Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Pony Tail Palm, Bottle Palm, Monja, Palma culona
Beaucarnea recurvata

Family: Asparagaceae
Genus: Beaucarnea (bow-KAR-nee-uh) (Info)
Species: recurvata (rek-er-VAY-tuh) (Info)

Synonym:Beaucarnea inermis
Synonym:Beaucarnea tuberculata
Synonym:Dasylirion inerme
Synonym:Dasylirion recurvatum
Synonym:Nolina recurvata

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43 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Tropicals and Tender Perennials

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
This plant is suitable for growing indoors

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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56 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Campocalle On Mar 11, 2014, Campocalle from Redding, CA wrote:

Just a quick note about the remarkable hardiness of this plant in extreme heat and zone 9A cold. A 10-inch seedling survived a summer of temperatures up to 114 F, and survived a low of 25 F along with several inches of snow during 2013. I agree with Bay Area Tropics - this plant should be grown outdoors more in Mediterranean climates!

Positive ToMMy_BoY On Jan 9, 2014, ToMMy_BoY from Little Rock, AR wrote:

As an avid gardener, who's grown plants all of my life, I absolutely love Ponytail Palms. I moved to a new house and bought a little 2" pot w/ five ponytails growing in it for only $1. They stayed in that pot all year long and were outgrowing it by next Spring, so I replanted them into a larger pot with more room to grow. We had some severe weather during Tornado Season and it washed away most of the soil, leaving most of their roots exposed. For some reason, I never got around to fixing them and they stayed that way, exposed to the hot Arkansas summer sun. I kind of expected them to not make it, but they did, and so I repotted them the next Spring. They took off growing without even skipping a beat and one of them has even started branching out. They have already outgrown their current pot and will need transplanting this coming Spring.
I have also bought an even bigger ponytail palm that was pruned back and now has eight branches growing up from its 3' tall trunk. When I seen this beauty in the garden center, I just had to have it. Plus, it was on clearance for only a fraction of its original price. It has since grown even bigger sitting out on my back porch in full Southern sunlight and my neighbors always compliment me on it. All I do is spray it down with the water hose if it hasn't rained in a while and bring it inside when it gets too cold outside. However, if you grow them indoors, try not to get any water unto the crown, or else you'll run the risk of rot killing off their only growth point(s).
They love full sunlight, but will do fine in partial shade. If they don't get sufficient lighting, any new growth will be limp and sagging. They need bright light to grow perky and have that graceful curve to their leaves that gives them their name.

Positive Ronweasley On Oct 21, 2013, Ronweasley from Monterey Park, CA wrote:

Four years ago I sowed 12 Pony Tail Palm seeds, one seed to a 2-inch pot. They are now each in a 1-gallon container and are growing very well with no insect or disease problems. The plants average about 24 inches tall and are watered regularly with other potted plants.

Positive RosinaBloom On Apr 29, 2013, RosinaBloom from Waihi
New Zealand (Zone 1) wrote:

The Pony Tail Palm is not actually a palm. It belongs to the Agave family. Beaucarnea recurvata is named for its downward curving leaves and slow growth, and will stay smaller if grown in a pot. They are easy to grow and care for, and do well indoors. Let the soil dry out before watering.

Positive kikapoo On Sep 23, 2012, kikapoo from Lebanon, CT wrote:

I live in Connecticut and my neighbors are jealous because I have few palms growing in my yard. Winters can be brutal and brutly cold. But the only months I worry about are dec and jan where temps can reach -15 some nights. I have 2 ponytail palms that are about 9 ft in height and had them for several years. I have them planted on the side of the house and they have some protection during the winter months. I have had no problems with the ponytail palms at all. I also have 3 sago palms that are 4 ft in height that are planted in the front of the house along my walk way. and those have been doing excellent as well. In the back yard by my patio I have 2 windmill palms that are almost 12 ft in height and during cold nights in the low 20ms early teens I do protect them as they are more open in space by wraping the truck in insulation and wraping clear large x mas lights around the fronds. All my palms I have had for several yrs and planted all in the early spring. All my family, friends and neighbors are jealous that I have them growing in the yard and not any in pots. Most are amazed and get people stopping by all the time asking if they are real and wanting to take pictures. But my ponytail palms get the most attention. I reconmend the pony palm for anyone.

Positive sherizona On Aug 23, 2012, sherizona from Peoria, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have three ponytail palms, all are in full sun. They are planted in the ground. Even in the hottest months here in Phoenix (9b) they do just fine. They are not in reflective heat or near hot walls. They are in the middle of the garden, unshaded for most of the day. In five years they've grown about 2-3 feet with regular drip irrigation watering.

Positive sweetlilylin On Aug 20, 2012, sweetlilylin from Woodhaven, NY wrote:

I have rwo poneytail plants. One is a baby, diam. of plant is ony 1/12 in. it's in a 4in. pot. The other is an older plant which is 4-1/2 in. in diam. and only in a 4 in pot. Should either one be transplanted? Do they like pots with small quarters, potbound? Or do they need room to grow? They are gown outside during the summer and brought in in the house in Sept for the winter.(N.Y state) Can someone help me out?

Positive Mary1958 On Aug 12, 2012, Mary1958 from Ocala, FL wrote:

I bought mine in "96" it was very small maybe the size of a cereal bowl or smaller, it has grown to over 5 foot tall and just this summer has begun to shot out 2 small ones on the sides of the trunk, but I wanted to know how long does it take before I start to see blooms? I love this plant and will get more as soon as I see them at a price I can afford.

