Houseplants forum→Ponytail palm help

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May 23, 2020 8:54 AM CST
Hi everyone!

So I have a ponytail palm which was doing quite wel until recently. Since a couple of weeks the leaves have turned a very dark purple/brownish and became soft and brittle. They started to hang down and snap in some places. Some of the older leaves are yellowing as well.

I thought it might have gotten too much water, so I have stopped watering it (was only watering it once a week when it was dry, now haven't watered for at least two weeks). The pot looks closed but it has drainage holes in them.

I also tried giving it more direct sunlight. Unfortunately nothing helped.

Do you have any idea what's going on?

Thumb of 2020-05-23/Missym/21d007
Thumb of 2020-05-23/Missym/af3bf3

[Last edited by Missym - May 23, 2020 8:55 AM (+)]
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Name: John
Pomona/Riverside CA (Zone 9a)
May 23, 2020 5:49 PM CST
Your palm looks okay to me.

When you say the new leaves are soft, does that mean they are mushy or just extra flexible? Are they crispy and dry? Does the trunk have any soft, mushy spots?

If nothing is mushy or crispy dry then it should be o.k. Sometimes the leaves get a little purplish when they get extra light or cool.

Your watering sounds good based on pot size and plant size ratio. As always more light is better.

Happy plant parenting!
“That which is, is.That which happens, happens.” Douglas Adams

May 25, 2020 12:38 PM CST
Your plant has no dry ends, which is an awesome sign. Watering a pony tail palm once a week, sounds like a lot. Still, you could have been correct to water that often if the soil is very fast draining. What soil is it in. If you did not add perlite or pumice to the soil, once a week watering would probably be more than the plant wants. In winter, I water mine about every two months. What is the pot made of. Terra cotta or something that allows air in as terra cotta does will dry faster, ceramic or plastic will take quite a bit longer to dry out. If your soil was dry almost all the way down to the bottom of the pot, before you watered then your watering was good. If not, I believe you have watered too much.
Feel all around the trunk of the plant for any area that is not as firm as it should be. These plants rot easily with too much water, and they rot within the trunk, slowly, so it is difficult to know what is happening. If you feel a slight spot that is not complete mush, I believe you may be able to stop it from progressing. I would hope for the best, in your shoes; but I would be very certain that the soil is dry down to 50 or 75 percent of the soil mass. These plants are easiest in very very bright sun, direct sun during summer may be a bit much. I would acclimate it to that much light if I wanted to try to grow it that warm. If your plant deteriorates more, please post again. There are other things you can do tho they are extreme. It does look good so far, so I would be optimistic.

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