Ponytail Palm

PrintPrintEmailEmail
Your rating: None Average: 4.3 of 5 (23 votes)

Botanical name: Beaucarnea Recurvata

Plant type: Houseplant

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Part Sun

Ponytail Palms are a great, long-lived indoor plant. (Despite it's name and palm-like appearance, it's not a true "palm.")

This plant has long green leathery stems that develop as the plant ages.  Indoors, they can reach up to 3 feet high. The only thing that is difficult about this plant is adapting to its watering needs.

Planting

  • Use a fast draining soil, such as cactus potting soil.
  • Normal room temperature is good for most of the year, but keep it cooler in the winter (50 to 55° F).
  • Find a location with bright light.

Care

  • Keep soil fairly dry. Water from spring through fall allowing soil to dry on the surface before re-watering. During the winter only water occasionally.
  • Fertilize in the spring and bring into brighter room for the summer months. 
  • Re-potting every other year at the most is all the Ponytail Palm needs.

Pests

  • Overwatering can contribute to stem rot.  If you withhold watering, the plant may be able to internally cure the problem. 
  • Spider mites occur on the leaves, but can be fixed by rubbing a cloth of soap and water on the stems. 

Wit & Wisdom

Another name for Ponytail Palm is Elephant Foot Palm.

Comments

I live in N.J. and bought my

By Joan Senerchia on July 12

I live in N.J. and bought my pony tail this summer. When I saw it at the garden center, I had to have it. It was sold as a bonsai. It's in a dish about 3" high and about 5 or 6" across. I have it on my porch where it gets sun for part of the day. It's doing well. When I took it in to water it today, I held it by the trunk, and it came out of the pot. I noticed that it already had roots starting to wind around the root ball. I want it to stay small, so I carefully pulled the roots away and cut them back, while not eliminating them entirely. I had once read that bonsai roots get trimmed. Did I do the right thing?

I read through all the posts

By Julie Watts on July 11

I read through all the posts and not sure if my question was answered. I'v had a palm for almost 2 years. Not sure how to care for it, I moved it around alot and it didn't get the sun that it needs to survive. The crown has a broken piece and the leaves all turned brown, so I cut it down to the very core. My question is will it survive? This summer I've put it out on the deck. It does have some green leaves sprouting from the top. I left the broken piece of crown on the top where it broke off.

Hi! I recently bought a small

By Kathy Sabet on July 10

Hi! I recently bought a small Ponytail palm and when I bought it the base of the plant was just resting ontop of the soil. I did buy a very slightly bigger pot to repot it in and purchased some Miracle Grow Cactus, Palm, potting soil. The plant seems very healthy though. I wanted to know when I do repot...how far down into the soil does the base go...how mucho of the base should be exposed?? Any other suggestions would be helpful? This is my First Ponytail palm! Thank you! Kathy

My ponytail palm was just a

By Sherry Whitney on July 9

My ponytail palm was just a little shrub when my dad got it probably 20 years ago it was given to me about 17 years ago I've repotted it probably three Times it's actually too heavy for me to do now. It's been inside, outside in Florida and now Tennessee. Since I'm now in Tennessee it is on a hefty plant dolly and I roll out just outside the door when we've had the last of cold weather and back in again when the cold nights reappear. My question is about growth, my Palm has two growths off the main trunk with lots of fresh green leaves, I don't want them to grow more I want my Palm to stay tall and skinny it works well being indoor/outdoor. If I remove these growths do I need a sealant to apply to the spots on the trunk where they came from?

It sounds as if you are

By Almanac Staff on July 10

It sounds as if you are asking about cutting off branches and not the "offsets" which are the pups that grow from the base. If so, you can cut the branches and coat the wound with tree pruning sealer. 

What type of pot do I need

By wendy christie on July 5

What type of pot do I need for a Ponytail Plant? One with a drainage hole or one without?

I have two ponytails one I've

By Sandra Avilez on June 25

I have two ponytails one I've had for 4.month's and the other for 3 month's. My first palm has 3 feet and my sevond one has a big single foot about 4 inches wide. So far both are healthy but to my dismay my wide base palm has developed some green spikes on its foot about 10 of them is my plant dying because it also had a beautiful spray of green growth comming out of the top and a couple of the sprouts turned brown so I tugged the leaf an the whole spray came out oh my

Can you leave a pony tail

By Felicia white on June 24

Can you leave a pony tail palm outside in the shade, it is covered by a very large tree?

Hello. I have a pony-tail

By Angelica Santrich

Hello. I have a pony-tail plant myself for about 3 years and I'm getting a bit worried. It's leaves are getting all dried up. I want to know what kind of fertilizer or anything else so that it can be as beautiful as it once was. Also, the trunk/stem is starting to really dry up and shrink. I just wanted to know how often I should water it, too. Thank you!

If the trunk is shriveling

By Paula Shepard

If the trunk is shriveling up, water it now as that is the water storage for the plant and shriveling means it's nearly empty.

I water my ponytail palms (who are right next to a southwestish facing window and get some sun through the window as well as bright light- yeah if taken slowly to get them used to the change, they love sun and heat) once a week by placing the whole pot into another container that is as tall or taller than the pot and I add water to the edge of the plant pot and I let sit a couple hours to give the plant time to tank up. Then I take it out and put it somewhere it can drain out what it doesn't need. Adjust watering down a little for lower light and in winter lengthen the time between waterings as the plant isn't growing and not using water as fast.