Positive thelndeb On May 31, 2010, thelndeb from Sarasota, FL wrote:

this plant was given to us about 15 yrs ago always beautiful vary healthy it was about 4 feet tall then and now is about10-11 feet tall if there is anyone that can refer a site that will educate me on the plant i would appriciate it alot we just had are harshest winter in yrs. and it bloomed for the first time that we are aware of we live in sarasota fl

Positive cleanairgal On Oct 19, 2009, cleanairgal from San Francisco, CA wrote:

I need help! My lovely, 8 year old, 6-1/2 foot tall ponytail palm is in trouble. About a month ago the lower leaves started turning brown at the trunk and then a sickly, yellow and, in some cases, lighter green. My local plant store thinks that it may have chlorosis but she has never seen that in the plant. It does not have any bugs. I think it might have been overwatered when I was on vacation in August. The round base at the bottom is fairly solid though not rock hard. I am worried and don't know what to do. I love my baby and have watched her grow from about 2 feet tall to more than 6 feet tall since I bought her in 2001. Please help!! Many thanks.

Positive wreinha On Jan 17, 2009, wreinha from Macomb, IL wrote:

I have a mutiple ponytail palm plant that is growing on one stem , I just transplanted it today. I have it in my bedroom for the winter. I think it is a neat plant to grow.

Positive gsteinbe On Sep 25, 2008, gsteinbe from Trenton, NJ wrote:

I bought a pot that had three small ponytail palms together and divided them into three pots. One I moved to a big pot (12" or maybe more) after a little while, but the other two I kept in 6"-8" pots. I put them in plastic pots, although clay pots might be better for them. Even so, they've done wonderfully. I water them once a week usually. They pretty much dry out between waterings. If they don't dry out, I don't water them for two weeks. They grow beautifully. The one in the big pot just keeps getting bigger and bigger. The base is *huge.* Watch the leaves; they are sharp enough to give a paper cut-style laceration to your skin. I've heard that you shouldn't get water on the bulb when watering, but I've never had any problems; in fact, I pour water over the bulb in order to get the water around the plant on all sides, and I've never had any rot or anything. These are great plants for people who don't want a lot of work taking care of their plants, and they're interesting to look at (although not pretty in a conventional sort of way). They grow well indoors and are manageable in size if kept in a small pot but need a good amount of direct sunlight through the window.

Positive plantparent On Jul 27, 2008, plantparent from Sarasota, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I love my ponytail. I just think they are pretty. I have mine in a container but the ones I see in landscapes get huge. Very low maitanance. Mine does well with what little rain we have gotten. They are prone to mealey but a spray of alcohol does the job.

Positive mah00c On Jul 21, 2008, mah00c from Silver City, NM wrote:

Mine is only about 2 years old but for some reason, it defies all other reports. Everyone says that it needs little water, but mine has a tiny drink 2 times a day!!! Yes, I promise you it is indeed a Ponytail!!!! Mine sits on the window sill in my kitchen and when I take medications - 2 times a day - I pour the last tiny bit of water from my glass into the plant! It is thriving! When I checked it out on Dave's website and that said NOT to overwater, I stopped the daily watering - result, the new 'leaves' in the center dried out and died. So, I went back to giving it a drink twice a day and the new 'leaves' are bright green. I do live in New Mexico's southwest and we normally have zero humidity and very little rain so perhaps that makes the difference. Anyway, I will keep on doing the 2 drinks a day since it is thriving, but just wanted to add that bit of information.

Positive jazzys_mom On Jul 21, 2008, jazzys_mom from Oak Forest, IL wrote:

I received this plant 3 years ago in a basket of other plants that was sent to my father-in-law's funeral. The other plants eventually died off and this little baby was left. I wantered him when I thought about it - poor thing, his soil was usually so dry it was hard! I recently transplanted him to a large, pretty pot and he now lives in my new remodeled kitchen where his beauty is shown off. He started as a tiny plant and now has grown about 3 times his original size --- that was with neglect! Can't wait to see what he does with love!

Positive seadreamer On Jul 21, 2008, seadreamer from Washington, DC wrote:

I first bought this plant for the office when I worked for the Director of Research in Washington DC -- at the time the greenhouse that delivered it told me it was about 25 years old --- the bulb was about 1-1/2 feet wide and it was about 4-5 feet tall.

After a few years I gave the plant to my brother who lives in NJ --- the plant now must be at least 50 plus years old --- it stands about 8 feet tall, has about 7 branches coming out of it and is literally straining the plastic pot that it is planted in. It is so heavy now, at least 300 pounds, that my brother moves it from the dining room where it "winters" right outside to the back porch where it "summers"...

my brother is now asking me where to get a larger plastic pot so that the plant can be repotted because the pot it's in right now is stunting its growth.

