Ponytail Palm Care

Placement

PRO TIP:

The Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) is native to eastern Mexico. This plant is easy to care for and requires a similar environment to that of a succulent. Place your Ponytail Palm where it will receive ample amount of high light. This plant requires at least a few hours of direct sun every day, so ideally in front of a Southern of Western facing window. If placed in medium light there is a higher risk of root rot and leggy growth. This plant will not tolerate low light conditions.

We also have a guide for how to measure light in your space.

 

Ponytail Palm Plant Close Up

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Routine Maintenance

PRO TIP: Ponytails Palm are susceptible to mealy bug and spider mites. Give your plants foliage a rinse in the sink or shower occasionally to help keep it clean and pest free.

Always be sure to assess your plants watering needs upon receiving it.  Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first.  Ponytail Palms like to dry out completely between waterings. The most common mistake made with these plants is overwatering. The large bulbous base of the trunk stores water, much like a camel's hump. You won’t need to water your plant  more than once every two weeks (at most) during the growing season, and make sure that you are letting the soil thoroughly dry before giving your plant a watering. Ponytail palms are susceptible to root rot, so it’s very important that you do not water the plant if you detect any moisture in the soil. During the winter months, watering frequency should decrease, sometimes to as little as once a month.

Plants purchased in a pot without a drainage hole, have been set up with a built in drainage system. A layer of hydro stones (porous, absorbent material made of recycled glass) has been placed beneath the soil to act as a reservoir and retain any excess water that flows through the soil. You will need to be slightly more cautious not to pour too much water into these containers as there is no way for the water to escape. We suggest pouring small amounts of water in bit by bit, until you have reached the desired moisture level in the soil. We estimate 3 - 6 standard measuring cup, in total, per watering.

For regular upkeep, dust the stalks regularly so the plant can photosynthesize properly. When dusting, take the opportunity to inspect the crevices and keep an eye out for pests. Using fertilizer in the spring through fall will enhance your plants foliage and promote new growth. Rotate your plant periodically to ensure even growth on all sides.

Remember each plant is a unique living thing and may have varying needs, especially in their individual locations. Pay attention to the condition of your Ponytail Palm and its watering needs and you will have a long and happy relationship.

Standard Planter Instructions

There are two types of standard planters offered by Greenery NYC—those with drainage holes, and those without. Within those two categories are an array of sizes and styles to choose from. All these factors play a role in the quantity and frequency of water given to your plant.

Plants purchased in a pot without a drainage hole have been set up with a built in drainage system. A layer of hydro stones (porous, absorbent material made of recycled glass) has been placed beneath the soil to act as a reservoir and retain any excess water that flows through the soil. You will need to be slightly more cautious not to pour too much water into these containers as there is no way for the water to escape. We suggest pouring small amounts of water in bit by bit, until you have reached the desired moisture level in the soil.

For plants with a drainage hole, water until it begins to come out the bottom of the pot and into the catch tray.

Always be sure to assess your plants watering needs upon receiving it. Refer to the routine maintenance section for moisture requirements. Pencil Cacti prefer to NOT be watered directly after transplant, so consider administering the initial watering one week after receiving your plant. We suggest 4 - 6 standard measuring cups of water for the initial watering, but check in with the soil of your plant and how quickly it’s drying out to determine if it requires more or less.

Self Watering Container Instructions

The self-watering planters require a good, solid watering of the topsoil after they are first placed. This is important, because the roots of the plants need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Follow the standard planter instructions for the first four weeks until the reservoir is ready to be tested.

TEST: After four weeks, fill the reservoir until the red indicator reaches the MAX line. If the indicator goes down over the first few days, it means the plant is ready for reservoir servicing. If not, be sure to continue top watering for a few more weeks, until the plant starts drinking from the reservoir.

RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the indicator goes down, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, almost all plants require a drying out period.  Ficus Audrey need to dry out between waterings only slightly, so once the reservoir is empty wait a few days before you refill. Always allow for the reservoir to empty all the way, and after the drying out period, be sure to fill it until the indicator reaches the MAX line.

From here on out, you should NEVER topwater the plant. If you water from the top, it can drown the plant. In the Self Watering Container, the top layer of soil will eventually become extremely dry and hard, and may even pull away from the edges of the pot. This is not a cause for concern, but simply because the plant is drinking directly from its roots in the water reservoir.

Frequently Asked Questions

Help! My Ponytail Palm has brown tips!

  • This is often a result of over or underwatering. Too much water can cause yellow/brown tips. While not enough turns the leaves brown and crispy. Prune the leaves with a clean pair of sheers and adjust watering as needed.

My plant isn’t really growing. Am I doing something wrong?

  • Probably not! These plants are just super slow growers. As long as your plant is looking healthy, there is nothing to worry about.

How can I tell if I’m overwatering my Ponytail palm?

  • The first sign of overwatering is the tips of the palm leaves will turn yellow. If this happens, withhold watering until the soil is dry and don’t water the plant as much. Other signs of overwatering are droopy leaves, and the base of the plant becoming soft and squishy.

How often should I fertilize my plant?

  • In general, house plants will thrive when they are fertilized spring through fall. Fertilize once a month with an organic houseplant fertilizer, following the package instructions for dilution and administration. Greenery NYC uses an organic potting mix with a slow release fertilizer in the soil so your plant will not need fertilizer within the first 6 months of receiving it.

How often does my plant need to be repotted?

  • For smaller desktop plants, we suggest repotting once every 12-18 months. Typically you want to choose a potting vessel 1”- 2” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than the previous as this could drown the plants roots. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Repotting in the spring or summer is ideal.

Additional Care Guides