Plant-o-Pedia: Ponytail Palm

Ponytail Palm Detail

Photo:Danae Horst for The Jungalow

Another favorite around The Jungalow, the Ponytail, or Bottle, Palm isn't a palm at all (despite its palm-like shape), but rather a distant relative of the agave and is technically a succulent- storing water in its bulbous trunk. Outdoors, Ponytail Palms can grow to be 30' tall, but if you're short on space, don't worry- as a houseplant they generally stay pretty compact. As with many of our favorite plants, its easy going nature makes the Ponytail Palm a good low maintenance option; plus we think its pretty darn cute with it's curly 'ponytail'.

Ponytail Palm

Photo: Dabito from The New Bohemians

GET THE GREEN: Ponytail Palm/Bottle Palm/Elephant-Foot Tree (Beaucarnea recurvata)

WATER: Semi-dry conditions are the Ponytail Palm's happy place. Let dry out between waterings. Using your finger to feel soil, only water when it's no longer moist or cool to the touch. When in doubt, wait a week. If leaves begin to turn brown, or feel crisp, it definitely needs water. If soil remains too moist, roots can rot and leaves may turn yellow.

SUNLIGHT: Prefers full sun, but does fine in bright indirect light.

PLACEMENT: Because it loves sun, near a window is best, especially one that gets full sun for part of the day. Avoid placing it near vents or drafty windows which can dry out the leaves. Ponytail Palms will even tolerate transitioning to the outdoors in the summer, when done incrementally until they adjust to the new climate.

EXTRA CREDIT: Ponytail Palms are often grown as bonsai, and need minimal pruning to keep their shape.

WORD OF CAUTION: According to the ASPCA, Ponytail Palms are non-toxic to cats, dogs, and horses.

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