Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Pony Tail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata or B. guatemalensis) question

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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
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beckygardener
Feb 8, 2014 5:37 PM CST
Has anyone here on this forum grown this plant in the ground in your yard?

I have 3 and want to just grow them in the ground. I am wondering if they would survive in zone 9b FL? How large is their root system? I don't know whether to plant them near the house or away from my house. Near the septic or away from the septic drain field? How big can the caudex get?

I am also wondering if I have B. recurvata or B. guatermalensis? Does anyone know how to tell the difference?

Thanks for any help you can provide.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Feb 8, 2014 5:47 PM CST
Have you looked at pics out there?
https://www.google.com/search?q=beaucarnea+recurvata+tree&so...

I think this is my fav pic:
http://www.growsonyou.com/photo/slideshow/116651-beaucarnea-...

Those should help you place it regarding appearance, but I have no idea what's going on under the ground with these.

There's a teeny-tiny one in a raised planter on my front porch that has survived temps in the teens under a sheet. The first time was a few weeks ago, and it's happened a couple times. Both times it was below freezing for about 48 hours. No sign of any damage yet.

What do you get where you are? A very occasional, very light frost?
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ‘’โ˜€๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒฝ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒฒ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Feb 8, 2014 6:12 PM CST
Tiffany - Thanks for the links! I believe my 3 Ponytail Palms are Beaucarnea recurvata because the leaves are solid green. B. guatemalensis seems to have reddish leaves as they emerge from the trunk.

I have a feeling they have a pretty massive root system as the little ones I have surprised me. One of the pots broke and I pulled the plant out and could see all the roots. Impressive for a succulent.

I am reading that they could get quite large. 6' diameter caudex and as high as 50'. Yikes! Much bigger than I was thinking. Maybe I need to keep mine in pots?

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Feb 9, 2014 4:27 AM CST
They are very slow growing and in my experience the root system is not very big or invasive. I would give it a try.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
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beckygardener
Feb 9, 2014 9:20 PM CST
Thanks, Hetty.

My neighbor planted hers in the ground and it looks like she is going to have to dig up because it is growing bigger and faster than she thought it would. I have read that it stays smaller in a pot, whereas in the ground they can get big.

I think I will plant one in the ground and keep the other two in pots. I do love this plant!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Feb 10, 2014 9:36 AM CST
Becky: I think you should definitely give it a try in-ground! You are quite a ways south of me in Sebastian so I'm sure they will do fine there as I've even seen a few large ones here in Daytona Beach that have survived our occasional cold winters. I have two B. recurvata that I've talked about planting out for a few years now which I still haven't done ... maybe this spring I'll get around to it. Here's the database link for Pony Tail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Michael Hamilton
Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 9b)
Region: Texas Hibiscus Plumerias Cactus and Succulents
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Blondmyk
Oct 6, 2014 10:31 AM CST
I live in Corpus Christi, TX--Zone 9b and I see them all over the place down here. If you can control the water by amending your soil to make it faster draining where you are planting it, I think it would absolutely THRIVE in your Florida environment! It's a really beautiful tree when it gets over 5 ft tall. No two of them seem to be the same, either. Give it a shot and let us know how it goes!
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Oct 7, 2014 1:25 PM CST
My little tree is still alive and well in its' always-outside planter...

What did you ever decide, Becky?
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ‘’โ˜€๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒฝ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒฒ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Oct 7, 2014 6:07 PM CST
Well, I haven't done anything yet. Main reason is I am not sure where in my yard to plant it. I know that they do in fact do quite well in the ground here. I have seen some in other folk's yards in my community and they do look great. Mine isn't even in a pot now. It has been sitting on my screened porch all summer and now into Fall with bare roots exposed. Not in direct sunlight. Crazy!!! Most plants would have died by now. Not this species! LOL! If I don't figure out where to plant it soon, I will just pot it up again before winter (colder weather hits) to protect the roots. And then try to figure out where to plant it next Spring. Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
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Plantomaniac08
Oct 7, 2014 6:45 PM CST
Sorry Becky as I'm not contributing to your question, but I wanted to tell you that I love your quote! Lovey dubby

Planto
Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Oct 7, 2014 8:48 PM CST
Planto - Thank You!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
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purpleinopp
Oct 9, 2014 7:44 AM CST
I think this has happened to every outdoor gardener at some point. The potted plant that has vague plans to go in the ground, but sometimes never does, or takes forever (sometimes years) to make a decision. It definitely happens.
๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚ - SMILE! -โ˜บ๐Ÿ˜Žโ˜ปโ˜ฎ๐Ÿ‘ŒโœŒโˆžโ˜ฏ๐Ÿฃ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿพ
๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ‘’โ˜€๐Ÿ„๐Ÿ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒด๐ŸŽ„๐Ÿ‘ฃ๐ŸŒต๐ŸŒทโš˜๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒฝ๐Ÿก๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒฟ๐Ÿโฆโง ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚๐ŸŒพ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒฒ
โ˜•๐Ÿ‘“ The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Oct 9, 2014 6:54 PM CST
Ponytail palm is such a slow grower..I have one in a container..hardly any discernible increase in size, just really big hard fat trunk and this Fall I do notice it is making some more new leaves..finally! Something to show it is truly alive Hilarious! Big Grin
Name: Elfrieda
Indian Harbour Beach, Florida (Zone 10a)
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orchidgal
Oct 10, 2014 1:13 PM CST
Becky - have you ever been to Rock City Gardens, on US 1. I believe it is just south of Sebastian. I could be wrong and it could be just north. It's been a while since I visited the nursery - which I really like as they have a lot of unusual plants. Anyway, they have a massive pony tail in the ground. I don't have a picture of it, but I'll try to remember to do so next time I visit. I have never seen such a huge specimen.
โ€œI was just sittinโ€™ here enjoyinโ€™ the company. Plants got a lot to say, if you take the time to listenโ€
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Name: Becky
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Butterflies Seed Starter Container Gardener
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Birds Ponds
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beckygardener
Oct 11, 2014 5:35 PM CST
Elfie - Yes! I used to live up in Melbourne. I am way south of Rockledge. About 50 miles south. I used to frequent RCN when I lived in Brevard County. I don't remember the Ponytail Palm though. Maybe it was small the last time I visited which was probably about 10-12 years ago. I can't even remember it's been so long ago. At the time, they had a screened-in Butterfly area with many nectar and host plants and lots of butterfly species inside the enclosure. That's what I remember. I bought some of my first hummingbird plants from them for my home in Sebastian. The Cape Honeysuckle are the only survivors after all these years. And they are indeed a hummer attraction!

I would love to see a photo of the Ponytail Palm they have there. I really like the idea, my problem is WHERE to plant it. My backyard is pretty much filled in with garden beds and trees. So no room there. I have to be careful in my front yard because of my septic drain field. Maybe along one side of my house. Though I have trees on both sides. So .... that is my dilemma. I think it would be neat to grow one in the ground and let it get big. I know I would like it much larger and in the ground!
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.
Garden Rooms and Becky's Budget Garden

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