The leaves are drying up probably because it is water deficient. I'm wondering what changed recently as you had it going well for 3 years...a move maybe which caused a change in light level with a change of location? The brighter the light the more water a plant will use generally.

You can also kind of generally tell how much water is in the pot just by picking it up. Feel how heavy it is right after it has been watered and drained and remember how heavy it is, the pot gets lighter in weight as the water is used up. If the top is heavier than the pot...get it in water.

You can fertilize it with a well balanced fertilizer once every two months during the spring/summer/fall (could put it in the water even) but if I were you I'd go half strength on the fertilizer. Or if you have compost around, sprinkle it over the top works too then water gently over the top of that to get the nutrients down in the soil.

These guys also like being misted with a spray bottle when you remember to do it. It's not mandatory but they like it alot and it helps keep them beautiful. I use water with a quarter or less strength fertilizer that is good for spraying on plants in my water bottle and don't worry about fertilizing other than the new soil every so often. I try to remember to spray once a day as I walk by.

These are TOUGH plants though, especially if you don't rot them out with too much water. If the leaves look that bad, cut them off...just chop them and new, pretty ones will quickly start to grow and take their place. And remember, if you repot the ponytail palm into a bigger pot it grows TALLER. If you want to keep it shorter with a bushy top avoid repotting it as long as you can, preferably until it physically breaks the pot it is in, then try to get a pot only a half size bigger to pot into.

I also practice root pruning on mine where every two to three years I cut the lower quarter to half of the rootball off, put new soil in the pot to take its place and put the plant back in over the top and push the plant and remaining root ball firmly onto the new soil to make sure it's firmly lodged into the pot again. This gives it fresh nutritious soil. It's kind of like repotting without repotting.

And watch that trunk, if it starts to shrivel it's in advanced water shortage and needs a chance to tank up again quickly...at least several hours and possibly two rounds of watering like that 3 days apart.

A hanging plant fell on top

By Jana D

A hanging plant fell on top of my 2+ year old ponytail palm. I am devasted because the main branch, the entire ponytail that was so beautiful and getting very large, is broken completely off at the stem. Another smaller sprout broke off too. All that is left is one small/newer sprout with some leaves and the bolbous stem. It looks so sad now. What should I do? After I cried for awhile, I haven't lost hope because I am wondering if I can replant the main branch and hope it grows? Also, will the main branch grow back and someday have a beautiful large ponytail again? Or I am in a bad situation? Thank you.

You will have better luck if

By Almanac Staff

You will have better luck if you plant the broken stem in a new pot. The main stem will most likley grow a new stem where the old one was broken off. Good luck!

My ponytail palm is starting

By Barbara Craft

My ponytail palm is starting to have leaves turning almost redat the top. What does this mean?

Thank You
Barbara

You can cut the brownish-red

By Almanac Staff

You can cut the brownish-red tips off. It's normal for the lower leaves to turn brown and eventually dry up. If you have brown tips on the upper leaves try moving the plant closer to a window so it gets more light.

I have 2 ponytail that I've

By Nadine Wood

I have 2 ponytail that I've had for about 3 yrs. Now all the leaves have fell off both of them. Is there anyway to save them? I'm heart broken.

To promote leaf growth on the

By Almanac Staff

To promote leaf growth on the palm you can cut off the top and the palm will grow new shoots. You can also plant the top in a pot with soil to root it.

I bought a Ponytail Palm for

By Anete

I bought a Ponytail Palm for my desk at work 2 years ago. The lights are on 24/7 and I give it a cup of water every other week. It has some brown tips (about a half an inch on every leaf) is this ok? Other than that it looks very healthy for never seeing a window. Also the bottom part/bulb of the plant is quite big now. At what point do I repot?

The plant is a little over a

By Anete

The plant is a little over a foot and a half tall and almost 5 inches wide in a 6 inch pot

Brown leaf tips of the lower

By Almanac Staff

Brown leaf tips of the lower leaves is normal--the entire leaf will eventually brown and fall off. Browning leaf tips of the top leaves usually may mean insufficient light, or too little or too much water (sometimes it can also be fertilizer burn or too many salts accumulating in the soil). If you do not see any mushy areas on the plant or bulb, the pot has a proper drainage hole, and the soil is a well-draining mix and has not been too moist, then most likely it is not overwatering. For underwatering, be sure that you water deeply when the soil is dry down about an inch deep--usually about every 1 to 2 weeks.
 
For lighting--the plants like direct sun, but for indirect light, it needs to be bright (it can tolerate lower levels, but does better in brighter). Grow lights specifically for plants, and set at a proper distance, might make your plant happier. As you have been doing, give it several hours of light per day; however, you might ask a garden nursery if it would do better with a period of darkness each day to rest, just as it would have in its natural environment. Some plants are sensitive to the number of hours of light that they receive, and do not do well under continuous light--we're not sure if it matters to a pony tail palm, though. (Anyone else know?)
 
As for potting, if the roots aren't coming out of the base, and the plant seems happy (other than browning tips), then you might want to wait to repot. These plants do well when a little crowded. When you do repot, choose a pot just slightly larger than the current one, and use a good well-draining mix (such as a cactus mix). A larger pot will encourage taller, thinner growth.

i live in san Francisco.

