A ponytail palm is a very different yet interesting houseplant. It’s a miniature looking tree, with a sleek trunk and long thin leaves spilling out downwards. Recently, it has become a household favorite.
Although it looks like a tree, it isn’t categorized as one. It’s a succulent named Beaucarnea Recurvata, a member of the Agave family.
It’s also known as the Elephant Foot Tree or Bottle Palm Tree. However, it’s not a palm at all.
It’s very easy to take care of a Ponytail palm; one of the reasons why it’s considered a household favorite.
The best part about taking care of this plant is that it doesn’t require sunlight all the time. During the summer, you can place it outside in bright light, but it will easily survive inside the house during winters without a lot of sunlight.
Like many other houseplants, a ponytail palm doesn’t need water until the soil is half dry; it’s tolerant to droughts. Overwatering the plant leads to the rotting of the roots. Don’t water the plant just because it has been a few days since you watered it last.
The bulb-like trunk actually stores water, just like a cactus!
Temperature and Humidity
This particular plant is not finicky about the temperature. It flourishes best at room temperature and can survive cooler temperatures as well. However, freezing temperatures doesn’t suit the plant.
As they’re native to desserts, the environment shouldn’t be humid. They should definitely be kept away from windows and vents to avoid drafts. Drafts result in dryness of the foliage.
During the growing season, a regular fertilizer can be used once every two weeks to give it an additional boost.
A ponytail palm doesn’t need repotting for many years. It can survive decades in one plant, but the size remains small. When choosing a new pot, make sure it’s an inch or two larger than the previous one. This will provide it with more room to grow.
On the other hand, since many people choose to keep this plant indoors, a large ponytail palm can become a hassle to take care of. And it might not even look lovely in a small indoor space.
Not every ponytail produces an offspring; it’s quite rare when one does. It’s in the form of a small bulb near the stem. Once they grow 4 inches long, you can cut the bulb from the base and let the wound heal for a while. Apply some rooting hormone to the bulb and plant it in another pot.
The ponytail palm is non-toxic to pets and children.
Make sure the pot has a drainage system because this plant doesn’t thrive in excess water. Moreover, don’t be tempted to shorten the length of the leaves. They’re supposed to be naturally long. Cutting them off will result in the tips turning brown.
This plant is prone to spider mites on the leaves. This problem can easily be solved using a cloth dipped in dish soap and water and then rubbing it on the stems. Scale and mealybugs appear on the plant as well and are removed using an insecticide.
As mentioned above, overwatering causes rotting of the stems. This can be remedied by letting the soil dry for a while before rewatering it. You just have to know which symptoms to look out for, such as yellow leaves or a caudex at the stem.
Furthermore, the leaves will express their displeasure by turning brown on the tips. This means the plant is either under watered or over-fertilized. Try not to let your plant tell you it’s feeling down; take proactive measures as opposed to reactive.
Native to east Mexico, a ponytail palm as a houseplant only grows till 5 feet. But in the wildlife, it can grow up to 30 feet! Who doesn’t want a tree which is not a tree in their homes for a pretty view? This plant is the best for those who have long working hours or travel a lot for work, as it doesn’t plead for attention.