The Q&A Archives: Bottle Palms

Question: I have a bottle palm (Beaucainea recurvata) growing in a large pot. The palm was accidentally decapitated last year. It took some months for the crown to set out two new heads. But, in addition to the new growth on top, it is also sending out numerous new plants at the base. Since I have not seen any bottle palms with shoots at the bottom (on the base of the plant), I am wondering if I should remove them?

If I do remove the new growth at the base, can I start these as new plants?

Thank you for any tips.
Linda Mumbauer

Answer: Bottle Palm is also called Ponytail Palm. It is known botanically as Beaucainea recurvata or Nolina recurvata. (Silly botanists, can't make up their minds!) The plant usually has only one stem until it reaches 3 feet tall, except if the main stem is damaged. The plant is propagated through seeds or suckers. I suspect the shoots you're finding are actually suckers from the roots because the main stem was damaged. I think I'd allow them to mature a bit and then carefully separate them, taking some roots with each new shoot. Give them 2-3 months to develop sturdy root systems before separating them from the parent rootmass. Instead of a single plant, you'll have several.
Best wishes with your new plants!

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by cocoajuno and is called "Here's looking at you."