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How to Care for Ponytail Palm?

How to Care for Ponytail Palm?

Ponytail palm has become one of the most popular houseplants in recent years and the reason is obvious, the appearance of this plant is different from many plants and its long curly leaves and relatively thick trunk and brown color are very attractive. On the other hand, ponytail palm is a very compatible plant that is very easy to care for and even novices can easily maintain this beautiful plant and enjoy its beauty. As a result, it is one of the houseplants with easy care and a suitable choice for beginners. Continue reading this article in TooPlant in order to learn more about how to grow and care for ponytail palm.

Introduction of Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)

Before addressing how to care for ponytail palm, please allow us to give you a brief introduction about this houseplant.

Introduction of Ponytail Palm

Name Ponytail Palm
Botanical Name In the past: Nolina recurvata, nowadays: Beaucarnea recurvata
Common Name(s) Ponytail palm, Elephant’s foot, ponytail palm tree, Nolina, bottle palm tree, elephant foot tree
Plant Type Broadleaf evergreen tree/shrub
Family Asparagaceae 
Mature Size Height: 6 to 8 feet; Spread: 3- to 5 feet [Up to six meters or more (when planted outdoors)]
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Conditions Sandy, well-draining soil
Bloom Time Seasonal bloomer
Toxicity Non-toxic to humans and animals
Native Arid regions of southern Mexico (Veracruz)
Hardiness Zones 10 to 11 (USDA); usually grown as a houseplant

Introduction of Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)Ponytail palm can create a beautiful landscape in your home and workplace. The most important appearance of this houseplant is its thick stem, which stores water and is resistant to soil dryness; So that it can even live without water for weeks. Ponytail palm’s dark, slender, long green leaves grow like a tuft of hair or like a ponytail from the top of the stem and fall down, resulting in the plant’s unique and eye-catching beauty.

Ponytail palm grows slowly. This makes it a suitable plant for confined spaces as well. Palms are actually for those who do not have much time to care for plants or travel constantly. Because all this plant needs is good light. Ponytail palm has a long life and can stay with you for many years. If you want to add a beautiful pot to your living space, be sure to think about ponytail palm.

One of the interesting points of this plant is that ponytail palm is neither a palm nor a tree; Its common name in English is ponytail palm tree and it has other names such as Nolina, bottle palm tree or elephant foot tree, all of which refer to the thick stem of this plant and liken it to a bottle or elephant foot. The scientific name of this plant in the past was Nolina recurvata, which has been corrected today and is known by the new name Beaucarnea recurvate.

Ponytail palm is native to the arid regions of southern Mexico. For this reason, it has the ability to store water in its trunk. This houseplant is used in some parts of the world not only as an ornamental plant for indoors, but also in the outdoor environment such as the garden.

Ponytail palms can grow up to six meters or more in natural habitats and outdoors but are grown in greenhouses on a small, bonsai-like scale, and rarely grow more than 90 centimeters at home as a houseplant. The interesting thing is that the older the plants, the taller their thick trunk.

Ponytail palms, if planted outdoors, may bloom in the summer, but indoors they are very unlikely to bloom. The plant’s flower is not very noticeable in terms of beauty and appearance and is in the form of white clusters.

In this article, we want to provide you with information about how to care for ponytail palm, so stay tuned with Tooplant.

Care for Ponytail Palm

In short, about the maintenance and care of the ponytail palm, we must say that keeping ponytail palm at home is very similar to keeping cacti and succulents. Therefore, the task is not so difficult. To have a ponytail palm that is always healthy and fresh, it is necessary to observe and consider the vital items such as light, watering and other items that we have mentioned in detail below.

In this part, we will focus on the most important aspects which you need to take into consideration while treating this houseplant. The best methods of how to take care of palm plant include as follows:

Ponytail Palm Light Requirements: What light is best for ponytail palm?

Light is among the first important issues to care for ponytail palm. This houseplant needs full direct or indirect light, but because it is a fully adaptable plant, it can spend half a year in a less light place. This means that if you put it in a bright place in spring and summer and outdoors like a terrace, it can tolerate low light during autumn and winter. It can also withstand several hours of direct light. The only difference between low light and a high light environment is that the plant will grow less in a low light environment; In other words, the more light, the more growth!

