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Klbrock2288
Dec 6, 2016 9:52 PM CST
I have a pony tail plam. I need to repot it. Can i use regular dirt with out killing it.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Dec 7, 2016 1:11 AM CST
Welcome!

First, why do you think your ponytail palm needs repotting? If there is 1/2 - 1 inch of space all the way around the trunk, your current pot is fine. They do best when root bound.

Do you feel it needs new soil? Use a soil that drains quickly and does not hold water. Something formulated for cactus with extra grit will work. Ponytail palms are native to the Sonoran desert - they can go months without water.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Dec 7, 2016 6:57 AM CST
Klbrock2288 said:I have a pony tail plam. I need to repot it. Can i use regular dirt with out killing it.


Welcome! By regular dirt I assume you mean soil from the garden? In that case the answer is no, it doesn't work well in pots which is why we have potting mixes.

Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 7, 2016 10:36 AM CST
Regular potting soil should be fine. Ideally a fast draining mix. The kind of mix you use will affect how often you need to water, so adjust your schedule accordingly.

The plant is not from the Sonoran Desert, it is a native of tropical deciduous forests. It will do a lot better with more than 0.5-1 inch of space around the trunk... try twice that much for starters. Though the plant may tolerate extremely confined spaces, that does not mean it likes them. Smiling

Welcome!
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 7, 2016 10:38 AM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Dec 7, 2016 3:56 PM CST
Okay, not Sonoran desert. Just Mexican deserts in general. They can handle quite a bit of water when in the ground and in full sun, but this one is in a pot in a house. I'm sticking with my suggestions.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 7, 2016 5:10 PM CST
The rainfall in Veracruz (one of three states home to this plant) is 69 inches. Not desert at all, actually.
Name: Sue
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sooby
Dec 7, 2016 5:13 PM CST
It comes from semi-desert areas according to this article on the plant from Missouri Botanical Garden:

http://www.missouribotanicalga...
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Dec 7, 2016 5:43 PM CST
It is living in a pot in a house. Overwatering is the best way to kill these plants. Big pots just add to the problem.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Dec 7, 2016 6:48 PM CST
I can vouch for the fact that they don't need to be watered very often... I have one that I got at least 30 years ago as a very small plant. It was so small -- and I didn't really have any idea what it would grow into -- that I was considering planting it in a bottle terrarium, LOL! It's now about 4 feet tall and definitely survives on neglect (as do all of my houseplants... if they don't, they don't last long around here, I'm afraid).
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 7, 2016 6:58 PM CST
I'm not arguing with the water needs... the plant obviously does well with very little. But if you look at how they do in the ground in say Florida or Hawaii compared to Southern California, you can see evidence of how they enjoy water. This is not a dry growing plant compared to many succulents and certainly most agaves. It is not a hard core desert plant. It does fine when you grow it dry, but it does better when it gets regular water.

For what it's worth, being in Mexico, it's a bit of a stretch to refer to "Mexican deserts in general"... as if there is such a thing. Is there? Smiling Certainly not as a plant habitat. Altitude, rainfall season, etc... these things make each desert in Mexico quite different in terms of which plants live there.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 7, 2016 8:17 PM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Dec 7, 2016 8:33 PM CST
Baja_Costero said:I'm not arguing with the water needs... the plant obviously does well with very little. But if you look at how they do in the ground in say Florida or Hawaii compared to Southern California, you can see evidence of how they enjoy water. This is not a dry growing plant compared to many succulents and certainly most agaves. It is not a hard core desert plant. It does fine when you grow it dry, but it does better when it gets regular water.

For what it's worth, being in Mexico, it's a bit of a stretch to refer to "Mexican deserts in general"... as if there is such a thing. Is there? Smiling Certainly not as a plant habitat. Altitude, rainfall season, etc... these things make each desert in Mexico quite different in terms of which plants live there.


Baja, I didn't mean to imply that you were arguing about the water needs, sorry if it sounded that way!

