I get quite a few questions and comments regarding Ponytail Palms. My 2 are doing great and growing like crazy since their recent repotting so here’s an update. My neighbor has one that has multiple heads on the same trunk which I thought might interest you too. And, you’ll find out how to get those if that’s a look you want. So, this post is a bit of “Ponytail Palm potpourri”!
Here’s my other 1 which has put out a lot of growth this spring & summer too. I repotted & top dressed this Ponytail Palm early last year. Since then, it’s grown quite a bit.
They can stay potbound for quite a while and like most plants, they just stop growing. Even though mine were potbound as can be, they still looked fine. My 3-trunked Ponytail Palm was looking healthy and happy but was going nowhere. I know how tough their roots are but really had a hard time getting this 1 out of its pot. You can see how extensive their root system is in this post I did last fall about how to care for & repot a Ponytail Palm.
See how my Ponytail Palms (botanically known as Beaucarnea recurvata) are doing now. Plus, learn how to get those multiple heads:
Some Of Our General Houseplant Guides For Your Reference:
- Guide To Watering Indoor Plants
- Beginner’s Guide To Repotting Plants
- 3 Ways To Successfully Fertilize Indoor Plants
- How to Clean Houseplants
- Winter Houseplant Care Guide
- Plant Humidity: How I Increase Humidity For Houseplants
- Buying Houseplants: 14 Tips For Indoor Gardening Newbies
- 11 Pet-Friendly Houseplants
I’m not going into care tips here because I’ve already covered many of those in previous posts. I do want to tell you that as Ponytails grow, they loose their lower leaves which gives way for their trunks to form. By the way, these plants grow very slowly so expect too much in that department. They take their sweet time, especially when living indoors.
In their natural environs, they can reach 25′ and have quite a lot of trunk. So, don’t be concerned if those lower leaves turn yellow – it’s just part of their natural growth habit. I’ve noticed that mine do that shedding in winter/early spring.
My neighbor planted a few Ponytail Palms in his sidewalk strip. They’re a bit banged up from car doors opening & people jumping out, but overall, they aren’t looking too bad!
1 of them got partially decapitated & the single head was cut off. The result is: 3 heads have appeared.
If you have a reason or the guts to cut the head off a Ponytail Palm, multiple heads should appear. The 1 above got a straight cut which eventually brought on 3 heads but you can also do an angled cut. With that, a head will appear at the top and 1 should appear at the bottom of the cut too. Straight cuts usually bring multiple heads where cut and sometimes a few at the base. Be warned: it can take a few months for any signs of new growth to appear so be patient.
I love my Ponytails because they’re so easy to maintain yet so very interesting. I need (okay, want!) to get a variegated one. I think they’re the cat’s meow!
Here’s the variegated PP – love the jazzy foliage!
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Wendy Moose says
I am new to gardening and I just ADORE your posts. I have a ponytail palm with one trunk and 4 stems. I love it and don’t wanna mess it up but I’d LOVE to make a couple more with the stems if possible. They all have a lot of growth. The tree is about 3 feet and each stem is about 18 inches, all healthy and full of leaves. Can I propagate (I think that’s the right word) and make multiple palms? Or will just having the one trunk be a problem? I tried to attach a picture but it wouldn’t let me. Thanks so much and your plants are beautiful. I’ve learned a lot from you :))
Hi Wendy – I write in order to help beginning gardeners out so I’m glad you found our website. Having 1 trunk will not be a problem. I’ve propagated a Ponytail Palm but removing 1 of the heads & getting some of the roots off the base. I’ve never tried it by rooting 1 of the stems, which sounds like it’s not at the base. You could always try it with 1 & see how it goes. Nell
Russell guida says
I a sixteen-year-old ponytail planted outside in Florida one of the heads is about 30 ft tall the other two are 20 feet toll the base of the bulb at the ground level is 5 foot across the bowl is starting to push over my fence into my neighbor’s Courtyard can I slice off part of the ball without killing the entire plant
Hi Russell – I’ve never done that & I don’t know anyone who has, so I honestly can’t say. I’ve cut off a small piece of the bulb when removing pups at the base but never a good-sized chunk. It seems like it would expose the bulb to mold & infection if you cut off a lot. Nell
I have a potted plant approx. 15 yrs old, is very healthy, but it fell over and it decapitated. It was a single straight up plant. I took a clean cut below the break, didn’t water other than nature. it now has several sprouts coming up from the very top near the cut. I am not opposed to have 2 – 3 new heads, but what do I do with the other sprouts. Can I leave them grow to a certain stage and then remove and try to start another? If I can’t restart sprouts should I just cut them off before they mature further? This plant has been with me through 3 moves, so it means a lot to me to keep it going.
Hi Lucy – I’ve only had experience removing sprouts coming from the base of the mother plant where I could cut it away & get some root with it. I would hazard a guess to say those sprouts taken from the top wouldn’t survive. If you want 2 or 3 heads only, I’d remove those extra sprouts before they get too large. Plus, the plant will look much better! Nell
My pony tail palm has spear like arms growing out the center. It`s out doors in full sun 10 or more years. Should I let them grow? Once was told to cut them off or plant will die. I did. it`s healthy. Thanks.
Nell Foster says
Hi Maryanne – By spears I’m assuming you mean flower spikes. It’s fine to let them flower. Completely cut off the spike once the bloom is spent. Nell
Hello Nell ! Recently I purchased a 3 headed ponytail Palm from Lowe’s. It seemed kind of conjusted growing in a taller , 8 inch diameter pot! So I reported in a wider almost 2 inch bigger pot but shallow with clay pabbels in bottom and organic cactus succulent soil mix for good drainage. Before reporting the soil was sort of dry. After reporting I didn’t even water yet almost a week now. Lots of it’s foliages had brown & yellow tips . Also, some browning at the roots of the leaves only one sided . Mine is in a north east faced few feet’s away from window . So basically, not much sun exposure living in New Jersey ! It is so beautiful that I really don’t want this plant to die on me . Please advise me ? Thanks !
I would love to plant my smaller ponytail palm out doors, but I live in Kansas. How will it do in the winter?
Nell Foster says
Hi Julie – You’ll need to bring it in for the colder months. It can’t go below 25F. Be sure to give it high light indoors & go very easy on the water. Nell