When Should I Repot My Ponytail Palm

When to move ponytail palms is crucial to the transplantation process. Early spring or summer are the ideal times to repot or transplant a ponytail palm. The plant will have plenty of time to grow new roots before the winter chill comes in as a result.

Should ponytail palms be replanted?

Repotting is not frequently required for ponytail palms. They can actually last for many years without needing a bigger pot. Ponytail palms should be kept in small pots if you wish to keep your indoor plants compact and controllable. The size of the plant will grow along with the size of the ponytail palm container. According to the University of Arkansas, large pots will eventually yield large plants with heavy bases that may be difficult to move.

Choose a new clay container that is just a little bit larger than the old one for repotting. The ponytail palm’s trunk and the pot rim should be separated by no more than an inch or two. Put enough fresh potting soil in the bottom of the container so that the plant will be at the same level as it was in its previous location. To help the roots settle, tuck some soil around the sides and give it plenty of water.

What kinds of containers are best for ponytail palms?

Ponytail palms are an eye-catching indoor plant with a long lifespan that benefits from mild neglect. As long as you don’t overwater them, they are quite simple to grow. Here’s information on how to grow and maintain a ponytail palm at home.

About Ponytail Palms

The ponytail palm is not a true palm despite its name and palm-like appearance “palm. Actually, it has more in common with desert plants of the Agave and Yucca genera (such as Joshua trees).

Ponytail palms typically have a big, domed “tapers off into a thinner stem from the stump. As the plant becomes older, one or more rosettes of lengthy, green, leathery leaves emerge from the top of the stem. The leaves can grow up to three feet long indoors, but they may be double that length outside.

The entire plant has been observed to grow up to 30 feet tall in its natural habitat (eastern Mexico). Ponytail palms, on the other hand, rarely grow taller than 10 feet when grown in gardens as landscape plants. They rarely grow taller than 4 feet when kept indoors.

The most frequent challenge in caring for this plant is needing to change your watering routine to meet its watering requirements!

Choosing Soil and a Pot

  • Use a soil that quickly drains, such as cactus and succulent potting soil. You can make your own desert soil mix if you already have potting soil, sand, and perlite on hand: Simply combine 1 part perlite, 1 part sand, and 1 part potting soil.
  • Choose a pot with a hole in the bottom so that any extra water may drain. Ponytail palms do not enjoy spending a lot of time in wet soil.
  • If at all feasible, use a clay pot; the porous material will absorb part of the water, speeding up the soil’s drying process (a good thing for cacti and succulents).

How to Care for Ponytail Palms

  • Place the plant in a bright area as ponytail palms want to get as much light as possible. The optimum light is direct, bright light.
  • Dry out the soil somewhat. Water your garden from spring to fall, waiting until the top inch or two of soil is fully dry before watering again. Only sporadically water in the winter.
  • Water the soil by soaking it, then let the extra water drain into a dish via the pot’s bottom. After letting the pot rest in the dish for a while, drain any residual water.
  • For the summer, move the plant into a room with more light after fertilizing in the spring with a cactus/succulent fertilizer.
  • For the majority of the year, keeping the plant at room temperature is good, but in the winter (50-55F / 10-13C), keep it a little cooler to mimic the natural dormancy cycle.
  • Avoid placing the plant too close to cold windows at night during the winter months since freezing temperatures can cause serious damage.

Repotting a Ponytail Palm

  • Ponytail palms may be kept in a little pot and will stay that size. They don’t usually need to be repotted for many years. A ponytail palm only requires repotting every other year at most.
  • The plant can expand its height and girth by being moved to a larger pot. However, if elder plants are not kept on the smaller scale, they may become difficult to manage because of their sheer bulk and weight.
  • Pick a pot that is big enough to give the ponytail palm’s trunk about an inch or two of room between it and the rim when choosing a new one.
  • Be careful when handling a ponytail palm since the edges of its leaves are minutely serrated.


  • Rarely, a ponytail palm will create an offset, a little young plant that grows from the main plant’s base. When they grow to a minimum height of 4 inches, these can be pruned at the base and put in a succulent potting soil. To encourage the offset to root, use a small amount of rooting hormone (available online and in nurseries) once the cut incision has healed before planting.
  • The plant’s peculiar form and coloring have earned it the odd moniker “elephant’s foot palm.”
  • Stem rot can be caused by overwatering. Withholding watering may allow the plant to address the issue on its own. Yellowing leaves and a soft or squishy caudex (the plant’s base and stem) are indicators of stem rot.
  • Spider mites are present on the leaves, but they can be removed by wiping the stems with a cloth dampened with dish detergent and water. Spider-like webbing on the plant is a sign that there are spider mites present.
  • The appearance of brown tips on leaves may indicate overfertilization or underwatering; therefore, modify your husbandry techniques as necessary. They might also indicate that the plant is receiving too little water and too much direct sunlight.


susceptible to spider mites and mealybugs. If the infestation is not severe, both can be eliminated with a thorough spraying in the shower or sink. Make sure to spray the nodes and the undersides of the leaves.