I'm not sure I would want mine to do better, though; somehow I doubt that DH will let me cut a hole in the roof for the plant... Smiling
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 7, 2016 11:16 PM CST
I was trying to reach an understanding with Daisy. The origin of the plant matters. I am sorry if my post came across the wrong way.
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Dec 8, 2016 8:26 AM CST
I've had a couple of Pony Tail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) for about 10 years now. My plants are in containers, extremely root bound and in need of repotting. They survive with lack of regular watering but they do not thrive or look as nice as they would if they had better care and were watered regularly. I've seen some huge, beautiful Pony Tail trees planted in the ground here in Florida and they are really beautiful, probably because they get watered regularly from an irrigation system.
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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Dec 8, 2016 8:41 AM CST
I have several Pony Tail Palms, including an old, very large specimen. My yard is very dry, but they all thrive...
Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Dec 8, 2016 9:00 AM CST
adding my anecdotal experience- I took over a PP from my MIL. It was potted from the store for heaven knows how long, years, with glued rocks on top. Pic 2 is the plant before my repotting. It doesn't look 'that bad', but you can see cruddy crust around the bottom, and the nice fatter part of the trunk is buried. I had been 'watering' it weekly for some months, likely that just ran around some cracks and right through. And that was in an apartment with feeble windowsill light and dealt with cold windowsill in winter and hot blasts from heater. I had to break the rocks and pot to get it out. Bone dry roots filled the old pot, and the base of the plant was hollowed out, with roots coming from the 'rim.' (Maybe that is how the roots normally grow? I expected them from a solid base all over.) I potted, probably pruned the roots too, to let me get potting mix under and between the roots. For the summer, it sat in morning sun, and I watered almost daily (small pot, gritty mix) and it loved it.

Long story short- incredibly tolerant of dry conditions. Having read from Geoff Stein about this plant, I gave it plenty of water, in gritty mix, during hot weather while it was growing well. Now it's indoors, I will watch carefully.

Thumb of 2016-12-08/sallyg/9eae53


Thumb of 2016-12-08/sallyg/a8c26b

Thumb of 2016-12-09/sallyg/7fd524
Just added a third photo of it, with trunk raised a good 1.5 inches from before. Same diameter pot as before, Lots more leaves. For the sake of the discussion.

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[Last edited by sallyg - Dec 9, 2016 10:41 AM (+)]
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Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 8, 2016 10:11 AM CST
Dutchlady1 said:My yard is very dry, but they all thrive...


Other than the 53 inches of rain in Naples? Where's the wink emoji? Smiling We get 10". It's funny for me to hear about irrigation systems in Florida, but I guess it's all relative.
Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Dec 8, 2016 10:12 AM CST
Baja_Costero said:

Other than the 53 inches of rain in Naples? Where's the wink emoji? Smiling We get 10". It's funny for me to hear about irrigation systems in Florida, but I guess it's all relative.

We are wet in the summer months and bone dry in the winter. I do not irrigate at all.

Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Dec 8, 2016 10:22 AM CST
Your "bone dry" winter (about 5 inches according to historical averages) is almost as wet as ours, and winter is our rainy season. Your concept of "very dry" and "bone dry" are quite different from mine. I understand these things are relative. I would use "bone dry" to describe the zero rainfall we experience each and every summer.

This relates to the watering of an indoor plant... my recommendation for watering an indoor ponytail palm would be to treat it as an average succulent and grow it Florida dry, if you will, rather than withholding water for any extended period.

My reference to irrigation had to do with Lin's comments.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 8, 2016 3:41 PM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Dec 9, 2016 12:07 AM CST
I had a Ponytail Palm for 40 years. When I moved to Reno, it went to live with my daughter.

Anyway, mine spent summers outside and winters in my greenhouse. I watered it maybe 6 times a year. It was extremely rootbound but looked great.

I was using palmbob as my source (along with personal experience):

http://davesgarden.com/guides/...

Baja, I will agree to disagree with you but still don't think they are native to the forest. Smiling

When I got mine, they were becoming endangered in the wild. I saw photos of them being hacked with machetes, slung on burrows and hauled out of the desert to be sold across the border. My attitude was that we should stop this kind of butchery but my mother had a different approach. She bought a couple of these black market babies (and gave one to me). Her thought was they were already 'harvested' so we should save them. Me arguing that they would not be taken out of the desert if no one bought them fell on deaf ears.

In 40 years, its probably tripled in width and my care has undoubtedly stunted its growth. But, as someone pointed out, do you really want them in a pot and 20 feet tall?

On the other hand, how fast do they (or any plant that naturally occurs in a less than ideal circumstance) grow in their native habitat? By taking any plant out of that sort of environment and giving it better care, better soil, more water and fertilizer once in a while, they will grow bigger faster. The only limiting factor at that point is genetics.


Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Bromeliad
Hummingbirder Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator
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Baja_Costero
Dec 9, 2016 12:21 AM CST
DaisyI said:Baja, I will agree to disagree with you but still don't think they are native to the forest. Smiling


Take it up with Mary & Gary Irish, whose Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants is still the definitive book on the subject. I am only quoting them. "B.recurvata naturally is distributed in the tropical, deciduous forests of the Mexican states of San Luis Potosi, Veracruz, and Tamaulipas."

Fortunately seed is so abundant at this point that these plants are being mass produced in quantity and are generally dirt cheap as very young seedlings. I think that makes a difference for conservation.
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Dec 9, 2016 12:28 AM (+)]
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