Beaucarnea recurvata

ponytail palm
Ponytail palm. Bulbous caudex (trunk) topped with thin branches and grassy leaves. Great in containers, too. Quite slow in fog belt.
Beaucarnea recurvataBeaucarnea recurvataBeaucarnea recurvataBeaucarnea recurvata
height 12–20ft
width 6–10ft
tolerates Drought
Water this plant infrequently, when the top two inches or so of soil feel dry. Usually this will mean every week or two in dry weather. If you establish this pattern over several years, then you can cut back to watering every four to six weeks in dry weather. Use a slow stream of water so that it doesn’t run off; allow the water to trickle all the way down through the deepest layers of soil. This plant will look more lush if given water every two to four weeks during dry weather once established. In a pot slowly water the entire surface until water comes out of the bottom of your pot.

If the crown of leaves gets smaller, and smaller, and smaller... you are probably under watering.
exposure Full Shade – Full Sun
drainage In Ground: Cactus Mix, In Pots: Cactus Mix, Tolerates Sandy Soil
fertilizing All Purpose, Low Needs
origin E Mexico
13, 16–24

Sunset Zones Map

Outdoor Exposure Guide


Full Sun
Six or more hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Shade
Three to five hours of sun beams directly landing on the plant's leaves.

Part Sun
One to two hours of sun beams directly landing on the plants leaves.

Full Shade
The plant is never fully lit by sun beams, but is in a bright spot or has dappled sunbeams playing over the leaves throughout the day.

Deep Shade
The plant never has dappled light on the leaves, and is in a place that feels dim, even on a nice sunny day.


Growing Notes

When old lower leaves get tippy they can be tugged off to expose a smooth trunk.
If the branches of this plant are cut back hard it’s about 50:50 wether or not they will regrow or not. When they do it’s with many new heads. This is a way that growers get those fat, low, bushy specimens.
If planted on a tilt the trunk will grow upright, creating a bend in it.

Special Interest

This plant is not an actual palm, but the common name comes from its similar (is it really?) appearance.

Each plant is male or female, with males having a reddish pink flower and females having a creamy white flower. Flowers are exceedingly rare in cooler climates, but do occasion pop off when a heat spell comes through.

We have heard this is one of the trees growing where Dr. Seuss grew up, surely inspiring his whimsical plant characters.