Ponytail Palm Care
Beaucarnea recurvata are commonly called ponytail palm because of its spunky hairdo. They are also Jessica's (owner of Green Lady Gardens) favorite plant because they are easy to care for and ridiculous to look. She smiles every time she sees one. Jessica has no less than 8 ponytails her house (one is nearly 7' tall!) and isn't opposed to adding more.
Even thought the ponytail palm is native to Mexican deserts, it tolerates low light quite well. Jessica has a lot of low light in her house yet ponytail are everywhere. Those in the lowest light get watered about 3 - 4 times a year. It's all in the soil, pot, and watering. This slideshow will help you figure it out.
Ponytail make Jessica laugh because of how silly looking and unique they are. Each one grows just a little differently than the next. The leaves might stand straight up from the top like Beaker from the Muppets or they might bush and clump like the plant has bedhead. Some ponytail have straight leaves while others have super tight and curly leaves. Some plants have skinny trunks, some are stout, some have a single stem, and some have offshoots. Ponytail are unique in ways that many plants are not and that makes them special. :-)
How can you not smile each time you see one of these silly plants!?
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Medium indirect - direct is ideal. Online info that ponytail burn in direct sun is ridiculous as they are trees native to Mexican deserts. May burn if quickly moved outside into direct sun but this can be avoided by gradually increasing exposure. Tolerates low light but growth will be non-existent as ponytail are already very slow growers. (See soil & watering for more tips.)
Allow to dry 100%. Weight is a good way to determine water needs. Ponytail are very drought tolerant. They store water in their trunk. In low light, you might water 1x every 2-3 months. Brown leaf tips = underwatering. Yellow leaves, squishy trunk = overwatering. In very bright and hot conditions ensure pot has drainage so you can water infrequently but thoroughly. When in doubt, do not water.
65℉ - 80℉ is ideal. Higher temps are fine but water needs will increase. Ponytail can technically tolerate temps down to the teens but how low and for how long depends on plant age, size, sun exposure, and if it's planted in the ground or in a pot. Your ponytail is likely young, small, and in a pot. Play it safe and avoid temps under 45℉.
Soil & Repotting
Use a well-draining medium. In low light or if soil is not drying well, repot with cactus/succulent soil or add perlite to existing soil. Keep slightly rootbound. A pot with drainage is ideal to water infrequently but thoroughly. Rarely needs repotting.
Not something you need to think about as they are native to the Mexican desert.
Lower/older leaves die off with age and are easily pulled off. Wear gloves as dry ponytail leaves are sharp and may cut or leave splinters.