Positive marsue On Apr 21, 2008, marsue from Isabella, MO (Zone 6b) wrote:

I bought my ponytail palm in 1974 for 38cents. At that time it was just about 3 inches tall. I have it in a large pot which is on a plant dolly. In the summertime I put the plant outside on the porch and bring it inside before the first frost. It has never bloomed but it does have 6 or 7 "babies" growing off a side "arm". The foot is about 17 inches around and the plant is about 3 feet tall from the base of the foot to where the leaves start to fall over.
In 1977 when this plant was just 4 years old and much smaller, it won grand prize at the county fair in the house plant category. I keep the grand prize ribbon hanging on it now. This "baby" of mine has survived on what I call "benign neglect". I water it when I think about it. It hasn't been re-potted in years. It might grow more if it was in a bigger pot but it is big enough to suit me and takes up enough room as it is. When I think to do so, I will put several Jobe's plant food spikes around the base of the foot. That is the only way I have ever fed it. Years ago when I had a cat, the cat loved to play with the long leaves and tore them with her claws when she was batting at the leaves. The plant even survived that--LOL.
I should probably find out what to do with the babies that are branching off the bulb but so far I have just left them alone and they are doing great. I would be very sad if I were to lose my "baby". I love this plant.

Positive jdiaz On Jan 29, 2008, jdiaz from Chowchilla, CA wrote:

I just bought three nice, 1-foot ponytails at home depot for $2 apiece. I planted them outdoors this week in a drought tolerant bed along with different succulents, aloes and agaves. Hope they grow nicely here.

Positive jvhagerman On Jan 15, 2008, jvhagerman from Banning, CA wrote:

We bought this plant when we bought out house in Banning, California in 1989. Our new next door neighbor sold it to us with a few other plants. She assured us that it was a very slow growing plant and that she had owned it for about ten years. A friend of ours said their plant had stayed the same size for all the years they had owned it. Ours was about three feet tall at that time. In a few years it grew to five feet tall and was so big around that we had to move it out of the dining room. it went onto our patio where it made it through all the seasons equally well. It soon outgrew it original huge pot and we planted it in the only large container we had available at the time, a whiskey barrel. This meant it was now a permanent "outside" plant which could no longer be moved in for the winter. In 2007 we had a freeze that killed nearly everything else outside but this plant came through unscathed. In the spring is started growing little plants on the trunk. there are about 20 of them now. Then In the summer of 2007, now taller than the top of our walls, it bloomed! We have no idea why it bloomed this year because nothing in the way we took care of it has ever changed. We think maybe it was the freeze.

We were amazed to watch the stalk grow and flower open. We had so many honeybees that were attracted to it. From the first rays of the new day to the last light it was covered with honeybees. We posted pictures too.

Now, out plant can no longer be moved and we know that the next time it outgrows it's container we will have to have heavy equipment in to transplant it into the ground. The only thing we don't know is what to do with the flower spike now that the flowers are gone. Any help you may have for us would be greatly appreciated.

We love this plant!!

Positive LisaW59 On Jan 4, 2008, LisaW59 from Perth
Australia wrote:

We have 8 ponytails planted out in the garden. They have been there between 20-25 years. One had to be transplanted as it was in the way of a new garage. It was heavy and awkward to move (it is the only one with multiple trunks) but with plenty of water it put out new growth quickly. To our immense surprise, 6 of the 8 have started their first flowering. The spikes grow so fast, a couple of inches a day, amazing. Am now awaiting the flower show. Will send a photo when they are out.
They are groing in sand/limestone base soil, fairly standard here in Western Australia. Only get watered by sprinkler twice a week or when it rains. Never get around to fertilizing them, and they cope with full sun, in a temperature range of around 0-45 celsius.
Amazing plants, looking forward to seeing them flower and then how they grow after that.

Positive BernardShakey On Jun 28, 2007, BernardShakey from Southern, CA wrote:

I have been growing a highly variegated Beaucarnea recurvata since I obtained it many years ago in a 6" pot. The plant is now over 14' tall and is flowering for the first time. I can certainly expect a moderate number of seed to set under normal pollinating conditions. However, I would like to maximize the pollination result by hand pollinating the plant.

Positive TropiTiki On Jun 14, 2007, TropiTiki from Murrells Inlet, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

You should definitely try this plant in zone 8b/9a. I overwintered a 1 1/2 foot ponytail in the ground two winters ago in Surfside Beach, SC. It was the first year planted out and stayed beautiful the entire time including through a couple of 18 degree nights. It was a fairly well protected, though, under a deciduous oak and only eight feet or less from buildings on three sides. I moved a couple of miles south to Garden City Beach and replanted it in March of 2006. It did great through most of the winter in a narrow (12 foot wide) strip between a fence and my house, but with no protection overhead. The one 19 degree night took it out this winter. Or so I thought. Two weeks ago I noticed some growth coming from the base. Now I have three little sprouts about an inch long! This was a bit of an experiment to see how hardy this plant is, and it's WAY hardier that I expected. I also have a five foot potted specimen that I left on the porch through this past winter for the first time and it did great.

Positive purpleroses716 On Apr 6, 2007, purpleroses716 from Madison, WI wrote:

My mother had a triplet plant that had been abandoned in an apartment that she moved into. That was almost 20 years ago.

I finally bought my own triplet plant and am having good success with it.

Positive stevigrrr On Feb 8, 2007, stevigrrr from Charlotte, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

I love this plant! It's like an old friend. I had one for 20 years and unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control, I lost it. I purchased a new one when I moved to N.C. and it's only a couple years old. Yesterday my 9 year old tripped and fell into it, snapping off two heads and seriously damaging the 3rd. I placed the two broken tails in water and bandaged the badly bent-over but not broken, third one.

Neutral HaeClark On Oct 15, 2006, HaeClark from Newberg, OR wrote:

I just bought one of these neat plants about a week ago from the plant stand (and plants) we have at work for sale. She's still a little baby, the trunk/bulb only being about a couple inches tall so fare with a nice healthy "pony tail" start.

