Ponytail Plant – When Can You Separate Offsets?

Q: My mother has a ponytail plant on her back porch in Cairo. It has “babies” growing on the base. How can she start them to be separate plants?

A: Ponytail palm, Beaucarnea recurvata, is not a true palm but is related to yucca and agave. It loves bright light and well-drained soil. The swollen base is used to store water. Once the round offsets at the base of the mother plant have a few leaves they can each be gently pulled off and put into a pot of their own. They are distinctive houseplants here but Cairo offers a long growing season that makes them especially attractive.