They do develop extremely slowly, particularly in domestic settings. So get that one if you want a bigger one. However, tall Ponytail Palms aren’t usually simple to come by in the interior marketplace.

My two ponytails spend the entire year outside, and it seems that the more I ignore them, the better off they are doing. Every four weeks, I give them a lot of water as they grow in containers on my patios. In order to keep them as content as possible, I do give them to a worm casting/manure tea blend once in the early spring and once in the late summer. They have a lot of fleshy roots, so I repot them every three years (or so).

You ought to purchase one of these Cousin It lookalike plants. They are entertaining to look at and simple to maintain. The Ponytail Palm is included in our book Keep Your Houseplants Alive, so be sure to check it out. You can locate another plant in the book that is perfect for you and your house if you don’t have enough light for this one.

I simply wanted to share these few images with you from a few years ago when a monarch butterfly hatched from this plant:

The caterpillar climbed up the pot after leaving the butterfly weed in the garden.

It changed into a chrysalis, inside of which you can see a butterfly, and vanished after a day.

What kind of soil is necessary for a ponytail palm?

Only in USDA Zones 10 and 11, where it requires a sandy soil and full sun, can ponytail palm be grown as an outdoor plant.

How Fast Do Ponytail Palms Grow?

Ponytail palms usually don’t grow more than 12 inches a year, and more often than not, it takes a while for a one-foot plant to grow to a two-foot plant.

How Long Can Ponytail Palms Live?

Your ponytail palm will probably live for a number of years, and it can even outlive you because some plants can live for over a century.

Why are the brown tips of my ponytail?

  • Often, over or underwatering causes this. Insufficient water causes the leaves to turn brown and brittle, while too much water can result in brown tips with noticeable yellowing. With a fresh pair of sheers, trim the leaves and then assess the soil to determine the appropriate watering schedule.
  • Most likely not! Simply said, these plants grow extremely slowly. There is nothing to be concerned about as long as your plant appears to be in good health.
  • The first symptom of overwatering is the yellowing of the leaf tips. If this occurs, stop watering the plant until the soil is completely dry and then cut back on the amount of water you give it. Other symptoms of overwatering include drooping leaves and a soft, squishy base to the plant.
  • Fertilizing indoor plants from spring through fall generally results in their thriving. Use an organic houseplant fertilizer once a month, dilution and application instructions on the container. In order to ensure that your plant doesn’t require fertilizer within the first six months of receiving it, Greenery NYC employs an organic potting mix with a slow release fertilizer in the soil.
  • We advise repotting smaller desktop plants every 12 to 18 months. In order to allow for growth, you need often use a potting vessel with a diameter that is 1- 2 bigger. Selecting a pot that is significantly larger than the previous one could drown the plant’s roots. Repot your plant into the same container, add additional soil, and remove some roots and foliage if you’d like to keep it at its current size. Repotting should be done in the spring or summer when the plant is at its healthiest.

In the summer, can I leave my ponytail palm outside?

The good news is that because of their modest growth rate, plants don’t require repotting very frequently.

Yes, they can live somewhere with a climate like the coast of Central or Southern California. In Santa Barbara, I had two growing in the afternoon sun and one in the morning sun. They were both in perfect health.

They appear to be better protected from the heat here in Tucson, Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, especially during the intense afternoon sun. Mine grows in bright light, but not in the direct sun, on the side patio.

Others that are sprouting in the afternoon sun have been spotted here in town. The plants appear dried out, and the leaves are yellow. A lack of water may also be the cause of this. As you can see below, mine appears considerably greener and healthier.

Before I replanted it in its current pot, my 3-trunked Ponytail Palm. The Burro’s Tail Sedums were lovely and vigorous back then!

How Often Should I Water My Ponytail Palm?

Ponytail palms are succulents, as I already stated. The plant stores water in both the trunk and its onion-shaped bulbous base (caudex) (stem). The bulb and trunk will rot away if you water it too frequently. The bulb is delicate on the inside and vulnerable to bacterial root rot despite its robust exterior.

Every three weeks in the summer and every five to six weeks in the winter, I water my Ponytail in a big pot. Although they were in smaller pots in Santa Barbara, I gave mine roughly the same amount of water.

Use the information above as a broad reference, and alter it as necessary. Your ponytail might require less frequent watering. In general, yours will need it more frequently the more light, warmth, and pot size there is.

Less frequent watering is required for larger specimens and those in temperate climates. Take note of the soil mixture it is in—more on that below.

Are Ponytail Palms Cold Hardy?

Not quite They won’t endure a prolonged period of freezing. If temperatures rise, they will be harmed. drop to 20–22F.

There is no need to worry because Santa Barbara’s winter lows rarely fall below 40°F. My well-established Ponytail Palm has not been affected by Tucson’s winter temperatures, which have only dropped to 27F.

Can I Grow my Ponytail Outdoors in Summer?

