Ponytail Palm

Ponytail Palm
Plant Type
Sunlight Amount
ponytail palm houseplant
Credit: Jacob Fox
ponytail palm houseplant
Ponytail Palm

Equipped with a massive bulbous trunk for storing water, ponytail palm tolerates long stretches of dry conditions. This desert native is slow-growing, ranging in size from less than a foot tall to more than 6 feet when grown indoors. It makes an easy-to-grow, eye-catching houseplant that is perfect for tabletops, nightstands, and coffee tables.

genus name
  • Beaucarnea recurvata
plant type
  • 1 to 3 feet
  • 3 to 8 feet
  • 8 to 20 feet
  • 1-4 feet wide
problem solvers
special features

Succulent by Nature

Also known as elephant's foot tree, ponytail palm is not a palm at all. It is a succulent plant that is mistaken for a palm due to its single leafless trunk and the mass of leaves that emerges from the top of the plant. When growing in its native environment in Central America, it can reach 30 feet tall, but it remains much shorter in containers. In fact, you can limit its growth by planting it in a small container and not repotting it to large container.

Ponytail Palm Care Must-Knows

Ponytail palm grows best in full sun and well-drained soil mix. A quick-draining soil mix for cacti is a great choice, or you can incorporate sand or small gravel into regular potting mix to achieve quick drainage. A desert plant, ponytail palm is adapted to bright light. Place it near a sunny window where it will receive as much light as possible. This plant can be moved outside for the summer. Transition it slowly from indoors to outdoors by placing it in part shade for several days before moving it to a full sun location.

Watering ponytail palm differs from summer to winter. In summer, water ponytail palm deeply but infrequently, allowing the plant to dry out before watering again. Reduce watering significantly in winter. In its native environment, ponytail palm receives little or no water in winter. Mimic those conditions by watering the plant deeply every few weeks in winter.

Fertilizing is rarely necessary, but plants can be fertilized once or twice during spring or summer. Use a general all-purpose plant food. Brown leaf tips are common in winter and no cause for alarm. Simply snip off the brown tips to clean up the plant's appearance.

More Varieties for Ponytail Palm

Related Items

Gold Star ponytail plant
Credit: Denny Schrock

'Gold Star' Ponytail palm

Beaucarnea recurvata 'Gold Star' is an exciting selection that has leaves streaked in chartreuse. It does best in high-light situations. It grows 8 feet tall. Zones 9-11.


Be the first to comment!