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25 Essential Tips for Keeping Your Ponytail Palm Healthy


Ponytail Palm is a well-loved plant in the community of indoor plant gardeners because of its unique feel and characteristics. It is a great plant but is usually low maintenance.

In this comprehensive post, we’ll cover the dos and don’ts of what it takes to successfully raise your Ponytail Palm. Keep on reading if you want to know where you can buy this Beaucarnea and many other fascinating features of this plant.

What Is Ponytail Palm?

Ponytail Palm is the botanical name for Beaucarnea recurvata, Nolina recurvata, or Elephant’s foot plant, which is distinguished by its slender bulb-like stem and rich, long curly leaves.

Ponytail Palm has become a popular houseplant in recent times because of its palm-like, palm-like leaves. It may be grown as a houseplant close to a window with bright light, or it can be grown outdoors in hardiness zones 9-12.l

Origin And Family

The Elephant’s foot plant belongs to the Beaucarnea genus in the Asparagus family. It comes from southeastern Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala’s semi-desert areas. It can also be found around Central America. This plant has grown in popularity in recent years, flourishing in the majority of homes with low humidity and under the right conditions.

Where To Buy

You can get one for yourself by dropping by your local plant stores ranging from a small ponytail palm to a more mature plant, but there are more affordable deals and wider selections to be found on online sites such as Etsy.

Ponytail Palm Plant Size

When grown indoors, the Ponytail Palm grows to a height of up to 15 feet. It grows slowly and thrives near a window with bright indirect light.

Ponytail Palm Care Needs

Your Ponytail Palm, with its sleek bulb-like trunk and lush, long curly leaves, will flourish if you take good care of it. This plant loves light and relatively dry soil throughout the year because it does not like being soaked in moist soil for a long time.

Water your Beaucarnea when the top 2-3 inches of soil is dry. Make sure to drench it fully, allowing excess water to run down the bottom of the pot. In terms of lighting, bright light is best for this plant but make sure it is away from direct sunlight.

Take a look at the more specific growing tips we’ve written below to keep your Ponytail Palm healthy and happy!

Care Difficulty

In terms of care difficulty, the Nolina recurvata is easy-to-care-for. The top considerations for this beauty are the amount of light and water.

Growth Rate

When grown indoors, the Beaucarnea recurvata plant grows to a height of up to 15 feet. It grows the fastest during spring, and most Beaucarnea species have a slow-growing speed.


This plant wants good drainage, and a small pot works fine. With its need to be watered when the top 2-3 inches of soil is dry, a good drainage hole is a must for Beaucarnea recurvata.


As your Ponytail Palm develops, you should consider moving it to a larger pot when you notice its base getting bigger because of its slow growth rate.

When repotting, make sure to use a new batch of soil for your Beaucarnea so its roots will have more nutrients to absorb.


A fast draining succulent potting mix is the most recommended option for the Nolina recurvata. Sand and perlite can be combined to build your soil mix. Adjust the ratio as necessary, making sure that the final mixture is well-aerated. Take into consideration that this plant requires a somewhat dry growing medium.

To minimize root rot and other diseases, the soil type should always promote excellent drainage. We recommend using the following potting mixes:

Photo Title Price Buy
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting...image Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix 6 qt., Grows beautiful Houseplants, 2-Pack $13.37 ($0.03 / Ounce)
Burpee, 9 Quarts...image Burpee, 9 Quarts | Premium Organic Potting Natural Soil Mix Food Ideal for Container Garden-Vegetable, Flower & Herb Use for Indoor Outdoor Plant $12.99 ($0.04 / Ounce)
Sun Gro Horticulture...image Sun Gro Horticulture 8-Quart Black Gold 1310102 Purpose Potting Soil With Control, Brown/A $16.28 ($0.06 / Fl Oz)
Miracle-Gro Potting Mix,...image Miracle-Gro Potting Mix, Potting Soil for Outdoor and Indoor Plants, Enriched with Plant Food, 2 cu. ft. $34.26
FoxFarm Ocean Forest...image FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix Indoor Outdoor for Garden and Plants | Plant Fertilizer | 12 Quarts | The Hydroponic City Stake $23.99 ($0.06 / Fl Oz)


You should keep your plant’s pH level at 6.5-7.5. If you’re concerned about acidity, you may test your soil using a basic pH testing equipment. Adding sulfur or aluminum sulfate can control high pH levels in your soil, while calcitic or dolomitic lime, baking soda, or wood ash will raise the pH.


Proper watering is essential for Beaucarnea recurvata. Overwatering increases the risk of illnesses such as root rot. Watering too little might cause your plant’s roots to dry out, especially on hot days.

There is an easy method to tell if your plant needs to be watered. Plunge a wooden skewer or a pencil into the pot to see whether there is still moist, muddy soil sticking to it. Otherwise, you may just use your finger to check for dampness. When the top 2-3 inches of soil is dry, it’s time to water your plant.