By michael mcgraw

i live in san Francisco. about 10 years ago I moved my ponytail out into the garden into the ground. it has been happy every since. last year it flowered for the first time. while it was not particularly attractive it was different. now this year it is doing something along the same lines ie not putting out new shoots but smaller white things. also it has begun to sprout babies for the first time, probably 4 or 5 on the stem. is there anything I need to do or worry about?

I have had two pony tail

By mary jane coleman

I have had two pony tail plants that are in a small containers. I have had them for over two years. They were in a bathroom bay window with no sun and low
light. I watered them very infrequently and they have done well. Some growth, but slow. Moved and now they have been in a windowless bath for a month and seem to be doing well. Noticed some new growth at top that is very light green.
I just watered them and put them on the deck. can I successfully move from deck to bathroom every few days. They look so great in the bath!!!!

I have a ponytail palm. I've

By kori kuritz

I have a ponytail palm. I've had it about 3 yrs. Recently, I repotted it in miracle grow. Now, the leaves are splitting and the Ball has developed a split. I'm very concerned. I love my ponytail. It's about 1 1/2 feet tall. Also, the leaves are darkening. Not like turning Brown, just darker. I don't recall this happening before. I've had several in my life. I'd love to save my baby.

Hi, thank you for answering

By Setai

Hi, thank you for answering all questions ...sorry I couldn't find my answer.
I live in Australia and moved beside the ocean 1 year ago. Pontail lives on the balcony facing the ocean...it was so healthy also living outside on balcony easterly position, prior to move, but now many leaves have dropped and instead of them being 3 foot long they are stunted and many have brown ends. My thoughts are maybe too much salt or wind? I have a west facing balcony where frangipani and yukka grow well! Your thoughts please.

I bought a ponytail plant a

By nursey

I bought a ponytail plant a month or so ago. It has 5 bulbs in it. Do I need to repot all them or do I need to separate them. They all fill the pot quite full. Thanks

You can easily divide the

By Almanac Staff

You can easily divide the bulbs. Remove them from the pot, brush off as much soil as you can, and then carefully pry them apart. Repot them with a fast draining potting mix and place them in a sunny spot.

i have a triple pony tail for

By betty nicholson

i have a triple pony tail for probably thirty years and it is in a corner, by a southern exposure, getting some direct sun but mostly protected by an overhang. well, one of the plants is just about touching the ceiling (leaves not the stalk)-so now what? i have no other place with sunlight, unless it comes out of the beautiful antique planter (found in the garbage) and it really belongs in it. so, is there a way to trim without damage or….
thanks in advance,
betty

Hi Betty, Just cut the top

By Almanac Staff

Hi Betty,
Just cut the top off at the desired height and use a commercial sealant on the cut if it is big. You should see some new growth in about a month. Replant the top with the leaves after dipping the cut in rooting hormone.

my pony palm is 5-6 ft tall

By Lillian Strozier

my pony palm is 5-6 ft tall and on a balcony with sunshine. I discovered it has white mold that is sticky. You have said to correct this to spray with an insecticide/soup spray. What is this and where can you purchase it? I also have several shoots can these be removed and replanted? Thank You, Lillian

You can buy insecticidal soap

By Almanac Staff

You can buy insecticidal soap sprays at garden centers or other stores that sell gardening products. You can also make your own by mixing 1 to 2 tablespoons liquid soap into a quart of water. Neem oil can also be used for insect pests.
You can cut the shoot from your palm and dip the bottom in rooting hormone. Then plant in a pot with fresh soil and place the pot in a sunny window. Let the soil dry out between waterings.

I just received a ponytail

By Maxwell Berins

I just received a ponytail palm from my mother, and I have been giving it a half a cup of water once a week. But every time I water the plant, mold grows on the soil. What do I do?

Is the mold sticky and does

By Almanac Staff

Is the mold sticky and does it disappear after the soil dries out? You may be giving the palm too much water. Let the soil dry out and then check for insects (mealy bugs are common). You may have to repot the palm in fresh soil.

I've inherited a small

By maureenf98

I've inherited a small ponytail palm that was barely watered and has a lot of dead leaves. I'd like to bring this plant back if possible. Any advice on whether or not that is possible?

First, we would change the

By Almanac Staff

First, we would change the soil and repot in well-draining bonsai soil. Tip it over and gently pull it out; brush off old soil; gently remove any dead roots. Repot in a container slightly bigger than the roots. Lightly dust the remaining roots with rooting hormone. Do not water for at least a week. Then slowly add small amounts of water over the next few weeks afterward. Keep it lots of light but not direct sun. Only water when dry. It does not need much water.

My ponytail plant leaves seem

By kimberly l

My ponytail plant leaves seem to crack at the top when they are getting longer. What can I do for this?

This problem is often related

By Almanac Staff

This problem is often related to too much water. Ensure that the soil has good drainage and consider a change of soil--which will allow you to ensure that there is not a root problem. If you check these issues, the issue should resolve itself. We would not remove any leaves.

I have a nice 2 ft tall

By Lee Metcalf

I have a nice 2 ft tall ponytail palm, if I keep it outside all summer, will it make it through the winter indoors. I have very low light inside. Should I get a grow light to keep it healthy?

Hi Lee, If you have very low

By Almanac Staff

Hi Lee,
If you have very low light indoors we recommend to get grow light. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. A fluorescent bulb will do.

I would like to know how much

By jazmin

I would like to know how much water should I give my indoor ponytail palm? I am generally new to keeping care of plants.

Ponytail palms are so unique

By ponytail palm lover

Ponytail palms are so unique and beautiful I think. Thanks for the tip on spider mites.