If you have kept ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvate) in the shade for a while, you should not expose it to the sun suddenly, but you should leave it in the light for a few hours a day and then move it back to the shade. This allows the plant to gradually get used to the light and its leaves do not burn or wrinkle.

So, as shown above, light plays a significant role to care for ponytail palm.

Ponytail Palm Watering: How often should you water a ponytail palm?

In the rest, concerning the tips of caring for a ponytail palm, it is better to know that since this houseplant belongs to the succulent family, it grows best in a semi-arid environment and it is necessary to allow the plant soil to dry completely between each watering.

This plant does not need much water and the best way is to water it every two to three weeks, depending on the humidity conditions of your home.

In the winter months, you should reduce the amount of watering and water with drip irrigation; i.e., give a small amount of water and when that water is absorbed into the soil, add a little more water again.

The method of watering in spring and summer is that you should continue watering the plant until the water comes out of the hole under the pot. Finally, empty the water collected in the pot.

As we mentioned before, the thick stems of the ponytail palm store water in themselves, so if you forget to water it once or twice, it’s okay, but do not make this your habit and water the plant regularly; Otherwise, instead of growing well, the plant will only try to survive.

In this way, to care for ponytail palm, watering is considered to be of great significance.

How do you know if your ponytail palm needs watering?

Ponytail palm is resistant to water shortage, and it may take some guidance to figure out when to water it. In this section, we will tell you the tips to find the right time to water your ponytail palm:

The weight or lightness of the pot

When the soil in ponytail palm’s pot is dry, lift it and water it. Then lift the pot again to see how heavy it is. When it is dry, if the pot is as light as before, it is time to water it.

Touch and examine the ponytail palm soil

Dip your finger into the soil to examine the amount of humidity. If the soil around the root is relatively dry, it is time to water the ponytail palm. However, if the soil is completely dry and there is no humidity, you need to wait for a few days and then check the soil again.

Overwatering is said to be one of the most common causes of ponytail palm death; So, water it when the soil is completely dry.

If there is a time when ponytail palm does not have water for several weeks, the leaves will gradually shrink and wrinkle and turn brown. The stem of the plant also becomes small and thin and also wrinkled. In this case, water the pot completely at the first opportunity by following the steps below:

  1. Place the pot (without the tray) in a sink, tub or basin with a lower height than the pot. Fill the sink, basin, or tub with enough water and do not let water enter the pot. Also, make sure that the water is not hot.
  2. Put the pot in water for 45 minutes to absorb water from the hole in the bottom of the pot.
  3. After this, check the soil on the pot by hand. Has the water reached 5 to 8 cm of soil?
  4. If the soil is still dry, gently pour some water from the top of the pot into the soil to speed up the water saturation process.
  5. When all parts of the potting soil are evenly moistened, take the pot out of the water and leave it in place until the excess water is completely out. Then return the pot to its previous place.

Ponytail Palm Soil: What is the best soil for a Beaucarnea recurvate (Ponytail Palm)?

Intending to care for ponytail palm, the other crucial matter is soil. Ponytail palm does not need special soil with a special formula, but you can use cactus soil for this houseplant. Just make sure the soil is fresh and has not been used before.

To make your plant look more beautiful, you can plant it in a pot that is too high so that the leaves do not fall to the ground and remain hanging.

Thus, it can be said that, soil is another basic and important issue so as to care for ponytail palm.

Ponytail Palm Temperature Tolerance

Now, we come to temperature which is assumed to be principal to care for ponytail palm in addition to light, watering and soil that are mentioned above.

Ponytail palm needs a normal home temperature of 15 to 26 degrees. At night, the temperature should not fall below 7 degrees. If the plant is not placed in the above-mentioned temperature range, it will probably not grow well.

Ponytail palm is resistant to temperature changes and can withstand temperatures close to zero, but this should not happen continuously or intentionally.

