Ponytail Palm

Ponytail Palm

Ponytail Palm in Downtown Orlando

Common Names Ponytail Palm, Elephant Foot Palm, Bottle Palm
Scientific Name Beaucarnea recurvata
Hardiness Zones 9-12
Mature Height 6-8 feet around house
Growth Rate Very Slow
Water Needs Infrequent deep watering ideal, drought tolerant
Cold Tolerance Mature plants down to 18 degrees
Light Needs Full Sun

The Ponytail Palm is a fascinating, tall, palm-like plant that turns out not to be a true palm, but in fact is closely related to the Century Plant. The decorative Ponytail is native to the dry, desert areas of Mexico and the southern United States. It will grow for anybody and is almost un-killable, but you’ll need to protect it from frost in cooler zones. The slow-growing, evergreen tree that grows up to about 30′ tall has an upright, fleshy, trunk-like stem that may reach 10′ in diameter, becoming swollen at the base, where it stores water. The trunk thins upward, topped with clusters of long, curved, sword-shaped leaves that hang down—giving an impression of a pony’s tail.

Ponytails, growing outdoors, like full sun, good drainage and fertile soil in a warm spot. When mature, it shows off panicles of fragrant cream-colored flowers that are pollinated by bats. Indoors, Ponytail palms thrive in hot full sun and require average to poor soil with good drainage. They make an excellent houseplant and do well in containers. In an ideal environment, this plant is well suited to standing alone, integrated with mixed borders or being a handsome specimen plant.

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