Ask a Question forum: Ponytail Palms (Beaucarnea Recurvata)

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Name: Trav
Chicago, Illinois (Zone 5b)
Trav
Jan 31, 2017 2:26 PM CST
I have a ponytail Palm on my desk near a window that gets a lot of sunlight. It's a small plant, however I don't know how old it is. The ponytail leaves are starting to get kind of long. Is there any way I can cut the leaves shorter and like groom them or something (I don't know the technical term)? And I've heard that I should remove the offsets/pups once they grow a bit, so I'll do that. I'm more worried about the length of the leaves. Could I cut some of that stuff off at the top and it would grow back?
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jan 31, 2017 3:13 PM CST
Welcome!

You can give your plant a haircut if you want. It would be an ongoing project. As long as the cut is not too severe, the plant will recover. It'll be hard to coif it better than mother nature, though. The leaves on my plant hung down below the bottom of the pot for years, until the trunk was finally tall enough to lift them above that point. My solution for that situation, plus the plant getting caught up in everything around it, was to actually put it on a pedestal (concrete thing that came with the house), so it can hang down and around that, and fly in the wind without causing a disturbance. That has worked out well. These are not small plants, given enough time and good care.
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 31, 2017 4:29 PM CST
A good rule of thumb for any plant is to never prune off more than 1/3 of the green, growing leaves at one time.

On your ponytail palm, I think you could shorten the long leaves by a few inches each, without much trauma to the plant. If you cut at an acute angle, you'll hardly notice they've been pruned. Just don't cut too much at one time, be careful. The green leaves are nourishing your plant.

As Baja says, the plant is only going to get bigger, though, and the leaves will get longer. It might be better, and certainly better for the plant for you to find a pedestal for it so you can let it grow. Mine is about 12ft. tall, growing out in the garden. The leaves that fall off it are over 3ft. long.
Elaine

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Name: Trav
Chicago, Illinois (Zone 5b)
Trav
Jan 31, 2017 5:01 PM CST
Baja_Costero said: Welcome!

You can give your plant a haircut if you want. It would be an ongoing project. As long as the cut is not too severe, the plant will recover. It'll be hard to coif it better than mother nature, though. The leaves on my plant hung down below the bottom of the pot for years, until the trunk was finally tall enough to lift them above that point. My solution for that situation, plus the plant getting caught up in everything around it, was to actually put it on a pedestal (concrete thing that came with the house), so it can hang down and around that, and fly in the wind without causing a disturbance. That has worked out well. These are not small plants, given enough time and good care.


Thanks for the information Smiling I might try your pedestal trick, sounds like that might work. It is indoors a lot of the time, and I'm not sure if it'll grow too tall in this environment and I don't really want it to be that massive if there's a way for me to control it. Thank You! again!

Name: Trav
Chicago, Illinois (Zone 5b)
Trav
Jan 31, 2017 5:02 PM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:A good rule of thumb for any plant is to never prune off more than 1/3 of the green, growing leaves at one time.

On your ponytail palm, I think you could shorten the long leaves by a few inches each, without much trauma to the plant. If you cut at an acute angle, you'll hardly notice they've been pruned. Just don't cut too much at one time, be careful. The green leaves are nourishing your plant.

As Baja says, the plant is only going to get bigger, though, and the leaves will get longer. It might be better, and certainly better for the plant for you to find a pedestal for it so you can let it grow. Mine is about 12ft. tall, growing out in the garden. The leaves that fall off it are over 3ft. long.


Thanks for the info. Smiling I'll try the pedestal once it starts getting a little longer. Thank You!
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 31, 2017 5:10 PM CST
My ponytail palm gets a few trimmings too at times, and I elevate it as well. Sometimes, I ponytail the leaves literally when winds are too strong here. But yours is indoors so it won't go flying around crazy.

Looks like a funky troll when leaves are tied up Big Grin
Thumb of 2017-01-31/tarev/c8f63a

[Last edited by tarev - Jan 31, 2017 5:10 PM (+)]
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Name: Trav
Chicago, Illinois (Zone 5b)
Trav
Jan 31, 2017 5:29 PM CST
tarev said:My ponytail palm gets a few trimmings too at times, and I elevate it as well. Sometimes, I ponytail the leaves literally when winds are too strong here. But yours is indoors so it won't go flying around crazy.

Looks like a funky troll when leaves are tied up Big Grin
Thumb of 2017-01-31/tarev/c8f63a



Rolling on the floor laughing you do have the literal ponytail look right there. May I ask how you trim it? How much do you tend to trim off? My plant looks around the same size as yours is right now in the picture
[Last edited by Trav - Jan 31, 2017 5:30 PM (+)]
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 31, 2017 5:55 PM CST
Just like trimming split ends..just to remove the browned tips. I like it with long leaves. Smiling

It is due for some trimming soon, but I wait for Spring to do it. Right now, it looks a bit shaggy. Weather has been calm lately, and plant is drying up quite well after our series of rains this January.
Thumb of 2017-02-01/tarev/526d62

[Last edited by tarev - Jan 31, 2017 6:02 PM (+)]
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Name: Sally
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sallyg
Jan 31, 2017 6:49 PM CST
it is a slow growing plant, indoors, where winters are cold and cloudy. I don't think it will outgrow you.
Mine trails, but I'm afraid I wouldn't be happy if I gave it a 'bowl haircut' either. I'm just not worried enough to trim brown ends. Shrug!
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Name: Trav
Chicago, Illinois (Zone 5b)
Trav
Jan 31, 2017 8:34 PM CST
tarev said:Just like trimming split ends..just to remove the browned tips. I like it with long leaves. Smiling

It is due for some trimming soon, but I wait for Spring to do it. Right now, it looks a bit shaggy. Weather has been calm lately, and plant is drying up quite well after our series of rains this January.
Thumb of 2017-02-01/tarev/526d62


Do you think it'd be okay for me to trim it a little more than that? Someone higher up in the thread said never do more than 1/3 of the leaf length. Is that safe for this plant?
Name: Trav
Chicago, Illinois (Zone 5b)
Trav
Jan 31, 2017 8:36 PM CST
sallyg said:it is a slow growing plant, indoors, where winters are cold and cloudy. I don't think it will outgrow you.
Mine trails, but I'm afraid I wouldn't be happy if I gave it a 'bowl haircut' either. I'm just not worried enough to trim brown ends. Shrug!


Yeah it is going to be indoors almost all the time and it's damn cold in Chicago Smiling I see what you mean about the bowl cut too :D thanks for the info
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 31, 2017 8:58 PM CST
Trav, it is up to you, but just remember this plant is quite the slow grower, so I only cut as little as needed. It takes a long time to get new leaf growth. Got to have enough length of leaves for its needs.

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