I replanted her from the 4" clay pot she came with into a larger 8" version, however now I'm hearing information about these palms needing a larger pot, with lots of room to grow.

Positive DustyDS On Jul 12, 2006, DustyDS from Sugar Valley, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

My Pony Tail is 17 years old in Zone 9b, facing north in dappled shade from an old Oak...and is now 18 feet tall...It is planted in extremely sandy soil, and gets only rain water..It has 23 little branchlettes on it, mostly near the base which is now an oval shape that is 57 inches across and has 5 trunks on it.. one trunk was removed after hurricane damage several years ago, and there is a branchlette coming out from that cut now that is about 3 inches tall..I will add a pic of the base as well as the tree above..

Positive dogmansis On Jul 3, 2006, dogmansis from Wimberley, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I bought a ponytail palm when my 1st daughter was almost 2 yrs (almost 17 yrs ago). It was in a 4" pot, then lived in a 15" pot until a couple of weeks ago, when we had a "pot-breaking " ceremony. We had to use a hammer to break the old pot and moved it into a new, larger pot, which I painted her initials and the year "AL" joined our family (1989). Arna Leigh will be leaving for A&M in August, and Al can go with her. All Arna will need to do is make sure it gets plenty of light and forgetting to water it for a few months (college students...) won't kill it! I've done the same for my youngest daughter (only have 2 girls), and when she's ready to leave for college in 3 yrs, we'll have another "pot-breaking" ceremony...but I can wait!!

Positive jennyrobot On Jun 9, 2006, jennyrobot from Pulaski, NY (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have had both good and bad with this plant. I bought two at the same time. One was a triplet of bulbs, after about 6 months, they developed rot of some sort, and died off one by one.
The other one has survived a move from AZ to NY and is now about 4 years old - at least in my care. It has lived outside in summers at both locations, had a re-pot, and several trims of overgrown fronds. So far, we are nearing our 5th year, and it is still doing well.

Positive chiefcoondog On May 19, 2006, chiefcoondog from Miami, FL wrote:

If you are ever in South Florida, go to Fairchild Tropical Gardens and see their monster ponytail. Also, it is not a palm!

Positive herlurie On Jan 26, 2006, herlurie from Mobile, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I bought one of these a few months ago - it is about 1 1/2 feet tall right now and seems to be doing well. I love them - they remind me of something you would see in a Dr. Suess book! Especially the pictures of the older ones grown in clumps.

Positive CastIronPlant22 On Dec 11, 2005, CastIronPlant22 from Lompoc, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I have a very big one of these in a container outside. Its doing very well, i just hate how the end of the long ( i guess you could call them this) leaves look all brown and burnt, i seem to be cutting at the brown tips often. Also, it never seems to green up, its always light green, sometimes a little yellow. Its a great plant and very eye catching. It doesnt like a lot of water. I wouldnt buy another one, but i will keep mine for sure.

Neutral cactus_lover On Nov 7, 2005, cactus_lover from FSD
Pakistan (Zone 10b) wrote:

Globose caudex over 1 m in diameter with few stems to 6 m high;green leaves to 1 m long and 1-2 cm wide ;tall,branched inflorescence.

Positive Sarahskeeper On Oct 28, 2005, Sarahskeeper from Brockton, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I purchased a seedling for $1. at the New England Flower Show almost 30 years ago. I still have it. I think it will be a lifelong friend. It's not big for it's age because I haven't re-potted it in 20 years. The base is 8 inches in diameter in a 10 inch pot. I'm afraid that when it does get re-potted it will become too tall for my home, so it stays pot-bound. It sits on a 20 stand and touches the ceiling now. It looks healthy with new leaves coming all the time. I water it from the bottom because it has pushed itself out of the pot. Never any fertilizer. See my photo.
Andy P

Positive BayAreaTropics On Oct 14, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

Why a great,easily available plant is not grown outdoors in the greater S.F. bay area is a mystery to me.Mine flowered 7-8 years after planting in ground, and then branched after the spent flower stalk was cut off.Now,13 years after planting it is a 6 foot or so tall "palm" with a 3 foot wide base. They need to be regularly watered for good growth and a lot of fertilizer or they develop yellowish leaves or tips. Maybe iron but i just use a good all purpose organic fertilizer. Low thirty temps(night) are no problem.Their need for water might make them a better companion for roses, figuratively speaking, than cacti.
I bet they would make a great GROUP bonsai instead of the usual single plant. Like pic 14 in miniature.
And notice how this personable plant becomes almost like a cherished pet!
EDIT: The 07 freeze didnt affect mine at all, BUT i do remember the high 20's of 98 did burn top leaves. Low 20's i heard kills them outright-unless its the briefest dip into that range. I wouldnt consider them 9a unless you live in a long hot summer climate and they can recover from light winter dieback.
EDIT 2012. Wow- I cant believe its been seven years since that first post. Its now about 9' tall with a few branches and huge base. In 20 years total. Mine does not get all day your results if in full sun, should be faster all around.

Positive _renee_ On Aug 13, 2005, _renee_ from Porirua
New Zealand wrote:

I bought one of these as a baby house plant (base just under 1" diameter) for my daughter's room. That was a year ago, and since then it has been cruelly neglected and sadly even abused. My daughter (2yrs old now) has pulled it off the windowsill several times and last time I just chucked it back up without replacing the lost mix or replanting it (getting the potting mix out of her cot was a higher priority at the time). I watered and replanted it recently, had to submerge the entire pot to re-wet the soil as it had been a good eight or nine months since it had last been watered. You'd think that sitting bare-root on top of bone-dry soil for six months would have killed it but it actually looks fine, the leaves haven't dropped or even browned, in fact it may have even grown a few more. I love these plants, they are virtually unkillable as long as you don't overwater (not a risk my plants face).