Excess moisture may be avoided using a porous pot with drainage holes and an aerated, chunky soil mix.


You’ll want to simulate the native environment of Ponytail Palm, which would be the semi-desert areas of Eastern Mexico. Give your plant bright light for 8 hours each day. You can also place this plant near a window with bright light.

You’ll know your Ponytail Palm is getting too much light when its leaves may burn. On the contrary, if this plant doesn’t get enough light, its leaves will become soft, thin, and more droopy than normal.


Feed your Nolina recurvata if you want to give it some extra nutrient boost. Feed your plant once or twice per month during its growing season in the spring.

Below are some plant food options you can apply:

Photo Title Price Buy
Fiddle Leaf Fig...image Fiddle Leaf Fig Slow-Release Fertilizer by Perfect Plants - Resealable 5oz. Bag - Consistent Nutrient Enrichment - for Indoor and Outdoor Use on All Ficus Varieties $9.95 ($1.99 / Ounce)
Osmocote Smart-Release Plant...image Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Plus Outdoor & Indoor, 8 lb. $31.84 ($0.25 / Ounce)
EcoScraps Slow-Release Fertilizer,...image EcoScraps Slow-Release Fertilizer, Made with Recycled Nutrients and Organic Matter, Covers up to 2,500 sq. ft., 45 lbs. $16.99 ($0.02 / Ounce)
Osmocote 14-14-14 Classic...image Osmocote 14-14-14 Classic Slow Release Fertilizer - 50 Lbs.
Osmocote Fertilizer 15-9-12,...image Osmocote Fertilizer 15-9-12, Slow Release 3-4 Months, 50lbs. Bag $170.44 ($0.21 / Ounce)

In wintertime, when growth naturally slows down, you can fertilize it once a month.

Ponytail Palm Propagation

Perhaps you’re impatient to see your Ponytail Palm sprout new leaves. Pruning back the stem to stimulate new growth points is one planting technique. Usually, the cuttings you’ve pruned back can then be propagated, so you can grow a new baby plant!

Check out the many propagation methods for you to choose from.

Stem Cuttings In Soil

One of the best methods to propagate a Ponytail Palm is by making a cutting and planting it directly in the soil. Spring is the best time to propagate a Beaucarnea recurvata. Propagate a Ponytail Palm in soil by following these steps.

1. Collect your Ponytail Palm cutting. Look for a healthy stem on your Ponytail Palm with one or two nodes. Cut just below the Beaucarnea recurvata’s nodes with gardening shears.

2. Plant your Ponytail Palm cutting. Directly plant the cutting into fast-draining soil, so the nodes are covered.

3. Maintain your Ponytail Palm cutting. Keep the soil around your baby Ponytail Palm moist and maintain a temperature of approximately 65-67°F.

4. Rotate your Ponytail Palm cutting. For even growth on all sides of your plant, rotate the pot every now and then.


Division is a propagation method typically used for plants that have pups shooting out from the roots.

You can divide the stem clusters of your Beaucarnea recurvata by following these steps:

1. Dig up. Take the plant out of its container. You should be able to locate where the plant’s natural divisions are.

2. Separate. With your fingers, gently separate the sections apart. You may need to use shears to cut any entangled roots.

3. Repot. Plant each section in new pots filled with the same soil they’re used to.

Humidity And Aeration

Ponytail Palm is a lovely plant that prefers low humidity. Maintain a humidity level of 40% or less at all times. Check the air moisture level in your Ponytail Palm’s surroundings using a simple hygrometer. If the level is too low, the humidity can be increased using the following methods:

• Because plants leak moisture from their leaves through transpiration, keeping houseplants close together will help them.

• Underneath your plant’s pot, place a flat tray of stones and water. The plant receives some nutrition from the evaporating water.

• Invest in a humidifier for your plants. This continually emits steam and raises the humidity in a room.


Generally, warm temperatures are best for your Beaucarnea recurvata plant. This can range between 65-67 degrees Fahrenheit.

The prime factor for this plant is consistency. Temperature swings may be damaging to the Beaucarnea recurvata. Close windows and cover any openings in cold weather to protect your plant from chilly drafts. Keep it distant from heat vents, which might cause the leaves to dry up.


According to the ASPCA, consuming it will not harm dogs or cats since the plant has no toxic compounds.

Toxic To Pets? Care Specifics
Botanical Name Ponytail Palm
Common Name Beaucarnea recurvata, Nolina recurvata
Plant Family Asparagus
Origin southeastern Mexico, Belize and Guatemala
Plant Type perennial
Leaf Shape palm-like
Leaf Color green
Recommended Home Placement near a window with bright light
Growth Rate slow
Light bright light
Soil fast draining soil
When To Water Water when the top 2-3 inches of soil is dry.
When To Fertilize once or twice per month during growing season during growing season
Preferred pH 6.5-7.5
Humidity Range 40% or lower
Toxic To Pets? No
Common Pests & Diseases spider mites, brown tips, fungus gnuts, white flied, yellow leabes, root rot, mealy bugs, drooping leaves

Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems

The Ponytail Palm is not resistant to disease or pests. Here are some of the most prevalent diseases, problems, and pests, as well as treatments for them.

