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Ponytail Palm

How to care for a Ponytail Palm

If you're a pet owner, you know how difficult it can be to find a houseplant that's completely safe to keep around your furry friends. Luckily there are many great plants that are pets safe and also look great! The Ponytail Palm is an unusual looking tree that can grow quite large if you give it the space and time. It's a fantastic plant for those of us who forget to water their plants every once in a while: The Ponytail Palm thrives when it's forgotten about for weeks.

Not only is the Ponytail Palm a great plant to have around the house, it's also very flexible. For example, it's one of the popular houseplants that you can also use for Bonsai experiments. The Ponytail palm is a very sturdy plant that can survive a fall and is completely safe for cats and dogs.

In this plant care guide, we're going to look at how to take care of your Ponytail Palm. These are the topics we're going to look at:

  1. Watering your Ponytail Palm
  2. Sunlight for your Ponytail Palm
  3. The perfect soil for your Ponytail Palm
  4. Fertilizing your Ponytail Palm
  5. Is your Ponytail Palm toxic for pets?

Let's get started and find out why you might want to get this beautiful pet friendly houseplant as your next purchase!

Watering your Ponytail Palm

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Watering a Ponytail Palm

Watering your plant properly is one of the most important things to get right. Luckily, the Ponytail Palm is a very easy plant to water well: You shouldn't water it very often. Before you water your Ponytail Palm, it's important to check if the soil is dry. Too much water will kill this plant quite quickly, so if you notice that the soil is dry, you can water your plant. The Ponytail Palm thrives in dry environments and on average shouldn't be watered more than once every 14 days. It's a great plant for those of us who forget to water their plants!

Watering your Ponytail Palm in the winter

In the winter, when your Ponytail Palm is dormant, you won't have to water your houseplant as often as you did in the spring and summer. During this dormancy period (fall and winter), you will only have to water your plant once per month on average. Before you water your plant, make sure the soil has dried out.

Brown tips on a Ponytail Palm

If you notice brown tips on your Ponytail Palm, it's a sign of either under or overwatering your plant. If you've watered your Ponytail Palm in the past 14 days, you might have overwatered it. But if you haven't watered your Palm in the past few weeks, you should give it a thorough watering.

You can cut off the brown tips from the Ponytail Palm, because pests are attracted to dead foliage. Cutting off the brown tips off the Ponytail Palm doesn't harm the plant. Just make sure you only cut into the brown parts of the leaf and not into the green parts.

Sunlight for your Ponytail Palm

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You've already discovered how to water your Ponytail Palm correctly, so let's get to the ideal sunlight exposure. The Ponytail Palm grows naturally in Mexico, so it's used to a lot of bright sunlight.

The best type of sunlight you can give your Ponytail Palm is bright indirect sunlight. You can put it in the brightest spot in your house, as long as it doesn't get direct sunlight all day long. A few hours of direct sunlight in the morning or evening is fine, but it doesn't like to be exposed to the harsher afternoon sun.

Sunlight exposure for your Ponytail Palm in the winter

In the winter, the sun isn't as strong and lower in the sky during the day. You can move your Ponytail Palm closer to a window where it will still get enough bright sunlight. During the winter, direct sunlight is fine, because the strength of the light is not as strong as it is during the summer.

The perfect soil for your Ponytail Palm

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Ponytail Palm Soil

At the beginning of this plant care guide, we've already discovered that the Ponytail palm likes a dry environment and shouldn't be watered unless the soil is dry. You can help your plant by using the right type of soil for your Ponytail Palm. By using the right type of soil, you can prevent overwatering and create the right growing environment for your plant.

The right type of soil for your Ponytail palm is soil that you would use for a cactus or succulent. This type of soil drains moisture quickly to the bottom of the pot and only keeps a little bit of it in the soil. If you're using a pot with a drainage hole, which I recommend, you won't overwater your plant if you this well-draining soil.

Fertilizing your Ponytail Palm

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In the past few sections, we've found out that a Ponytail Palm loves a dry environment and its care is very much like a cactus or succulent. So it's no surprise that you also fertilize your Ponytail Palm like a succulent or cactus: Once at the beginning of spring and once at the beginning of the summer. You can use a generic houseplant fertilizer for this plant, but you can sometimes also find specific Ponytail Palm fertilizer.

This fertilizer will help your Ponytail Palm to stay healthy, growing properly, and recover from any damage.

You can read more about which fertilizer is best in "What is the best type of fertilizer for houseplants?".

Fertilizing your Ponytail Palm in the winter

During the winter, when the sun is weaker and it's cooler, you shouldn't fertilize your Ponytail Palm. Your plant most likely won't be able to absorb much of the fertilizer and this will stay behind in the soil. Fertilizer that stays behind in the soil will build up and this makes it a difficult place to stay healthy. If you do notice white residue on top of the soil, it's good to water your plant thoroughly next time it's time to water your plant. This will wash out the salts from the soil.

Is your Ponytail Palm toxic for pets?

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Not only is the Ponytail Palm an incredible looking plant, it's also completely pets safe: It's non-toxic for your cats and dogs. You can be rest assured that your houseplant won't harm your pets, so pick a nice spot to fully enjoy your Ponytail Palm.


In this plant care guide, we've looked at how to take care of your Ponytail Palm. We've looked at how you can water your Ponytail Palm, the best sunlight exposure for your Ponytail Palm, the best soil for your Ponytail Palm, how to best fertilize your Ponytail Palm, and whether your Ponytail Palm is safe for your pets and kids. It's an incredible looking plant that's completely safe to have around your pets, so pet owners rejoice!

Thank you for reading this post! I hope it helps you to keep your plants healthy and beautiful! If you're looking for more guides on specific plants, you can always request a plant guide or donate a plant in order to get a guide for the plant you have trouble with.

Tags: drought-loving, sun-loving

Posted on: Jun 11, 2022

Other common names for this plant

  • Beaucarnea recurvata
  • Nolina

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