Positive Kingdaddie On Jul 31, 2005, Kingdaddie from South Portland, ME wrote:

We have had my ponytail for about 6 years now. We love it and it is the only house plant that we have. we have gotten 3 new shoots off of the bulb this year and one shoot is actually a double head. Our cat has taken quite a fancy to it's long green leaves and has chewed quit a few of them off at this point. The bulb is around 7 to 8 inches across and it is around 2 feet tall, I had come here looking to see if the new branches could be removed and replanted to make new trees with, but from reading the input of everyone in here I guess they can't. Hopefully the main branch will stay alive as we just repotted it into a new bigger home for it. I loved reading all the stories in here about their ponytails and I am glad that a forum actually exists like this. Any suggestions as to how to keep the cat out of it would be helpful, the squirt gun doesn't work because he continues to jump on the Everyone continue enjoying there palms and have a great day.

Positive artcons On Jul 1, 2005, artcons from Fort Lauderdale, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

My (pictured) ponytail palm is about 20 years old. It was in several containers for about 10 years before I finally planted it. Then we put in a different pool and I had, what I felt was an ideal spot, so three of us with a wheelbarrow moved it to the pool area. It's been in it's current location about 4 years and is doing well. Although it's 20 years old, it has never flowered. It's a "no brainer" as far is care goes. Plant it and forget it. Just be sure to leave about 1/3 of it's bulb out of the ground when replanting or repotting them. Poolside in zone 10, it's ideal since it doesn't drop leaves. My plant shown is about 7' tall. The leaves have very sharp edges which can easily cause a paper cut type of injury. Handle the leaves with care.

Positive mimisews On Apr 4, 2005, mimisews from Pearland, TX wrote:

I have had my pony tail palm for years, carefully moving it in and out, for the winter. It has a base about 12 inches in diameter and was about four feet tall.This year my sister was helping me move plants out and somehow the top was broken off.

Positive robertk On Mar 5, 2005, robertk from Batemans Bay
Australia wrote:

We live in the south coast area of NSW Australia, cool and wet.
The only thing I can add to all the positive statements about this plant is that it is also easy to transplant.
We successfully ransplanted two plants about 4 feet tall by digging under the plant close to the base, tearing away most of the fine roots. We placed them in their new position on a raised bed of soil and potting soil mix. Watered them in and voila.... They are growing too well and too fast!! Twelve months later they are 7 feet tall and have barnced out,
One plant has had a white flower and no seeds, the other one has had a pink flower with seeds.

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Mar 2, 2005, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Soon after I bought my house three years ago, I discovered a small Pony Tail Palm tossed aside by some previous owner, left bare root in some weeds by the front door. My house had been empty for some time prior to my buying the house, so the Pony Tail Palm had survived bare root for a year, possibly longer. There were only a few scraggly leaves on the onion sized bulb. I didn't have much hope it would survive, but I potted it up anyway. Lo! It immediately showed signs of recovery and within a few months, the base of the trunk had swelled and it had put out a healthy spray of long, streaming, slightly curled leaves (earning the species name "recurvata"). It continued to grow in its pot for two years, reaching about 2' in height. I am short on space for overwintering plants in my greenhouse, so I decided to plant the Pony Tail in the sunniest part of my garden. It thrived this past summer with watering every few days and made it through the winter with occasional temperatures of 28 F. For winter protection, I built a temporary green house around it with upright pvc poles and a tent of visqueen plastic sheeting. There was no frost or freeze damage.

My most striking memory of visiting the Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Coconut Grove, Florida, in 1976, was the HUGE (probably about 30' high) Pony Tail Palm growing in the garden. I was sad to learn that the plant was devastated, along with much of the rest of the plants in the Fairchild Gardens, by Hurricane Andrew. I hope it has made a recovery in the years since, but haven't had a chance to visit the gardens.

I am confident that my Pony Tail Palm will continue to grow now that it is out of the pot and can expand its root system indefinitely. I will continue to erect a temporary greenhouse around it each winter as our winter temperatures can sometimes drop well below freezing (boderline Zone 8b/9a in NE Fla). It may never rival the magnificience of the plant I saw at the Fairchild Gardens, but hope springs eternal!

Positive KAHN On Mar 1, 2005, KAHN from Richmond, VA wrote:

I have 2 ponytail palms, one of them a 6" and the other in a 16" pot . I put the 16" outside in the summer and bring it in durring the winter. It has about 10 heads plus more shoots comming out. It is my favorite of all my house plants, the only problem that I have experienced is the scale that seem to get on the plant durring the summer. With a little thearapy I manage to get rid of them in time to bring it in for winter. One thing that I have noticed about the 6" is that it has a deep burgandy color, lighter in the winter and deeper in the summer! The 16" has never done that before that I have seen. These are great plants for people who are busy they seem to thrive on neglect. Overwatering is a bad thing because of rot, my first one years ago rotted because I overwatered:(

Positive JerusalemCherry On Nov 5, 2004, JerusalemCherry from Dunellen, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

The Ponytail Palm / Elephants Foot Pam are quite capable to outliving their owners. Actually with proper care, this plant can outlive many generations of owners/people. In their native habitat, specimens have been discovered that are 100's of years in age.