When i got my Ponytail Palm

By Tommie D.

When i got my Ponytail Palm it was a Birthday gift and its in pebbles and they glued together cant tell if it needs water what do i do

Hi Tommie, Repot the palm as

By Almanac Staff

Hi Tommie,
Repot the palm as soon as possible and remove the peppbles. A little warm water may loosen the glue so that you can break the pebbles apart. Repot in a fast-draining soil so that you don't risk to get root rot.
 

My pony tail palm is 6 years

By Grimes

My pony tail palm is 6 years old I repotted it once seems to being great I thought about repotting it, not sure...I only water very little and use left over bottled water that some one leaves on the counter. Its in my kitchen on the counter in between two windows plenty of light but not sunlight should I move it to a window with sun or leave it alone? I keep thinking about the saying if it ain't broke don' fix it...:)

It sounds like your palm is

By Almanac Staff

It sounds like your palm is happy in the light from the windows in the kitchen. Don't move it.

Thank you

By Stormy Flavius

Thank you

Hello, I have a ponytail also

By Stormy Flavius

Hello, I have a ponytail also and my cat almost broke off one of its stems (not the main one). I found it hanging by one third/quarter of the stem and quickly set it straight and taped it. Usually I am not overly sensitive about houseplants, but keeping in mind that it belonged to my mother, I can't say I am very calm about the whole situation. So the questions are: is there any point in hoping that it would heal? Or should I plant the broken part and hope it will live? Thanks

You will have better luck if

By Almanac Staff

You will have better luck if you plant the broken stem in a new pot. The main stem will most likley grow a new stem where the old one was broken off. Good luck!

my pony tail palm may need

By mary in texas

my pony tail palm may need repotting but i'm not sure. how can i tell when it's time to repot?

Hi Mary, If the palm is doing

By Almanac Staff

Hi Mary,
If the palm is doing well and is not too crowded in the pot you don't need to repot. If you see roots growing out of the drainage holes it's time for a slightly bigger pot.

Can I plant a broken pony

By Peter Pettitt

Can I plant a broken pony tail stem that has broken off ? if so How

Dip the stem in rooting

By Almanac Staff

Dip the stem in rooting hormone and plant it in some fresh soil and keep it watered.

I have a ponytail palm that

By DeAnna Burns

I have a ponytail palm that we keep outside during the summer. The palm did really well but it got really cold and I think we waited to long to bring it in. The tops have all slumped over and got really soft and have since started to smell and fallen off. I'm trying to save it but I think it might be dying. What can I do? The leaves are still green in some places but are very limp. I put it in the sun during the day and move it back to the living room at night but it doesn't seem to be doing any better. Please help it's my favorite plant and would really love to make sure I can save it. It's about 4 years old.

Hi DeAnna. The tops got

By Almanac Staff

Hi DeAnna.
The tops got damaged from the cold but if the bulb and roots are OK the palm may start growing new shoots and leaves. Don't give up yet.

my ponytails heads were

By Pamela Payne

my ponytails heads were really wet at the beginng of summer. Now most off them have rotted off. very brown and have brown streaks down the leaves.What do I do? Could it be the mulch I used ? It was quite fresh when I laid it down. Can I cut the tops of the heads off. I live in Australia

I have two plants both bought

By Catherine Hetzler

I have two plants both bought as seedlings at the same time. They are about 8 yrs. old. One has a large bulb with a short neck and looks very nice with long curling leaves hanging down. The other one has a very long "neck" with no leaves of course and very few straight leaves coming out the top. Are they different varieties? I have tried switching their locations, but they continue to look as they did regardless of location. Is there a way to get more leaves to grow from the long-necked one?

Hi Catherine, Your palms may

By Almanac Staff

Hi Catherine,
Your palms may be different varieties. To promote leaf growth on the palm with the long neck you can cut off the top and the palm will grow new shoots in about a month. You can also plant the top in a pot with soil to root it.
 

Is ponytail palm poisonous to

By Lisa Hartline

Is ponytail palm poisonous to cats?

NO there not poisonous to

By hm1

NO there not poisonous to cats. My cat has been eating mine for years. He keeps finding a way to get up to it every time I move the plant. I'm going to hang it this time. HA

Hi Lisa, According to the

By Almanac Staff

Hi Lisa,
According to the ASPCA the ponytail palm is non-toxic to dogs and cats.

I've had a ponytail palm for

By SD

I've had a ponytail palm for 2 years now and I love it! I even bought one as a housewarming gift for a friend. But I'm noticing the new one looks a lot better than mine. The new ponytail palm leaves are tighter, more curly and greener than mine. The new growth on mine is more straight and barely curly. It's also a must lighter shade of green. Is there anything I can do to get the leaves to curl more? And do you think it needs fertilized to get more color in the leaves? It sets in a very bright window and is lightly watered about once a week. Thank you for your help! There is so much great info on your page.

The newer leaves on the

By Almanac Staff

The newer leaves on the ponytail palm are usually lighter in color and will turn darker with age. Some palms have curlier leaves than others. I don't think that you can make your leaves curl more. If you haven't fertilized your plant lately it's a good idea to do so.

I have a PonyTail Palm in my

By Bridget Quinn

I have a PonyTail Palm in my office at work. It is about 14" tall and is in a 8"pot. It has been growing nice new leaves but I just noticed that the base is quite wobbly in the soil. I was watering it every 2 weeks but I have a suspicion that the maintenance person has also been watering. Do you think the looseness is water related or does it need a bigger pot?

