A Ponytail palm, Beaucarnea recurvata (Nolina) makes an excellent houseplant. Find Facts on the Ponytail palm and how to grow and care for this unusual plant. Ponytail palms are also known as bottle palm and elephant foot. They are carefree plants that provide elegant architectural drama to any room. They grow well with other houseplants and container grown plants.
Facts on the Ponytail Palm
A ponytail palm is a succulent type of plant with a treelike form. It can grow up to 2’ wide by 3’ high, and is used as an architectural accent. The most prominent parts of this plant is its bulb-like foot that is actually a water-storage organ, which tells you that it will not need frequent watering.
To me, it has always looked like a giant onion growing, especially when you see the bulb and green foliage coming off the top of the bulb. It also resembles a dracaena plant which has many straplike leaves, although very different in texture and structure. The ponytail palm also makes a great Bonsai plant specimen.
The ponytail palm prefers bright light with some direct sun to keep the plant looking its best. It will tolerate medium and low light. They perform best in average to high temperatures, 60-80 degrees, when it is actively growing, and cooler temps, 50-55 degrees, when it is in winter dormancy. It also does best in a low humidity environment.
Ponytail Palm Care
This particular palm generally needs dry conditions, because it is prone to root rot. It stores water in its large base, so you will only need to water the potting mix thoroughly when it is fairly dry. This means that you may only have to water it once a month. The soil should be half of an average mix and half cactus mix.
Feed the palm once a year in spring with a general type of foliage plant food. They will rarely need to be repotted. You may wash the leaves occasionally and remove any dead leaves. As it grows, it will naturally shed its long, curly, straplike leaves.
Ponytail Palm Propagation is usually done commercially by seeds. Since your the plants will rarely flower in your home, you will have to rely on purchasing plants rather than trying to grow your own plant.
Pests and Diseases include the main culprit, overwatering your plant. This causes stem rot and bacterial soft rot. Mealybugs, spider mites, and scale are common problems, but they can be controlled by applying horticultural oil.
Related Species of this plant is the Oaxacan ponytail palm, B. longifolia, which has straplike leaves up to 7 feet long.
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