In your home, this plant will grow slower then ones in nature. From my personal experience, when your plant hits approx 20-25 years old, they become rather difficult to manage, just by their shear size & weight.

I purchased my Elephant Foot Palm in 1985 at Flower Time, it was a Garden Center in Freehold NJ off Rt9 (long out of business). At the time it was the size of a large onion. The center stalk was cut, so the plant had approx 3 main branches.

Today, (as of 11-05-04) my Elephants Foot Palm's base is approx 4 Feet (48inches) in circumference. I need two or more people to help me pick it up & move it. It makes a great conversation piece & most people comment on it.
With age, these are striking plants. I keep mine indoors during the winter, and mid spring into summer I move it outdoors in the back yard. This plant is a life companion if you treat it well.

Positive wendibcr On May 4, 2004, wendibcr from Tucson, AZ wrote:

I have found that in Tucson, AZ my Ponytail can not tolerate full sun. Still in its original pot, I have placed it in full sun and the leaves started to burn within a day or two. I moved it to partial shade and it greened back out with new leaves. Recently I found another location that I wanted to plant it that has a little less shade during the day and within three days I moved it back to the partial shade area where it thrives. It loves a lot of water and making it happy is more important then the location that I want it to live.

Positive shannon_paul On May 2, 2004, shannon_paul from La Mesa, CA wrote:

As much work as these have been for me starting out, I still have to say that it's been a positive experience having them. 2 small ones(1') I bought at Target, 2 yrs ago, started out as houseplants in my living room, but weren't getting enough light, so I brought them outside to the front porch. They seemed very vulnerable and one ended up with a bad case of mealy bugs. I sprayed them both regularly for several weeks and that has seemed to get rid of the pest problem, though I still keep an eye on them. They've been outside for over a year and I hardly water them. They get the moisture they need from the sprinklers and rain. I live inland San Diego, so I don't think the weather ever gets too cold for them, even in winter. They really enjoy the full sun and have gotten taller and now have reddish center leaves, which I'm not sure is a good thing or bad thing, but it looks pretty. I love how "airy" and tropically they look with their long thin leaves trailing down. It really looks like a green fountain. I get lots of compliments on them.

I just bought my 3rd one! I found some bigger ones(2-3') for sale at Walter Anderson's and finally bought one for my bedroom! I potted that this wkend and just put it in front of a west facing window, so I'm curious to see how it does. If it's not getting enough light, it may end up out on the deck!

I am glad I looked online, though I wish I had sooner. I trimmed off all the brown tips, only to read that you shouldn't do that. They will just turn brown again.

Positive onetreehouse4u On Apr 12, 2004, onetreehouse4u wrote:

I have inherited a pony tail from my daughter who specializes in buying then bringing to the brink of death, various lovely houseplants. I am then called in to save them, and the ponytail seems to be doing some better. It is however, planted (I think) too deep, and looks holey in spots, also there are some bulblets growing on the side of it.

Positive ladyrowan On Mar 28, 2004, ladyrowan from Garberville, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I just bought a baby pony tail palm at my local nursury store. The base is a little less than 2 inches, and has no stem - the green fronds grow straight out of the base. This little plant is very interesting. I look forward to watching it grow.

Positive sunpalmlover On Jan 31, 2004, sunpalmlover from San Diego, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

We used to drive by a commercial location that had three of these cute little "trees" in front. Each time, I would tell my husband I wanted to get "one of those" palm trees. Finally, one day when we were at Home Depot, they had them! I learned that they really aren't palm trees after all (I'm a HUGE lover of date palms - so regal looking in front of gorgeous resort hotels, don't you think? ;-) and that they are from the Agave (sp?) family, instead.

Well, I don't care where they come from, it is the cutest, easiest, and most complimented plant I've ever had!

We got my little guy for about $10 at Home Depot. His "hair" was kinda brown, but I've put him on the corner of my desk in my office - right next to the window, and his "hair" is as lush and green as can be. I turn him a bit every day, and water him with a tiny bit of water at his base every day or so - just a sip, and he's lovin' life. There are vertical blinds between him and the window, which means he gets filtered light, and sometimes direct. He hasn't grown much at the stem or base, but his hair is full and dark green. I'd like to put him outside, but since I purchased him in late November, I hesitated to put him out in our cold nights (40 degrees sometimes) in inland San Diego...he is just so cute, I didn't want anything to happen to him.

Positive plimpsoles On Dec 13, 2003, plimpsoles wrote:

I have a pony tail I have had for over 50 years. Living in Indiana I put the plant out in the summer after May and bring it in by September.This is a very heavy plant and takes a dolly to move it. It has been transplanted only 1 time.. It is over 5 ft tall and has 3 tops to it. Never bloomed as it has been indoors most of the time The base is 2 ft across . a great house plant that is admired by everyone that sees it.I fertilize about 4 times a year with miracle grow and water about every 3 weeks.This is a great site for any gardeners and lovers of house plants.

Positive wnstarr On Oct 15, 2003, wnstarr from Puyallup, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

I purchased a Pony Tail Palm in a 4-inch pot as an accent for a dish garden about 18 years ago. It now stands in my living room at a height of over 6 foot. The base is about 22 inches across. Leaf tips have a tendency to dry and be brown in the house, so I place it outside in the summer. The tip or crown split and now has double head, or pony tail. This is one tough plant; I water only on rare occasions and it loves it - seems to thrive on neglect.

