Ponytail Palm – Propagating

Q: I have a ponytail palm that has a couple of “pups” at the bottom. There’s one on the bulb and one shooting off of the main stem of the plant. How do I propagate these into new plants?

A: Ponytail palm, Beaucarnea recurvata is a succulent that is more closely related to yucca than a true palm. The thin, strap-like leaves are palm-like but the base looks more like an onion or an elephant’s foot than a palm trunk. Propagate the offshoots in spring. Remove each one carefully and place in soil designed for cactus. Place in a sunny window and water when the soil surface is very dry. Most folks do not realize how drought tolerant a ponytail palm is. The trunk serves as a water reservoir so a mature plant only needs watering once every week or two. It also likes lots of light so give yours a vacation to a bright but shady patio or deck every summer.

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