Ponytail Palm Repotting

Ponytail Palms and lizards go hand in hand – both love sunshine and warm temps. I bought it years ago as a little young’un in a 4″ pot.

To the left you see the second pot my little Ponytail Palm was growing in. I repotted it once more a few of years ago and now it was time for its fourth repotting adventure.

I decided to make it a little fancy pants and top dress it with turquoise rock to go the whole shell theme thang going on.

There’s a seafest on my front patio now!

How to Repot Ponytail Palms

Ponytail Palms are as tough as can be and very easy to repot if they’re not too big.

I have a larger, 3-headed specimen on my office patio and it’s quite heavy. Here are a few pointers if you ever need to repot your Ponytail Palm:

They grow slowly but need a pot large enough to hold its bulbous base.

That bulb stores water so as the plant grows, so does the bulb.  You need to be a muscle man to lift a large, specimen Ponytail. 

They are not palms.

They’re in the Asparagus family but act more like succulents as they are drought tolerant.  They store water in that round base.

Plant them in an organic succulent and cactus mix.

They need to stay on the dry side.  Also, make sure the drainage is excellent.

Ponytails don’t need fertilizer.

I amend at planting time with organic compost and worm castings. Twice a year I water in some manure tea. Read about my worm compost/compost feeding right here.

Never sink the bulbous base lower than its existing soil line.

Leave the root ball up about an inch or so higher than you want it – the weight of the plant will pull it down in the light planting mix.

I leave it dry for about a week & then thoroughly water it in.

I top dressed it a month after repotting it.  I wanted it to settle in before bedecking it with the turquoise rock.  

Repotting A Ponytail Palm

Here’s what the pot looked like before it was whisked off to my craft table for a transformation.

Check back in a couple days because my next post is all about how I painted and decorated it.  The shells on the pot are the same as those used in my wind chimes.  As you will see in the video below, this Ponytail Palm was very root bound and now has room to grow.  I hope the lizards like it!

Top Dressing The Ponytail Palm

Some Of Our General Houseplant Guides For Your Reference:

Repotting A Ponytail Palm & How To Care For It

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  1. Can you send me an email so I don’t have to wait so long for a response? I would like to know if the worm compost stinks? Because I wanted to put some in my palm. And should I put it in now since it’s coming in to fall or wait till spring and I plan on keeping the plant indoors

  2. Hi Renee – No, the worm compost doesn’t smell at all. You want to wait until spring to do the top dressing. And, use a 1/4″ layer at the most because it breaks down much slower indoors. Nell

  3. Oh course Renee, my pleasure. I share my experiences with plants so its always what has worked for me. I have lots of houseplants & plant on getting more – they’re addicting! Nell

  4. Hi Nell. I take care of a ponytail palm for a business I clean for. It is getting too tall. They want it cut back but don’t want to deal with rooting it, etc. I wonder if I can cut some of the leaves out of/ off of the top, instead of cutting the plant down on the trunk? – Renee Fox

  5. I haven’t tried to re-pot my Elephant Foot yet. It is about 43 years old and so root bound in a clay pot that the water just sits on top when I water it. I need to wait for it to percolate down and then water a bit more. I don’t know how I can get it out of the pot – should I break it? Will the roots be stuck to the pot? I’m afraid to run a blade into the pot because there really is no room between the “foot” and the pot. Will appreciate any advice.

  6. Hi Renee – I’ve never done that before. Knowing how the plant grows, I believe it would distort the growth & appearance of the plant. It’s best to cut the head off & let it re-sprout. Nell

  7. Hi Nell! So I know it has been a while since you made this video but I am desperate for some knowledgeable guidance and am hoping you will see this! I got this BEAUTIFUL ponytail palm only a few weeks ago. She is an indoor pony and has been doing great… until the other day when I noticed some of the fronds were yellowing a bit. I had only watered her once lightly at that point – over a week ago – and she had seemed to be doing fine up until this weeks sudden yellowing of 2 fronds. I read that yellowing fronds was probably a sign of overwatering but the soil seemed nice and dry. The roots were a little snug though so I decided maybe it was time to repot to a pot actually her size instead of just one I had lying around like the I had put her when I got her. So I upped the pot size by a few inches (a large terra cotta pot with a nice bug drainage hole) and filled with solid gold brand cactus mix. Checked the roots when moving and they all seemed healthy and white as could be! After repotting I gave her a good heavy soak and let the pot drain completely per what everything online said to do (wish I had see your advice about letting her wait a week first). I then set her in a nice sunny spot. All good right? WRONG. Came home today to significantly more yellow fronds (mainly on one side and all older fronds) and am now in slight panic mode because I LOVE this plant. A LOT. So what do I do to make sure she doesnt die one me?? Should I repot again in dry soil with more perlite without watering her this time?? Let her be?? I have some pebbles covering the dirt to prevent gnats… should I remove them to encourage her to dry out faster?? Am I panicking for nothing!? Any advice would be so immensely appreciated Nell… If I lose this pony I may legitimately cry.

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