Thank you so much for any advice!

It's a good idea to repot

By Almanac Staff

It's a good idea to repot your palm. Use good soil (a cactus mix works well) and set the base a little deeper so that it doesn't wooble.
 

I got my ponytail palm tree

By Pony Tail Palm

I got my ponytail palm tree in 2002 and have moved it to 7 different states already:) I love it and it is the only plant I keep when I move. However, I lived in a house that had falling windows so that you can wash the outside without actually going outside and it collapsed on my plant! I had just moved in and did not have any money so I left some in water and some in soil until I could afford the 13 posts for each of the separate branches that came out. To my surprise everyone of the plants lived!!! I moved later that year and kept the sickest and healthiest. Five years ago on another move I gave away one of the two that remained and could not even tell which one was the sick one. Such a marvelous plant. My question is... the plant I have looks nothing like my original one. It does not sprout out in random places. It is just one big plant with lots of leaves in a row. Is there anyway to space out the leaves and get little growths to sprout out again?

You can prune the top off and

By Almanac Staff

You can prune the top off and the plant will sprout new growth in a month or two. You can replant the top if you like.

I have a Ponytail plant that

By ROLF A MISCHKER

I have a Ponytail plant that is over 40 years old and about 12 feet tall. It is outside in the summertime under tall shade and very healthy. When it gets below 40 degrees outside I bring it inside. This plant is approaching the point of being to tall to be inside. I am thinking about cutting it at about 4 feet and letting it regrow. Can this be done or will the plant die ? There are several knobby bumps on the trunk and I am hoping it will sprout new growth from there.
What are your thought on this and at what time of the year should I do this.
Thank you in advance for your reply.

Spring is the best time to

By Almanac Staff

Spring is the best time to prune the plant. Cut the top off at the desired height and put a commercial sealant on the top of the cut. Within a month or two you should see new growth. If you like you can replant the top with the leaves using rooting powder.

Forgive me but what kind of

By BriarRose

Forgive me but what kind of commercial sealant do you mean? I don't want to use the wrong thing...

I've melted candle wax onto

By bcollins

I've melted candle wax onto the open wound, but a urethane sealant like shoe-goo, Goop, etc, would probably work great.

A week ago I placed a small

By Jonathan Hall

A week ago I placed a small lamp on the back of the pot of my ponytail while experimenting with some lighting in the room. I accidentally left the light on overnight and it overexposed one of the branches to too much direct light. 2-3 inches of the base of that branches leaves are white/tan, soft and are all sagging down while all other leaves on the palm are healthy and normal. The strange thing is, where I thought those leaves might be dead, they're all still green and stiff like the other healthy leaves so the nutrients and water are still getting to the rest of the leaves. Is there a way to fix this so it looks normal again? Any recommendations?

Hello I have my pony tail for

By Dan Lux

Hello I have my pony tail for years now, but I noticed lately the tips of the leaves are getting brown. Can I cut thsi browned part?

You can cut the brown tips

By Almanac Staff

You can cut the brown tips off. It's normal for the lower leaves to turn brown and eventually dry up. If you have brown tips on the upper leaves try moving the plant closer to a window so it gets more light.

Hi, I have my ponytail palm

By jacqui W.

Hi, I have my ponytail palm for about 1 year and it looks pretty good
so far, but I'm confused about the tips browning up to about 2 inches from the bottom tip of the leaf as I mentioned. What I don't understand
is I water it once a month because I read the base has water in it there for you will over water the plant which will cause it to die. Should I water
it every 2 weeks or once a month, in the summer I watered it every 2wks.
but since winter has begun here in New York it is hard to say. please
any advice will be gladly taken

Water once a month in the

By Almanac Staff

Water once a month in the winter and move the plant closer to a window.

I love my ponytail as so many

By Claredole

I love my ponytail as so many do.
It has 4 "branches" coming from the top, where it must have been cut at one time.

Can I remove one and repot it? I am thinking rooting hormone, and cactus soil. I live in Oregon,
and the plant is about 3' from a picture window. It seems fine.

Yes, you can remove one of

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can remove one of the branches and dip it in rooting hormone. Plant it in some fresh soil and keep it watered.

My mother had a ponytail for

By Deborah Peer

My mother had a ponytail for 15 years and is about 5-6 ft tall. It had leaves on the side and on top. My dog chewed on the base of it and now there is no leaves on the top and about 3 inches down from top it is soft and light tan. The leaves on the side are still green with some brown. I hope it isn't a goner. What can I do to keep this alive in my mothers memory? Thank you.

Soft areas along the trunk

By Almanac Staff

Soft areas along the trunk may indicate rot, which can occur with damage or overwatering. If this is the case, it may be hard for the plant to recover. However, some people have had success; if lucky, the top might die off, but the plant recovers by forming shoots lower down, turning the plant into a multi-trunk palm. The best you can do, is probably give it extra TLC--make sure it is getting lots of sunlight, has plenty of drainage, is in a warm spot, and is getting watered only when it feels dry down to an inch in the soil (usually, water every 1 to 2 weeks). Do not overfertilize.
 
On the other hand, a shriveled stem and browning leaves can also indicate not enough water. Make sure that it is getting the proper amount of water, that the soil is draining from the pot correctly.
 
If your plant has offshoots (babies), or seeds, then you might look into propagating it in case the original plant does not survive. Good luck!

