaucarnea recurvata Care

Photo Credit: Beyond The Vine

Ponytail Palm Problems Indoors

Ponytail Palm brown leaf tips

There are two possible causes of brown leaf tips in your Ponytail Palm. Snip off the brown tips with a sharp sterilized scissors to keep the plant neat.

One possible cause of brown leaf tips in your Ponytail Palm is underwatering or overwatering.

Water your Ponytail Palm liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.

Reduce watering for your Ponytail Palm during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist but never soggy.

The second possible cause of brown leaf tips in your Ponytail Palm is overfeeding which leads to fertilizer burn.

Ponytail Palm is a slow-grower and therefore does not require heavy feeding.

Feed your Ponytail Palm monthly during the growing season and withhold feeding during the cold season.

Ponytail Palm lower leaves turning brown

The lower leaves in your Ponytail Palm turn brown as the plant ages.

Pull out the dry leaves to maintain your Ponytail Palm neat as new leaves grow from the top of the trunk.

Ponytail Palm Pests

Ponytail Palm is highly resistant to pests but weak plants can be attacked by Scale Insects, Mealy Bugs and Spider Mites.

Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Is Ponytail Palm toxic?

Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) is non-toxic to both humans and pets. It is safe to grow indoors.

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