The Q&A Archives: Ponytail Palm

Question: How do I care for a Ponytail Palm? Also,
known as Beaucamea recurvata? I have it
growing in a pot on my patio; extremely hot
weather and the tag say only to water it occasionally, and once. It likes full sun
and looks good; watered it after three weeks
when some fronds had a slight brown spot, or
tip. I would like to keep it out on the patio
(which has a tented awning) at the sunny end
most of the year if possible.

Answer: Ponytail makes a large and handsome houseplant, doing well even in rooms with air conditioning as long as it has bright light, so it should do well out on your patio. It is hardy outdoors to about 18 degrees. Ponytail palm is often sold as a potted plant for the interesting appearance of its swollen base, which is in fact an adaptation for storing water during times of drought. It is, of course, not a palm, but related to the yuccas and century plants and grows very well in desert climates.

Your ponytail palm is drought tolerant; Water thoroughly, but infrequently. Ponytails grown as houseplants are especially vulnerable to overwatering. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. I'd water every 2-3 weeks in summer, once a month in winter.

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