All about the Beaucarnea
Known for its unique appearance, the Beaucarnea recurvata plant, also known as Ponytail Palm, is an indoor tree. It is quite easy to take care of. And what's interesting about this plant is that it isn't a palm tree, even though it looks like one. It actually is a succulent.
It grows very slowly and does not grow too long either. The majestic long leaves growing out of its trunk almost give it a fountain or ponytail-like look. This plant is ideal for those seeking to beautify their space with minimum effort.
Let's start with our beginner's guide on how to care for the Beaucarnea plant. Following all the instructions in this care guide will help increase the life of your plant.
Some of the popular names for the Beaucarnea recurvata are:
- Ponytail Palm
- Elephant's foot
- Bottle Palm
The name Elephant's foot has been given to this houseplant because of how similar the bottom of this plant looks to an elephant's foot.
Different types of the Beaucarnea
There are also other species of Beaucarnea.
- Beaucarnea gracilis (has very thin leaves)
- Beaucarnea guatemalensis (has broad leaves)
- Beaucarnea stricta (has hard or stiff leaves)
- Beaucarnea goldmanii (has scanty leaves)
Origin of the Beaucarnea
The Beaucarnea recurvata is native to Southeastern Mexico. The fact that it originates from Mexico's dry areas is why this plant can hold water.
It belongs to the Asparagaceae family. This house plant does not grow any flowers when planted indoors, but outside, it may grow flowers. Also, the Beaucarnea recurvata does not grow too tall when planted indoors than when planted outdoors.
How to take care of the Beaucarnea
The Beaucarnea recurvata may not die when placed in shade, but you still have to provide the plant with adequate bright sunlight for it to blossom. Avoid placing this plant in direct sunlight as that can cause damage to its leaves. Also, bear in mind that suddenly shifting the Beaucarnea or Ponytail Palm from bright sunlight to shade can cause the leaves to start burning.
Just don't overwater it as it can cause the plant to rot and provide it with sufficient sunlight. Make sure to use water that is room temperature as water that is too cold can damage the Beaucarnea.
What makes this plant drought-friendly is that the stem of it stores water. This is why the Beaucarnea can still survive if left unwatered for a while, making this plant very easy to take care of.
Because it does not need too much water, it is considered quite low maintenance. During the summertime, the Beaucarnea recurvata or Ponytail Palm should be watered once every month. However, it does not need to be watered in the winter. The broad base of this plant stores water. Once you have watered the plant, the soil should be allowed to dry thoroughly before watering it again.
Humidity: Choose an area with enough humidity and is not too drying to the plant as this can cause the leaves to start browning. So make sure not to place them near a vent, or this can ruin your plant. Moreover, the Beaucarnea recurvata thrives in cramped places, so don't select too much space to plant it.
Temperature: the Beaucarnea is generally an easy-going plant as low temperatures may not negatively affect it too much. It can, however, slow down the growth of the plant.
This plant will do well in temperatures above 15°C, but temperatures lower than this are unlikely to cause any damage.
General tips: Another important thing is to choose a location for your plant where its leaves can dangle and are not restricted. Placing furniture, etc., too close to this plant can cause the leaves to change color.
Use well-drained soil. A succulent mix will be a good option for soil. When it comes to fertilizer, these plants are not at all demanding. You can use any standard fertilizer to feed them. Feeding them once a month during the spring and summertime is sufficient. They do not need to be fed during the wintertime.
Repot the plant once every 2-3 years. Use a new pot every time to repot, and the size should be only slightly bigger than the previous pot for a tight fit. The roots of the Ponytail Palm need to be pruned as well as the discolored or browning leaves.
The Ponytail Palm is excellent as an indoor plant, not just because of its lush and magnificent leaves but also because it has air purifying properties.
It filters out the air of any harmful components and also prevents dust while helping us breathe better and decreasing stress.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Beaucarnea recurvata is non-toxic and completely safe for house pets like dogs, cats, and horses.
Propagating the Ponytail palm
There is no easy way to propagate a Ponytail palm. You will have to do it through its own offset. An offset is a complete daughter plant. It grows naturally and asexually on the mother plant.
The problem is that you can remove an offset too quickly from the parent plant, which is not an ideal situation for Ponytail Palm propagation.
It is a difficult task but still doable.
- Look for a grown offset.
- Remove it with a sterilized knife.
- It should be 4 inches tall.
- Replant it with the cactus mix.
- Mist every few days.