Ponytail Palm Care Instructions
Ponytail Palm Care Instructions
Plants add beauty to living spaces and make them more attractive. They help introduce color and life, and induce a sense of serenity. The ponytail palm, also known as the elephant foot tree or the bottle palm tree, is one of the classier choices for your home, office, garden or porch. Its firm ball-like trunk and long green leaves make it magnificent to look at.
In spite of its name, the ponytail palm is not a palm. Its scientific name is beaucarnea recurvata. A southeast Mexican native, the ponytail palm is related closer to the Lily family than the Palm. The long leathery stems grow as the plants ages, up to three feet in height when planted indoors. While it is easy to grow the ponytail palm, it is difficult to get accustomed to its watering need as over-watering can cause stem rot.
The ponytail palm belongs to the beaucarnea recurvata family. It is a perennial plant that has over 10 different species. They are available in a variety of different shades of green. From mint green to dark green, there is a ponytail palm suited for all kinds of gardens and room settings. Common variations include Beaucarnea stricta, Beaucarnea gracilis and Beaucarnea guatamalensis.
The ponytail palm loves the sun and should be placed in such a position that it receives maximum sunlight. The bulbous trunk and waxy leaves tell that the plant is good at retaining water, so watering is not required very frequently. The plant should be watered every seven to fourteen days in the growing season. It should, however, be ensured that the soil is well drained.
On the other hand, you can get away without watering for up to two months easily. The bulb at the base stores water which the plant consumes when it needs to. Ponytails prefer temperatures above 60 degrees F but can survive as low as 50.
Fertilization may be done one to two times a year for healthy green leaves. When potting a ponytail palm, use dry soil and let the plant take root before watering it. As mentioned earlier ponytail palm stays happy in semi-arid condition, and too much water may lead to stunted growth and brown leaves.
Over-watering will result in the leaves growing brown while scarce watering will have very little negative impact on the plant’s health. Cactus soil can also be used for a ponytail palm. It is best to let the soil dry out completely between two waterings to allow for the best possible growth of the plant. It can take a heavy amount of water as long as the soil is well drained.
In warmer parts of the country where the temperatures do not fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, he plant may be left outside in all weathers as it is resistant to both extremities of temperature. The ponytail prefers cooler temperatures in the winter. However, if winter temperatures plunge below 50 degrees, it is better to keep the plant indoors for the season. The ponytail palm is drought-resistant so it can be left outside even in the hottest of days without any need to worry.
The plant can grow up to 15 feet tall outdoors so it should be planted keeping this in mind. Once the plant has grown big enough it will become harder to repot. Along with maximum sun exposure, make sure that the palm is placed in a garden where water does not accumulate as it will lead to root rot.
Repotting the ponytail will not be required very frequently as it grows slowly. Care should be taken to choose a pot that is no more than two to three inches bigger in diameter than the previous pot. A much larger pot will soak up a greater amount of water which can be harmful for the plant. It is advised not to fertilize the soil before four weeks of potting, as the slack soil will make the roots take up too much fertilizer and cause them to burn. Ideal soil pH requirement is between 6.5 and 7.5.
The plant should never be trimmed from the top. The ponytail palm is slow growing but can last for centuries and reach in height up to thirty feet. It is considered as one of the easiest indoor growing plants and with very little care, the ponytail palm will add elegance and sophistication to your room, garden or porch.
The ponytail palm is happy to be a single stem plant. However, cuts and bruises often result in growth of multiple stems. It is also quite common for larger specimen to grow flowers at the top. The flowers are often considered a disproportionate feature and are trimmed. Injury to the base of the plant will increase likelihood of rot to the affected area.
The ponytail palm is one the easier plants to maintain and keep at your home. The plant’s requirements vary according to different climates. Plants kept indoor in pots require a little more maintenance than the bigger plants kept outside. Young ponytail plants require special attention as they are more prone to disease.
Once they have grown big enough, they become sufficiently strong to fend for themselves. Outdoor plants are only susceptible to frost, but the bigger ones usually easily make it through a harsh winter. Ponytail palms have been known to live for as much as three hundred and fifty years.
This versatile plant looks simple yet classy and is easy to maintain, which is why it is one of the number one choices for an indoor plant. It makes for a great gift for a colleague or friend. With the right care it will transform any living space from dull to fabulous and exciting.