How To Care For A PonyTail Palm


The “Ponytail Palm tree” is really not a palm at all. It is a member of the Lilaceae (lily family), and is known by several names.

It has earned the name “elephant’s foot” because of its bulbous base. Because of its base and thin trunk have some people call it a bottle palm.

Native to the desert of Mexico it is somewhat of a curious landscaping plant outdoors on the patio or indoors.

A sturdy plant can be used as a single specimen usually in containers 14 inches or larger, or planted in several 6- to 10-inch pots to appear more bushlike.

Single specimens, range in height from 6 to 18 feet tall.

What makes the “Pony tail plant” unique is its large base and head of pendulous, smooth-edged flat leaves, There are NO TWO specimens alike.

Look Native For Pony Tail Care – Watering and Lighting

Ponytail’s are native to the dry Mexican climate, this habitat allows it to survive interior winter heat very well.

However, the ponytail plant does not like too frequent waterings.

Never allow water to sit in the bottom of the saucer or pot. An interesting fact is that Nolina recurvata stores its water in its base.

A sandy-mix soil generally minimize the probability of root rot, especially compared to the peaty mixes normally used in most tropicals.

Specifically, allow the soil to dry out well between waterings, and if you have any doubt on whether or not to water the plant, skip it until the next week.


Dry, brown foliage, a shriveled stem or desiccated roots are usually signs of underwatering.

If you are overwatering, we normally see light new growth, stem rot or root rot will appear.

Light requirements for ponytails are pretty easy to remember if you think of where it is native to – the Mexico desert landscape.

Provide bright indirect light to full sun.

Any window space indoors particularly one facing north will suit the light requirements of this high-light plant. For optimum performance, however, full sun is best.

Pony Tail Insect Free

Generally, the ponytail is insect free, but on occasion does attract mealybugs, spider mites and scale.

Nolina recurvata – the “Ponytail Palm” is a plant to enjoy.

You just provide plenty of light and water it less frequently than you think necessary, and this plant will add a unique beauty wherever your use it.

Ponytail Palms for an Interesting Garden

Most plants are grown for their flowers. Some are loved because of their foliage.

But the ponytail is popular for its desirable trunk, in addition to its foliage. The Ponytail Palm is treasured by many people primarily because of its bottle-shaped trunk.

Generally, the Ponytail Palm plant has a flat and fleshy bottle-shaped trunk topped with strappy green leaves.

But, actually, the plant has almost no trunk at all when it is still young.

At this stage, the trunk looks like enlarged onion bulb with ribbon-like leaves emerging at its top curling downward.


As the plant matures, the trunk becomes thicker and its base gets swollen until it looks more like a bottle or an elephant’s foot.

The plant can have several branches towards the top when it grows a few years more.

When grown outdoors, Ponytail Palms can reach a height of up to 16 feet or more.

Ponytail palms produce flower stalks, consist of clusters of small beige blossoms, when grown outdoors.

Image: source

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