So my MIL has one but she

By Tigergirl55

So my MIL has one but she notoriously kills them. I pulled the dead leaves off and gave it a little water. It's in the middle of the room with some decent sun. She has had it for about a year I think and it is barely a foot tall. Is there anything I can do to help it out. I was thinking maybe change the soil. I also talked sweet to it. :)

Ponytail palms are slow

By Almanac Staff

Ponytail palms are slow growers. But if it's in the middle of the room, perhaps place it more directly by a window (but be careful of cold drafts)--these plants love lots of sun, at least part of the year. Also, make sure that the soil is a well-draining type (a cactus mix works well), and that it has a drainage hole that isn't blocked. Water about every 1 to 2 weeks; give it a good watering, and let it drain out. Do not water unless the soil is dry at least 1 inch below the surface--or even more. Good luck!

Thankyou for the info on my

By Donna Moser

Thankyou for the info on my new plant. My pony tail is beautiful. She came with stones glued on top also and I likely would have left them there had I not have researched and found your valuable insight!! Thanks again.

Hi, Donna, Why, you are

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Donna, Why, you are welcome! We are happy that our information was useful to you--and appreciate the thank you! Best, the OFA editors

I bought my ponytail palm 7

By Seahag

I bought my ponytail palm 7 years ago and had it at work in an office window that received daylight but no direct sunlight for 6 1/2 years. The leaves were bending about 3 inches from where they come out. I brought it home 3 months ago and put it outside for some direct sun. It seems to be doing a little better but the leaves are still bent.I love this plant. Any suggestions for helping with the bent leaves would be so much appreciated. Thank you! I have it in a 10 inch pot that is 10 inches deep. It is a foot tall at least. I have it planted in miracle grow and have not changed the soil in years. I feel it miracle grow on occasion, but have not for about 4 months. Help!

The palm does not need much

By Almanac Staff

The palm does not need much fertilizer. Feed it about once a year. It thrives on neglect. Are the leaves touching a surface? Try putting the pot on a post or pedestal so that the leaves hang free.
 

I LOVE your website and

By Chatty Cathy

I LOVE your website and continuously learn so much about my beloved plants. I moved my Elephant Foot (Elsie)for construction purposes. She is potted, but spends most of her time outside on a covered patio in Phoenix. When I moved her back, 3 of her 5 offshoots broke off. They do not appear to have roots. Her crown had been amputated before I got her, so all she has are offshoots. Shall I repot all in a new, larger pot, or seperate them into individual pots or cover them with sphagham & wrap in plastic bag to wait for roots? Elise looks ill with wilted, brown leaves, as do her babies. If she was stressed because of the move, will the additional offshoots also fall off? If so, shall I remove them now and repot Elsie's base? The soil feels moist. They have not been watered for a week

You can plant the babies in

By Almanac Staff

You can plant the babies in pots with new well-draining soil. Wet the cut end of the shoot in water and then dip the wet end in rooting hormone before putting the shoot in the pot. Wait and see if the mother plant will recover before repotting again.

I have several of these

By Billie Bivalacqua

I have several of these plants. Love them. One that I recently brought inside keeps having little ones sprout from the bulb. Any way to stop these from growing back? I cut them off but they grow right back. I tried putting them in soil but they died.

You can plant the babies in

By Almanac Staff

You can plant the babies in soil if you first dip the cut end in hormone powder to help root development.
 

I have an 8' tall ponytail.

By Len Gour

I have an 8' tall ponytail. Can I trim the top? It is too tall to get the sunlight from my slider. I would like to cut the top off. I have heard differing opinions. Help, please.

For best advice, we'd suggest

By Almanac Staff

For best advice, we'd suggest that you talk to a local nursery that sells houseplants. The plant propagator there would be able to tell you how/where to safely trim your ponytail palm. There is a risk with cutting the top off of a ponytail palm: if done improperly, you might kill the plant; if done successfully, new shoots may form at the base, to form multiple trunks rather than a single trunk as you have now.

Hi! I live in arizona , i

By ArizonaPalm

Hi!

I live in arizona , i recently left my palm outside for a few days , now it is severely wilted and looks like its dying. Is it a goner?

Hi, I just bought a pony tail

By Gail Coneita

Hi, I just bought a pony tail palm at Big Y. There are 3 bulbs in the pot,can I separate them? What's the best soil mixture? I was thinking of cactus and Miracle Grown potting soil. Please let me know as I don't want to wait too long. Thank you

The palm needs a well-drained

By Almanac Staff

The palm needs a well-drained soil mix. Cactus soil mix will work. Or you can add sand or small gravel to regular potting soil. You can divide the bulbs. Use a sharp knife and cut between the bulbs and make sure that each one gets roots.

My pony tail palm is at least

By Barb Short

My pony tail palm is at least 25 yrs old & has just recently sprouted a "baby" on the bulb of the plant. Is it possible to remove & start this baby in another pot? If so how should I do it? Do I cut it off with a knife? What about the open wound on the original bulb?

I bought my ponytail palm

By RiverSun

I bought my ponytail palm several days ago, when I brought it home I started tending to it. It had been improperly cared for. I started to wipe it off (because of spider mites and mold). There was mold on the base, it has returned. I wanted to know, is that normal? If not, what can I do to make the plant better?

Could you describe the mold?

