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Ponytail palm Care – Propagation, Problems, brown tips , Pruning

Ponytail palm Care : Ponytail as a name suggests a hairstyle and it kind of looks like a pony because of its multiple leaves making a pony like structure. This palm is very popular among gardeners and also it is a great houseplant. It has a bulb like truck with a straight stem having long green leaves. 

The scientific name of ponytail is Beaucarnea recurvata and it is easy to care for , but very slow growing. This plant likes water every week or so and can tolerate light for days.

Ponytail palm Care - Propagation, Problems, brown tips , Pruning

This one is Native to Mexico and it was used as an ornamental plant. It is a member of the Asparagaceae Family. It became very popular in Europe for its green exposure to landscapes.

Ponytail palm Care

  • Ponytail palm likes to grow in medium dry soil and does not want Soggy soil. The growing season is spring to fall and gives water every 1-2 week but makes sure the soil is dried fully on 1-2 inch.
  • They Prefer Bright light So Make sure to put them in a location where it gets a good amount of indirect sunlight, that is best for them.
  • These palm Trees can tolerate and grow in normal room temperature. Place them in a less cooler area with the 51-55 °F temperature in winters as they might be in sleep or dormant period.
  • Fertilizer is needed in spring to give them proper nutrients, I have used cactus and succulent soil mix and it works fine. If you are Growing them indoors, use a room where it gets bright light in summers. Also don’t forgot to use perlite in soil for better drainage.
  • For pest infestation which can be caused by 2 most famous pests mealybugs and spider mites please use Bonide Pests Soap , It is used get rid of these type of pests.  One spreads white power on plant leaves and other makes spiders.
  • Winter can be an issue for this palm so remember don’t put them near a window where it can receive Cold winds. It can damage the plant and its growth for months.
  • You Should have proper drainage holes so water can go out. As you know Excess water causes root rot issues. If you ever make a mistake of soaking soil , wait for water to dry and if not, then take water out using a glass or something.
  • Change the Pot if you see 80% of the soil surface filled with the Stems. It is important so this palm doesn’t face root-bound issues. It is easy to Repot and with that you can do propagation.
  • When Reporting use a pot with 1 to 2 inch bigger size than the previous pot. This can make the roots of ponytail palm set on the soil properly.
  • This palm can grow indoors in a south facing window and 3-5 hours of direct sunlight can fulfill its everyday needs. 

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Ponytail palm Propagation

Ponytail palm trees have baby shoots which we can easily take out from its caudex. Many of you heard this word for the first time, let me explain it is actually the circular base root that balances the whole palm. The baby palm or offshoots can be seen popping out from this base root and it will come around the whole root or you may also find them growing just above the base root or even in the trunk. 

here are the steps on ponytail palm propagation:

1 . First and Most important thing is to Sterilize the cutting tool.

To Actually cut the baby palm you need a cutting tool or knife that must be sterilized first. These palms can easily get fungal or bacterial infection.

2 . Take out the offshoots or baby palm.

Now remove the offshoot using the cutting tool and make sure don’t cut its growing small base caudex , remove it just with caudex. NOTE: offshoot must be 4-6 inch grown.

3 . Use fungicide power to cover the area where to take out the baby palm.

As you know fungus can affect the trunk or base root if the wounds are not filled with antifungal powder or spray. I am using Captain fungicide which is working fine for my ponytail palm.

4 . Prepare a pot with well drained soil.

You can use any soil with 20% perlite and mix it well.

5 . Place the baby Palm in a new pot.

Now put your offshoot or baby palm in the pot you just prepared.

6 . Protect the existing Ponytail palm.

Protect your palm in rainy days , your palm has new wounds(from where you take out baby palm) should not be wet as this may generate new fungus infection because fungicide power may be washed off.

7 . Water the new baby palm.

Now time to water it and make sure that the pot should have sufficient holes so water should not trap. Keep the soil drain most of the time as root can only generate in drain soil . Remember don’t wet too much of the soil.

8 . It will take time for roots to come.

This may take some time for roots to come and Check the below problem section where i have talked about problems of ponytail palm.

This below video may help you understand much more easily , I know it is not in English but it is well explained you may understand it well.


How to prune ponytail palm

Ponytail palm pruning is generally don’t require because the leaves can easily be pulled off from and it didn’t hurt the palm. These leaves will turn yellow first then brown and after then fade off , that time you can easily take them out.

Some people who want to prune because it was diseased or getting yellow or brown tips , that time you can prune if it was because of drought or soil issue.

What you need is a good sterilized cutting tool or shears that must be clean enough so it doesn’t spread any bacteria. You can do pruning anytime in the year and the best time would be in the growing season from spring to fall.



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For pruning find the damaged , diseased , pale leaves. You may also find some yellow brown or wilted leaves that need trimming. Just trim them normally and your ponytail palm will feel healthy and new growth will appear soon.

Ponytail palm problems 

Spider Mites are pests that can eat the cells on the plant leaves making the white spots on different portions and it will not stop until this bug eats all your plants.

Mealybugs is a pest(bug) that can easily be identify if you ever see white power appearing on leaves, this bug can absorb all the juice from plant leaves making it fade or droop or sometimes turns yellow.

Overwatering happens when it is only getting water on a regular basis but not proper sunlight to dry it. please make sure it gets proper light and limit watering and give it according to how many days it takes to dry out the soil.

Underwatering can be an issue and eventually you will find your plant turning yellow and then brown leap after that it will start to droop.

To solve pests & bugs issues , use Bonide Pesticide which worked for me as I am using it for many years now.


Ponytail palm toxic to humans According to ASPCA , Ponytail is not toxic to dogs , cats or horses and humans also. This plant is safe and can be grown in lawns, gardens, any landscapes without any worry. They are drought resistant.

and can tolerate temperature above 45 °F.


Ponytail palm brown tips This can be an issue with overuse of fertilizer more than the regular ratio, giving fertilizer not in the growing season but in winters. The second reason includes over watering issues that can be solved by reducing the watering session.

Always check the soil before watering if it is dried. Lastly check if it is getting more sunlight than it generally requires.


How to grow multiple trunks on a ponytail palm Multiple baby trucks can sprout if the main stem is cut from the top, It will take time to regrow and wait for the end of winters and then it will grow.

Use candle wax to seal the cut area first as this may get virus or bacterial infection so to prevent it from happening use a pruning sealer or candle wax. These same things used in many plants when they were cut from a part which may get infected by diseases.







Ponytail palm top broke off If your palm tree is broken off totally from the top , now what is left is half trunk and base caudex. Now use candle wax to cover the wound first and for the base use cactus and succulent mix in the root section.

New roots or baby palms will grow. You just need to wait for a few months as this growth is a long process and you will see a full ponytail palm in 1-1.5 years.


Ponytail palm leaves too long Actually this is normal , leaves of the ponytail palm in some cases grow too long. This is a sign of good care and it has nothing to do with any issue. I have seen many people ask this question but it looks pretty and healthy and these are no problem. If you want to see less longer leaves just reduce the fertilizer.


Ponytail palm lost all leaves

This may be the case of over watering or you have put your ponytail palm in a colder place and they can’t handle that much cold temperature for long. If that is the case then you may have seen all your palm lost leaves. You can solve this by putting them in warmer places or in sunlight , giving them water every 3 days.

Also See:

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Amelia Clark

I have over 10 years experience in gardening and here I try to answer every question about plants and how you as a beginner gardener can able to solve various problems. Also If you would like to check our Designed Plant T-Shirts. Please do so.

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