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Ponytail Palm Lost All Leaves: Causes and Solutions

If you like keeping indoor plants, you may have heard of the Ponytail Palm, a tough plant with a distinctive look. Although it is referred to as a palm, it is really a succulent that is native to Mexico. One of the most alarming problems a Ponytail Palm owner could have is when it completely loses all of its leaves, which can be upsetting to see. In this article, we’ll cover the reasons behind a Ponytail Palm Lost All Leaves, how to revive it, and how to prevent it from happening again.

Why has my ponytail palm lost all its leaves?
Ponytail palm losing all its leaves due to overwatering, excess water on soil, high humidity, underwatering, cold temperature, pest and disease infection can be some of the causes. To fix this , reduce watering, check soil for wetness and protect it for freezing temperatures by winter cloth.

What is a Ponytail Palm?

Beaucarnea recurvata, another name for the Ponytail Palm, is an unusual and intriguing plant. Despite its name, it is a succulent plant that is indigenous to eastern Mexico rather than a palm tree. The plant’s long, flowing leaves, which resemble a ponytail, are what give it its name. It is a much-liked houseplant as well as an aesthetic plant in gardens and parks due to its distinctive look.

Typically, the Ponytail Palm has a broad, dome-shaped base that tapers into a narrower stem. A remarkable visual effect is produced by the long, thin leaves, which extend from the stem’s top and fall downward. With a sluggish growth rate of less than one foot per year, the plant may reach heights of six to eight feet and widths of three to five feet.

Ponytail palms are quite simple to take care of, which is one of the reasons they are so well-liked as indoor plants. It thrives on sandy, well-draining soil with a neutral pH between 6.5 and 7.5 and is drought-tolerant. The plant needs strong light as well, however direct sunlight should be avoided. In order to enable the soil to dry out between watering sessions, irrigation should be sparing.

The ponytail palm has various useful applications in addition to being aesthetically attractive. The plant is well renowned for its ability to filter the air by eliminating pollutants including formaldehyde and xylene. Additionally, its base has been used as a source of fabric for textiles and ropes in its native Mexico for ages.

Why Do Ponytail Palm Lost All Leaves?

Losing all of its leaves might be worrying, but your ponytail palm isn’t always doomed. Here are some of the reasons why your plant might be losing its leaves:


Too much watering might cause your ponytail palm’s leaves to drop off and have discolored tips. Even though these plants can withstand severe drought, they may still be submerged. One of the most frequent causes of leaf loss is overwatering, which may also result in root rot and other problems.


The leaves of your ponytail palm may also start to turn brown and finally fall off if you don’t give it enough water. Although the plant can go for extended periods without water, it still has to be watered often.

Poor Drainage

Waterlogging and root rot may result from poorly draining soil in your ponytail palm’s container. Make sure the soil is light and airy and that the container has drainage holes.

Cold Temperatures

Native to Mexico, ponytail palms are adapted to dry, hot climates. Your plant may experience cold damage if it is exposed to cold conditions, which might result in leaf loss. Make sure the room temperature is above 50°F and keep your plant away from drafts and chilly windows.

Low Humidity

Ponytail palms enjoy arid environments, but if the air is too dry, the leaves may wilt and become brown. By spraying your plant often or using a humidifier, you may raise the humidity level in the area surrounding it.


Ponytail palms are prone to pests like mealybugs and spider mites, just like any other kind of plant. These pests have the ability to harm the plant’s leaves and make them drop off.

Ponytail Palm Lost All Leaves
H. Zell, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How to Revive a Ponytail Palm Leaf Lost

Despite its robustness, ponytail palms can encounter problems like lost leaves or yellowing. Don’t worry if you see that your ponytail palm is having trouble! Here are some steps to revive it.

Diagnose the Problem

Finding the issue is the first step in fixing your ponytail palm. Ponytail palms may lose their leaves for a variety of causes, including overwatering, underwatering, inadequate drainage, chilly weather, low humidity, and pests, as was previously mentioned. Check your plant for any damage, pests, or disease symptoms. Make sure the soil is not excessively dry or damp by checking the moisture content.

Cut Off Dead Leaves

Once the issue has been located, remove any dead or damaged leaves. The plant will be able to concentrate its energy on new growth as a result, which will also enhance its look. Make a clean cut as near to the leaf’s base as you can using a pair of clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears.

Water Appropriately

Ponytail palms can endure for extended periods of time without water since they are drought-tolerant plants. This does not imply that they should be wholly disregarded, however. When the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch, water a ponytail palm deeply. Be careful not to overwater, since this may lead to root damage. Give your plant plenty of water, and then allow any extra water run off.

Increase Humidity

Due to their original desert habitat, ponytail palms favor arid conditions. However, they might use a bit more humidity, particularly in the winter when the air is more likely to be dry. By periodically spraying your plant, putting a humidifier nearby, or placing it among other plants, you may raise the humidity levels.

Repot Your Plant

Following the aforementioned advice, if your ponytail palm is still having trouble, it could be time to repot it. The earth may get compacted over time, which might obstruct air flow and water drainage. Repot your plant in a little bigger container with new potting soil. Use a potting mix that drains effectively and check to see that the new pot has enough drainage holes.