By Almanac Staff

Could you describe the mold? If it is white spots or clusters that appear cottony and feel sticky then its mealy bug. You can use an insecticidal soup spray or contact your local County Extension Office for a diagnosis and more advice.

It's a dark green color on

By Ri-cola

It's a dark green color on the lower base near the soil. I water once every two weeks, so I am now sure it's rot. Also, due to a pressing situation I became worried about the Wooly Aphid infestation on my plant. It was very bad. I cut the leave all the way off my plant. Is there anything I can put on the cut leaves to help it grow back normal? I re-potted it about a week ago, I don't remember there being any mealies on the roots. Is there anything organic I can put in the soil to eliminate and prevent these pest? I would like to help the plant continue to survive.

I bought my pony tail palm

By Ellen Colclough

I bought my pony tail palm about 2 years ago from a big box store. It has pebbles glued to the top of it. It is doing well, but should I remove the pebbles and repot it?

Yes, use a knife or similar

By Almanac Staff

Yes, use a knife or similar to remove the stones carefully (make sure that you don't disturb the roots); or, you can try to break the stones apart. Without the stones, or with them at least separated, it makes it easier for water to penetrate and for you to determine when the plant is thirsty. Repot the plant in light fast-draining potting soil (a bonsai mix works well); make sure the pot has drainage holes. Plant the palm at the same soil level that it was before. Water thoroughly once every 1 to 2 weeks. Let the soil dry up in between waterings.

my comment is I have a

By Christine Burnett

my comment is I have a ponytail palm it was doing good until we moved now the leaves are turning brown is there something i can do?
thanks

Brown leaves are an indicator

By Almanac Staff

Brown leaves are an indicator of improper watering and sometimes insufficient sunlight. Remove the brown leaves.

Just received my ponytail

By Connie Lowden

Just received my ponytail palm and it looks as if it is already rootbound. Should I repot it now?

Yes, you should repot it in a

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you should repot it in a bigger container. It's a big job to untangle and cut those roots.

I just moved the family

By Lisa Diane

I just moved the family ponytail palm across state. It has been in family for 30 years! It is 9 ft. tall . Some leaves are splitting, can you tell me what could do that? I am getting ready to repot, the soil on top appears to be tiny roots . Any helpful hints, please?

Splitting could come from

By Almanac Staff

Splitting could come from overwatering or perhaps root rot. It sounds like a good time to repot and change the soil. You can check to see if there is any rot. To repot, use a high-quality potting soil and cut it by half with perlite. Plant at the same soil level. Wait a few days before you water.

My cat seemed to want to chew

By cheri tucker

My cat seemed to want to chew on the leaves. I moved it to a higher location but still wonder if she would get to it would it make her sick?

No, ponytail palms are not

By Almanac Staff

No, ponytail palms are not toxic for cats (or dogs). See: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/pony-tail

I have a pony palm that I

By Melodie

I have a pony palm that I have had for 5 years and its grown beautifully. My grandson played in the leaves and now they are limp against the trunk and I am not sure what to do to save it?!

Your palm should perk up. You

By Almanac Staff

Your palm should perk up. You could add some fertilizer to the soil and give it a nice watering for some TLC.

I have three big ponytail

By Ross Marlatt

I have three big ponytail palms outside in the ground.One has started to flower.What will happen to the plant afterwards if anything.thankyou for your time

The plant will be fine, but

By Almanac Staff

The plant will be fine, but thick its foliage may be reduced while the flower matures If that bothers you, can you can cut off the bloom.

My Mother-in-law gave my wife

By Bryon

My Mother-in-law gave my wife and I a ponytail palm about 3 years ago it is an indoor plant it was doing really well, as it grew we repotted it using mulch and potting mix, now the palm looks really sad leaves keep falling off in bunches and even one of the tops fell over, it sits about 10 feet from indirect sunlight, maybe replant in cactus potting mix?

you just said the magic word

By latifa bennacef

you just said the magic word that is killing the plant. IT SITS ABOUT 10 FEET FROM INDIRECT SUNLIGHT. That what is killing the plant. They love the sun, even if it's an indoor plant, make sure it gets plenty of direct sun.
It doesn't matter the soil, the palm is not very fancy about the soil, but it requires a lot of sunshine.
mine is next to a windowsill, less than a foot, very close, get sunshine from 12:00pm to sunset. And if for some reason I move it to the left or to the right for few days, the leaves start changing the color to lighter green, and obviously to brown if I do not move it back to the sunny place.
Trust me on this one, just give it a lot of sun and you're going to see amazing results.
regardless what type of soil you're using, or how big the pot is.
good luck.

I have this kind of succulent

By latifa bennacef

I have this kind of succulent "the pony tail" plant for little over 10 years. It's a very slow growing plant, which I love about it,it became family, and does not require too much of attention.
Very easy to grow. Just put it next to a VERY SUNNY window, and forget about it. It LOVES the sun. Water it once in a while when the soil is really dry. For mine, I guess I water it once in a month. I do not have a schedule, but I know I do forget to do so. It has been in the same planter since day one.
I bought it as a baby, and now it's a beautiful big one.
It's easy to grow, just remember that it loves the sun. Just 5 inches to the left or to the right with less sun and all the lives are going to yellow. Mine is indoors all the time.
I hope my experience with that plant is helping you.
Good luck.

the pot my poinytale palm is

By S.P.

the pot my poinytale palm is in is only about 12" in dia. is that too small? does it need a bigger pot? it does not seem to be growing very fast, even though it seems healthy.