Neutral 1militarywoman On Aug 13, 2003, 1militarywoman wrote:

I am in no way a "green thumb" person. Someone told me that a pony tail palm would be the ideal plant for me. I recently purchased one for my apartment. It sits in my bedroom with filtered light. The leaves (stems, whatever you call them) are turning brown. I water it once a week (or week in a half) and add liquid fertilizer to the water about monthly.

Positive greeneyedSF On Jul 28, 2003, greeneyedSF from San Francisco, CA wrote:

My friend has two of these plants at his home in San Francisco, CA and they grow very well. I went ahead and bought one for my self and repotted it but it seemed that the top leaves were starting to rot and I went ahead and pulled off the dead/rotten leaves. I started to worry that repotting the plant may have shocked it but a couple of weeks later I noticed 3 new branches growing off of the main stem. I've also been watering the plant once a week (keep the soil moist) per the instructions that was given when purchased at a local nursery and I've also placed it in a location that doesn't get full sun but indirect light. Now I've also noticed a Gnat infestation in the plant.

Positive palmbob On Jul 16, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant survives in areas where it gets well over 110F. It loves water, as long as it's not too much water. I have grown several of these in the ground and though they survive on NO extra water, they grow MUCH faster with lots of water. They are pretty resistant to rotting if all other conditions are good.

Positive Reeve On Jul 11, 2003, Reeve wrote:

I recently bought a Ponytail Palm bonsai for my apartment balcony near the ocean in south Florida. It is a beauty with one bulbous trunk and two heads. I'm hoping it can thrive as a bonsai with west exposure that can get to 90F degrees or hotter.

Positive Passiongreen On May 30, 2003, Passiongreen from Willard, NC wrote:

I own a speciality cactus and succulent nursery and have had many of these plants produce the growth from the caudex. (Trunk base) It is a normal trait of the species.

The new growth can be cut flat with no harm to the plant. If left to grow, it will produce another trunk but not another plant.

One thing we do sometimes is to cut off the top where the leaves start to come out. This "forces" the plant to produce at least 3 new branches, making the plant look like it will when much larger. This is only to be done when the tree is small, (6" diameter) and when dormant. We do this around September.

I myself prefer the single trunk "fountain" look for as long as it remains un-branched. (See my photo above)

Positive ghanna On May 29, 2003, ghanna from San Francisco, CA wrote:

I was given this plant while in college, it was about 2 feet tall at the time. It has managed to stay alive and actually thrive for me in SC, NC and now CA. 20 years later she is now approximately 7 feet tall, bulb approximately 15 inch in diameter and beautiful. Mostly has been an indoor plant. Tried her on the patio for a while but could not handle the winds on the hill where we live in San Francisco. Transplanted her just a month ago. Last night I noticed she has a new branch coming off of the main stem. I really like the symmetry of the single stem but am not opposed to the new growth if it's supposed to be there.

Positive gringagirl On Mar 15, 2003, gringagirl from clearwater, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I live in central Florida and have had a Pony Tail Palm for over 30 years. It has always been a potted plant until this year. I have moved periodically, taking my plant with me. This last fall I finally bought what I hope is my last home and I planted this tree in the backyard. It is about 4 1/2 ft tall. I almost lost it in a freeze in 1983, but it came back.

Last summer while still in a root-bound pot it flowered for the first time. I was afraid that it would die after flowering but it did ok. When I moved I planted it and it is obviously very happy. It has since put out a lot of new growth. After cutting off the spent flower stalk it sent out two new apical growths.

Unfortunately we have had a very cold winter this year(27- 30F) and I worried a great deal over my baby. So far so good, now I have numerous new growths starting to pop out along its trunk. I look forward to seeing it grow to a beautiful specimen tree.

Positive Tinaduncan74 On Mar 14, 2003, Tinaduncan74 from Green Forest, AR wrote:

My family have been nurserymen as long as I can remember. Growing up in central Florida, the Ponytail Palm was always a prize in the garden. It was the center attraction in my Grandmothers nursery. But we never had any luck propagating it.

Recently my grandmother passed away and my parents took over the nursery and I received the ponytail that belonged to my grandmother. Then I moved to Arkansas and was concerned about it so we store it indoors under a grow light and was amazed at what it did. It bloomed. It had never done this before or had any that my family had ever owned or seen. We had heard of stories but they had eluded us.

After it bloomed we expected seeds but they never came instead we had baby plants that seemed to be growing from the mother plant. There were originally close to fifty or more about the size of a pencil eraser. So my mother tried to start 10 of them by separating them from the mother plant to not much avail. Now they have reached between 5 to 12 inches in length. My problem is that they are starting to break off due to their weight.

Positive klussenden On Feb 14, 2003, klussenden wrote:

We obtained our Pony Tail Palm one of our visits to Florida from a vendor selling tropical plants on a street corner for $5.00 some 15 years ago. It was only about 1-1/2' tall at that time, and we transported it all the way back home to Wisconsin where it wintered inside and spent summers in out backyard where my husband had built me a special latice backed platform where I could keep all of my many plants safely (and happily as they were protected from the hot sun, but still received plenty of combined light and shade.

My Pony Tail Palm thrived and grew so beautifully. I made sure it had good drainage; planted in a commercial soil mixture which I mixed with sand so that about 1/3 of the large round bottom was above the soil. I watered it well about once a week and fertilzed once a month. It reached a height of about 5 feet; however, during tornado-type summer storm, the palm incurred an injury to the upper most portion of its stem which "dented" permanently one half of the stem (appeared to have died off in that stem section).

