Beaucarnea recurvata Lem.
Ponytail Palm, Pony Tail Palm, Pony Tail, Bottle Ponytail, Bottle Palm, Elephant's Foot, Elephant's Foot Tree
Dasylirion recurvatum, Nolina recurvata, Pincenectia recurvata
Beaucarnea recurvata is a dioecious succulent tree with a trunk with a swollen base and leaves that form clumps at the ends of the branches and droop down. It is often seen as a houseplant, but it can reach up to 30 feet (9 m) tall outdoors.
Once the plant matures, it produces flowers in late spring or summer. The small cream-colored flowers are held in pyramidal, up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall inflorescence at the branch tips. They are sometimes followed by reddish-winged fruit.
USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 45 °F (+7.2 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Ponytail Palm is winter hardy to USDA plant hardiness zone 9, where it is best grown in sandy soils with sharp drainage in full sun.
It is a very popular houseplant in more temperate climates. Houseplants should be placed in a sunny window. Plants like bright, warm, dry conditions and overwinter well with furnace heat. Houseplants are best grown in relatively small pots with excellent drainage. Plants may be moved outdoors after the last spring frost date, gradually adjusting to full sun locations and cooler temperatures. Fading leaves may be peeled off. Brown leaf tips may be clipped off.
Outdoors in summer, plants should be given regular water but allowed to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering for plants brought indoors for winter.
Ponytail palms should never be top-trimmed and will respond wonderfully to a consistent feeding program in the growing season. Keep in mind, though, that it is an extremely slow-growing plant, so don't expect your desktop plant to transform into a corner specimen in 1 or 2 growing seasons.
Repot in the spring as needed. If you want to grow a large Ponytail Palm, repot every year. If you want to keep it smaller, repot every other year. Ponytail Palm will thrive when slightly underpotted.
The propagation of this plant is usually by seeds. The process is long and likely to prove tedious for the average gardener. Ponytail Palm sometimes has offsets from the base that can be potted up individually. Generally, however, this is difficult to master because of a lack of roots on the offsets. If you want to try, use a rooting hormone to stimulate new root growth.
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