Be sure to place the plant away from cold air in windows, air conditioners or at the entrance to your home, as the flow of cold air will dry out the plant’s leaves.

Ponytail palms can be placed outdoors in the spring and summer, such as on a terrace; It is not a problem to leave the plant outside at night as long as the weather is not cold, but if the weather is very cold at night, be sure to move it indoors.

Ponytail Palm Humidity: Does ponytail palm like humidity?

Moisture is another thing which we need to inevitably pay attention to when talking about how to take care of palm plant. Like most succulents, ponytail palm likes dry weather; However, do not place it near heaters, as if the humidity is too low, the edges and tips of the leaves will turn brown.

Therefore, please do not forget to take humidity into consideration in order to care for ponytail palm in the best way.

Ponytail Palm Fertilizer: What is the best fertilizer for a ponytail palm?

When you want to care for ponytail palm, one of the important questions that may come to your mind is “what is the best fertilizer?” In what follows, we will address how to fertilize this plant:

Beaucarnea recurvate only needs to be fertilized two to three times a year, and excessive amounts of fertilizer can cause brown spots on the leaves. To get the best results from fertilizing, use regular houseplant fertilizer or cactus fertilizer once in spring and once in summer.

As a result, we could say that fertilizer is regarded as one of the fundamental issues when someone wants to care for ponytail palm.

Ponytail Palm Toxicity: Are ponytail palms poisonous to humans and pets?

In order to care for ponytail palm, toxicity is considered to be a major issue because it directly relates to your health especially children and pets.

This plant is by no means toxic to humans and animals and you can keep it safely in your home. But the plant’s curly, hanging leaves are probably a good toy for animals, including cats, and they may even scratch the leaves. For this reason, it is best to keep it out of the reach of cats.

Ponytail Palm Repotting: How to repot ponytail palm?

If ponytail palm grows well, you will need to repot it about once a year, but if it has grown moderately, then repot it every two to three years.

If an elephant’s foot grows well and receives nutrients and fertilizer, the plant will do well in small pots and the entire pot will be full of compacted roots. As a result, it is necessary to plant it in a pot with a perforated end.

Since the time to repot the plant is relative, and some ponytail palms may have a sooner or later time of repotting, keep in mind that you need to repot the plant when its roots completely cover the pot. Be filled. In that case, you should choose a new pot that is only 2.5 to 5 cm larger in diameter than the previous pot. If you move this plant to a much larger pot, it will need a large amount of water, which will damage the plant’s growth and health and may cause it to die.

Ponytail Palm Pruning: How to prune ponytail palm?

Another thing to keep in mind when caring for a ponytail palm is pruning it. Ponytail palm does not need pruning, and if you prune its leaves, the tips of the leaves will turn brown. Therefore, do not prune your plant to keep it beautiful.

Propagating Ponytail Palm: How to propagate ponytail palm?

When you want to care for ponytail palm, another important question that may come to your mind is “how to propagate it.”

Ponytail palm is a plant that can produce offsets. Offset is a smaller sample of a plant with the same characteristics that grows in the soil next to the main plant. You can easily separate these offsets from the mother plant and plant them separately to have a new ponytail palm.

How to propagate ponytail palm by leaves or offsets

The best way to propagate ponytail palm is by cuttings, which are the same as offsets. Offsets are small leaves and buds that grow near the roots of the plant and gradually have their own roots. In such conditions, they can be used to grow and propagate plants. It is better to grow these offsets in the soil. For this reason, breeding and propagating ponytail palm through the growth of offsets in water is not highly recommended.

How to propagate ponytail palm by leaves

¤ The best time to separate the offsets is spring and when repotting or changing the soil.

¤ Make sure the pot does not suffer from various ponytail palm diseases.

¤ To do this you need to use a sharp razor or a suitable knife.

¤ Remove the ponytail palm completely from the pot and clean the soil around the root so that you can examine it.

¤ Look carefully to see where the offsets and roots separate. Then gently separate the two parts with a knife or razor.

¤ Put the end of the fresh offsets in the rooting solution.