Can this plant be kept

By lynnpncst

Can this plant be kept outdoors during the summer ? Just recieved the plant a month or so ago and planted them and put them outside, but the tops of the leaves are turning brown. Wondering if the heat of the summer is too much ?

It depends where you live.

By Almanac Staff

It depends where you live. The Ponytail Palm's natural state is being outside in dry, sunny Mexico and Central America. In fact, indoor plants will rarely flower. If you live in southern California, you're all set! These plants can't get too cold (below 25 degrees F). Otherwise, you need to bring indoors in the winter. With a potted plant that spends some time indoors, you just need to gradually move it from sun to shade to sun to avoid "sunburn."

I have a triple ponytail that

By Alan Hollister

I have a triple ponytail that I just repotted but did not break up. I am in Palm Springs, CA. So now it is loving being outside and just the long shadows of afternoon sun. Your previous answer gave rise to my question though...your answer would seem I could still leave it outside through the summer if I just shade it more? August will bring 115 temps often. It is a little too big to bring inside and no where inside has sunny windows.

thank you so much ! We live

By lynnpncst

thank you so much ! We live in Pa and have been getting a very varied mix of weather this summer - nothing cold though. We have been getting heavy rains and high temps. Sounds like we may have probably too much of both extremes though. I will try to put it in a more shady spot that doesn't always get sun through out the day. Sounds like that may work ? thanks again !

I got my Ponytail plant from

By Eugenie

I got my Ponytail plant from Wegmans; it is in a pot with stones over the "soil" which appear to be glued somehow. It's about a foot high and seems to be doing well. I've had it about 6 months now. My question is how do I water it because I can't see the soil? I give it a light watering down about once a week but most of the water seems to run off because of the stones. Should I re-pot it? As I say it seems to be doing very well as it is but I don't like it that I can't actually see what I'm doing when I water it.

Remove the stones and repot

By Almanac Staff

Remove the stones and repot the plant in light fast-draining potting soil (a bonsai mix works well). Water thoroughly once every 1 to 2 weeks. Let the soil dry up in between waterings.

I too have a ponytail palm

By NancyLynn

I too have a ponytail palm where the stones are glued in. I was going to try to replant it but I'm afraid that if I pull the plant too hard, I'll lose the roots. Will the roots grow back?
Thanks for any advice.

Hi there. The top of my pony

By M. Paloma Werner

Hi there. The top of my pony tail plant broke off during moving it. We have now planted the bottom in the garden and hope it will take. Is there a way I can try to get roots from the top tuft? Shall I stand it in water or put in in the soil for it to maybe develop roots? Thank you.

The base often survives and

By Almanac Staff

The base often survives and grows back again if properly replanted so hope it takes! We've never tried re-rooting a tuft. The usual practice is to take the suckers or offsets shooting up from the trunk and reroot. Cut with a sterile, sharp knife and coat the base of the cutting with rooting hormone and plant in a sterile, well-drained potting soil (such as that sold for cacti). The optimum time of year to remove those offsets is spring, but yours may still root at some point.

I live in SETexas and my

By Lois Hodge

I live in SETexas and my ponytail palm lives outdoors year round. I've had it about 25 years and the total plant is about 8 ft tall. It is beautiful.

Browning leaves

By Anonymous

i have just bought my ponytail palm, which came with four, i separated them and put two in each pot, I had some moisture stay soil and switched it out about 3 days later into cactus potting mix, but now my palm is browning rapidly, I have not watered it since I figure It was feeling over watered, what did I do and if I cut back the brown leaves will it continue to grow? Any advice would be great..
drazor02@yahoo.com

the ponytail plant

By Almanac Staff

Be sure that your plant is not sitting in water.
The "moisture stay" soil, which from the sounds of it retains moisture, may not have been a good idea.
Propagation such as you described can be tricky; several methods have been recommended. The "baby" plant, or offset, could be given a dose of rooting compound and rooted in sand or a very well-draining potting soil. Another treatment would have been be to wrap/layer the offset in sphagnum moss and alternately moisten the moss and then allow it to dry. This would encourage roots on the baby; when those appeared you could remove it from the mother plant and pot it separately in well-drained potting soil.
This plant like to be watered deeply but does not like to sit in water; the water must be allowed to drain out. (Too much water can/will cause root rot and drown it.) Allow the soil to dry between waterings.
About the browning leaves: this could be from excess salt in your water. Repotting into cacti soil is recommended. However, some sources say some browning of leaves is normal; new leaves should appear from the center.
By the way, this plant is not a true palm; it is a succulent.
We hope this helps. Best wishes!

Brown leaves

By Anonymous

Left my ponytail out a couple winters ago & she almost died. I cut off most of dead leaves--she was almost bald. She has since grown all & then some back & her bulb is nearly triple in size.

ponytail palm

By Anonymous

My palm seems to have lost all its leaves an the onion looking thing is sort off mushy on top , so I put it in the sun, took all the leavea off, do you suppose it is dead now? Iam not normally a plant killer but with this one Iam not sure what happened, maybe to much water?

It does sound like you did

By Almanac Staff

It does sound like you did give the palm too much water. Let it rest for a bit and give it water only if the soil is very dry. Then water it thoroughly once every 10 to 14 days.

Post new comment

Before posting, please review all comments. Due to the volume of questions, Almanac editors can respond only occasionally, as time allows. We also welcome tips from our wonderful Almanac community!

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.