How to Prevent Your Ponytail Palm from Losing Its Leaves

To avoid ponytail palm leaf loss, allow soil to dry out between waterings. Overwatering causes root and stem rot, fatal to plant. Water slowly and deeply if leaves are dehydrated. Transition to full sun gradually to avoid stress.

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent your ponytail palm from losing its leaves:

Water Appropriately

Ponytail palm leaf loss is often caused by both overwatering and underwatering. Allowing the soil to dry out between waterings will ensure that your plant is receiving the proper amount of water. Make careful to completely moisten the soil when you water, but avoid letting the plant stand in water.

Provide Enough Light

Ponytail palms like direct, strong light, so be sure to situate your plant where it will get plenty of it. However, keep it away from direct sunshine, which might burn the leaves and make them fall.

Maintain Proper Humidity Levels

Ponytail palms can withstand low humidity levels and are suited to desert environments. However, you may need to raise the humidity levels surrounding your plant if the air in your house is very dry. To do this, put a humidifier nearby, spray water on the foliage, or put a tray of water next to the plant.

Ensure Good Drainage

Poor drainage may result in waterlogging of the soil, which can cause root rot and leaf loss. Ensure that the soil you use is well-draining and that your plant is planted in a container with drainage holes.

Use Appropriate Fertilizer

Ponytail palms don’t need to be fertilized often, but a tiny quantity of fertilizer may assist to encourage healthy development and stop leaf wilting. Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer made specifically for succulents as directed by the manufacturer.

FAQ About Ponytail Palm Lost All Leaves

Can a ponytail palm recover from losing all its leaves?

Yes, a ponytail palm may recover from losing all of its leaves with the right care, which includes identifying the issue, removing dead leaves, providing the right amount of water, raising the humidity, and repotting if required.

Why is my ponytail palm losing its leaves?

Ponytail palms may lose their leaves for a number of reasons, including insect infestations, cold weather, low humidity, inadequate drainage, and overwatering and underwatering.

How often should I water my ponytail palm?

Ponytail palms can withstand drought conditions and should only be irrigated when the ground is absolutely dry. This usually entails watering every two to three weeks.

How do I increase the humidity around my ponytail palm?

By routinely spraying your ponytail palm, putting a humidifier nearby, or arranging it in a group with other plants, you may raise the humidity level in the area surrounding it.

What kind of fertilizer should I use for my ponytail palm?

A balanced fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-10-10 is preferred by ponytail palms. For the duration of the growth season, fertilize once every three months.

Do ponytail palm leaves grow back?

Yes, ponytail palm leaves will eventually grow back if they have been broken off or damaged. The plant has broad, swelling roots that support long, thin leaves that resemble ponytails, and it is also known as the elephant’s foot palm. Ponytail palm leaves may get broken off for a number of causes, including environmental stress, insect infestations, and unintentional injury.

Do not be concerned if you accidently tear off one or two leaves from your ponytail palm; the plant will ultimately grow new leaves in their place. Similar to how a mature plant’s branch would divide and continue to develop if the ponytail comes off of it. Ponytail palms, however, develop extremely slowly, so you must be patient and let the plant organically replace the damaged leaves.

It’s crucial to remember that you shouldn’t remove more than 20% of the leaves off your plant at once. The stress of having too many leaves removed at once may prevent the plant from replacing them all at once. It is thus better to simply remove the damaged or dead leaves and let the plant to gradually regenerate the remaining leaves.

You may take actions to encourage healthy development and avert further harm in addition to enabling the plant to replace the damaged leaves. For instance, make sure the ponytail palm receives enough sunshine, water it often without drowning it, and plant it in well-draining soil. To encourage healthy development and remove any damaged or dead leaves, you may also trim the plant periodically.

How long does it take a ponytail palm to grow new leaves?

Ponytail palm development is substantially slower when planted inside as a houseplant; you may anticipate just 2-4 inches of growth each year. A 1-foot-tall plant can need five years or more to double in growth.

Ponytail palms are low maintenance and need little maintenance. They don’t need regular watering and can live in poor light. These plants can withstand prolonged droughts because of the water they store in their bulb-like trunk. Therefore, over watering might result in root rot, which can cause the plant to die.

Ponytail palms don’t need to be pruned, therefore it’s better to stay away from it until absolutely required. Because of its sluggish growth, the plant might take years to recover after being cut back. However, cutting the yellow or dead leaves might urge the plant to focus its energy on new development if you wish to boost growth.

It is simple to multiply your ponytail palm if you want to. At the base of the plant, “pups” or new growth will appear. These pups may be removed from the parent plant and potted in drained soil.

Should you remove dead leaves from ponytail palm?

It’s crucial to remove dead leaves from your ponytail palm plant in order to preserve the beauty and health of the plant. Dead leaves may invite pests and disease in addition to altering the plant’s look.

It’s crucial to get rid of the dead and damaged leaves if your ponytail palm was pushed over and many of the leaves are broken or damaged. This enables the plant to concentrate its energy on new development while also helping to avoid additional harm.