¤ Mix the right soil for ponytail palm and pour into a suitable pot.

¤ Carefully plant the offset in it so that one-third of it is in the soil.

¤ The best way to maintain ponytail palm flowers after propagation is to place the pot in the shade, away from direct sunlight, but in a well-lit environment.

¤ It is also necessary to keep the plant soil moist.

How to propagate ponytail palm by seeds

Another recommended way of how to propagate ponytail palm and grow it is to plant its seeds in suitable soil. Propagation of this houseplant by sowing seeds takes a little more time than by sowing offsets. So, if you choose this method, you must have high patience. The steps are as follows:

¤ First, buy the seeds from a reputable place.

¤ Then scrape one side of the seeds with a razor or sandpaper until dark spots form on them.

¤ Next it is necessary to put the seeds in a bowl of lukewarm water for 24 hours and cover it with a damp cloth.

¤ After this time, remove the seeds from the water and dry them.

¤ Fill a pot with peat soil. One pot is needed for each seed.

¤ Place the seed on the peat soil. Then pour sand with a diameter of 3 mm or half a centimeter on it.

¤ Then moisten the soil and cover it with clear plastic.

¤ Do not allow the potting soil to dry until germination. But do not overwater it.

¤ Germination takes about a month or two. During this period, the seed storage environment should have a temperature of about 20 ° C.

¤ It is also necessary to place the pot in indirect sunlight.

¤ After germination, you can remove the plastic from the pot.

In this part, we tried to teach you how to propagate ponytail palm in detail. In this way, you can easily propagate your plant.

Common Pests and Diseases

Ponytail palm, like any other plant, can be exposed to pests.

Common Pests

Like most houseplants, a ponytail palm can be susceptible to spider mites and skin algae.

Treatment: Garden soaps or oils are good non-toxic ways to control these pests.

Common Diseases

Potential but rare problems of the disease include leaf spots, stem rot and leaf streaks by bacteria. Overwatering is the most common cause of fungal problems and stem rot.

Caring for Ponytail Palm: Common Problems With Ponytail Palm

After a description of taking care of a ponytail palm, we will explain the problems and their solutions:

Why Are Ponytail Palm Leaves Turning Yellow?

As “leaves turning yellow” is one of the common problems that you may face when you want to care for ponytail palm, we will try to describe the reasons and the ways to solve it in details.

The yellowing of ponytail palm leaves is a sign of overwatering and damage to its roots. When this plant receives a lot of water, it suffers from root rot and as a result, it cannot provide the necessary nutrients for the plant and the leaves of the plant turn yellow and drop.

Sometimes this yellowing can be a sign of excessive fertilization, which causes salt to accumulate in the plant soil. If you find that the yellowing of your ponytail palm leaves is due to excessive fertilization, you should wash the plant soil under running water for 20 minutes to remove the salt in the soil.

Why are Ponytail Palm leaves turning brown?

Ponytail palm plant brown tips is a result of underwatering. Of course, overwatering can also cause this problem, but when overwatering, this browning is accompanied by yellowing of the middle of the leaf, and when underwatering, the edges of the leaves become dry and brown. It is best to remove these damaged leaves from the ponytail palm and improve your watering habits.

Since palm plant brown tips is another common problem that you may face when you want to care for palm plant, we tried to describe the reasons and the ways to solve it in details.

Does Ponytail Palm Bloom?

Ponytail palm can bloom every summer, but you should know that this houseplant must be large and mature enough to bloom. In fact, the plant blooms when its trunk is about 5 meters tall, so your houseplant ponytail palm may never bloom. In fact, this plant is not bought for its flowers, but its beauty and leaves have made it popular.

Infographic Of How To Care For Ponytail Palm

In this article, we tried to explain to you in an infographic the essential tips on how to take care of palm plant, so that you can briefly and usefully learn the methods of caring for this plant.

In The End

In this article, we tried to provide you with the necessary information about the methods of caring for a Ponytail Palm.

However, if you have any questions regarding this indoor plant or you need to get advice from our houseplant experts, please share your questions with us through the comments section below.

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