My Palm then developed about 4 new Pony Tail growths from the stem below that were just beautiful; however, the main top died off completely which was very upsetting. Thus I began my quest to see if the side shoots could be propagated some way to develop into a new Palm. To date I haven't found anything except prapogation by seed. I cut off the top section of the dying main stem also wondering if a palm could possibly be grown by planting sections of the stem by planting in soil (sideways with a small section of the stem exposed above the soil--something like propagating a Tea Tree or Diffenbachia).

Positive hounddogal On May 6, 2002, hounddogal wrote:

Living in coastal South Australia we find that pony tails thrive in our conditions. They really are very 'easy-care' plants and so attractive and unusual.

As regards propagation I have found two types of flowers in evidence; 1 a white top cluster of flowers only which produce no seeds and 2 a pinkish red cluster which produces 3 sided seeds as a conclusion to their flowering.
We leave the red fertile flowers on the plants till they dry, then collect the seeds and plant as any seeds. Results are very good.

I have not had too much luck with planting-out the smaller shoots from the main stem. They never seem to satisfy.
I hope this makes sense. We always grow them outdoors as we find them very hardy and not liking too much fussing and pampering.

Neutral Floridian On Nov 9, 2001, Floridian from Lutz, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

A native of southeastern Mexico, the ponytail is a palm-like succulent with a greatly expanded base and a single trunk with a rosette of long, strap-like leaves that arch and droop. With age, the trunk eventually develops a few branches. Ponytail can get up to 30' tall, and the base up to 12' across, but houseplants generally remain less than 6 or 8' tall. The leaves are thin and flat, up to 6' long and only an inch wide. They are clustered in dense tufts at the ends of the branches and arch upward and then droop downward. Flowers are produced only on large specimens. They are creamy white and inconspicuous individually, but borne in large showy upright clusters that extend above the leaves. This plant requires full sun, and is drought tolerant. Water deeply, but infrequently. It makes a large and handsome houseplant, doing well even in rooms with air conditioning as long as it has bright light. It's a good specimen plant for a rock garden in a dry, warm climate.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (3 reports)
Jones, Alabama
Goodyear, Arizona (2 reports)
Peoria, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona (3 reports)
Scottsdale, Arizona (2 reports)
Sierra Vista, Arizona
Surprise, Arizona
Cabot, Arkansas
Agoura Hills, California
Banning, California
Beaumont, California
Blackhawk-camino Tassajara, California
Carmichael, California
Castro Valley, California
Chowchilla, California
Clayton, California
Clovis, California
Davis, California
El Cajon, California
Fallbrook, California
Fontana, California
Fountain Valley, California
Garberville, California
Granite Bay, California
Hayward, California
La Mesa, California
Lompoc, California
Los Angeles, California
Manhattan Beach, California
Marina Del Rey, California
Monterey Park, California
Oildale, California
Orange, California
Perris, California
Pleasant Hill, California
Redding, California
Reseda, California
Rialto, California
Riverside, California
Sacramento, California
San Diego, California (2 reports)
San Francisco, California (3 reports)
San Leandro, California
San Marino, California
Santa Barbara, California (2 reports)
Simi Valley, California
Spring Valley, California
Vista, California
Yorba Linda, California
Cotopaxi, Colorado
Meriden, Connecticut
Apopka, Florida
Bartow, Florida
Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Bonita Springs, Florida
Bradenton, Florida
Bradley, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Clearwater, Florida
Clermont, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Deland, Florida
Deltona, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Homosassa, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Keystone Heights, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Lake City, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Loxahatchee, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida
Miami, Florida
Naples, Florida
New Port Richey, Florida
North Fort Myers, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida (2 reports)
Ormond Beach, Florida
Palm Harbor, Florida
Patrick Afb, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida (2 reports)
Port Charlotte, Florida (2 reports)
Port Orange, Florida
Saint Cloud, Florida (2 reports)
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Sanford, Florida
Sarasota, Florida (3 reports)
Sebastian, Florida
Seminole, Florida
Stuart, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Tampa, Florida (2 reports)
Umatilla, Florida
Venice, Florida
Wauchula, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Yankeetown, Florida
Hinesville, Georgia
Ahuimanu, Hawaii
Ainaloa, Hawaii
Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii
Pesotum, Illinois
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Chauvin, Louisiana
Kenner, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Zachary, Louisiana
Marlborough, Massachusetts
Isle, Minnesota
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Montreal, Missouri
Dunellen, New Jersey
Silver City, New Mexico
Alden, New York
Brooklyn, New York (2 reports)
Clifton Park, New York
Pulaski, New York
Woodhaven, New York
Brevard, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Zanesville, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Newberg, Oregon
Sellersville, Pennsylvania
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Conway, South Carolina
Edisto Island, South Carolina
Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Abilene, Texas
Austin, Texas
Bandera, Texas
Baytown, Texas
Brazoria, Texas
Brownsville, Texas
Bryan, Texas
Carthage, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Elgin, Texas (2 reports)
Fort Worth, Texas
Hempstead, Texas
Houston, Texas (4 reports)
Pearland, Texas
Richmond, Texas
Round Rock, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Chesapeake, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Keyport, Washington
Puyallup, Washington
Liberty, West Virginia
Appleton, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin

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