To prevent injuring the healthy leaves, use clean, sharp scissors or yard snips when cutting your ponytail palm. Cut off the dead leaves in the direction of their growth, following the natural curve of the leaf. It’s vital to avoid trimming the healthy leaves too much since this might stress the plant.

Ponytail palms normally don’t need much trimming, but periodically removing the plant’s diseased, dead, or rotting leaves might help it grow again. To encourage new development, pruning is best done during the growing season.

Related Issues

Ponytail palm crown rot

Crown rot is one issue that the ponytail palm may run into. Overwatering is the root cause of crown rot, a fungal disease that attacks the plant’s base close to the soil line.

Overwatering causes the soil to become saturated, which prevents the roots from absorbing the extra moisture. As a result, the roots become oxygen-deprived and wet, which makes them decay. Crown rot results from the plant’s inability to transfer nutrients and water from the roots to the crown.

Brown and wet leaves at the base of the plant, a soft and mushy trunk, and an unpleasant odor are signs of crown rot. The plant might perish if untreated.

It’s crucial to water the plant appropriately to avoid crown rot. Since the ponytail palm can withstand drought, it is preferable to submerge it as opposed to overwater it. Between waterings, the soil should be given time to dry out, and the plant should only get occasional, thorough waterings. Additionally, using soil that drains effectively and avoiding overhead irrigation are advised.

To stop the illness from spreading, it’s critical to take fast action if your ponytail palm has crown rot. Using clean, precise scissors, remove any harmed leaves or stems, being care to sanitize the blades in between cuts. Repotting the plant with new, well-draining soil can be essential if the whole plant is impacted.

Ponytail palm crown collapse

One of the cause of Ponytail Palm dying is due to crown collapse.

Winters that are severe and very cold temperatures might cause this. On chilly nights, if left to nature, the leaves may freeze and suffer damage, eventually causing the crown to fall.

Pests including mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites may also harm ponytail palm. These pests may weaken the plant and cause it to die if they are not removed. Regular plant inspections and the application of the proper pesticides are advised in order to prevent and treat infestations.

A Ponytail Palm’s demise may also be caused by insufficient sunshine, poor soil drainage, and ineffective fertilizer. It’s crucial to give the plant enough sunshine, drainage-friendly soil, and fertilizer only while it’s actively growing.

It’s critical to respond right away if you see any symptoms of trouble in your Ponytail Palm, such as yellowing or withering leaves. Reducing watering, increasing sunshine, repotting in well-draining soil, or applying the right pesticides are possible remedies, depending on the root of the problem.

What does a dead ponytail palm look like

A dead ponytail palm may look like having brown, shriveled leaves that droop down and are easily detached from the trunk. The trunk will also seem hollow and dry. The top of the plant may sometimes seem dead, and the most common culprit is overwatering, which causes root and stem rot, which is seen when the base feels mushy and the leaves start to turn yellow.

A dead ponytail palm is difficult to revive. It is ideal to keep your ponytail palm from dying in the first place by giving it the necessary care, including the right soil, watering, and lighting. It’s time to start again with a new ponytail palm if your current one has already died. Pruning away any dead leaves, making sure the soil has sufficient drainage, and putting it in a bright, warm area away from direct sunlight are all things you may do to try to resuscitate it if you think it might not be completely dead.

Can you cut a ponytail palm and replant?

Yes, you can cut a ponytail palm and replant it. In actuality, this is a typical way to spread the plant. It’s crucial to wait until the puppies are around 4 inches long before propagating a ponytail palm. This is so that they have a root foundation and are more likely to survive transplanted at this stage.

You’ll need a clean, sharp paring knife or a sharp hori hori to propagate a ponytail palm. Additionally, gloves are advised since you’ll be using a sharp knife and ponytail palms contain leaves with serrations. Using a clean, sharp knife can help prevent the plant from being harmed when you cut the pup away from the parent plant. After removing the pup, put the remaining plant in a fresh container with potting soil based on sand.

Cuttings may also be rooted in water and soil to multiply a ponytail palm. Cut a stem with several healthy leaves and put it in a glass of water to accomplish this. you keep the water fresh, be sure you replace it every few days. You may place the cutting into the ground after the roots are approximately one inch long.

While ponytail palms may be grown from cuttings, it’s crucial to remember that chopping off the plant’s top is not advised. This is because the plant may suffer harm and eventually perish if the top is removed. Wait for the puppies to mature before spreading them.


I hope you get the answer on “Ponytail Palm Lost All Leaves”. Ponytail palms need little care, although they may still lose leaves if they are overwatered, underwatered, have poor drainage, are exposed to cold temperatures, have low humidity levels, or are infested with pests. A dying ponytail palm may be revived and kept from losing its leaves in the future with the right care.

Diagnose the issue, remove any dead leaves, provide the plant with the proper amount of water, raise the humidity level, and repot the plant if required in order to revive a ponytail palm. You should supply enough light, maintain optimal humidity levels, guarantee sufficient drainage, and apply the right fertilizer in order to reduce leaf loss.

Your ponytail palm may flourish and produce new leaves with the correct care, bringing a splash of green to your house or yard.

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