If your Ponytail Palm grows indoors during the winter, it would prefer to be outdoors during the summer. Just watch out that it doesn’t get too hot or stay too wet. So, if you live in a region with a lot of summer rainfall, you should grow it under cover (but in a bright location).

What Kind of Soil is Best for a Ponytail Palm?

one that is aerated and drains nicely. This reduces the possibility of overwatering and root rot.

I currently make my own succulent and cactus mix, but if you can’t locate one locally or don’t want to build your own, I recommend any of the mixes listed below.

Some online retailers for succulent and cactus mix include Hoffman’s (more affordable if you have a lot of succulents, but you might need to add pumice or perlite), Bonsai Jack (extremely gritty; perfect for those prone to overwatering! ), and Superfly Bonsai (another fast draining 1 like Bonsai Jack which is great for indoor succulents).

A Ponytail Palm can be planted in potting soil (with some pumice or perlite added), but you must be very careful not to overwater it. Keep in mind that the bulbous base is prone to decay. Alternately, you might use a mixture of succulent and cactus soil and potting soil.

More information on the mix I used and how I transplanted my huge Ponytail Palm here in Tucson.

When it was much smaller, my 3-trunked Ponytail Palm. Oh, you’ve developed into such a lovely specimen!

When Should I Repot my Ponytail Palm?

My three-headed Ponytail Palm, which I purchased at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market 11 years ago, has undergone three repotted plants. I won’t repot it again for a very long time, if ever. It is currently growing in a 22 pot.

You might need to repot it into a larger pot at some time to keep everything in scale because the bulb grows as the plant grows. Other justifications for repotting include the difficulty of providing enough oxygen and water to the roots of a plant that is too tightly containerized. And occasionally, the soil simply ages, loses its nutrients, and needs to be refilled.

Do Ponytails Need Pruning?

My Ponytail Palms have never required pruning since they haven’t needed it. As the plant matures, the lowest leaves progressively turn yellow and die off (this happens very slowly). Since they are so simple to remove off the trunk, I don’t prune them.

Can You Cut the Top Off of a Ponytail Palm?

You can divide a Ponytail Palm by cutting off its head and trunk (stem). The bulb will produce new growth in the form of several sprouts if enough of the trunk is left on the bulb. They’ll fall off the bulb if they don’t. On the bulb and trunk, fresh growth can occasionally be seen.

A few Ponytail Palms were planted in my Santa Barbara neighbor’s sidewalk strip. Two of them had their skulls severed and decapitated. The end outcome was the appearance of 3 or 4 sprouts, all of which grew into healthy-sized heads.

Straight cuts frequently result in many sprouts and, occasionally, a couple near the base.

Be advised: new growth may not show any evidence for several months, so be patient.

How Do I Grow Multiple Trunks on a Ponytail Palm?

Because three little plants were put together, My Ponytail has many trunks. You will see several sprouts if you cut off your single head and trunk.

As the sprouts grow, they will eventually develop heads and trunks. Do not anticipate the development of a specimen plant any time soon because this is a very long process. And there will only ever be one bulb in this situation.

How Are Ponytail Palms Propagated?

They are spread by the growers from seeds. Or I could divide my three-headed ponytail palm to grow more of it.

They can also be multiplied by cutting off the pups (babies or sprouts) at the root. I must admit that I haven’t done this very often and lack a lot of experience. Using clean, sharp pruners or a knife, you can either remove the puppies away from the bulb or chop them off.

I made careful to get some roots with the tiny plant when I did the cut. I put it in a four-pot arrangement with a succulent and cactus mix and maintained the soil moist until the roots became more firmly established.

Are Ponytail Palms Safe for Pets?

They are thought to be safe for both dogs and cats. For this information, I always refer to the ASPCA website.

While I can’t speak for dogs, some cats adore chewing on the crunchy leaves. Just be aware that it can make them sick.

Why Are the Tips of my Ponytail Palm Turning Brown?

Ponytail palms respond to dry air by developing brown tips. Here in the desert, mine has a lot more of them than it did in Santa Barbara.

If it affects more than just the tips, it’s probably due to either over fertilization or insufficient watering.

Do I Need to Fertilize my Ponytail?

Every spring, I feed mine with worm compost and compost. I add one layer of worm compost and two layers of compost to a huge pot like mine.

I have never fertilized my ponytail palm. If you decide to fertilize yours, take careful not to overdo it because salts can build up and damage the plant’s roots. On the leaves, this will appear as brown dots or sizable brown tips.

Because your plants need to rest in the late fall and winter, you shouldn’t fertilize them during those seasons.

Do Ponytail Palms Flower?

I’ve observed plenty of these outdoors in bloom. The plants that bloom in the spring or early summer are the older ones. The blossoms are visible here.

This is the way to purchase one if you want a tall Ponytail Palm right away. They grow so slowly, that a specimen like this will set you back quite a bit of money.

Because Ponytail Palms are so simple to care for in containers while still being quite intriguing, I adore them. They thrived on being ignored and handled the dry air like champions. Why not try 1 if you don’t already have 1? You’ll feel the same way!