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Ponytail Palm Care Indoor

Ponytail Palm Care Indoor

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Ponytail Palm Care Indoor Guide (Beaucarnea recurvata)

This Ponytail Palm Care – indoor plant guide is designed to help you and your plant grow old together, by explaining the likes and dislikes of this intriguing  plant.

A plant that looks like a tree – Ponytail Palm – is so unique looking and is a native of eastern Mexico. This plant can grow up to 30 feet in height but if you plan to place them indoors, they’ll be unlikely to grow past 4 feet.

If you’re considering adding it as an indoor plant, one of the reasons that may help sway your decision is that ponytail palms tend to live longer than other varieties. The plant reserves water in its lower trunk and is a slow grower.

Like the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree, when you add the Ponytail Palm to your houseplant collection, be sure of exactly where you place it, because once it grows to 4 feet, it becomes extremely heavy.  This may cause you some trouble if you change your mind about its location afterwards.

One of the most common mistakes people make when growing this plant is overwatering. I would definitely recommend you be careful with its watering requirements, especially when the weather gets colder.

It’ll require you to do a bit of cleaning, as the leaves of a ponytail palm gather dust very easily. So, by midwinter, you should clean it using a damp cloth.

I mentioned earlier about its long lifespan which can actually extend beyond 30 years, a fact which definitely makes it a practical choice for your indoor plant family.

Ponytail Palm Care Indoors


Since the plant originates from Mexico, it’s used to getting plenty of sunlight. Make sure you are providing it with bright light. In winter, they’ll be okay with less light, but you need to make sure that it gets plenty of light from spring to fall. 


The plant should ideally be kept in moderate temperatures ranging from 18 to 24C (65 to 75 F) throughout the year.

Water and Humidity

The plant thrives in low humidity; therefore you need to be careful about watering it. Ponytail palms store water in their trunks which means they can be prone to over watering.

Check if the soil’s top 2 inches (5cm) are dry before watering it and in winter you should reduce your watering even more. Don’t let the soil dry out beyond the top 2 inch level. Keep the lower soil moist not wet. Using a soil moisture meter can be a good idea. 


I recommend using any soil which drains well after it has been watered. A good example of such a soil would be a cactus potting soil mix.

Ponytail Palm Care Fertilizer

The plant only requires feeding in spring, summer and fall with a balanced fertilizer. In winter, don’t bother feeding it at all.


Repotting should be a yearly routine. It also depends on the growth of the plant as well. Once the trunk grows by 2 inches outside the pot, change the container to accommodate the plant.


I would recommend propagation in the summer months. For this process, seeds can be used. You can also make use of offsets located at the base of the plant. If your plant is old, cut off its top and propagate that.


The plant has several varieties and species. Some are accepted and others are still being debated. However one of the widely accepted species is Beaucarnea that grows flowers when grown outdoors. This flowering characteristic of the plant has led some experts to classify it as Nolina.

Other Tips

Keep the plant in one position and don’t plan to move it around. The Ponytail Palm works pretty well with other smaller houseplants with similar needs.


Problem: Leaves turning yellow

Cause: This is not unusual, especially on the lower leaves. If this is occurring all over the plant, the cause is usually under or over watering.

Solution: Cut off the yellow leaves and adjust your watering regime as recommended above.

Problem: Leaf tips turning brown.

Cause: It’s not unusual for indoor Ponytail Palms to have a few leaves with brown tips. However, excessive browning may be due to incorrect watering, either too little or too much.

Solution: When the plant is kept indoors, the light is usually lower than it would be naturally used to. This causes an inability for moisture to move around its system, causing the leaves to turn brown. When this happens, get your scissors and prune off the discolored leaves and water at required levels, particularly from spring to fall.

Overwatering should be avoided at all costs and if the soil becomes dehydrated, it should be watered slowly and gradually.

Problem: Stem is rotting at the base and bark is peeling off

Cause: Overwatering

Solution: Unfortunately, rot is caused by bacteria and fungi, making it difficult for the plant to survive if it has spread too far. If you notice such rotting, don’t attempt to water the plant.

If possible, move the plant to a warmer spot and away from any drafts.

The Ponytail Palm can seal off the infection if it hasn’t spread too much, and continue to grow. Don’t let the soil dry out completely, otherwise you may kill it with kindness!

Problem: The leaves are pale in color with tiny dots and have a web on its underside.

Cause: Spider mites

Solution: If the plant is too heavy to move, in order to isolate it, you’ll have to remove other plants from its vicinity, so that the spider mites don’t spread.

Other than that, use soapy water and wipe the leaves with it to get rid of the insects. Since dust settles quickly on the leaves, your best bet is to periodically clean the plant so it doesn’t get infested.

I do hope this article has helped you with Ponytail Palm care indoor.

Like to see more indoor palms? 

Checkout these easy to care for beauties;

Foxtail Palm: indoor-foxtail-palm- care

Chinese Fan Palm: chinese-fan-palm-care

Areca Palm: areca-palm-care

Sago Palm:  sago-palm-care

Parlor Palm: parlor-palm-care

Broadleaf Lady Palm: broadleaf-lady-palm-care

Ponytail Palm: ponytail-palm-care-indoor

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How to care for a ponytail palm

Christine Mattner

What started out as purely a desire to keep my indoor plants alive has turned into a full-blown passion for sharing what I have learned over the years about selecting, growing and caring for indoor plants with those who may be new to the wonderful world of houseplants.

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