$16 – $52
The Palm Ponytail is not a palm or a tree; it’s actually a succulent! Most people are surprised to learn this lush beauty is a succulent because it doesn’t have small, thick leaves or a low profile. The Palm Ponytail has a thick trunk that stores water and sprouts long, thin leaves that look like messy bed head. As a succulent, the Palm Ponytail is a survivor. Let the soil dry out before watering, put it in bright light once in a while, and this succulent will flourish!
Bright, direct sunlight, also tolerant of low to medium light
Once every 2-3 weeks.
If you’ve ever been to a plant store and thought to yourself, “How cute! A mini palm tree!” you probably saw a Ponytail Palm. These easy-to-care-for but slow-growing plants are perfect tabletop decorations. They add tropical flair and a burst of life to your home. Plus, they’ll live for YEARS!
What is a Ponytail Palm?
Not to ruin anything for you, but Ponytail Palms aren’t actually palms OR trees — they’re succulents. They’re native to the deserts of Mexico but have since adapted to many other environments. The Ponytail Palms, Beaucarnea recurvata, are also commonly called Elephant Foot Trees.
These plants are usually around a foot tall when you find them for sale — they’re perfect for end or coffee tables. The bulbous trunk is a few inches thick, thinning slightly as it leads up to the stringy umbrella of bright green leaves sprouting from the top.
Ponytail palms enjoy bright, indirect light, but they can handle moderate to low light, as well. That’s part of why they’re so easy to grow and why people love them so much – they can grow in almost any home, even those that don’t get great light. But, whenever possible, try to give your ponytail a strong dose of bright light.
Similar to other succulents, the Ponytail Palm retains water for long periods of time. Because of this trait, they don’t need to be watered that frequently. While other succulents keep water in their lush leaves, these tiny palms store water in their bulbous trunks.
Allow your plant’s soil to almost completely dry out between each watering. Typically, Ponytail Palms only need water every two to three weeks. They’ll need even less during their dormant seasons, which range from mid-fall through late winter.
Another easy thing about this adorable plant is that it thrives in the wide range of average household temperatures and humidities. As long as your home is consistently between 60 and 80° and the humidity is around 40%, your Ponytail Palm will be one happy little plant.
Do your best to keep your mini palm tree away from cold drafts coming from air conditioners, vents, or windows.
Why Choose a Ponytail Palm for Your Home?
If you travel often, are generally a busy person, or are notorious for forgetting to water your plants, a Ponytail Palm is a great option for you. They’re super resilient and like to be left alone, for the most part.
The easiest way to kill this succulent is by overwatering it, so neglectful plant people are the perfect owners for these adorable tiny tree-like plants. Plus, they add a bright tropical point of decor to your home, reminding you of past vacations and inspiring you to take another one soon.
Ponytail Palm Family Relatives
This plant has dozens of family relatives, but the closest two are the Beaucarnea stricta and the Beaucarnea gracilis. Let’s take a look at each of their unique qualities.
This close relative is very similar to our featured plant. The main recognizable difference is the leaves! Rather than curling and draping like the Ponytail Palm, Beaucarnea stricta leaves stick upward and outward, creating a spiky spectacle that makes for a dramatic decor point.
The Beaucarnea gracilis is a sort of happy medium between the Beaucarnea recurvata (Ponytail Palm) and the Beaucarnea stricta. The leaves are more strict than the classic Ponytail Palm but not quite as spiky as the Beaucarnea stricta. The leaves are also slightly thinner than both other varieties.
Ponytail palms are the perfect easy houseplant for any level of plant lover/gardener. They’re striking yet adorable, have delicate leaves but a resilient nature, and add a simple form of tropical beauty to your home. If you’ve been looking for something hardy but pretty, this succulent is the way to go.