Ponytail Palm

Beaucarnea recurvata

From my research on the Ponytail Palm, I found that the it is not a palm at all. They are closely related to Yuccas and thrive under the same conditions. Plants have dark green, grass-like leaves that are 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide by 6 foot (2 m) long. They have swollen bases for water storage and can store water up to 1 year. Plants in nature will reach about 30 feet (10 m) in height with a base about 12 feet (4 m) across. In containers, they will only reach about 8 foot (2.5 m) in height. They make an excellent houseplant if they are not over-watered. There are other common names you may be familiar with, ponytail palm, bottle palm, nolina, elephant-foot tree.

I have three of these plants in my yard, the ponytail palm you see to the left I rescued from the dumpster when I was working at a K-marts garden department some 18 years ago. I kept it in pots for long time until I planted it my water garden area a few years ago. It has since grown an additional three feet and is loving it’s permanent home. I have always been fond of these plants because they require little maintenance and always look healty.

The ponytail palm to the right is one that was here when I bought my house, last spring it sprouted good size flowers out of the tops of each of the branches. They were very pretty cream colored blossoms that lasted about a week. They reminded me of the flowers that get from my Yucca plant. The leaves will die and fall off by themselves but you can easily pull them instead off trimming them. My favorite ponytail palm is the one I have in my front yard. It has six trunks coming out of a three foot diameter stump. Since I have owned this home it has started a new trunk. I don’t know if you buy your ponytail palm with multiple trees started or they just grow that way. I have not seen this at the nurseries like I do with palm trees. I have seen other ponytails with this configuration so I assuming this is a common practice with growers.

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