Spider Mites

Houseplants can probably bring in unwanted guests in the form of pests. One such example is the spider mite. Adult mites can be seen scampering everywhere when disturbed, even if the larvae are not visible.

Spraying diluted neem oil on your plant’s leaves can aid in the elimination of spider mite larvae. Adult mites are also effectively killed by organic Pyrethrin sprays. When spraying insecticides inside, use ones that are not harmful if inhaled.

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are insects that feed on the organic breakdown in soil, potting mix, and other container media. Their larvae consume roots as well as fungus and organic materials in the soil, which is terrible news for your Beaucarnea recurvata.

Hydrogen peroxide kills fungus gnat larvae on contact. Soak your soil in a solution with four parts water and one part hydrogen peroxide to get rid of these bugs. What’s good about hydrogen peroxide is that it is a natural component of rainwater that reoxygenates the soil and promotes healthier root growth.

White Flies

Whiteflies are closely related to mealybugs, scale insects, and aphids and can be determined as a cloud of white specks that rise into the air when disturbed.

Their larvae will eat the sap of your Beaucarnea recurvata, causing harm to the leaves. Whiteflies have a moth-like appearance, a triangular form, and a gray-white tint.

In the event of a serious infestation, use insecticidal soap or make your own by mixing a tablespoon of Castile soap with a quart of water. The soap will suffocate the eggs, larvae, and adults. To avoid burn, apply when the day is at its coolest and repeat as necessary.


Mealybug infestations are somewhat common on Beaucarnea recurvata. If you find these tiny parasites (often identified with white puffs on the leaves) on any of your houseplants, act promptly.

Apply isopropyl alcohol on a cotton ball and wipe it over your plant’s leaves and stem. Neem oil can also be used as a preventative spray.

Brown Leaf Tips

The edges of your Beaucarnea recurvata’s leaves may turn brown if it’s not getting the right amount of moisture that it needs from the air and through its roots. Water your plant on time and check if the humidity level in its location is consistent with its needs.

You should also consider how much and how often you apply fertilizer. Overfeeding can burn your houseplant’s foliage, resulting in brown tips on the leaves.

Drooping Leaves

Mealybugs and other pests that infest the Ponytail Palm can cause leaves to droop. This problem can also be due to underwatering, lack of humidity, and lack of nutrients.

Yellow Leaves

Several causes can cause Nolina recurvata leaves to turn yellow. One possible reason is that it does not receive enough sunlight. It is also likely that the plant receives too much or too little water.

Yellow leaves should be removed to foster new growth and prevent the degradation from spreading. They may also be unattractive and upsetting to look at. Remove the leaves with a clean, sharp pair of shears.

Root Rot

Root rot is a particularly recurring cause of death for Beaucarnea recurvata. Indoor gardeners would likely overwater their plants, or they might fail to provide proper drainage for their plants. Given the difficulty of treating root rot, prevention is the best course of action.

Give your roots some breathing room by providing a well-aerated soil mix. Chunky and gritty materials such as river sand, horticultural coal, orchid bark, perlite, pumice, lava rocks, coco cubes, aqua soil, and many others will significantly improve the drainage of your plant.

Climate is also an important consideration before deciding to water your plant. If your plant is in a location without abundant access to sunlight and good airflow, moisture will take longer to evaporate. Always check if the soil is dry about halfway down the pot before giving your plant a thorough drink.

Similar Plants

Love Beaucarnea recurvata? Here are some other similar plant options you should try:

Parlor Palm – This plant from the large family of palm trees, also known as Parlor and Neanthe Bella, is renowned for its dependability and resistance to interior circumstances. It is a member of the Palms family. In the spring, it also bears little yellow flowers.

Spider Plant – The Spider Plant is sometimes called Spider Ivy and Ribbon Plant. It is well recognized for its spider-like foliage and features lance-shaped, green, variegated, or white leaves. The Asparagaceae family includes the Spider Plant.

Dypsis Lutescens – Some people refer to the Dypsis Lutescens as the Areca Palm, Butterfly Palm, or Bamboo Palm. It is a tropical plant well-known for its bamboo-like leaves. The Arecaceae family is home to this perennial. When grown inside, its lush green, pinnate leaves enjoy dampness.


The Ponytail Palm, with its sleek bulb-like trunk and lush, long curly leaves, is an excellent addition to every plant lover’s collection.

We hope you’ve learned some useful advice from us to successfully grow your Ponytail Palm, whether you’re an aspiring indoor gardener or a long-time hobbyist studying more about this particular plant!

Help us grow! This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something recommended. All opinions, however, are our own, and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.

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